Capt. Frank Newton of Easton, Maryland, called us after reading Secret Lives to tell us how much he appreciated our book. Capt. Frank has been researching maritime history for many years. He promised to send a few suggestions.

To: Don Papson & Tom Calarco

From: Captain Frank Newton

Subject: Miscellaneous Text Notes

Ref: Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City

Date: 26 May ‘15

Per our conversations over past months:

1) Exceptional work! Very useful to have the substance of Gay’s material in this format,  especially the appendices.

2) Herewith a few notes for consideration in next edition/updates:

            a)) Pages 69 and 83: See­—Henry “Box” Brown sent in a box,” overland                     express from  the City of Richmond…to Philadelphia in March 1849

                        i)  In this context, the reference to the “City of Richmond” likely                             meant Richmond the City, not the vessel. The 20 miles cited as                                 spent upside down on the steamboat must have been on the rail                             ferry across the mouth of the Chesapeake  Bay from the Hampton                             railhead to the Cape Charles railhead.

                        ii)  The steamship City of Richmond made trips from Norfolk to                                     Philadelphia with  one to three fugitives secreted aboard on an                                 apparently quarterly planned escape  schedule. (See item 3 below.)

            b)  Page 124: See—schooner “Peter Demise” and Capt. Huey”

                        i) Although correctly transcribed from Gay’s written text, maritime                         records show the schooner “Peter Demill” and “Capt. Hoey” of the                             “New Line” (New York— Savannah) headed by Robert Demill.

            c) Page 144:See—steamer “Stay”

                        i) Last letter of steamer name likely mis-transcribed as “Y” vs. “G”;                         name probably “Stag.”

                        ii) Unable to identify any vessels as “Stay.”

                        ii) Although have not identified a steamer from Savannah as “Stag,”                         this was a  rather common vessel name in the 1800s.

            d) Page 147: See—schooner “Central” from Savannah

                        i) Likely the schooner “Central America” of the “Savannah                                         Merchants” line (Savannah-Philadelphia) active in the mid-1850s.

3) In addition to the quarterly schedule of the City of Richmond, note that Capt. Fountain had a once every four months schedule out of Norfolk carrying fugitives (1855-1856). Obviously there was a control faction in Norfolk (your page 169, second paragraph may relate?)

Best Regards,



Thank you for your praise and suggestions. T
he reference on page 83 to the City of Richmond and Nate Lobam,  it is based on this statement: "At one time he was stewaad of the steamer City of Richmond, which plied between New York and Richmond, Va."
"Reminiscences," Troy Daily Times (Troy, New York), May 6, 1874.



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