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?)
Thank you for your praise and suggestions. The 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.