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Collections >> Titles by William Wells Brown and William Craft >> William Wells Brown describes the Crafts' escape, The Liberator, January 12, 1849

FROM The Liberator, 12 January 1849.

Here is a wonderful case—read it!

PINEVILLE, (Pa.) Jan. 4, 1849.


One of the most interesting cases of the escape of fugitives from American slavery that have ever come before the American people, has just occurred, under the following circumstances:—William and Ellen Crapt [sic], man and wife, lived with different masters in the State of Georgia. Ellen is so near white, that she can pass without suspicion for a white woman. Her husband is much darker. He is a mechanic, and by working nights and Sundays, he laid up money enough to bring himself and his wife out of slavery. Their plan was without precedent; and though novel, was the means of getting them their freedom. Ellen dressed in man's clothing, and passed as the master, while her husband passed as the servant. In this way they travelled from Georgia to Philadelphia. They are now out of the reach of the blood-hounds of the South. On their journey, they put up at the best hotels where they stopped. Neither of them can read or write. And Ellen, knowing that she would be called upon to write her name at the hotels, &c., tied her right hand up as though it was lame, which proved of some service to her, as she was called upon several times at hotels to 'register' her name. In Charleston, S. C., they put up at the hotel which Gov. M'Duffie and John C. Calhoun generally make their home, yet these distinguished advocates of the 'peculiar institution' say that the slaves cannot take care of themselves. They arrived in Philadelphia, in four days from the time they started. Their history, especially that of their escape, is replete with interest. They will be at the meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, in Boston, in the latter part of this month, where I know the history of their escape will be listened to with great interest. They are very intelligent. They are young, Ellen 22, and Wm. 24 years of age. Ellen is truly a heroine.

Yours, truly,


P.S. They are now hid away within 25 miles of Philadelphia, where they will remain until the 6th when they will leave me for New England. Will you please say in the Liberator that I will lecture, in connexion with them, as follows:—

At Norwich, Ct., Thursday evening, Jan. 18.
At Worcester, Mass., Friday evening, 19.
At Pawtucket, Mass., Saturday evening, 20.
At New Bedford, Mass., Sunday afternoon and evening, 28.

Titles by William Wells Brown and William Craft