The Underground Railroad in Connecticut

By Horatio T. Strother | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
FUGITIVES IN FLIGHT

AMONG the first runaways from the South to reach Connecticut was William Grimes. He came into the state on his own two feet, with little guidance from others, for at this early date--just after 1800--the Underground Railroad as even a quasi-organized entity was still years in the future. Yet he had started on his journey north to freedom with the complicity of some Yankee sailors and even a couple of men in positions of authority. According to the account of his life that he wrote in later years, it happened in this fashion:1

Grimes was a mulatto slave in Savannah when his owner decided to go to Bermuda, leaving the bondsman behind "to work for what he could get." The brig Casket, out of Boston, lay in the harbor taking on a cargo of cotton for New York; Grimes saw a chance to make "a few dollars" by helping with the loading. While engaged in this work, he became friendly with some of the seamen. As they laid up the bales on deck, they left space between where a man might lie hidden. "Whether they then had any idea of my coming away with them or not, I cannot say," wrote Grimes, "but this I can say safely, a place was left." He slipped ashore in the evening with a colored seaman to buy some "bread and dried beef" for the journey; then he lay low among the cotton bales while the brig

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The Underground Railroad in Connecticut
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - Blazing the Trail 10
  • Chapter 2 - Thorny is the Pathway 25
  • Chapter 3 - Fugitives in Flight 43
  • Chapter 4 - The Captives of the Amistad 65
  • Chapter 5 - A House Divided 82
  • Chapter 6 - This Pretended Law We Cannot Obey 93
  • Chapter 7 - New Haven, Gateway from the Sea 107
  • Chapter 8 - West Connecticut Trunk Lines 119
  • Chapter 9 - East Connecticut Locals 128
  • Chapter 10 - Valley Line to Hartford 137
  • Chapter 11 - Middletown, a Way Station 150
  • Chapter 12 - Farmington, the Grand Central Station 163
  • Chapter 13 - The Road in Full Swing 175
  • Appendices 189
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 237
  • Index 251
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