Location: Rocky Spring, Louisiana, United States
Henderson, John, Joseph Watson, Job Brown, Thomas Bradford, R. L. Kennon, Joshua Boucher, H. V. Somerville, and Eric Ledell Smith. "Notes and Documents: Rescuing African American Kidnapping Victims in Philadelphia as Documented in the Joseph Watson Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 129, no. 3 (2005): 317-45. Accessed May 15, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20093801.
- Rocky Spring Septr. 6th, 1826
I presume that Mary Fisher the kidnapped woman late in the possession of Mr. Hamilton, has ere this reached your City, and informed you of the ill treatment she received previous to her leaving this place. It is very much to be regreted that she did not go on with the boys. I then stated to her the necessity of her appearing to give testimony against the kidnappers, some of whom were expected to be arrested, informed her of a law that prohibits free persons of colour from settling in this State, and used other arguments to induce her to go on at that time, but without effect. She persisted in her determination to remain here, from which I had a right to believe she was well treated. Mr. Hamilton left this place on the 22d. of June for the purpose of visiting his friends in the State of Tennessee; three or four days after he started she came to me to complain of the treatment she received, on the following morning she again came to me, said she had that morning been severely whiped. I went immediately to Mr. Hamilton's Agent to enquire the cause of his punishing her, he said it was for refusing to work. He stated that he was instructed in the event of her becoming dissatisfyed to advertise her for hire, and to hire her to the highest bider untill the first of January next; Otherwise if any one would pay the expenses Mr. Hamilton had sustained on her account, to give her up. I replyed I would pay whatever charges he might have against her provided he would permit me to send her to Philadelphia, to which he readily agreed. This demand appears the more extraordinary as her services must have been much more usefull to Mr. Hamilton than those rendered by her fellow sufferers. I feel great reluctance in making this communication, without an opertunity of seeing Mr. Hamilton. I have delayed thus long writing to you, expecting his return, as he has been looked for at home for several weeks past, he has however not yet returned. I sincerely wish he may be able to make such explanation to you as may be sattisfactory. I am well sattisfyed he did not authorize any one to abuse her, and must presume he intended to make her such compensation at the end of the year as he might believe her entitled to.
I sent her to Mr. Ben. Morgan at New Orleans and received a letter from him dated July 5th, acknowledging her arrival there, and saying he would procure a passage for her in the the first vessel bound to Philadelphia—
I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favour of 3d. July informing me of the safe arrival of the three boys [O?]. I am very much gratifyed to learn that you have succeeded in finding the boy sold in Alabama. Having been informed that the man who purchased him is under a bad character, I was fearful he might find means of placing the boy out of reach of his friends.
The Abolition Society of Pennsylvania have sent me a coppy of resolutions expressing their thanks to you, to Mr. Hamilton and myself for our exertions in restoring these people to liberty. This testimony of respect, together with that expressed by other benevolent individuals of your City is highly flatering. I feel however that the small share I have had in this affair does not merit such favourable notice. To the conduct of Hamilton in the first instance, and afterwards to your extraordinary exertions in procuring the necesary testimony, they are mainly indebted for their restoration to their friends.
That your efforts in the cause of humanity may always be eaqually successful is the sincere wish of
- Your Friend and
- Obt. Servt.
- John Henderson