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Fugitive Slave Act

The Colored Man’s Perils (1837)

The following shows up to the light some of the doings and devices of wicked men, which surround people of color in northern cities. Not only slave agents and kidnappers, but black-legs in desperate circumstances, prowl about to plot our ruin.

It will be recollected, that not long since, two colored men were arrested at Utica, on a claim of being fugitive Slaves, but who afterwards effected their escape. The Rev. Geo. Storrs, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, recently met with them, in his going about, and received the story of their difficulties from their own lips. He learned various interesting facts from them – and found them to be very simple, honest-hearted persons. The following is a copy of a part of his written memorandum of their conversation, as we find it in a Union paper. The soul-catcher alluded to, passed as a “Virginia gentleman!” at the time of the investigation at Utica.

Southern Jewels

“Jewels” found at Alexandria – engraved by Samuel Curtis Upham, 1819-1885

“Harry’s own story of the matter,” says Mr. Storrs, as he told it to me was, “that the soul-catcher had tried to persuade him to get his mistress’ consent to be sold, saying – ‘Harry, if you will be sold to me, I will give you $20, and will make you rich. I go to New York sometimes, and when there, I gamble, and sometimes lose $1000 or $1500, and then I go out and kidnap some of the colored people, and then go and gamble again, and get all my money back again, and win too.”

“He wanted,” adds the paper alluded to, “to see Harry as a decoy or stool-pigeon to entice others into his snares.”

The same paper further states – “It is proper to mention, that the colored men did not runaway on the solicitations of this gentleman soul-catcher. They were left by their deceased master to his widow, during her life, and afterwards, to younger heirs. The old lady being aware that they would be sold into Louisiana as soon as she died, and not expecting to live long, as they had been favorite servants, advised them to runaway.” These facts were disclosed, by the colored men, to their counsel in Utica. So that, in truth, they came into this State with the consent of their mistress, and hence could not, legally, be pursued or retained as slaves.

Learn more about this era in our free copy of Twelve Years a Slave.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: Weekly Advocate, February 25, 1837
Top Image Source: Practical illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law


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How to Plan a Flower Garden (1852)

Flower Gardens are of two kinds: those which are planted with flowers indiscriminately in the borders are called mixed flower gardens; and those which are of a regular shape as shown in the figures, and which are planted in masses of flowers of one kind, are called geometrical flower gardens.

Plans for Flower Gardens - Godey's Lady's Book, 1852

Plans for Flower Gardens – Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1852

Mixed flower gardens require comparatively little care to arrange and keep in order, as the principal objects to be attended to are to have the tallest plants placed furthest from the eye, and to keep the plants sufficiently distinct to prevent them from being drawn up for want of room.

The geometrical flower garden, on the other hand, requires great care in its arrangement; for, as the plants form masses of color, if the colors do not harmonize with each other, they produce a very bad effect.

It is, therefore, necessary to draw out a plan for a flower garden, and to color it before it is planted, as then, if the colors do not harmonize, they can be changed with little trouble.

Plans for Flower Gardens - Godey's Lady's Book, 1852

Plans for Flower Gardens – Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1852

In a geometrical flower garden, the colors must be contrived so as to produce a striking effect contrasted with each other, and the plants must be so chosen as to be nearly of the same size, so that the garden, when seen at a distance, may have the effect of a Turkey carpet.

The walks in a geometrical flower garden are either grass or gravel, but as in the latter case they must be bordered with box, the garden generally looks better when the beds are on grass.

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, March, 1852 – Plans for Flower Gardens

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

Bandera County

Meet Mrs. Mary Jane Walker

This short memoir appears in Pioneer History of Bandera County (Texas) by J. Marvin Hunter. Bandera County, formed in 1856 from Bexar and Uvalde counties, is a located on Texas’s Edwards Plateau. This volume is in our American County Histories:  The Southwest collection.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

From the Forward

Bandera county has a wonderful history. During the seventy-five years that have passed since white people settled this region, history has been in the making. Many tragedies have been enacted, many privations endured, many dangers experienced during this long span of years—three-quarters of a century. We have yet living with us some of the hardy pioneers that came with the first settlers, men and women who are today nearing the century mark, but still active and full of life.

The rising generation ought to know something of the cost of the blessings we today enjoy, and it is the purpose of this volume to place on record a correct history of these pioneers, and tell of the sacrifices they made in order to redeem this great land from the hands of the roving bands of Indians who had always claimed it.

Mrs. Mary Jane Walker

Born in Claiborne Parish, La., November 18, 1834, and now in the 88th year of her age, Mrs. Mary Jane Walker, nee Moore, looks serenely back upon the great span of years that intervene between her childhood days and the glorious present, and rejoices that she has lived to see the wonderful changes that have taken place. Grandma Walker makes her home with her son, John Travis Walker, and family on Chalk Creek, Bandera county. She came to Texas with her parents in 1853, and located near Austin. On June 22, 1857, she was married to William Andrew Walker, in Blanco county. After living in Blanco and Llano county for awhile she and her husband came to Bandera county that same year, 1857, remaining here awhile, then went back to Llano county. They returned to Bandera in 1866 and located on Laxson’s Creek, afterwards buying the Joe W. Minear place there. Nine children were born to them, four of whom are still living, Mrs. Cynthia Artie Reed of Lima, John Travis Walker of Bluff, Joseph Daniel Walker of Seymour, Mrs. Selina Argie Ferguson of Pear Valley.


Lee and his Generals

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

The theatre of the latest operations against Lee is that part of Amelia county that lies in the bend of the Appomattox river and between that stream and the Danville and Lynchburg railroads, which form a right angle at Burkesville station. Burkesville station, on the Richmond and Danville Railroad, is fifty-two miles west of Petersburg. Amelia Court House is on the same railroad, about twenty miles nearer to Richmond – that is, twenty miles up the railroad in a northeasterly direction from Burkesville station. Jettersville is on the railroad between Burkesville and Amelia Court House, but nearer to the Court House.

The Pursuit of Lee - His Capture Certain

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

On the 6th, at daylight, General Meade, with the Second, Fifth and Sixth corps, was at Burkesville station and Lee was near Amelia Court House; consequently our troops were south and west of the enemy, and our menfaces were turned to the northeast. Our cavalry advance was at Jettersville, and, as it moved toward the enemy at Amelia Court House, its left stretched well out toward Painesville, a point about ten miles northwest of Amelia Court House, and directly on the line of Leeretreat toward the Appomattox .