STOP 1 - The Liberator

Image courtesy of fair-use.org

The death of Captain Hand is a tale that touches on several of the most important aspects of the Underground Railroad, and connects the Railroad to Staten Island. William Lloyd Garrison's "The Liberator" was filled with stories that ran along similar lines.


A group of enslaved people from Virginia make a move for freedom by taking a boat and trying to come north. People see them and they activate local slave catching authorities, in this case Captain Hand. The group of freedom seekers lives are threatened; however, they fight back, resulting in the death of Captain Hand, and then continue their journey north ultimately landing on Staten Island. Here they arrive and find a free black community where they are able to sell off the boat and its contents. They are last seen being helped to continue on their journey by a "negro belonging to Staten Island." This was likely a conductor such as Louis Napoleon (STOP 3).


In this story we see the enslaved actively seeking freedom, and being aided by free people of color, which are two essential aspects of the Underground Railroad.


Read the full tale in the articles below.

Audio Clips: The Death of Captain Hand read by Gabriella Leone.

"Escape", The Liberator, June 11 1831.
"Fugative Slaves," The Liberator, June 18 1831.