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Filing Cabinet - Underground Railroad

Rueben Saunders

              I was born in Greene Co., Georgia. At about twelve years old, our family was broken up by the death of my master. I was the oldest child: there were three brothers and two sisters. My master's children had grown, and were married, and settled in various parts of Georgia. We were all separated,--no two went together. My mother's master was about half a mile from where the youngest child was. They did not think it would know enough to learn the way. Some of them carried her once to see her mother, and she learned the way. She used to go over to where her mother lived, and creep under the house, where she would wait till her mother came into the yard and then run to her. There were bad dogs there, but they did not trouble her. My mother's master tried to buy this child, but her owner would not sell her under six hundred dollars. He did not mean to sell. I have not seen my mother since the sale. I remained there from twelve to twenty-four years of age, and was well treated.

        I was never caught there with a book in my hand, or a pen. I never saw but one slave in Georgia, who could read and write, and he was brought in from another State.

        The treatment about there, seemed to depend on the number a man had. If few, they got on well, if many, they fared worse. If a man used his slaves with kindness more than the others, they disliked it.

        From Georgia, I was removed to Mississippi,--that being considered a money-making place. I was the only slave my master had. I went on with him. At first he engaged in rafting cypress timber, then kept a wood-yard on the Mississippi. I stayed there sixteen years. Then he brought me and my wife and children to Indiana, and set us free. He had made money fast, and he made a good use of it,--for he bought my wife and three children, and my wife's brother, on purpose to set us free. My family cost him thirteen hundred dollars, and the brother, seven hundred and fifty dollars. He afterward went down the Mississippi with eight hundred dollars, and to sell some land and wind up. He was lost off the boat and drowned: some thought he was robbed and pushed overboard.

        I don't think any man can of right, hold property in another. I like the condition of freedom,--what I make is mine. I arrived here last April.

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)

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