“Daniel Ducket, a slave who had escaped from Kentucky many years before the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law had settled in Michigan. By his industry he had purchased a farm and had it well stocked. It was well known in the neighbourhood that he had been a slave and who his master was. A slave hunter who had ascertained the facts wrote to his master to come and claim him. Before the master arrived the slave got wind of what was going on, took two of his horses and fled to Canada, bringing with him 200 Dollars. The person who betrayed Ducket (but did not know that he was his betrayer) volunteered to come to Canada with him and rode one of his horses. They both came to me one afternoon and Ducket stated his case. I told him to remain with me and he was safe. He agreed to do so and to settle with me on one of the lots. He handed me also the 200 Dollars that I had to keep for him. The betrayer who evidently wanted to get his money and if possible, to take him back to Michigan and deliver him to his master, not only claimed Ducket, but also the farm and the stock on it. The following night, when he saw he could neither get Ducket nor his money, he took Ducket’s horse and fled to the other side knowing that poor Ducket could not follow without losing his own liberty. Slave hunting after the passing of the law became so profitable that those persons who were engaged in this nefarious work along the lines, were anxious to get parties in Canada to join with them in kidnapping those who had made their escape and were living here. But no one could be found to join such diabolical work and when one or two attempts were made to claim fugitives under the pretense that they had committed murder, the claim was resisted and the right of asylum protected by Canada. (83)
“Sometimes the Planters would come into the settlement and converse with the slaves that had escaped from them and try to persuade them to go back with them, promising to be kind in the future and forgive the past, but they were never able to persuade any of them to return South.
“The Masters themselves, many of them during the (Civil) War, came to Canada to escape the draft and many of their sons also came and remained in Canada until the war was over.” (84)
From Autobiography of Rev. William King, National Library and Archives of Canada
I invite you to recall a time, when like Daniel Ducket, you had very little, yet felt like you had everything you needed.
1 thought on “Escort or Betrayer? – Wm. King, 20 of 28”
There is little I enjoy more than packing what I need in a backpack and taking off. I walked the Camino in Spain in 2008 and it made me infinitely happy to know I needed nothing more than what I was carrying. (This was not how I travelled as a 22 year old!)