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Old Slavery Times

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A very interesting story, saya tlio Pittsburgh Chronicle, Urelated by oiir townsm:iu, James Keeil, tlie jeweler, whose raemory is the clearest of all we have talked with conceniing the details of the Underground railroad. The Reed fumlly, as iiiiinv of our readers are doubtlest aware, carne frotn Wasliiiigton, l'a. The entire fiiinily were abolitionlsts at a tline when the term was deemed opprobrioue, and freely applled in cooteinpt. James Reed, the eider, was one of the most active and uncompromising abolitionlsts wbo stoad shoulder to shouldor wlth Ir. DeMoyne. He eucountered obloquy, and riskod li is lile to protect free speech n Washington. His sons were staunch adheienta of the strugglinj; cau9e, anti Dr. Joseph Reed, at present in charge of Dixmont, James and Gcorge, éontribüted freely both time [and money to it sub rosa. Abont the time the Pennsylvania railroad was conipleted, a ship's crew inveigled a party of live black from Trinidad. The negroes were indnced to remiin on board the ship, chaffering over the fruit they brouglit tor sale, uiitil the vessel sailed out of port. Tliey were carried to Philadelphia, where the trutli become knowu in some inimner to the Anti-Slavery society ia that city, who were exceedlngly active. The cuptives were separated, the object being to send thein south in euch a mnnner as would aitract the least attention. Tlie Anti-Slavery society in Pliilndelphia telegraphed to well-known abolitionBts In this city that a boy answering to the name of Alexander had been atolen from Trinidad, and was on liis wiiy went in thp keeping of a man who was taking htm South. The Pittsburgh people were instructed at all hazards to selze aiid hold Alexander until they were further ailviscd In the matter. The train from Philadelphia was due about nine o'clock in the evening. Long before it was due, Mr. Jumes Reed, who got sui inkling of the allair, strolled up toward the temporary frame building near Liberty Street, in the rear of the hotel on the corner of Plumb alley and Liberty street, which served is a depot. Arrived at the depot, Mr. Keed observed John Gaither, for many years ernployed at the Monongahela house, and a man who was very active iu aiding oppressed operaban of hls race. "W hat are you doing here, Gaither!" Mr. Reed iuquired in au oll-band nmnner. "Oh, just looking around, Mr. Reed," Gaithrr iinswered. Mr. Reed, casting his eyes around, üiscovered a nuinber of faces, most of tliem familiar, all wearing an air of expectancy iu keeping with the inquiring spirit noanifested by Gaither. Tliere were ac'.iye abolitionistJ, blacks who liail helped refugees to their goal when sorely pre?sed, and mi of the wliites were prominent men. When the train carne in the growing crowd cast wistful glantes toward the platform of the cars. Presently a large man, wearing a very broad brimmed Panama luit. emerged from one of the coaches, haviug in charge a black boy. The boy was young- a boy la the true sense of the word. Ere the owner of the broad-brimmed hat had made a dozen strides, Gaither was at his side. The crowd followed- closed iu, as Gaither, stepping bedde the boy, shouted : "Where are jou gotajr, boy f Wlicre are you goin. Alexander t Hay, where are you goiog ?" Alexander turned, looked tip, and CMther'l hand was stretehed out. The owner of the broad-briinmed hat paused, looked around iipon the crowd that tlweatened to impcde his progross. ¦¦ WliiMii are you taking that boy?" "You come here, Alexander." " That's the toan." "Ves, that's Alexauder." As thefc cries feil on the ears of the man who wore the broad-brimmed hat, he wsakened. " Oh 1 I'ui going to take him down South- goiDg to take care of hiui- to niuke a man of him - 1'm going to eduCAte him - take him - take him along if you want him, and eau do better for him llian I 0n. " That was the moment the crowd should have taken the boy," said Mr. Reed wlth empliasi, as he recalleil the cene. But as nobody avaikd thunisclves of the oppoitunity oü the instant, the man wlth the broad brimmed hat regained his composure, and wilh it the courage or bravado dia))layed in this little enlerprise. lie faced the little crowd, put hi hand bick like one In the act of handling a revolver or knlle in a belt, and these neaiest him stood nside until he forced his way uto a hotel omnibus, pushing Alexander In from of him. The door was slanimed to quickly and offleer John Fox stood on the step of the 'bus, which was diiven rapidly out on Seventh Street, and down to the St. Clalr hotel. H began to look as if the owner of the broad-brtmmed hat had won the first poiut in the battle, and would vanquish Alexander's well-wishers unless they were more successful in the next maneuver. It was now well in the nicht. The present owner of the boy from Trinidad Was wel! housed, and shielded himself behind the good will and courtesy of his host, was in possession of the boy from Trinidad, and, with nine points ot the law iu his favor, composed himself to sleep. Alexander's head must have spun around ere he feil nsleep, but sleep he diil until rouseil, like bis master by a strange summons. The summons was the happy thought of David Keed (late United States District Attorney, and a brother to James Reed) and John M. (Judge) Kirkpatrick. These two limbs of the law were uncompromising abolitionists. Judge Kirkpatrick, before lic was admitted to pactice, imbibed notlotis of equality, "the higher law," and other " dangerous and pernicious" ideas from such men as tlic Ilon. Win. E. ötevenson, "Jiuimy" McMasters and Martin R. Oelaney, whom he frequcntly met at a furnlture wareroom just opposite McMaster's livery sUble. I)avid Reed, as we have seen, inheriled his love of equal rlghts. These genllemen, i)eing duly auvised of the situatlon oi' affalrs, coungeled together. It was impossible to reach any of the judges at that late hour. Time was precioiiB; üaither and his colored friends now regretted that they had not taken Alexander by force. Reed and Kirkpatrick resorted lawyerlike, to ruse. They concocted a bogus writ of habeas corpus, a bogus paper and fraud iipon the owner of the broadbrinuned hat, sofur as the thing that gave the bit of paper value or weight was wns concerncd. They repalred to Richard Beeson, had liim atllx the seal of his office (Mr. Beeson was tl ie n prothonotary of the United State oonrt) or einployed in some ity about tho court), to a writ of habeas corpua, and tliis paper proved to be tbe open gesame that opened tbc door for Alexander's freedom. Bob llague wagentrusted witb the duty of Berving the bogus writ. He was reenforeed with such aids as John Oaither, Martin K. Delaney, John l'eck and other colored men ; these arahi relied upon a reserve torce of abolitionists, and the lawyer who planned the last half of the sharp cainpaign. Hague roused the owner of the liroail liriinin.ii lint, shook the paper uuder his nosc, shook Alexander, the boy from Trinidad, nntil ha trembled in agóny of fright- he thnuglit they were going to hang him, or end his existence then and tliere - and when he had liis big fist on Alexander, he shoutod out so that the waiting crowd outside could huar nll that was said. " Hey, Peck. Here he is." Then the crowd gwarmed ntollie hotel and swarmed out ngain, hearing Alexander with it to freedom. The owner ol the broad-biimtned bat nover saw the liy frora Trinidad ijrain. He was led up to the heights of Liberty - to " Hay tl, as portions of the eleveuth and thirteenth wards were termed in those days. He resided here years, and may be lmn; with us sLi 11.


Ann Arbor Courier
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