Underground Railroad
 

(History of Knox County, Illinois by Chas. Chapman, 1878, pgs 201-215, submitted by Janine Crandell)

 

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.
BLACK LAWS.


     The early settlers of this county, although mainly from the Southern or slave States, entertained a deep-seated prejudice against the negro, for which it is hard for us to account at the present day. This prejudice, we may remark, was not held altogether and only in this county, for by referring to the Revised Statutes of this State, approved March 3, 1845, we find the following in chapter 54, under the head of "Negroes and Mulattoes: "
     Section 8. Any person who shall hereafter bring into this State any black or mulatto person, in order to free him or her from slavery, or shall directly or indirectly bring into this State, or aid or assist any person in bringing any such black and mulatto person to settle and reside therein, shall be fined one hundred dollars on conviction and indictment, before any justice of the peace in the county where such offense shall be committed.
     Section 9. If any slave or servant shall be found at a distance of ten miles from the tenement of his or her master, or person with whom he or she lives, without a pass or some letter or token whereby it may appear that he or she is proceeding by authority from his or her master, employer or overseer, it shall and may be lawful for any person to apprehend and carry him or her before a justice of the peace, to be by his order punished with stripes, not exceeding thirty-five, at his discretion.
     Section 10. If any slave or servant shall presume to come and be upon the plantation or at the dwelling of any person whatsoever, without leave from his or her owner, not being sent upon lawful business, it shall be lawful for the owner of such plantation or dwelling house to give or order such slave or servant ten lashes on his or her bare back.
     Section 12. If any person or persons shall permit or suffer any slave or slaves, servant or servants of color, to the number of three or more, to assemble in his, her or their outhouse, yard or shed, for the purpose of dancing or revelling, either by night or by day, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty dollars with cost to any person or persons who will sue for and recover the same by action of debt or indictment, in any court of record proper to try the same.
     Section 13. It shall be the duty of all coroners, sheriffs, judges and justices of the peace, who shall see or know of, or be informed of any such assemblage of slaves or servants, immediately to commit such slaves or servants to the jail of the county, and on view or proof thereof to order each-and every such slave or servant to be whipped not exceeding thirty-nine stripes on his or her bare back.


MODE OF RUNNING THE U. G. R. R.


     Very likely all of our readers have heard of the famous, Underground Railroad, but very few know anything of its system of work. Happily the corporation does not now exist, the necessity for the enterprise not being apparent at the present time, as the class of freight or passengers transported over the line are not now produced.
     The question of slavery has always been a mixed one, from the time the first slave was imported into our country until, by the emancipation proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, all men were made free and equal in the eyes of the law. A strong anti-slavery party has long existed in the country. The framers of our constitution upon the organization of the government had to deal with the question of slavery; the successive administrations from Washington to Lincoln had to grapple with it; various compromises were adopted which it was thought would quiet its spirit; but, like Banquo's ghost, it would not down at the bidding of any man or party. The death of Lovejoy at Alton, in 1837, a martyr to the anti-slavery cause, gave an impetus to the agitation of the question which never ceased until the final act was consummated which broke in pieces the shackles that bound the slave.
     Growing out of the agitation of this question, and the formation of a party in sympathy with the slaves, was the organization of the so-called Underground Railroad, for the purpose of aiding fugitives to escape to a land of freedom. The secrecy of its workings justified its name. Notwithstanding the system was an organized one, those engaged in it had no signs or passwords by which they might he known, save now and then a preconcerted rap at the door when a cargo of freight was to be delivered. Each relied upon the honor of the other, and, as the work was an extra-hazardous one, few cowards ever engaged in it. Pro-slavery men complained bitterly of the violation of the law by their abolition neighbors, and persecuted them as much as they dared; and this was not a little. But the friends of the slaves were not to be deterred by persecution. "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church," and persecution only made them more determined than ever to carry out their just convictions of right and duty. No class of people ever made better neighbors than the Abolitionists, or better conductors on a railroad. It is well, perhaps, in this connection, to note how the passengers over this road were received in Canada, the northern termination. From mere goods and chattels in our liberty-boasting nation they were transformed into men and women; from being hunted with fire-arms and blood-hound, like wild beasts, they were recognized and respected as good and loyal subjects by the Queen as soon as their feet touched British soil. At the same time there stood, with open arms, Rev. Hiram Wilson, the true, noble-hearted missionary, ready to receive these refugees from "freedom's soil," and administer to their wants. In February, 1841, there came a day of jubilee to the doubting ones, when Queen Victoria's proclamation was read to them: "That every fugitive from United States slavery should be recognized and protected as a British subject the moment his or her foot touched the soil of her domain." Mr. Wilson arranged with the authorities to have all supplies for the fugitive slaves admitted free of custom duty. Many were the large, well filled boxes of what was most needed by the poor wanderer taken from the wharf at Toronto during that winter by E. Child, mission teacher. He was then a student of Oneida Institute, N. Y., but for many years has resided in Oneida, this county. He went into Canada for the purpose of teaching the fugitives.
     A very singular circumstance in connection with this road was the fact that, although people well knew who were engaged in it, and where the depot was located, freight could seldom be found, search as carefully as they might. A consignment would be forwarded over the line, notice of which would reach the ears of slave hunters, and when ready to place their hands upon the fugitives, like the Irishman's flea, they wouldn't be there. The business of this road for a number of years was quite extensive, but today all its employes are discharged, and, strange to relate, none are sorry, but all rejoice in the fact. As illustrating the peculiarities of this line, we append several incidents that occurred in this county:


"AUNT SUKEY."


      One wintry day in the year 1843, a negro woman with two small children and a son about seventeen years old, together with a negro girl about the same age. were brought to Knoxville and incarcerated in the county jail. "What for?" you will quite naturally ask. What crime had they committed that they should be imprisoned? They were making an attempt to gain the liberty which their Creator had destined for them, but which was denied by man's inhumanity. They had made their way from Southern Illinois, carefully secreting themselves during the day, and the anxious mother with her loved ones hurried along by night, directed to the land of freedom by the changeless north star. It was not for her own freedom that Aunt Sukey was trying to obtain so much as to purchase that prized boon for her children. Her master had repeatedly threatened to sell them to Southern traders. This the mother well knew would be done. She had often seen loved children mercilessly torn from their mother's arms and sent South, never again to be heard from. How like the sad sequel of this story! and worse; for here in Knox county this loving mother was robbed of her babes and son by cruel hands. They were violently torn from her care and borne to a Southern clime to receive the abuses and cruelties of the poor, degraded plantation slaves, and man's uncompassionate, selfish nature and inhuman hand would still more ruthlessly cause all the torture and degradation of such a life of bondage.
     Thirty-five years have passed; a bloody and destructive war has been fought; the right prevailed after much carnage and bloodshed; and the shackles of four million degraded slaves were broken, and the much coveted liberty given the poor, benighted beings. Whether the two babes were among the number (the son being killed the year after his capture) the mother never knew. The continent was convulsed a few years ago over the sad story of little Charley Ross; but there is a mother living in Knox county whose babes were taken thirty-five years ago, and yet she has never heard a single word from them; she knows not whether they are living or dead, but for years she too well knew they were in inhuman hands, suffering the cruelties of bondage and pain which slavery and the bartering for human flesh could but produce. It was such incidents as these that aroused the liberty-loving spirit of the North and goaded her soldiers to go and so nobly fight for the slave's freedom.
     Let us continue our narrative. Susan Richardson, for such was "Aunt Sukey's " real name, was brought into the Territory of Illinois a few years before it was admitted into the Union as a State. Her master, Andrew Border, lived in Randolph county, where she was kept a slave until, as she told us, "she left betwixt two suns." The immediate cause for this unannounced departure was certainly one wholly justifiable. Her children and those of her master had gotten into some altercation, when her mistress had her children whipped.
     The mother very naturally resented this, and her passionate mistress then declared the lash should be laid most heavily upon her back. When Mr. Border arrived home his wife told him she wanted Sukey whipped. Seemingly he possessed finer feelings, more sensitive than those of his delicate wife to the pains of others, for he said he could not comply, Aunt Sukey had always been so good, and besides he was afraid she would run away if he did. Refusal aroused the fiery temper of his wife, when she avowed that she would neither eat nor sleep until he promised that Aunt Sukey should be whipped. As a compromise he agreed to tie her and make all the other necessary preparations, then to give the lash to her and let her apply it to the bared back of the poor abused slave until her anger was fully appeased. This was entirely satisfactory to the groveling mind of the unkind mistress, and she promised herself to punish the impudent slave (as she considered her) as severely as her strength would permit. Aunt Sukey knew the design of her mistress, and accordingly was on the "look-out," for she had overheard the promise made by her master. The thoughts of being scourged, and by a woman too, was more than she could endure, and so aroused her wounded and indignant spirit that she hastily and secretly, with her children, left her master that night and went to Cairo, where she got on the line of the Underground Railroad and reached Canton, Fulton county, in safety. Here Conductor Wilson took her in charge to convey her to the next station, which was at the Rev. John Cross' in the eastern part of Knox county. He did not arrive until after daylight; and scarcely had Aunt Sukey and her charge alighted from the wagon when she was arrested and conveyed to Knoxville, where for some days the five were confined in the county jail. Notices of their capture were immediately sent South. Of course the cruel master was on the lookout, and the notice soon fell under his eyes. In the meantime, however, through the agency of humane citizens of Knoxville, they were released on bail. The woman was soon engaged in going from home to home and doing the washings of the different families. For her son she had secured a situation on a farm near town, and her younger children she left at the hotel during the day. One day while washing at the residence of Rev. Cole, the Presbyterian minister of the town, the startling intelligence of her old master being in town was communicated to her. Her first thought was for the safety of her children, and remembering the little ones at the hotel, the same tender, loving, motherly feeling prompted her to make the attempt to secrete them. But unfortunately for the thoughtful mother, her master had met them in the hallway at the hotel, when he at once seized them, carrying them to Mr. Newman's house and hiding them in the loft, and then going in search of the son; for said he, "If I can get the children I am not afraid but what the old one will follow." Aunt Sukey then thought to save her son, but ere she could even give him a warning note his merciless master had also captured him.
     The grief of the poor, distracted mother, too terrible and intense in its nature to be pictured, can be perhaps much better imagined than described; so we will pass over it. Frantic and almost heart-broken, the poor woman thought she must return to the dreaded scourged life of bondage with her children. She was advised by her sympathizing friends not to go, for it would only be to suffer increased pain and mental anxiety, as the children would undoubtedly be sold and sent south. Charles Gilbert from near Galesburg drove up to Rev. Cole's residence in a sleigh about this time. His finer feelings were wrought upon and touched by the sad recital of the story of the hunted fugitives. He resolved to save the mother: so, donning her in clothing of Mrs. Cole's, with closely veiled face, he helped her into his sleigh, and sitting down beside her, took up the reins and sped over the snowy earth for Galesburg, where it was well known then, as always after, that a negro was safe when once within its limits. The two small children and the son were taken back to the dreaded and bitter life of toil, pain and bondage, never to again look upon the mother that had battled so nobly for their liberty. Can any one, who has never been placed in any such, or similar, position, fully realize the pain and anguish of such a parting? Can the dreariness, the gloom and terrors of the embittered and bondaged life of slavery, be too plainly pictured or overdrawn?
     Hannah, the name of the young girl who accompanied Aunt Sukey, did not belong to the same master, and being nearly of age, she was not molested but suffered to go free. She went to Galesburg, and lived for some years, but at present resides in New York city. Mrs. Richardson lives on the corner of West and Ferris streets, Galesburg. She is a very intelligent, fine-looking and active old negro lady.
     Soon after Aunt Sukey had settled in Galesburg a lawsuit, which became famous, was instituted by her former master, Mr. Border, for her recovery; but by some means he was beaten, although he had that eminent lawyer, Hon. Julius Manning, for his attorney.


BILL CASEY.


     Bill Casey was another passenger over the Underground Railroad, but so closely pursued that he left the main line and worked his way as far as Galesburg himself. That city was well known among the
negroes, and a runaway slave was considered as free from capture when within its limits as if in Canada. Being settled by Eastern people, who not only had no sympathy with slavery, but held for it a righteous indignation, and whose citizens would any time violate an inhumane and unjust law to help a fugitive slave, Galesburg was known throughout the country as the strongest kind of an abolitionist place. Here the weary, hunted slaves could find a refuge, some comfort, and a host of sympathizing friends.
     Bill Casey reached Galesburg Saturday night, and going to the residence of the colored lady, Susan Richardson, whose coming to the county is related above, he was admitted and kindly cared for. He was a miserable and affecting human being to look upon, having neither shoes nor hat and almost naked, with feet bleeding and swollen, and body bruised, besides being almost in a starving state, having had nothing with which to appease his hunger for several days. "With five companions he had started from Missouri. They were pursued, and two or three of the number had been shot, and the others captured, and only by the rapidity of his flight through the woods with heavy undergrowth had he escaped. Sunday morning came, and "Aunt Sukey " locked her house and with her family as usual went to church, leaving Casey at her home. She knew, as she told us, "who to tell." Accordingly she soon made known to members of the Underground Railroad that a fugitive was at her house. They immediately visited him, and found him in a needy condition, and that he must have a pair of shoes before he could go farther, as well as some clothing. So Messrs. Neeley, West and Blanchard began to prepare him for the journey. Of course he could not be taken to the store and have his shoes fitted there, but they had to bring them to him. His feet were so badly bwollen that it was necessary for them to make three or four trips before they could find shoes that would fit or he could wear. After everything was fully arranged, Casey was put in charge of a conductor on the Underground Railroad and conveyed to the next station. In a year or two he returned to Galesburg and engaged in cutting timber northwest of town.
     One day two men, evidently ''Southern gentlemen," rode up to the Galesburg hotel. There they met a young negro boy, Charley Love, of whom they inquired of Bill Casey. Although small, Charlie was well posted, and of course "never heard of such a fellow." However, as soon as possible he ran and gave the alarm, and immediately a fleet-footed horse with noble rider was off for the woods where Casey was at work. The two strangers referred to were on the hunt for Casey, and after some inquiries learned his whereabouts and started for him, but Charlie Love had saved him, for he was warned in time an escaped capture.


GALESBURG STATION.


     Galesburg, from the very starting of the colony to the time of the war, was noted as the principal depot of the Underground Railroad in Western Illinois, if not in the whole State. The refugees were from Missouri, and most of them would first stop at a Quaker settlement in southeastern Iowa, where friends would keep them and bring them on at night to Galesburg. Here George Davis, Samuel Hitchcock, Nehemiah West and others would promote their welfare as far towards Canada as Stark county or Ontario in this county. A Mr. Hizer, one of the Iowa Quakers, called on Mr. Davis in this city only two years ago, surprising him with an unexpected but very pleasurable visit, and the gentlemen refreshed their memories concerning a certain colored man whom they had helped through over thirty years previously. Mr. Davis was accompanied by Rev. R. C. Dunn in taking the refugee to Mr. Wyckoff's in the southern part of Stark county. In 1858 a colored man was taken through here to Canada, who shortly afterward found his way back to Missouri and started with nine other slaves for the land of freedom, but reached Galesburg with only five or six. With these it is presumed he got safely through to Canada.
     There was a negro man, who stopped at Nehemiah West's on his way to freedom. He formerly lived in luxury, being the favored coachman of an eminent gentleman, but who, through misfortune, failed and consequently all his property was sold. His coachman was sold to a cruel master, who stripped him of all the good clothing his former master had given him and donned him in the coarsest of garments and beat him unmercifully in order, as he said, "to learn him where he belonged, and to show him that he couldn't act the gentleman around him." This negro was greatly afflicted with the consumption and was quite feeble.
     Another one, a cook, stopped at the same place. He was a fine intelligent fellow, but not unlike all others, he was continually on the watch, thinking every footstep he heard was made by his master. Mrs. West says they would run and hide the moment they heard the slightest evidence of some one approaching. This cook was anxious to help prepare the meals. He was sent to the well, just a few feet from the house, to peel some potatoes, but becoming nervous he would start, even at the fall of a leaf. Finally being unable to endure the torture of fear any longer, he begged to come into the house and work, which request was granted him. He would go to the window and look out every few minutes, expecting to see his master coming after him.
     Four negroes were hidden, and kept one day in the cupola of the First Church, of Galesburg, and when night came they were hurried on their journey.
     After the railroad was built, through from Chicago to Quincy, in 1854-5, these refugees would get aboard freight trains at Quincy and go right through without much local help along the route. The Galesburg Underground depot was then about superseded.
     There is no telling how many fugitive slaves were helped through this region of the country, no one thinking at the time what important history he was making for future generations to write up. The number, however, was quite large, for often business was quite brisk over the road.


ONTARIO STATION.


     The depot of the Underground Railroad in Ontario township was at the residence of C. F. Camp, Hod Powell, conductor. Passengers for one train consisted of four well dressed negroes, who were evidently rather intelligent. They arrived on the evening train from Galesburg in care of Conductor Neeley. After a partial night's lodging, and a sumptuous meal, Conductor Powell, with his load, looking as if he were going to mill, started for Andover Station, the next on the route. One of the above four returned South three different times for his family. He was so closely watched that he failed each time to rescue his loved ones. On the third trip he found they had been sold and sent farther south.
     In the files of the Probate Court records of 1837 and 1838 are "free papers" of the freedom of slaves. One is found stating that "Harvey Van Allen, a boy, who was born free, and when he arrives at the age of 21 will be as free as any white person." Another, filed May 15, 1837, of "Joe, commonly called Joe Allen, property of John Allen of Pulaski county, Kentucky, being, for certain causes and considerations desirous to emancipate and set free a certain negro woman, called Sukey, the wife of free Joe, aged about 29. Said John Allen do emancipate, liberate and set free forever the said negro woman and to all intent and purposes to enjoy the privilege of freedom as though she had been free born."


HITCHCOCK STATION.


     Samuel Hitchcock's farm, three miles northwest of Galesburg, was a prominent station on the Underground Railroad for ten years. Many a time he secreted six or more of the fugitive slaves in his hay mow, or in the back rooms of the house. He usually carried them to the next station in Ontario township, fifteen miles distant, starting at 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening. On one occasion, which happened to be Commencement day of Knox College, and a very warm June morning, a gentleman from Warren county, Mr. Dilley by name, drove up, in company with one Mr. Parker, with what resembled a load of oat straw. Mr. Parker hailed Mr. Hitchcock. "All right!" Mr. Hitchcock exclaimed. "All right," was again the response, when the load of straw began to present signs of life and one by one crawled out the brunettes, until three women, one man and three children, seven in all, were safely landed at Mr. Hitchcock's. They were kept and secreted until opportunity offered to forward them to the next station.


ARREST OF THE REV. JOHN CROSS.


     About the year 1843 some fugitive slaves passing North through the eastern part of Knox county were helped on their journey by members of the Underground Railroad. Rev. John Cross, a Presbyterian minister, then living in Elba township, was suspected of helping them. He was accordingly arrested and indicted therefor. In the meantime, before the trial came off, he removed to Bureau county. When the time for trial finally came the sheriff of this county sent a requisition to the sheriff of Bureau county to deliver the said Cross into court. The deputy sheriff, John Long, could find no one to bring him. Mr. Cross, appreciating his dilemma, proposed to aid him, and offered to take his own team and deliver himself and the deputy in good order to the authorities of this county. They started on Saturday, and came as far as Mr. Whitaker's, in the township of Osceola, and stayed over Sunday, as they were no doubt conscientiously opposed to desecrating that holy day. On the Sabbath Rev. Cross preached to the good people of Osceola. Their sympathies were aroused and excited in behalf of the reverend prisoner, and some insinuations were uttered relative to a rescue. When Monday morning came, and they were about to start, the deputy expressed some suspicions that there was danger. Mr. Cross felt they were quite safe and so assured the deputy, who said—"Well, I am prepared for any emergency." The young men of the neighborhood who were somewhat waggish in their natures, thought to test the courage of the blustering, boasting Kentuckian official. They mounted their horses and circulated about through the woods, which Mr. Cross and the deputy passed through shortly after leaving Mr. Whitaker's. The deputy, observing their mysterious movements through the trees, became further alarmed, and tremulously suggested to the prisoner that he feared trouble ahead. Mr. Cross reassured him that his courage did not waver, as he had a good team, and could give anyone with mischievous intent a lively chase, but added suggestively—"If you feel there is danger of not getting through with a whole skin, perhaps you had better lie down in the bottom of the wagon-box, and I will throw this buffalo robe over you, so that you will be entirely unobserved, and I will in the meantime keep a sharp look-out for foes." The courageous (?) official at once profited by the prisoner's hint and deposited his heroic form in the bottom of the wagon, assuming the shape of a flounder as nearly as possible, when the robe was thrown over him, completely obscuring him from view. The road over which they had to travel for the next two miles was of that antique construction known as "corduroy." Mr. Cross at once began to apply the whip, and anon loudly saluted imaginary equestrians with a "Good morning!" "How do you do?" "Fine morning!" etc., etc., not failing in the intervals to tell the poor, quivering official, who was writhing under the double torture of fear and a free dose of "corduroy," to lie flat and keep quiet, at the same time urging forward the horses to a still more lively speed. When Rev. Cross, who was evidently a practical joker, had punished the deputy to his satisfaction, he halted and informed his tortured passenger that he thought the danger now passed, and they could proceed more leisurely without fear of interruption. They drove on to Galesburg, and Mr. Cross at once notified the court that he had brought the prisoner, and delivered himself up.
     The prisoner expected to have George W. Collins as attorney, but he did not come. Persons were ready to bail him. Mr. Cross undertook his own defense, saying his attorney had failed to appear; and although 'tis said that he who undertakes to defend his own cause has a fool for a client, he was forced to that resort, and signified his readiness to proceed to trial. This was an unexpected attack upon the State's attorney, and he was compelled to enter the plea that he was not ready for trial, for want of witnesses. The defense entered a nolle prosequi, which ended the case, somewhat ingloriously to the participants on the part of the prosecution.


REV. JOHN CROSS AGAIN.


     The following was written by Jacob Kightlinger, an old settler of Knox county, who now resides at Yates City. It has reference to the reverend gentleman of the previous story, and is the "other side" of Underground Railroad life. It shows Mr. Cross to have been a persistent worker and an active member of this humane railroad, the best ever conducted on the continent.
     About the year 1839 or 1840, Rev. Mr. John Cross came into the township of Elba, Knox county. He was a Presbyterian preacher, and an abolitionist at that. He told me to come and hear him preach, and the next Sunday I took my wife and family, and went, and he preached a very good sermon. I had no objections to his preaching. After the services we started for home. We got into the wagon, and seeing that Mr. Cross was afoot, I said, "Mr. Cross, you can ride in my wagon if you choose." So he got in, and we started. Very soon he commenced running down the laws of Illinois, saying they were black, and he would not obey them. He said he would harbor, feed, and convey off negroes in defiance of the black laws of Illinois. I then said, "Mr. Cross, do not let me see you violate the law." "Why, sir, what would you do?"  "I would take you up for violating the law." "That, sir, is just what I want to find. Some one that has the fortitude to take me up."
     So that week a load of negroes passed my house, and was conveyed to Mr. Cross' house by a man named Wilson. I, with five or six neighbors, went after Wilson, and we met him coming back empty. I asked him where his negroes were. He would not tell; so we went to Mr. Cross' house, and found the negroes in a lot of corn. We took the negroes to Mr. Palmer, the constable, and told him to give them a good dinner, and I said I would pay for it. Mrs. Cross had dinner cooking for them. It was corn in the ear and potatoes with the skins on, all boiling together in one pot. I said they should have a better dinner than that, for I fed my hogs in that way, on that kind of feed.
     Mr. Cross had gone down South after some negroes that day, and he was afraid that I would take the negroes from him; so he sent a spy to my house—a Mr. Thomas, of Farmington. He came to my house about midnight, and wanted to know the way to Spoon river bridge, about five miles off. Said I, "You appear to be in a hurry." "Yes," said he. "Well, sir, what is your business?" He said he did not tell his business to every person. " Well, sir, you will tell it to me, or you shall not leave here tonight," and I picked up my rifle. I saw he got some scared, and then he was ready to tell me his business. He said he was in search of some negroes. I said, "Have you lost some negroes?" "Yes." "Can you describe them ?" "Yes." "Well, go at it." He commenced, and described them perfectly. Said I, "Do you own those negroes?" He said he had an interest in them, so I took him to be the owner of said negroes. I said, "I will put your horse up, and in the morning I will tell you where your negroes are." I set my rifle up and walked out, and I heard a wagon down at the bridge. Said I, "Do you know what wagon that is?" He said it was the Rev. Mr. Cross. "Ho, ho! you are a spy and an infernal scoundrel!" cried I. He jumped on his horse, and went to Mr. Cross, and told him that I would take his new load of negroes from him. So Mr. Cross put the negroes in Wilson's wagon, and he drove up empty. Another man and I were mounted on horses at my gate, when Mr. Cross drove up. I called three times, "Is that you, Mr. Cross?" But instead of answering, he put whip to his horses, and they ran, and I after them about a mile and a half. I called to a man that lived there, named McLaughlin, to stop Cross. I said, "Shoot the horses if he won't stop, for he has stolen something," but he did not shoot. There was another man further on, however, who with a pole struck down both horses.
     The next day Mr. Cross went to Galesburg and swore out a warrant against me, and I went to Galesburg before an abolition squire, and he fined me $100. I then took an appeal to the Circuit Court. When all the evidence was given in, the judge (Douglas) threw it out of court—no cause for action. I then went into the grand jury room, sent for witnesses, and Cross was indicted, and three bills found against him for stealing negroes. He was put in jail. Afterwards the abolitionists of Galesburg bailed him out. This is all true.


JACOB KIGHTLINGER.
Yates City.

 



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