SAMUEL SLATER, alias PATTERSON SMITH, came from a place called Power Bridge, Md. He gave a satisfactory account of himself, and was commended for having wisely left his master, William Martin, to earn his bread by the sweat of his own brow. Martin had held up the vision of the auction-block before Sam; this was enough. Sam saw that it was time for him to be getting out of danger's way without delay, so he presumed, if others could manage to escape, he could too. And he succeeded. He was a stout man, about twenty-nine years of age, of dark complexion. No particular mention of ill treatment is found on the Records.
After arriving in Canada, his heart turned with deep interest and affection to those left in the prison-house, as the following letter indicates.
ST. CATHRINES Oct 29th.
MY DEAR FRIEND : yours of the 15th came to hand and I was glad to hear from you and your dear family were well and the reason that I did not write sooner I expected get a letter from my brother in pennsylvania but I have not received any as yet when I wrote last I directed my letter to philip scott minister of the asbury church baltimore and that was the reason that I thought it strange I did not get an answer but I did not put my brother name to it I made arrangements before I left home with a family of smiths that I was to write to and the letter that I enclose in this I want you to direct it to D Philip scott in his care for mrs cassey Jackson Duke Jacksons wife and she will give to Priana smith or Sarah Jane Smith those are the persons I wish to write to I wish you to write on as quick as you can and let them know that there is a lady coming on by the name of mrs Holonsworth and she will call and see you and you will find her a very interesting and inteligent person one worthy of respect and esteem and a high reputation I must now bring my letter to a close no more at present but remain your humble servant
In my letters I did not write to my friends how they shall write to me but in the letter that you write you will please to tell them how they shall write to me.
ADDING LOCAL INFORMATION:
William Still recorded that Patterson Smith made his escape from Power Bridge, Maryland. Actually, the village is called Pivot Bridge, named for the movable span over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The Martinet Map of Cecil County, 1858, shows William Martin had property about four miles southwest of Pivot Bridge, and north of Hudson’s Corner.
Smith made curious reference to a “Mrs. Holonsworth” in his letter to Still. The Hollingsworths were a prominent family in the region. Originally Quakers, many Hollingsworths south of the Mason-Dixon Line abandoned their Quaker beliefs and enslaved other people. The Mrs. Hollingsworth that Smith refers to may have been from the Quaker branch of the family. If she was from the proslavery branch, then see was acting contrary to the prevailing family attitude. A third possibility is that she was African American and retained the last name of the family that enslaved hers.