of State of Massachusetts
. Mr. Hayden
was the Master
of a colored Lodge
of Free Masons in Boston
The Governor writes,—
I send you with this note, for presentation to the “Prince Hall grand Lodge,” a gavel, made from a piece of the whipping-post at Hampton, Va. The gentleman who sent it to me says, “ This post or tree stood directly in the rear of the old court-house, and in front of the jail: while I was cutting it, about twenty colored men and women bore testimony to me, that it was the identical post or tree that they had been tied to; and had their backs lacerated with the whip.”
I also place in your hands, for the same purpose, a rude boat of straw.
made in the woods by a poor refugee from slavery, Jack Flowers, who, after a protracted journey through the forest, tracked by bloodhounds, reached a stream, down which he floated past the rebel pickets, till he reached a point guarded by the Union army, where he landed, a free man. A copy of his narrative will be given you for presentation with this interesting relic.
The straw boat, here spoken of, attracted much attention at the State House
; and the wonder was, how so frail a bark could float a man from slavery to freedom.
The narrative of Jack Flowers was furnished the Governor
by a gentleman by the name of Judd
, and tells a terrible tale of the sufferings and wrongs of this poor man. It is too long to quote entire.
He was a slave in South Carolina
, and escaped by means of his straw boat through the rebel pickets, and landed safely at Hilton Head
says that he made several attempts to pass the rebel picket line, but failed.
We now quote from his narrative:—
So, when I found it was no use to get over that way, I concluded to try another.
Uncle lent me his axe and knife, and I cut a lot of rushes, and a tough oak-tree for splints, and went to work in the woods, and made this basket: it took me two days to weave it, after the stuff was all ready; the pitch I got by cutting into a tree, and catching the gum, which I boiled in a kettle of my sister's. The old shutter came from Dr. Fuller's house.
It was three miles to the water, and I carried the basket alone on my head in the dark night, for fear of the pickets.
It was so late in the night when I got all ready to start in the creek, that I did not get down to the coosa till day clear; so I landed on a little hammock close by the mouth of the creek, and hid the boat and myself