Tom and I have admired your work for many years, and when you accepted our invitation to write a foreward for Secret Lives, we were overjoyed because you put down some of the first tracks in this research. When Tom sent me your email in which you said you loved the manuscript, I couldn’t wait to read your foreword. It soon followed, and when I read it, I was overwhelmed. You speak sincerely and eloquently to the soul of Secret Lives. You understand and appreciate what we set out to accomplish. That means the world to us.

Don Papso
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Guylaine Petrin
10/27/2014 6:22pm

Hi Don,

I note that your book is coming out in November 2014. I hope to buy it when it comes out.



I was wondering if you ever came across any mentions of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua in the papers of Sidney H. Gay at Columbia

Here is a link about Baquaqua

http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/baquaqua/summary.html

Baquaqua was enslaved in Brazil, but he jumped ship in New York City, and was held in the jail there in 1845. There are many articles in the NY papers, but I wonder if Gay mentions him in any way. Evetually, Baquaqua went to Haiti, but came back and studied at Cortland, etc.

Anyway, let me know if there if you cam across any mentions of Baquaqua.

Thanks and keep me posted on your book

Guylaine

Reply
10/28/2014 12:22pm

The deciphering of Mr. Gay’s notes was very difficult but fun. His notes were written with a quill pen, in cursive, and with British contractions (a “y” with a line over it meant “the”) and British word spellings. It was particularly exciting to read of the many exploits of Captain Harriett Tubman that had never been published. Margaret Schwartz

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10/28/2014 12:35pm

Hi, Margaret,

Gay wrote quickly, and your keen eyes made sense of so many key words. I remember the profound silence the night his long, wonderful passage about Harriet Tubman was read at the North Star Underground Railroad Historical Society's Board meeting. We knew at that moment that we were part of something far greater than we had imagined.

Don

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Mitchell Ray
10/28/2014 9:13pm

When Don asked if I would like to transliterate William Howard Gay's, Record of Fugitives I was glad to help. After three or four attempts to make it through the first short page I was lost. The written English language has changed a lot in 160 years! I set it aside for a month before going back and trying again. Slowly his hand writing and abbreviations started to make sense. With both Margaret and I working on the transliteration we started making steady progress.

Several themes developed as we worked through the records.

1. Louis Napoleon was an unsung hero of the Underground Railroad.

2. How honest and caring the escapees were, even though they were running for their freedom/lives.

3. How good the communication was between escapees in the North, and those still held captive in the South.

My most cherished memory of doing the transliteration was, reading Captain Harriet Tubeman's description's of some of her adventures.

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11/05/2014 8:59pm

Hi, Mitch,

The Tubman passage is the most memorable passage for me, too.
Vivian and I just returned from a trip to Maryland where Robin Caudell introduced us to her friend John Creighton who has been researching Harriet Tubman and the UGRR on the Eastern Shore for many, many years. John has been working with the Tubman passage for a couple of years now. He said Gay provided details he had never seen before. John and Robin took us an all day Harriet Tubman tour. It was an incredible journey, one we will never forget.

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