ARRIVAL FROM MARYLAND, 1858.
EDWARD, a youthful passenger about twenty-one years of age, slow of speech, with a stammering utterance, and apparently crushed in spirits, claimed succor and aid of the Committee. At first the Committee felt a little puzzled to understand, how one, apparently so deficient, could succeed in surmounting the usual difficulties consequent upon traveling, via the Underground Rail Road; but in conversing with him, they found him possessed of more intelligence than they had supposed; indeed, they perceived that he could read and write a little, and that what he lacked in aptness of speech, he supplied as a thinker, and although he was slow he was sure. He was owned by a man named John Lewis, who also owned about seventy head of slaves, whom he kept on farms near the mouth of the Sassafras River, in Sussex County [Those familiar with the area will find this this sentence confusing; we will come back to it].
Lewis had not only held Edward in bondage, but had actually sold him, with two of his brothers, only the Saturday before his escape, to a Georgia trader, named Durant, who was to start south with them on the subsequent Monday. Moved almost to desperation at their master's course in thus selling them, the three brothers, after reflection, determined to save themselves if possible, and without any definite knowledge of the journey, they turned their eyes towards the North Star, and under the cover of night they started for Pennsylvania, not knowing whether they would ever see the goodly land of freedom. After wandering for about two weeks, having been lost often and compelled to lie out in all weathers, a party of pursuers suddenly came upon them. Both parties were armed; the fugitives therefore resolved to give their enemies battle, before surrendering. Edward felt certain that one of the pursuers received a cut from his knife, but the extent of the injury was unknown to him. For a time the struggle was of a very serious character; by using his weapons skillfully, however, Edward managed to keep the hand-cuff off of himself, but was at this point separated from his two brothers. No further knowledge of them did he possess; nevertheless, he trusted that they succeeded in fighting their way through to freedom.
How any were successful in making their escape under such discouraging circumstances is a marvel.
EDWARD took occasion to review his master's conduct, and said that he "could not recommend him, as he would "drink and gamble," both of which, were enough to condemn him, in Edward's estimation, even though he were passable in other respects. But he held him doubly guilty for the way that he acted in selling him and his brothers.
So privately had his master transacted business with the trader that they were within a hair's breadth of being hand-cuffed, ere they knew that they were sold. Probably no outrage will be remembered with feelings of greater bitterness, than this proceeding on the part of the master; yet, when he reflected that he was thereby prompted to strike for freedom, Edward was disposed to rejoice at the good which had come out of the evil.
ADDING LOCAL INFORMATION:
People who know the area would notice this sentence is puzzling— “He was owned by a man named John Lewis, who also owned about seventy head of slaves, whom he kept on farms near the mouth of the Sassafras River, in Sussex County. No section of the Sassafras River flows in, or even near, Sussex County. No tributary of the Sassafras comes from Sussex County. Sussex County is the southernmost county in Delaware, and yet the title states the arrival was from Maryland. If Carroll lived near the Sassafras and arrived from Maryland, then he either came from Kent County or Cecil County, in the northeast part of Maryland. The pieces of this puzzle don’t fit together, and the available maps showing property owners in that time period yielded no clue. Further research might answer where Carroll began his flight to freedom, but it will have to remain an open question for now.