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SHORTLY after I took possession of the Lancaster Intelligencer, more than thirty-four years ago—before I had reached manhood-Mrs. Dickson, the amiable and gentle postmistress of that place, handed me a soiled letter directed to "the editor of a newspaper," which she said had been in her possession for more than a year, and had not been delivered because it had no definite address. Upon opening it I found it dated Logansport, Indiana, and signed by George W. Ewing, United States Indian Agent. He stated that he had only recently stopped at an Indian wigwam for the night on the banks of the Mississinewa, about fifty miles south of Fort Wayne, and found it occupied by a family who were rich for Indians, and boasted of considerable property in houses and lands. He went on to say that in the course of the evening he noticed that the hair of one of the women was light, and her skin under her dress white, and so he entered into conversation with her, which was not difficult, as he spoke the language of the tribe. She told him she was white, but had been carried away when a very small girl. She could only remember that her name was Slocum ; that she had lived in a little house on the banks of the Susquehanna; also the number of her father's family, and the order of their ages; but she could not recall the name of the town from which she was taken. Fascinated by this romantic story, yet undecided how to let the facts be known, he wrote a letter and sent it to my native town of Lancaster, as the place nearest the Susquehanna that he could remember of any importance. After, as I have said, sleeping in the post-office for many months, it came out through the columns of my little journal, and in that way got to the Slocums of Wilkesbarre, being the first intelligence of the child which had been stolen from them sixty years before. The brother of Frances, who was only two years and
FRANCES SLOCUM'S ROMANCE.
a half old when his sister was carried off by the Indians, started for the Indian country in company with his eldest sister, who had aided him to escape, and another brother, then living in Ohio, born after the captivity of Frances. After a long journey they found a little wigwam among the Miami Indians. “We shall know Frances," said the sister, “because she lost the nail of her first finger. You, brother, hammered it off in the blacksmith shop when she was four years old.” They entered and found a swarthy woman who looked to be seventy-five. She was painted, jeweled, and dressed like an Indian in all respects. Nothing but her hair and her covered skin indicated her origin. They got an interpreter, asked her name and where she was born. “How came that nail gone?" said the eldest sister. She answered, "My elder brother pounded it off when I was a little child in the shop.” They had discovered the long-lost sister. They asked her Christian name. She had forgotten it. “Was it Frances?” As if smitten by a revelation, she answered “Yes.” It was the first time she had heard it pronounced in sixty years. Here they were met, two brothers and two sisters, after having been separated for more than half a century. The brothers were walking the cabin, unable to speak, the sister was drowned in tears, but the poor Indian sat motionless and passionless. She could not speak a word of English. She did not know when Sunday came. Was not this the consummation of ignorance in a descendant of the Puritans? She was carried off by the Indians, and when she grew up she married one of their number. He either died or ran away, and then she married a Miami chief, since dead. She had two daughters, both married, who, thirty-four years ago, lived in all the glory of Indian cabins, deer-skin clothes, and cow-skin head-dresses. They had horses in abundance, and when the Indian sister accompanied her new relatives, she bridled her horse and mounted it astride. At night she slept on the floor, with her blanket around her. They could not persuade her to return to Wilkes
barre, even when the invitation was extended to her children. She had always lived with the Indians, they had been kind to her, and she promised her last husband on his death-bed she would never leave them. It is now nearly ninety-five years since th white child was torn from her parents' home in Wyoming Valley. She herself has been gathered to her fathers, and most of her double family who were living in 1838, with the exception, I believe, of Mr. Joseph Slocum, now one of the most influential and respectable citizens of Scranton. Among all the changes that have taken place in this long interval, few are more interesting than this transformation from civilization to barbarism.
A coincidence even more romantic is soon to be revealed in the
pages of the remarkable book of William Still, of Philadelphia, entitled the “ Under-ground Railroad,” referred to in my last number. Mr. Still kept a careful memorandum of the sufferings and trials of his race during the existence of the fugitive-slave law, in the belief that they would be instructive to his posterity rather than from any hope of the overthrow of the revolting system of human servitude. But when that passed away, and speech became as free as thought, and the printingpress, the school-house, the ballot, and every civil right, were secured to the colored race, he resolved to spread before the world this unprecedented experience. When his book appears it will accomplish more than one object. Interesting to the literary world, it will undoubtedly facilitate the reunion of other colored families, long divided, long sought for, and perhaps to this day strangers to each other. The curious similarity between the case of the wealthy Slocums in Wyoming Valley and the experience of Mr. Still will be intensified when this book is published. Here we find the story of Peter Still, torn from his mother when a little boy of six, and for more than forty years a slave in Alabama, totally destitute of all knowledge of his parents. We are told how by extreme economy and overwork he
DAVID PAUL BROWN.
saved about five hundred dollars with which to buy his ransom -how he started in search of his mother and kindred-how he reached Philadelphia, where, by having notices read in the colored churches that more than forty years before “two little boys were kidnapped and carried South,” he obtained information in regard to them-how, after traveling sixteen hundred miles, the first man Peter Still sought advice from was his brother, the author of this very book on the Under-ground Railroad, whom he had never seen or heard of-how, after this mutual recognition, the self-ransomed captive was destined again to suffer the keenest pangs of sorrow for his own wife and children, whom he had left in Alabama in bondage-how, finally, a brave white man, Seth Conklin, proceeded to Alabama, carried off this wife and children, and was retaken with them, in Indiana, and perished while he was being carried in irons back to the South, by leaping from the boat in which they were confined. The volume, containing this and other equally romantic yet truthful stories, will soon be out, and, my word for it, no book of the times will be more eagerly read or more profitably remembered.
[November 12, 1871.]
DAVID PAUL BROWN, of Philadelphia, has been for half a century the favorite orator of the American bar. His renown was national before he was thirty; and as he not only never sought but resolutely declined office, and rarely practiced in the courts of other States, his fame is mainly the outgrowth of professional efforts in his native city. He is still living in Philadelphia, in his seventy-seventh year, the most active veteran of his time. Who can not recall him in the flush of his manhood ? Of middle height, compactly made, with a full, round chest; his forehead high and broad, eyes black, mouth large, and filled with the finest teeth, he is frequently seen on the streets, almost as erect and graceful as when he thrilled our court-rooms and was followed by crowds of admirers. Mr. Brown was always rather an exquisite in his dress, and to this day his blue coat and brass buttons, buff vest and light pantaloons, gloved hands, neat boots, and rather rakish hat, prove the youthfulness of his tastes and the gayety of his disposition. He is, perhaps, too fond of dress; but he defends his peculiarity by saying “that he had never known a man to speak well in clumsy boots, nor to have a clear mind with dirty hands and face; that he had known many a fop that was not a fool, and many a sloven that was not a Solomon." "A becoming decency of exterior," he says, “may not be necessary for ourselves, but is agreeable to others; and while it may render a fool more contemptible, it serves to embellish inherent worth. It is like the polish of the diamond, taking something, perhaps, from its weight, but adding much to its brilliancy and attraction."
Another peculiarity of David Paul Brown is his disregard of money. He has often been heard to say that he never was so rich and happy as in his early youth; for then, in the language of Socrates, he wanted least, and therefore approached nearer to the gods, who wanted nothing. He is not extravagant in the mere pleasures of the world. His attire is rich, but his habits simple and abstemious. To these he attributes his entire freedom from pain and diseases of every sort. Money has no value in his eyes. Its receipt gives him no pleasure—its expenditure no annoyance. From his early manhood to the present, though his professional income has exceeded a quarter of a million, the same indifference, the same recklessness, in regard to wealth, has marked his career. A characteristic anecdote is told in this connection. He studied law with the late William Rawle, a lawyer of universal celebrity, whose writings and example are