Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History

Record Detail

Record #47 from Abstracts from William Still's Underground Railroad

Traveler's Names Sam Green (father of Samuel Green)
Origin- Town/City
Origin- County Dorchester
Origin- State Maryland
Slaveowner's Name
Chapter Title
Page Number 247-250
Other Travelers
Other Conductors
Additional Names
Method of Travel
Additional Resources page 250 is a picture of Sam Green
Items in Possession
Full Narrative The father was an old local preacher in the Methodist Church ? much esteemed as an inoffensive, industrious man; earning his bread by the sweat of his brow, and contriving to move along in the narrow road allotted colored people bond or free, without exciting a spirit of ill will in the pro-slavery power of his community. But the rancor awakened in the breast of slave-holders in consequence of the high-handed step the son had taken, brought the father under suspicion and hate. Under the circumstances, the eye of Slavery could do nothing more than watch for an occasion to pounce upon him. It was not long before the desired opportunity presented itself. Moved by parental affection, the old man concluded to pay a visit to his boy, to see how he was faring in a distant land, and among strangers. This resolution he quietly carried into effect. He found his son in Canada, doing well; industrious; a man of sobriety, and following his father's footsteps religiously. That the old man's heart was delighted with what his eyes saw and his ears heard in Canada, none can doubt. But in the simplicity of his imagination, he never dreamed that this visit was to be made the means of his destruction. During the best portion of his days he had faithfully worn the badge of Slavery, had afterwards purchased his freedom, and thus become a free man. He innocently conceived the idea that he was doing no harm in availing himself not only of his God-given rights, but of the rights that he had also purchased by the hard toil of his own hands. But the enemy was lurking in ambush for him ? thirsting for his blood. To his utter consternation, not long after his return from his visit to his son " a party of gentlemen from the New Market district, went at night to Green's house and made search, whereupon was found a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin, etc." This was enough ? the hour had come, wherein to wreak vengeance upon poor Green. The course pursued and the result, may be seen in the following statement taken from the Cambridge (Md.), " Democrat," of April 29th, 1857, and communicated by the writer to the " Provincial Freeman." SAM GREEN. The case of the State against Sam Green (free negro) indicted for having in his possession, papers, pamphlets and pictorial representations, having a tendency to create discontent, etc., among the people of color in the State, was tried before the court on Friday last. This case was of the utmost importance, and has created in the public mind a great deal of interest ? it being the first case of the kind ever having occurred in our country. It appeared, in evidence, that this Green has a son in Canada, to whom Green made a visit last summer. Since his return to this county, suspicion has fastened upon him, as giving aid and assisting slaves who have since absconded and reached Canada, and several weeks ago, a party of gentlemen from New Market district, went at night, to Green's house and made search, whereupon was found a volume of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," a map of Canada, several schedules of routes to the North, and a letter from his son in Canada, detailing the pleasant trip he had, the number of friends he met with on the way, with plenty to eat, drink, etc., and concludes with a request to his father, that he shall tell certain other slaves, naming them, to come on, which slaves, it is well known, did leave shortly afterwards, and have reached Canada. The case was argued with great ability, the counsel on both sides displaying a great deal of ingenuity, learning and eloquence. The first indictment was for the having in possession the letter, map and route schedules. Notwithstanding the mass of evidence given, to show the prisoner's guilt, in unlawfully having in his possession these documents, and the nine-tenths of the community in which he lived, believed that he had a hand in the running away of slaves, it was the opinion of the court, that -the law under which he was indicted, was not applicable to the case, and that he must, accordingly, render a verdict of not guilty. He was immediately arraigned upon another indictment, for having in possession " Uncle Tom's Cabin," and tried ; in this case the court has not yet rendered a verdict, but holds it under curia till after the Somerset county court. It is to be hoped, the court will find the evidence in this case sufficient to bring it within the scope of the law under which the prisoner is indicted (that of 1842, chap. 272), and that the prisoner may meet his due reward ? be that what it may. That there is something required to be done by our Legislators, for the protection of slave property, is evident from the variety of constructions put upon the statute in this case, and we trust, that at the next meeting of the Legislature there will be such amendments, as to make the law on this subject, perfectly clear and comprehensible to the understanding of every one. In the language of the assistant counsel for the State, " Slavery must be protected or it must be abolished." From the same sheet, of May 20th, the terrible doom of Samuel Green, is announced in the following words: In the case of the State against Sam Green, (free negro) who was tried at the April term of the Circuit Court of this county, for having in his posses- sion abolition pamphlets, among which was " Uncle Tom's Cabin," has been found guilty by the court, and sentenced to the penitentiary for the term of ten years ? until the 14th of May, 1867. The son, a refugee in Canada, hearing the distressing news of his father's sad fate in the hands of the relentless " gentlemen," often wrote to know if there was any prospect of his deliverance. The subjoined letter is a fair sample of his correspondence : - SALFOBD, 22, 1857. Dear Sir I take my pen in hand to Request a faver of you if you can by any means without duin In Festus to your self or your Bisness to grant it as I Bleve you to be a man that would Sympathize in such a ones Condition as my self I Reseved a letter that Stats to me that my Fater has ben Betraed in the act of helping sum frend to Canada and the law has Convicted and Sentanced him to the Stats prison for 10 yeares his White Frands ofered 2 thousen Dollcrs to Redem him but they would not short three thousen. I am in Canada and it is a Dificult thing to get a letter to any of my Frands in Maryland so as to get prop per infermation abot it? if you can by any means get any in telligence from Baltimore City a bot this Event Plese do so and Rit word and all so all the inform mation that you think prop per as Regards the Evant and the best mathod to Redeme him and so Plese Rite soon as you can You will oblige your sir Frand and Drect your letter to Salford P. office C. W. SAMUEL GKEEN,

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[Author (if known)], Abstracts from William Still's Underground Railroad, [Date (if known)], Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva’s Black History, Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University.

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