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 did not take long for me to saddle and bridle it, mount, and be off. My Uncle Samuel Stanley lived ten miles away, near the western line of Guilford County. 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 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. The rest of us, who were more deeply involved in the crime of harboring and feeding the fugitive slave, than either of the Stanleys, escaped detection, and were never troubled by Osborne.