William Triplett and Thomas Harper, runaways, 1857
From William Still, The Underground Rail Road, (William Still, 1871), pp. 427-428.
Mrs. A.B. Fairfax was the loser of this "article." William spoke rather favorably of her. He said he did not leave because he was treated badly, but simply because he wanted to own himselfto be free. He also said that he wanted to be able to take care of his family if he should see fit to marry.
As to Slavery, he could see no justice in the system; he therefore made up his mind no longer to yield submission thereto. Being a smart "chattel," he reasoned well on the question of Slavery, and showed very conclusively that even under the kindest mistress it had no charms for himthat at best, it was robbery and an outrage.
THOMAS HARPER, his comrade, fled from John Cowling, who also lived near Alexandria. His great trouble was, that he had a wife and family, but could do nothing for them. He thought that it was hard to see them in want and abused when he was not at liberty to aid or protect them. He grew very unhappy, but could see no remedy except in light.
Cowling, his master, was an Englishman by birth, and followed blacksmithing for a living. He was a man in humble circumstances, trying to increase his small fortune by slave-labor.
He allowed Thomas to hire himself for one hundred dollars a year, which amount he was required to raise, sick or well. He did not complain, however, of having received any personal abuse from his blacksmith master. It was the system which was daily grinding the life out of him, that caused him to suffer, and likewise escape. By trade Thomas was also a blacksmith. He left a wife and three children.
1 "RAN AWAY from the subscriber, on Saturday night, 22d instant, WILLIAM TRIPLETT, a dark mulatto, with whiskers and mustache, 23 to 26 years of age; lately had a burn on the instep of his right foot, but perhaps well enough to wear a boot or shoe. He took with him very excellent clothing, both summer and winter, consisting of a brown suit in cloth, summer coats striped, check cap, silk hat, &c. $50 reward will be paid if taken within thirty miles of Alexandria or in the State of Virginia, and $150 and necessary expenses if taken out of the State and secured so that I may get him again. He is the property of Mrs. A. B. Fairfax, of Alexandria, and is likely to make his way to Cincinnati, where he has friends, named Hamilton and Hopes, now living. ROBT. W. WHEAT."
July 5th, 2007