ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1859
JAMES TAYLOR, ALBERT GROSS AND JOHN GRINAGE.
To see mere lads, not twenty-one years of age, smart enough to outwit the very shrewdest and wisest slave-holders of Virginia was very gratifying. The young men composing this arrival were of this keen-sighted order.
JAMES was only a little turned of twenty, of a yellow complexion, and intelligent. A trader, by the name of George Ailer, professed to own James.
He said that he had been used tolerable well, not so bad as many had been used. James was learning the carpenter trade; but he was anxious to obtain his freedom, and finding his two companions true on the main question, in conjunction with them he contrived a plan of escape, and 'took out.'
His father and mother, Harrison and Jane Taylor, were left at Fredericksburg to mourn the absence of their son.
Up to this point the title fits the description, and a reader would expect the next two entries, his companions, lived close to Fredericksburg, or judging by the subtitle, somewhere in Virginia. But that is where the entry becomes perplexing. Still explicitly states the other two are from Cecil County, Maryland.
ALBERT was in his twentieth year, the picture of good health, not homely by any means, although not of a fashionable color. He was under the patriarchal protection of a man by the name of William Price, who carried on farming in Cecil County, Maryland. Albert testified that he was a bad man.
JOHN GRINAGE was only twenty, a sprightly, active young man, of a brown color. He came from Middle Neck, Cecil County, where he had served under William Flintham, a farmer.
So according to Still, all three escaped together from Virginia, and yet two came from Maryland. The only fact that hints at an explanation is the fact that Ailes is a trader. Were the two Maryland men purchased by Ailes for resale in the Deep South? That could have brought the three men together. But no other information from Still suggested that was the case, and the absence of additional clues leaves the reader wondering about the answer to this riddle. There was a George Ailes living in Washington, D.C. at that time, but I could not confirm this was the same man mentioned in the narrative.
ADDING LOCAL INFORMATION:
The properties of William Flintham of Middle Neck appear on the 1858 Martinet map of Cecil County, and are located near the Maryland-Delaware border. A property of a William Price also appears on the map, nearby and to the south of the Flintham properties. But under what circumstances Grinage and Gross arrived with Taylor in an escape from Virginia is unexplained and unknown.