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I now renewed my persuasions to induce Osborne to go on; told him that the poor cabin where we then were afforded little accommodation or comfort; that if we went on to Squire Howells' we would be near the camp, and as that neighborhood was more thickly settled, we could collect the men he wanted and accomplish our work without spending another day. He finally yielded, and called for our horses. He invited me to drink with him at the bar, and I sipped the liquor lightly, wishing to promote his drinking.

It was now dark, but the stars shone brightly, and we made our way along the road without difficulty. We arrived at Squire Howells' tavern before the inmates had gone to bed. Riding up to the gate, we hallooed, and the landlord came out. Osborne Page 46 inquired if a two-horse wagon with movers had passed that evening, and where they would be likely to camp. Howells replied, "They passed this evening; bought some horse feed of me, and inquired for a good camping place.

I directed them to the Six-Mile Branch, as we call it, a stream about six miles from here, where they would find good water and every accommodation for camping. I want you to raise a company of men and help me capture him. I will pay you well for it. A glow of hope and comfort warmed my heart. I liked Howells' expression, and thought perhaps he might aid me if I could enlist his sympathy for the fugitive. I dismounted and said: "Well, we will have our horses fed, get some refreshment, and talk the matter over.

I told Osborne to go in and I would go to the stable to give directions about feeding our horses. I was all excitement, for I felt that the crisis was near. Now was the time to act, if I succeeded in saving Jack. It would be difficult to describe my feelings, my intense anxiety. I had traveled one Page 47 hundred and twenty miles without sleep or rest, yet I felt no symptoms of sleepiness or fatigue. After giving directions to the young man about feeding our horses, I took Squire Howells to one side and ventured to make a confidant of him.

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I told him that Osborne and I were from the same county in North Carolina, and that I fell in company with him that morning as I was traveling in this direction on business; that Osborne was in pursuit of my uncle--the man with the wagon, who was going to Indiana--believing that he had one of his negroes with him. I gave him Osborne's story, about hearing that his slave had got hold of free papers; then pictured Osborne's character. I said that the master was a cruel tyrant, and that the slave was a faithful servant who ran away on account of the inhuman treatment he received, and lay out in the woods and thickets for several months.

Osborne bore such a character for cruelty in the neighborhood, that even the slaveholders would not aid him in capturing his negro. After relating this, I went on to say that I did not believe the negro with my uncle was Osborne's slave, but another fugitive, and then gave the story of Jack Barnes. I said that before reaching the road, on top of the mountain, leading to Burk's Fork settlement, which I had intended to take, Osborne had insisted on my coming with him to help him capture his slave, and feeling pretty certain that the negro in question was not his Sam, but Jack Barnes, I had come on hoping to be of use in another way.

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Jack, in my opinion, was entitled to his freedom, having been willed free by Page 48 his master, and if this were he, I would have nothing to do with recapturing him. But if it proved to be Osborne's negro, I would do what I could in aiding the master to recover his property. I did not tell Howells all I knew; I did not tell him that Sam, Osborne's slave, was lying in the hay-mow in my father's barn when I left home, nor that I knew to a certainty that the negro with my uncle was Jack Barnes.

Howells said at once: "If it is the negro you describe, he ought to be free; I would not detain him a moment, but would much rather help him on his way. I told him Osborne's plan was to raise a company of armed men, surround the camp and take the fugitive, dead or alive.

If it proved to be Jack Barnes, Osborne would drag him back to slavery for the sake of the reward offered. I said: "I hope you will go with us, and help me in my efforts to save Jack from such a fate. He replied: "Since hearing your statement I have concluded to go with you. In regard to the other part, it will depend entirely on the class of men Osborne gets to go with him. However, I think I can manage that. I will take my son for one, and send for one of my near neighbors, and we will pick up a few more on the way.

Some relief came to my overburdened mind, and I felt quite hopeful. We went into the house and found Osborne dancing in the bar-room; he had been drinking, and was quite jubilant over the prospect Page 49 of soon having his negro secured with the handcuffs and rope he had in his saddle-bags. I told him that Squire Howells had agreed to go with us, and would collect a company of men to surround the camp. Coffin and myself, and all must be armed, for if the rascal attempts to escape, I want him shot down.

I would much rather kill him than let him get away; he has been too much trouble to me already. I will give Mr. Coffin one of my pistols; he says he has none. Howells' neighbor came, bringing his gun, Howells and his son took their guns, and mounting our horses we started for the camp, six miles distant. It was now about midnight. As we traveled on, Howells called at several houses a little off the road, leaving us in the road till he returned. He thus gained time to talk with the men and give them the right side of the story.

Three more joined us, increasing our party to eight. All were armed but myself; I declined accepting a pistol from Osborne, telling him I did not believe in killing folks. We were now getting very near the Six-Mile Branch, and my heart throbbed with intense excitement. A few minutes more would decide it all. We soon espied the camp-fire and retreated a little way to hold a consultation, and settle the plan of operation. Howells struck a match and looked at his watch; it was near daylight. Now was my time, and I nerved myself to the effort, feeling that I needed the eloquence of the most gifted orator to aid me Page 50 in making the appeal in behalf of poor Jack.

I told the men that before we formed our plan of attack, I had something to say to them, and then went on to state: "If the negro in camp with my uncle is Osborne's Sam, I will do all I can to secure him, but I am inclined to think it is another man, a negro who was willed free by his master for his meritorious conduct. I said that Jack had worked in our settlement all winter, but since learning the news that the will had been broken and he was consigned to slavery, he had disappeared, and I presumed he was with my uncle trying to make his way to a free State.

If this is the man we find in camp, I further said, I will have nothing to do with capturing him. Howells said: "Mr.

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Coffin appears to act from principle, and I think he will find us men of principle too. If it should be the negro described, he ought to be free, and I would much rather aid him on his way to liberty than detain him. The rest of Howells' company joined with him, and Osborne seeing them all agreed, turned clever fellow too, and said if it were not his negro he would have nothing to do with him. But he still thought it would prove to be Sam. I now told them I had another proposition to make:. They would find themselves attacked by armed men, and seeing me in the midst would be greatly bewildered.

The fright might prove an injury to the young lady, my cousin, who is with her father. As it is now near daybreak, I propose that we wait till daylight, when I will go up to the camp alone, leaving you concealed in the woods and thick underbrush. I will introduce myself to my uncle and give him privately to understand what is going on, and if the negro with them is Sam, I will make some excuse in his hearing, pass on a little way, then take a circuit through the bushes, and return to you.

Then we will hitch our horses here, slip up through the thick bushes, and, surrounding the camp, pounce upon Sam and secure him. But if I find that it is Jack, I will soon ride back in sight of you and give a signal for you to come up to camp.


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All agreed to this but Osborne, who objected to the plan, fearing he should lose his negro. I argued the matter with him and told him if his negro escaped by that plan, I would obligate myself to pay for him. The rest thought this was a fair offer, and Osborne, seeing they were against him, finally submitted. When daylight had fully appeared, I rode up to camp. They were greatly surprised at my unexpected appearance in the wild mountain regions of Virginia at such an hour. I hastily informed them of my errand.

Jack was much alarmed and wanted to flee to the bushes, but I assured them there was no danger and induced him to remain where he was. I then rode back in sight of the company and gave Page 52 them the signal to come forward. They advanced to the camp, presenting a formidable appearance with their guns, enough to strike terror to poor Jack's heart. My uncle and cousin knew Osborne and shook hands with him heartily. There was a general greeting for the rest of the party, then my uncle got out a jug of old peach brandy from his wagon, and passed the contents freely around. We all drank, and had a hearty laugh, which made the woods and rocks around us ring and echo.

The morning was clear and bright, the load of care was off my heart, and I was jubilant. But poor Jack did not partake of our merriment. He still feared danger, and thought that the party of armed men had come to take him back to slavery. When brought face to face with him, Osborne acknowledged that it was not his negro, but said, "He looks a dsight like that rascal Sam.

After some time spent in talking, joking, and partaking of my uncle's good peach brandy, I told Osborne that I would stay and breakfast with my uncle's party and see them off. He might return to the tavern with friend Howells and get breakfast and have his horse fed, and I would join him there. This gave me an opportunity to explain matters more fully to my uncle's party, and to remove Jack's doubts and fears. He expressed heartfelt thanks to me for my efforts in his behalf, and I felt repaid for my long fatiguing journey and intense mental anxiety. I spent an hour or two with them, then bade them good-by, wishing that they might have Page 53 a safe and pleasant journey, and land Jack in Indiana, beyond the reach of the cruel task-master.

I now turned my face homeward. The excitement was over, the anxiety was gone. In looking back over the work of the past few days, I felt that the hand of God was in it. He had blessed my efforts; he had guided my steps; he had strengthened my judgment. My heart was full of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for his great mercy and favor; my eyes filled with tears, and I wept for joy.

Then, as I rode along slowly through the thick woods, I reflected on what I should do next. Osborne was waiting for me at Squire Howells' tavern, and I must soon join him. I did not want his company on the homeward journey, but knew not how to get rid of it. He had promised to accompany me to Burk's Fork, where he understood I had business. That would be ten or fifteen miles out of our way, but I saw no other way to make my story good and keep him blinded in regard to my real mission.

While pondering on this dilemma, I arrived at Howells', and soon saw a way out of my difficulties. In that State, magistrates had certain days to attend to law business, and this was one of Squire Howells' days. Several men had already come, on law business, and as Osborne and I were talking about our route, I saw a man whom I knew ride up and dismount from his horse.

He lived in Burk's Fork settlement, near my Uncle Stanley's farm. I had had some acquaintance with him the previous fall, and when I went out and met him, he recognized me. I told Osborne to have his horse got out and we would be off; meanwhile Page 54 I took this man apart and entered into conversation with him. I asked him all the questions I could think of about my uncle's cattle, and his grass farm and the man who lived on it, inquiring if he gave proper attention to the cattle out on the range, salting them frequently to keep them tame and gentle, etc.

I then went to Osborne and told him that I had been quite fortunate; I had met a man right from Burk's Fork, a reliable person to whom I committed my business, and now we were saved the time and trouble of going out of the way--we could go directly home. This seemed to please him, and it was certainly a relief to me. He got his bottle filled at the bar, then we mounted our horses and set our faces homeward. My fleet mare kept up wonderfully; she traveled well, though for two days and nights she had had little rest.

As for myself, I was exceedingly weary; the sharp tension of mind and body was relaxed, and I felt the need of sleep and rest. When night overtook us, we were in a poor, thinly settled region, and though we asked for entertainment at all the private houses--some of them mere huts--which we passed, we were not taken in, and had to travel till eleven o'clock before we reached a tavern. We had our horses put up and called for supper, and it was after midnight when we got to bed. I felt worn out and fell into a hard sleep; arising in the morning but little refreshed. After an early breakfast, we started again, and pursued our journey together very pleasantly.

The next day we arrived at home, and Osborne and I parted on good Page 55 terms; he lived eight or ten miles from my father's. I was warmly greeted by my parents and friends; they had felt anxious about me and were elated with my success. The night after my return Sam slept in the hay-mow of my father's barn. I carried victuals to him and told him the story of my journey with his master.

He evinced his emotion during the recital by various exclamations in a subdued tone. We dared not speak aloud, not knowing who might be lurking around in the dark, watching for him or some other fugitive. About two weeks afterward, Osborne came to my father's house to get me to go with him to hunt his negro. He said he thought Sam was skulking about in that neighborhood, probably hiding during the day in the thickets between our house and old Dr.

He thought Dr. Caldwell's negroes fed him, for he heard that runaways often lay in those thickets and were fed by those dd niggers.

My father reproved him for using profane language, and he replied:. I have lost time and money looking after that rascal. I can hear of his skulking around Dr. Caldwell's nigger huts, but can't find him. I have got acquainted with your son, Mr. Coffin, and think him a fine young fellow; I had rather trust him than anybody in this neighborhood. I don't know the woods among these thickets, and want him to go with me. I said I would go, as I was well acquainted with all the paths and byways through the woods, having Page 56 often traversed them when hunting for deer and wild turkeys, or looking after our out hogs.

Father then invited Osborne to eat dinner with us and have his horse fed. He accepted the invitation, and my father was very social and friendly with him, but reproved him if he used profane language, as he frequently did in common conversation. After dinner I got out my horse and his, and we started off slave-hunting. Rather novel business for me, I thought, but I guess I knew what I was about. Old Dr. Caldwell lived a mile and a half east of my father's place. The space between the two farms was densely overgrown with small trees, shrubs and vines--the large timber having been destroyed by fire some years before.

These thickets were the resort of wild game of different kinds, and formed also good hiding-places for fugitive slaves. In some of these, near Dr. Caldwell's, Osborne supposed Sam to be lurking, but I knew that he was then sitting in a thicket, half a mile northeast of my father's, weaving baskets.

Caldwell's slaves were frequently permitted to go to the neighbors after night to sell the baskets which they had woven during spare hours, and in this way they disposed of Sam's baskets for him. Only that morning I had taken him some victuals when I went to feed some of our out hogs that ranged in that direction. I guided Osborne toward the southeast, to a dense thicket not far from Dr. Dismounting from our horses, we hunted through this thoroughly, and followed a spring branch to its source in another thicket looking for tracks made by Sam's feet when he came to Page 57 get water.

We then searched in neighboring thickets but found no trace of Sam. I guided Osborne farther to the south all the time, widening the distance between him and the object of his search. Quite discouraged at finding no track of Sam, Osborne finally gave up the hunt, and we rode out of the bushes into the Greensboro road. Osborne offered to pay me for my time and trouble, but I refused to take anything; then he thanked me for my services and we parted. I reached home about sunset, feeling that I should be well satisfied if that was my last slave hunt.

Osborne afterward remarked to some one that there was not a man in that neighborhood worth a d--n to help him hunt his negro, except young Levi Coffin. About this time one of our neighbors, named David Grose--a man respected by all who knew him--sold his farm, and prepared to move with his family to the State of Indiana. Vestal Coffin and I held frequent consultations about Sam, knowing that he was liable to be captured so long as he remained in the neighborhood, and we thought this was a good opportunity to get him to a free State, if David Grose was willing to assume the risk.

We knew Grose to be a kind-hearted, benevolent man, of anti-slavery sentiments, but whether he would be willing to undertake anything so hazardous was a question to be decided. We concluded to go to his house and lay the matter before him. He seemed deeply interested in Sam's case, and said he would consult his wife and consider the subject. Having never seen Sam, he expressed a desire to see and Page 58 talk with him, and ascertain if he was a bright, shrewd fellow, who could be relied on to act up to arrangements, and carry out plans for traveling, etc.

Vestal and I agreed to bring Sam to Grose's house between twelve and one o'clock on a night appointed. It was unsafe to come at an earlier hour, for there might be persons passing about who would betray us. It was death, by the law of North Carolina, to steal negroes, and a heavy penalty to feed or harbor a runaway slave. At the time appointed, and on several subsequent nights, we accompanied Sam to Grose's house and held conferences in a private room, maturing our plans and fixing the time for starting.

One night we narrowly escaped being detected by the patrol, a body of armed men who acted as watchmen or mounted police. They acted chiefly in the interest of the slaveholders, arresting all slaves they found out at night without passes from their masters, and administering to them severe whippings, and keeping a sharp look-out for fugitives. On the occasion referred to, Vestal and I, in company with Sam, were going along the main road, about twelve o'clock at night, on our way to Grose's house.

Suddenly hearing the sound of horses' feet coming toward us, we sprang out of the road and threw ourselves down behind a large log in the woods. We had no time to get further away, and lay close to the ground, hoping to escape detection, while our hearts throbbed with excitement, and the sound of horses' feet came nearer and nearer. When the party passed us, we heard the riders talking, and Page 59 learned from their conversation that they were the patrol. They were talking about capturing runaway slaves, telling of their exploits in that business, and boasting of how many niggers they had whipped.

Their conversation was plentifully interlarded with oaths. I well remember the thoughts that passed through my mind as I lay behind that log. I felt that I could fully realize the sensation of the poor hunted fugitive as he lay in woods or thickets, trembling lest any sound that greeted his ear should prove to be the step of a pursuer, come to drag him back to cruel bondage.

I could appreciate the anxiety and distress that filled his mind as he wandered about in search of food, perhaps bearing on his back, in marks that were bleeding and sore, the cruel cuts of his master's lash. I could realize vividly his forlorn situation, exposed to the rain and cold and obliged to suffer from hunger, unless he could steal food or find some person who would venture to violate the laws of the land and give him something to eat, and allow him to seek shelter in the hay-mow of his barn.

When the patrol had passed, and we heard the sound of their horses' feet dying away in the distance, we arose from our hiding-place, speaking to each other in whispers, and slipped silently through the woods in the darkness. Finally, we ventured to return to the road, and hearing no sound of horseman or foot traveler, we resumed our journey, stepping as lightly as we could. We approached David Grose's house cautiously, not knowing what enemy might be lying in wait. The dog, which was fast in his kennel, gave a short bark, but soon Page 60 became quiet, and we passed around to the kitchen, where David was waiting for us.

The windows were darkened, and a dim light was burning inside. David admitted us, and we soon completed the arrangement for Sam to accompany him to Indiana. He had a large wagon, drawn by four horses, and intended to take what was called the Kentucky road, crossing the Blue Ridge at Ward's Gap, crossing New River near Wythe Court-House, Virginia, thence by way of Abingdon, crossing Cumberland River near Knoxville, thence over the Cumberland mountains and through Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio.

He agreed to take the bundle of clothing we had prepared for Sam, in his wagon; Sam was to travel at night, and come up to the camp each morning before daylight to get his breakfast and enough provisions to last him through the day, while hiding in the bushes. The road was rough, and led over hills and mountains the greater part of the way, and the movers would not be able to make more than twenty miles a day; so Sam could easily keep up with them. Where the road forked, Grose was to leave a green bush or some other sign in the road he had taken, in order to guide Sam, and when he approached rivers that must be crossed by ferries, he would camp near the bank and wait for Sam to come up, then conceal him in the wagon, and thus convey him to the other side.

Matters were now all arranged, and understood by both parties. Our conference closed, and as it was Page 61 near daylight we hurried away, Vestal and I to our separate homes, Sam to our hay-mow. Some shrewd young men, not over-conscientious about violating the slave laws of the State, believing that every man was entitled to liberty who had not forfeited that God-given right by crime, managed to get hold of free papers belonging to a free colored man in the neighborhood, and copied them, counterfeiting the names of the signers as well as they could, not stopping to consider the severe penalty attached to such violations of the law.

It was so managed that the papers were given to Sam by a slave, and he was instructed not to use them unless he should get into a tight place--even then they might not save him.

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The night after Grose and his family started on their journey, we sent Sam on horseback, with a trusty young man, to my Uncle Samuel Stanley's, about ten miles on his route. According to arrangements, previously made, he was to remain there that night and the next day, then, on the following night, overtake the movers.

But next day, my cousin, Jesse Stanley, being about to start on a short business journey to the west, concluded to give Sam a lift by taking him to drive his carriage as far as he traveled on Sam's road. He thought that he would incur no risk, as Sam was now out of the neighborhood where he was known.

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But it was a daring venture, and afterward involved my cousin in trouble, for, while traveling the main road, they met a man living near Greensboro, who was returning from Salem, Stokes County, to his home. Page 62 He did not know my cousin, but recognized Sam at once, though he did not speak. We will refer to this again. Sam overtook the movers that night and traveled on, as arranged, lying by in the daytime and pursuing his journey at night.

He got along all right for more than a week, having in this time crossed the Blue Ridge, and traveled some distance in Virginia. One morning he came up to the party, then camped on the Abingdon road, some distance beyond Wythe Court-House, but still in Wythe County. He got his supply of food as usual, then retired some distance from the road to find a safe hiding-place among the hills. He remained in a dense thicket during the day, and at night attempted to make his way into the main road. But he heard wolves howling near him, and suddenly found himself surrounded by a hungry pack, their eyes glaring like balls of fire in the darkness.

He had no weapon but a pocket-knife, and that was useless against such enemies. Seizing a club, he beat his way through them and reached a by-road, but was so frightened and bewildered that he knew not which way to turn to reach the main road. Running as fast as he could to escape the wolves, he heard dogs barking, and guided by the sound, made his way to a cabin. It was inhabited by the class of people known down South as poor white trash. He ventured in and inquired the way to the main road, saying he belonged to a party of movers, going to Tennessee, who had camped a few miles ahead on the Abingdon road.

He said he had been sent back to look for something left behind, and had Page 63 lost his way. The people seemed friendly and invited him, saying that they would send for one of the neighbors to go with him and show him the way. Sam suspected no danger and came into the cabin, to rest from his hasty run and his fright. In a short time the boy who had been sent to the neighbors returned, accompanied by two men. Poor Sam now saw that he was in a trap.

There was but one door to the cabin, and the men stood in that, looking at him fiercely and questioning him closely. They accused him of being a runaway slave, which he denied, but could produce no free papers to prove his assertion--the papers furnished him being with his bundle of clothes in the wagon. The men seized him and tied him fast, believing him to be a runaway slave, and hoping no doubt to receive a large reward for capturing so valuable a piece of property.

Next day he was taken back to Wythe Court-House and put in jail, no camp of movers being discovered in the neighborhood where he was captured. In slave States every negro was regarded as a slave unless he could produce evidence that he was free, and when one was captured and it could not be ascertained who his master was, he was advertised in the county newspapers.

A full description of him was given, and if no owner applied for him within the time fixed by law, he was sold to the highest bidder; part of the money being used to pay jail fees and other expenses, the rest going into the county treasury. Sam would not give his master's name, still claiming that he was free, and he was advertised. The advertisement was copied in the Greensboro Page 64 Patriot, and Osborne saw it.

Believing the person described to be his slave Sam, he went to Wythe Court-House, Virginia, and claimed him. He put poor Sam in irons and started homeward, but never brought him back to Guilford County. The story he told afterward was that he had returned by way of Salisbury, North Carolina, and there sold Sam to a slave-trader. We only had Osborne's statement for this, and some thought that he was wicked and revengeful enough to have whipped poor Sam to death in some wild spot in the Virginia mountains; others thought, however, that even his desire for revenge would not lead him to sacrifice so valuable a piece of property.

At any rate, that is the last we ever heard of poor Sam. Some time after Osborne returned from Virginia, he learned that Sam had been seen driving my Cousin Jesse Stanley's carriage, just before he started for the Northwest. After getting all the necessary evidence, he set about procuring a writ to arrest Stanley for negro stealing. This crime, it will be remembered, was punishable by death according to the laws of that State. I received intelligence of Osborne's intentions while at my school.

I was then teaching near Deep River Meeting-House, about eight miles from my home. During the week I boarded with a family near by, riding home at the last of the week. The news reached me about noon one day, and I immediately adjourned my school till the next week, telling my pupils that special business claimed my attention. I kept my horse at my boarding-place, and it Page 65 did not take long for me to saddle and bridle it, mount, and be off.

I made the distance in a short time, and informed my uncle's family of the threatened danger. They were of course greatly alarmed, and immediately began to ask what should be done. My Cousin Jesse was about my own age, and we were much attached to each other, seeming more like brothers than cousins. I entered fully into the feelings of the family, and advised Jesse to flee from the State at once.

It was decided that he should go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he had relatives. The distance was fully six hundred miles, and there was no public conveyance by the route he must go. He must travel on horseback and start immediately; there was no time for deliberate preparation or leave-taking. He needed a new coat and hat, and as I happened to have on a good coat and a new hat, I exchanged with him.

We fitted him out as well as we could on such short notice, and his horse was brought to the door. I agreed to travel with him that night, for company, and see him safely out of the State. We started about sunset and traveled a by-way till dark--then came out into the main road. We made good progress and soon got out of Guilford County, and into Rockingham County, which bordered on Virginia.

I continued with him until we crossed into Virginia, then bade him good-by and returned to my father's house, much fatigued with Page 66 my journey, but rejoiced to know that my cousin was safe from the clutches of the law. He arrived safely in Philadelphia, where he soon engaged in teaching. He continued in that profession about twelve years, marrying in the meantime an excellent woman with whom he lived happily. After an absence of nearly twenty years he paid a visit to his friends in North Carolina, but heard nothing of Osborne's writ for negro stealing.

I might relate here that after my cousin left the country, Osborne searched for evidence that might implicate others for harboring his slave. He finally learned that Sam had been seen at Abel Stanley's, Jesse's uncle. Abel at that time had sold his farm, intending to move to Indiana. Hearing that Osborne was preparing to have him arrested, he fled from the State, leaving his family to complete the arrangements for moving and join him in Indiana.

And he claims that he has drunk cows' and pigs' blood, as well as a human blood substitute. Mr Tepes, who wears black eyeliner, says that he suffered open abuse while drinking in a pub in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, because of his appearance. He said: "I went into the pub with two mates and a lad piped up and asked if I was abused as a child when I was young because of the way I look. He likened the abuse to the attack on Sophie Lancaster, 20, who was murdered because she dressed like a Goth. As part of his beliefs, he sleeps in a custom made-to-measure coffin that weighs 25 kilos is roughly 6ft 7in long.