Why is this page text-only?
Filing Cabinet - Underground Railroad

Mary Younger

        I was reared a slave, and have seen a great deal of barbarity in the State I came from. Many a time I have looked out in the moonlight, and seen my little children, just able to walk to the fields, carrying buckets of water to the hands. They used to carry the buckets on their heads: they would wear off the hair, and I used to make pads to protect the sore places where they carried the buckets.

        If those slaveholders were to come here, I would treat them well, just to shame them by showing that I had humanity.

        A woman who lived near us, used to beat her cook, and burn her with hot irons. I have seen the burns with these eyes. The same woman whipped at different times three of her slave women to death. The last one I was sent for by her mother to see: I found her dying. She died while I was standing by. Her mother wanted me to shroud the corpse: but the mistress interfered, and made the dead woman's mother do it. The house where these cruelties occurred, was so near ours that we could talk over the palings.

        If a white man passes by a house, and a person is whipping a servant, he goes straight by--he don't see it.

        I did not know, when I was a slave, that any white person had any sympathy for me. I thought all white people were alike, and had no sympathy for colored people. I did not know the difference until I reached a free State, when I saw the white people use the colored people like folks. I did not hear such terms applied as "wenches," "heifers," etc. Where I was raised, my children were often whipped till the blood ran, and then they would call me to see if I looked rumpled about it, and unless I looked pleased, I knew they would whip me.

        I often wish that people from the North could just go through the southern country at harvest time, and see and hear what is done there.

        There was a man whipped there one day, and at night I took pity on him and greased his back,--he died on my floor.

        The barbarity of slavery I never want to see again. I have children now who have got the yoke on them. It almost kills me to think that they are there, and that I can do them no good. There they are--I know how it is--it brings distress on my mind--there they are, working till late at night; off before day; and where there is no humanity--where the lash is not spared.

A North-Side View of Slavery, the Refugee:  or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, Related by Themselves with an Account of the History and Condition of the Colored Population of Upper Canada, Benjamin Drew (Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1856)

Browse more Underground Railroad Resources »