Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cousins Found In An Underground Railroad Story

While browsing through records at Still's underground rail road records:..., bWilliam Still, one vignette in particular caught my eye.

It was the phrase "son of William Y. Day, of Taylor's Mount, Maryland," that really got my attention.  In my early Maryland family tree, Arthur Taylor's grandson, John Greer, married Sarah Day, daughter of Nicholas and Sarah Day.  I'm related to William Y. Day and his slave offspring, John Wesley Gibson, through both the Taylor and Day lines.

Sarah (Day) Greer was the sister of Edward Day, who married "Avarilla Taylor, daughter of John Taylor and granddaughter of Arthur Taylor of Baltimore Co. (Faulkner, 10; St. John's Parish Register, 17-R)... ."  "Edward [Day] and Avarilla lived at Taylor's Mount."

The story from Mr. Still's book:


John Wesley Gibson represented himself to be not only the slave but also the son of William Y. Day*, of Taylor's Mount, Maryland. The faintest shade of colored blood was hardly discernible in this passenger. He relied wholly on his father's white blood to secure him freedom. Having resolved to serve no longer as a slave, he concluded to "hold up his head and put on airs."  He reached Baltimore safely without being discovered or suspected of being on the Underground Rail Road, as far as he was aware of. Here he tried for the first time to pass for white; the attempt proved a success beyond his expectation. Indeed he could, but wonder how it was that he had never before hit upon such an expedient to rid himself of his unhappy lot. Although a man of only twenty-eight years of age, he was foreman of his master's farm. But he was not particularly favored in any way on this account. His master and father endeavored to hold the reins very tightly upon him. Not even allowing him the privilege of visiting around on neighboring plantations. Perhaps the master thought the family likeness was rather too discernible. John believed that on this account all privileges were denied him and he resolved to escape. His mother, Harriet, and sister Frances, were named as near kin whom he had left behind. John was quite smart, and looked none the worse for having so much of his master's blood in his veins. The master was alone to blame for John's escape, as he passed on his (the master's) color.

*William Young Day, b. 1 Mar 1798, possible son of John Young Day [1772], d 31 Aug 1879. Charlotte Orso, wife, b. 4 Aug 1798, d. 19 Nov 1870. Both bur. Kingsville. [Source]

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