STAMPEDE OF SLAVES.
A TALE OF HORROR.
AN ARREST BY THE U.S. MARSHAL
A Negro Child's Throat Cut from Ear to Ear by its Father or Mother--Others Wounded.
Writ of Habeas Corpus Taken out.
The city was thrown into much excitement yesterday morning by the information that a party of slaves, sixteen in all, had made a stampede from Kentucky to this side of the river. Other circumstances, however, which afterward transpired, have imparted a degree of horrible interest to the affair different to that which usually attends a stampede of negroes. The particulars are as follows: Three of the slaves, who bore the relationship of father, mother and son, and the two former apparently about fifty years of age, the son twenty-five, were the property of Mr. James Marshall, of Richwood Station, Boone County, about sixteen miles back of Covington, and five others, consisting of a woman named Peggy and her four children, the oldest about five years of age, the youngest an infant at the breast, belonging to Mr. Archibald K. Gaines, who resided in the immediate vicinity of Mr. Marshall. Peggy was married to young Simon, the slave of Mr. Marshall, and the son of the old couple with whom he ran away. It seems that about ten o'clock on Sunday night the party took a pair of horses and a sleigh, belonging to Mr. Marshall, with which they drove to Covington, where they left the team standing outside of the Washington House, where it was found by the landlord, the horses very much blown from the severe manner in which they had been driven. In the meantime the party of eight crossed the river on the ice and took refuge in a house, the fourth below Millcreek bridge, tenanted by a negro named Kite, a son of old Joe Kite, well known for years in this city. Young Kite was well acquainted with the parties, for he has himself lived in their neighborhood, having been formerly owned there, but his freedom was purchased sometime since by his father.
Early yesterday morning, Mr. Gaines, accompanied by a son of Mr. Marshall, arrived in this city in pursuit of the fugitives.
Application was made to United States Commissioner Pendery, who, thereupon, issued his warrant, which was placed in the hands of his United States Marshal, who, having received information of the hiding place of the fugitives, collected a posse of officers, some from Kentucky and others belonging to this city, and with Mr. Gaines, Mr. Marshall, jr., and Major Murphy, who accompanied them from Richwood, they proceeded to the residence of Kite. Arrived there they found the doors and windows fastened, but, upon thundering at the door, Kite looked out of a window, and at first agreed to admit them, but afterward refused to do so, and at this juncture, as they were about to force an entrance, young Simon fired from the window with a revolver of the ball from which struck the finger of one of the deputized marshals, named John Patterson, and then lodged in his upper lip, leaving the finger hanging by a mere thread. Upon this the door was burst in, when Simon fired three more shots at the party, fortunately, however, without either taking effect. Mr. Gaines seized him by the wrist and wretched the pistol from his hand before he could shoot the other two barrels off, it being a six-shooter. But a deed of horror had been consummated, for weltering in its blood, the throat being cut from ear to ear and the head almost severed from the body, upon the floor lay one of the children of the younger couple, a girl three years old, while in a back room, crouched beneath the bed, two more of the children, boys, of two and five years, were moaning, the one having received two gashed in its throat, the other a cut upon the head. As the party entered the room the mother was seen wielding a heavy shovel, and before she could be secured she inflicted a heavy blow with it upon the face of the infant, which was lying on the floor. The whole party having been arrested, medical aid was procured for the little sufferers, whose wounds were not of a fatal character, and then all were carried to the office of the United States Marshal, when United States Commissioner Pendery fixed the hearing of the case for this morning at nine o'clock.
Coroner Menzies immediately hastened to the spot where the dead body of the child was found, and summoned a jury, when, after examining five of the parties who first burst into the house, not one of whom, however, could throw any light as to whether the father or mother of the child had committed the bloody deed, the further hearing of testimony was postponed until this morning.
The only information derived from the eldest boy, in reply to who had injured him and the other children, is that the folks in the house did it. When taken to the office of the United States Marshal, the woman declared that they had received their wounds in the melee which followed the entrance of the posse into the house, but this is known to be untrue. The fearful act lies between one or the other of the miserable parents, perhaps both, but, doubtless, the truth will be brought out by the Coroner today.
The old couple are mild and rather intelligent in their appearance; the mother of the children is a good-looking, hefty negress, while her husband bears the appearance of having been well cared for, in fact, young Mr. Marshall states that he has always treated him more as a companion than a slave; they have been playmates in childhood and have grown up together, "And now," said he, "if money can save him from the effect of any rash act he has committed I am willing to give it to any amount." After the United States Commissioner had adjourned the hearing of the case until this morning, a couple of hackney coaches were procured for conveying the fugitives to the Hammond-street Station-house, but a crowd was assembled in the street, whose threats alarmed the hackmen for the safety of their carriages, and the prisoners were accordingly walked under the conduct of a strong escort. Some threats were made by a portion of the mob, but no violence or attempt at rescue was made: subsequently, they were lodged for safer keeping in the County Jail.
In the meantime the leading Abolitionists busied themselves, and a writ of habeas corpus was procured, commanding the United States Marshal to produce the fugitives before Judge Burgoyne of the Probate Court; they, however, were allowed to remain in Jail, and will be brought before the United States Commissioner, as previously arranged.
At the time of the flight of Messrs. Gaines and Marshall's negroes, a gang of eight left Covington, six belonging to Mr. Levi F. Dougherty, five men and one woman, and two men owned by John W. Stevenson, Esq., both residents of Covington. The Marshal of Covington, with several officers of this city, supposed they were upon their track, but, after a fruitless search, they found themselves at fault, and at a late hour last night no clue had been obtained of their lurking place. In the meantime there is much excitement existing, the bloody episode having invested the affair with a tinge of fearful, although romantic interest. The Abolitionists regard the parents of the murdered child as a hero and heroine, teeming with lofty and holy emotions, who Virginiuslike, would rather imbue their hands in the blood of their offspring than allow them to wear the shackles of slavery, while others look upon them as brutal and unnatural murderers. At any rate the affair will furnish some employment to lawyers as well as officers, an extra force of the latter being necessary to prevent a rescue while the case is pending.
"Stampede of Slaves - A Tale of Horror," Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, January 30, 1856, p. 2.