By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom
Author: Delaney, Lucy A. (Lucy Ann), 1828?-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Struggles for Freedom.

[Illustration: (signed) Yours Truly, Lucy A. Delaney]






No. 11, Bridge Entrance.


To those who by their valor have made their name immortal, from whom
we are daily learning the lessons of patriotism, in whom we respect
the virtues of charity, patience and friendship as displayed towards
the colored race and to those

    "Whose deeds crowd History's pages
    And Time's great volume make,"

is this little volume reverently dedicated--



So many of my friends have urged me to give a short sketch of my
varied life that I have consented, and herewith present it for the
consideration of my readers. Those who were with me in the days of
slavery will appreciate these pages, for though they cannot recur with
any happiness to the now "shadowy past, or renew the unrenewable," the
unaccountable longing for the aged to look backward and review the
events of their youth will find an answering chord in this little

Those of you who have never suffered as we have, perhaps may suppose
the case, and therefore accept with interest and sympathy the
passages of life and character here portrayed and the lessons which
should follow from them.

If there is a want of unity or coherence in this work, be charitable
and attribute it to lack of knowledge and experience in literary
acquirements. As this is a world of varied interests and many events,
although we are each but atoms, it must be remembered, that we assist
in making the grand total of all history, and therefore are excusable
in making our affairs of importance to ourselves, and endeavoring to
impress them on others. With this reason of my seeking your favor, I
leave you to the perusal of my little tale.

                                                  L. A. D.



    "Soon is the echo and the shadow o'er,
      Soon, soon we lie with lid-encumbered eyes
    And the great fabrics that we reared before
      Crumble to make a dust to hide who dies."

In the year 18--, Mr. and Mrs. John Woods and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew
Posey lived as one family in the State of Illinois. Living with Mrs.
Posey was a little negro girl, named Polly Crocket, who had made it
her home there, in peace and happiness, for five years. On a dismal
night in the month of September, Polly, with four other colored
persons, were kidnapped, and, after being securely bound and gagged,
were put into a skiff and carried across the Mississippi River to the
city of St. Louis. Shortly after, these unfortunate negroes were
taken up the Missouri River and sold into slavery. Polly was purchased
by a farmer, Thomas Botts, with whom she resided for a year, when,
overtaken by business reverses, he was obliged to sell all he
possessed, including his negroes.

Among those present on the day set apart for the sale was Major Taylor
Berry, a wealthy gentleman who had travelled a long distance for the
purpose of purchasing a servant girl for his wife. As was the custom,
all the negroes were brought out and placed in a line, so that the
buyers could examine their good points at leisure. Major Berry was
immediately attracted by the bright and alert appearance of Polly, and
at once negotiated with the trader, paid the price agreed upon, and
started for home to present his wife with this flesh and blood
commodity, which money could so easily procure in our vaunted land of

Mrs. Fanny Berry was highly pleased with Polly's manner and
appearance, and concluded to make a seamstress of her. Major Berry had
a mulatto servant, who was as handsome as an Apollo, and when he and
Polly met each other, day after day, the natural result followed, and
in a short time, with the full consent of Major Berry and his wife,
were married. Two children were the fruit of this marriage, my sister
Nancy and myself, Lucy A. Delaney.

While living in Franklin county, Major Berry became involved in a
quarrel with some gentleman, and a duel was resorted to, to settle the
difficulty and avenge some fancied insult. The major arranged his
affairs and made his will, leaving his negroes to his wife during her
life-time and at her death they were to be free; this was his
expressed wish.

My father accompanied Major Berry to New Madrid, where the fatal duel
was fought, and stayed by him until the end came, received his last
sigh, his last words, and closed his dying eyes, and afterwards
conveyed the remains of his best friend to the bereaved family with a
sad heart. Though sympathizing deeply with them in their affliction,
my father was much disturbed as to what disposition would be made of
him, and after Major Berry was consigned with loving hands to his last
resting place, these haunting thoughts obtruded, even in his sleeping

A few years after, Major Berry's widow married Robert Wash, an eminent
lawyer, who afterwards became Judge of the Supreme Court. One child
was born to them, who, when she grew to womanhood, became Mrs. Francis
W. Goode, whom I shall always hold in grateful remembrance as long as
life lasts, and God bless her in her old age, is my fervent prayer for
her kindness to me, a poor little slave girl!

We lived in the old "Wash" mansion some time after the marriage of
the Judge, until their daughter Frances was born. How well I remember
those happy days! Slavery had no horror then for me, as I played about
the place, with the same joyful freedom as the little white children.
With mother, father and sister, a pleasant home and surroundings, what
happier child than I!

As I carelessly played away the hours, mother's smiles would fade
away, and her brow contract into a heavy frown. I wondered much
thereat, but the time came--ah! only too soon, when I learned the
secret of her ever-changing face!


Mrs. Wash lost her health, and, on the advice of a physician, went to
Pensacola, Florida, accompanied by my mother. There she died, and her
body was brought back to St. Louis and there interred. After Mrs.
Wash's death, the troubles of my parents and their children may be
said to have really commenced.

Though in direct opposition to the will of Major Berry, my father's
quondam master and friend, Judge Wash tore my father from his wife and
children and sold him "way down South!"

Slavery! cursed slavery! what crimes has it invoked! and, oh! what
retribution has a righteous God visited upon these traders in human
flesh! The rivers of tears shed by us helpless ones, in captivity,
were turned to lakes of blood! How often have we cried in our anguish,
"Oh! Lord, how long, how long?" But the handwriting was on the wall,
and tardy justice came at last and avenged the woes of an oppressed
race! Chickamauga, Shiloh, Atlanta and Gettysburgh, spoke in thunder
tones! John Brown's body had indeed marched on, and we, the ransomed
ones, glorify God and dedicate ourselves to His service, and
acknowledge His greatness and goodness in rescuing us from such
bondage as parts husband from wife, the mother from her children, aye,
even the babe from her breast!

Major Berry's daughter Mary, shortly after, married H. S. Cox, of
Philadelphia, and they went to that city to pass their honeymoon,
taking my sister Nancy with them as waiting-maid. When my father was
sold South, my mother registered a solemn vow that her children should
not continue in slavery all their lives, and she never spared an
opportunity to impress it upon us, that we must get our freedom
whenever the chance offered. So here was an unlooked-for avenue of
escape which presented much that was favorable in carrying out her
desire to see Nancy a free woman.

Having been brought up in a free State, mother had learned much to her
advantage, which would have been impossible in a slave State, and
which she now proposed to turn to account for the benefit of her
daughter. So mother instructed my sister not to return with Mr. and
Mrs. Cox, but to run away, as soon as chance offered, to Canada, where
a friend of our mother's lived who was also a runaway slave, living in
freedom and happiness in Toronto.

As the happy couple wandered from city to city, in search of pleasure,
my sister was constantly turning over in her mind various plans of
escape. Fortune finally favored Nancy, for on their homeward trip
they stopped at Niagara Falls for a few days. In her own words I will
describe her escape:

     "In the morning, Mr. and Mrs. Cox went for a drive, telling
     me that I could have the day to do as I pleased. The shores
     of Canada had been tantalizing my longing gaze for some
     days, and I was bound to reach there long before my mistress
     returned. So I locked up Mrs. Cox's trunk and put the key
     under the pillow, where I was sure she would find it, and I
     made a strike for freedom! A servant in the hotel gave me
     all necessary information and even assisted me in getting
     away. Some kind of a festival was going on, and a large
     crowd was marching from the rink to the river, headed by a
     band of music. In such a motley throng I was unnoticed, but
     was trembling with fear of being detected. It seemed an age
     before the ferry boat arrived, which at last appeared,
     enveloped in a gigantic wreath of black smoke. Hastily I
     embarked, and as the boat stole away into the misty twilight
     and among crushing fields of ice, though the air was chill
     and gloomy, I felt the warmth of freedom as I neared the
     Canada shore. I landed, without question, and found my
     mother's friend with but little difficulty, who assisted me
     to get work and support myself. Not long afterwards, I
     married a prosperous farmer, who provided me with a happy
     home, where I brought my children into the world without the
     sin of slavery to strive against."

On the return of Mrs. Cox to St. Louis she sent for my mother and told
her that Nancy had run away. Mother was very thankful, and in her
heart arose a prayer of thanksgiving, but outwardly she pretended to
be vexed and angry. Oh! the impenetrable mask of these poor black
creatures! how much of joy, of sorrow, of misery and anguish have they
hidden from their tormentors!

I was a small girl at that time, but remember how wildly mother
showed her joy at Nancy's escape when we were alone together. She
would dance, clap her hands, and, waving them above her head, would
indulge in one of those weird negro melodies, which so charm and
fascinate the listener.

Mrs. Cox commenced housekeeping on a grand and extended scale, having
a large acquaintance, she entertained lavishly. My mother cared for
the laundry, and I, who was living with a Mrs. Underhill, from New
York, and was having rather good times, was compelled to go live with
Mrs. Cox to mind the baby. My pathway was thorny enough, and though
there may be no roses without thorns, I had thorns in plenty with no

I was beginning to plan for freedom, and was forever on the alert for
a chance to escape and join my sister. I was then twelve years old,
and often talked the matter over with mother and canvassed the
probabilities of both of us getting away. No schemes were too wild
for us to consider! Mother was especially restless, because she was a
free woman up to the time of her being kidnapped, so the injustice and
weight of slavery bore more heavily upon her than upon me. She did not
dare to talk it over with anyone for fear that they would sell her
further down the river, so I was her only confidant. Mother was always
planning and getting ready to go, and while the fire was burning
brightly, it but needed a little more provocation to add to the


Mrs. Cox was always very severe and exacting with my mother, and one
occasion, when something did not suit her, she turned on mother like a
fury, and declared, "I am just tired out with the 'white airs' you put
on, and if you don't behave differently, I will make Mr. Cox sell you
down the river at once."

Although mother turned grey with fear, she presented a bold front and
retorted that "she didn't care, she was tired of that place, and
didn't like to live there, nohow." This so infuriated Mr. Cox that he
cried, "How dare a negro say what she liked or what she did not like;
and he would show her what he should do."

So, on the day following, he took my mother to an auction-room on Main
Street and sold her to the highest bidder, for five hundred and fifty
dollars. Oh! God! the pity of it! "In the home of the brave and the
land of the free," in the sight of the stars and stripes--that symbol
of freedom--sold away from her child, to satisfy the anger of a
peevish mistress!

My mother returned to the house to get her few belongings, and
straining me to her breast, begged me to be a good girl, that she was
going to run away, and would buy me as soon as she could. With all the
inborn faith of a child, I believed it most fondly, and when I heard
that she had actually made her escape, three weeks after, my heart
gave an exultant throb and cried, "God is good!"

A large reward was offered, the bloodhounds (curse them and curse
their masters) were set loose on her trail. In the day time she hid in
caves and the surrounding woods, and in the night time, guided by the
wondrous North Star, that blessed lodestone of a slave people, my
mother finally reached Chicago, where she was arrested by the
negro-catchers. At this time the Fugitive Slave Law was in full
operation, and it was against the law of the whole country to aid and
protect an escaped slave; not even a drink of water, for the love of
the Master, might be given, and those who dared to do it (and there
were many such brave hearts, thank God!) placed their lives in danger.

The presence of bloodhounds and "nigger-catchers" in their midst,
created great excitement and scandalized the community. Feeling ran
high and hundreds of people gathered together and declared that mother
should not be returned to slavery; but fearing that Mr. Cox would
wreak his vengeance upon me, my mother finally gave herself up to her
captors, and returned to St. Louis. And so the mothers of Israel have
been ever slain through their deepest affections!

After my mother's return, she decided to sue for her freedom, and for
that purpose employed a good lawyer. She had ample testimony to prove
that she was kidnapped, and it was so fully verified that the jury
decided that she was a free woman, and papers were made out

In the meanwhile, Miss Martha Berry had married Mr. Mitchell and taken
me to live with her. I had never been taught to work, as playing with
the babies had been my sole occupation; therefore, when Mrs. Mitchell
commanded me to do the weekly washing and ironing, I had no more idea
how it was to be done than Mrs. Mitchell herself. But I made the
effort to do what she required, and my failure would have been amusing
had it not been so appalling. In those days filtering was unknown and
the many ways of clearing water were to me an unsolved riddle. I never
had to do it, so it never concerned me how the clothes were ever
washed clean.

As the Mississippi water was even muddier than now, the results of my
washing can be better imagined than described. After soaking and
boiling the clothes in its earthy depths, for a couple of days, in
vain attempt to get them clean, and rinsing through several waters, I
found the clothes were getting darker and darker, until they nearly
approximated my own color. In my despair, I frantically rushed to my
mother and sobbed out my troubles on her kindly breast. So in the
morning, before the white people had arisen, a friend of my mother
came to the house and washed out the clothes. During all this time,
Mrs. Mitchell was scolding vigorously, saying over and over again,
"Lucy, you do not want to work, you are a lazy, good-for-nothing
nigger!" I was angry at being called a nigger, and replied, "You don't
know nothing, yourself, about it, and you expect a poor ignorant girl
to know more than you do yourself; if you had any feeling you would
get somebody to teach me, and then I'd do well enough."

She then gave me a wrapper to do up, and told me if I ruined that as I
did the other clothes, she would whip me severely. I answered, "You
have no business to whip me. I don't belong to you."

My mother had so often told me that she was a free woman and that I
should not die a slave, I always had a feeling of independence, which
would invariably crop out in these encounters with my mistress; and
when I thus spoke, saucily, I must confess, she opened her eyes in
angry amazement and cried:

"You _do_ belong to me, for my papa left you to me in his will, when
you were a baby, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself to talk so to
one that you have been raised with; now, you take that wrapper, and if
you don't do it up properly, I will bring you up with a round turn."

Without further comment, I took the wrapper, which was too handsome to
trust to an inexperienced hand, like Mrs. Mitchell very well knew I
was, and washed it, with the same direful results as chronicled
before. But I could not help it, as heaven is my witness. I was
entirely and hopelessly ignorant! But of course my mistress would not
believe it, and declared over and over again, that I did it on purpose
to provoke her and show my defiance of her wishes. In vain did I
disclaim any such intentions. She was bound to carry out her threat of
whipping me.

I rebelled against such government, and would not permit her to strike
me; she used shovel, tongs and broomstick in vain, as I disarmed her
as fast as she picked up each weapon. Infuriated at her failure, my
opposition and determination not to be whipped, Mrs. Mitchell declared
she would report me to Mr. Mitchell and have him punish me.

When her husband returned home, she immediately entered a list of
complaints against me as long as the moral law, including my failure
to wash her clothes properly, and her inability to break my head for
it; the last indictment seemed to be the heaviest she could bring
against me. I was in the shadow of the doorway as the woman raved,
while Mr. Mitchell listened patiently until the end of his wife's
grievances reached an appeal to him to whip me with the strength that
a man alone could possess.

Then he declared, "Martha, this thing of cutting up and slashing
servants is something I know nothing about, and positively will not
do. I don't believe in slavery, anyhow; it is a curse on this land,
and I wish we were well rid of it."

"Mr. Mitchell, I will not have that saucy baggage around this house,
for if she finds you won't whip her, there will be no living with her,
so you shall just sell her, and I insist upon it."

"Well, Martha," he answered, "I found the girl with you when we were
married, and as you claim her as yours, I shall not interpose any
objections to the disposal of what you choose to call your property,
in any manner you see fit, and I will make arrangements for selling
her at once."

I distinctly overheard all that was said, and was just as determined
not to be sold as I was not to be whipped. My mother's lawyer had told
her to caution me never to go out of the city, if, at any time, the
white people wanted me to go, so I was quite settled as to my course,
in case Mr. Mitchell undertook to sell me.

Several days after this conversation took place, Mrs. Mitchell, with
her baby and nurse, Lucy Wash, made a visit to her grandmother's,
leaving orders that I should be sold before her return; so I was not
surprised to be ordered by Mr. Mitchell to pack up my clothes and get
ready to go down the river, for I was to be sold that morning, and
leave, on the steamboat Alex. Scott, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

"Can't I go see my mother, first?" I asked.

"No," he replied, not very gently, "there is no time for that, you can
see her when you come back. So hurry up and get ready, and let us have
no more words about it!"

How I did hate him! To hear him talk as if I were going to take a
pleasure trip, when he knew that if he sold me South, as he intended,
I would never see my dear mother again.

However, I hastily ran up stairs and packed my trunk, but my mother's
injunction, "never to go out of the city," was ever present in my

Mr. Mitchell was Superintendent of Indian Affairs, his office being in
the dwelling house, and I could hear him giving orders to his clerk,
as I ran lightly down the stairs, out of the front door to the street,
and with fleet foot, I skimmed the road which led to my mother's door,
and, reaching it, stood trembling in every limb with terror and

I could not gain admittance, as my mother was away to work and the
door was locked. A white woman, living next door, and who was always
friendly to mother, told me that she would not return until night. I
clasped my hands in despair and cried, "Oh! the white people have sold
me, and I had to run away to keep from being sent down the river."

This white lady, whose name I am sorry I cannot remember, sympathized
with me, as she knew my mother's story and had written many letters
for her, so she offered me the key of her house, which, fortunately,
fitted my mother's door, and I was soon inside, cowering with fear in
the darkness, magnifying every noise and every passing wind, until my
imagination had almost converted the little cottage into a boat, and I
was steaming down South, away from my mother, as fast as I could go.

Late at night mother returned, and was told all that had happened, and
after getting supper, she took me to a friend's house for
concealment, until the next day.

As soon as Mr. Mitchell had discovered my unlooked-for departure, he
was furious, for he did not think I had sense enough to run away; he
accused the coachman of helping me off, and, despite the poor man's
denials, hurried him away to the calaboose and put him under the lash,
in order to force a confession. Finding this course unavailing, he
offered a reward to the negro catchers, on the same evening, but their
efforts were equally fruitless.


On the morning of the 8th of September, 1842, my mother sued Mr. D. D.
Mitchell for the possession of her child, Lucy Ann Berry. My mother,
accompanied by the sheriff, took me from my hiding-place and conveyed
me to the jail, which was located on Sixth Street, between Chestnut
and Market, where the Laclede Hotel now stands, and there met Mr.
Mitchell, with Mr. H. S. Cox, his brother-in-law.

Judge Bryant Mullanphy read the law to Mr. Mitchell, which stated that
if Mr. Mitchell took me back to his house, he must give bond and
security to the amount of two thousand dollars, and furthermore, I
should not be taken out of the State of Missouri until I had a chance
to prove my freedom. Mr. H. S. Cox became his security and Mr.
Mitchell gave bond accordingly, and then demanded that I should be put
in jail.

"Why do you want to put that poor young girl in jail?" demanded my
lawyer. "Because," he retorted, "her mother or some of her crew might
run her off, just to make me pay the two thousand dollars; and I would
like to see her lawyer, or any other man, in jail, that would take up
a d---- nigger case like that."

"You need not think, Mr. Mitchell," calmly replied Mr. Murdock,
"because my client is colored that she has no rights, and can be
cheated out of her freedom. She is just as free as you are, and the
Court will so decide it, as you will see."

However, I was put in a cell, under lock and key, and there remained
for seventeen long and dreary months, listening to the

    "----foreign echoes from the street,
    Faint sounds of revel, traffic, conflict keen--
    And, thinking that man's reiterated feet
    Have gone such ways since e'er the world has been,
    I wondered how each oft-used tone and glance
    Retains its might and old significance."

My only crime was seeking for that freedom which was my birthright! I
heard Mr. Mitchell tell his wife that he did not believe in slavery,
yet, through his instrumentality, I was shut away from the sunlight,
because he was determined to prove me a slave, and thus keep me in
bondage. Consistency, thou art a jewel!

At the time my mother entered suit for her freedom, she was not
instructed to mention her two children, Nancy and Lucy, so the white
people took advantage of this flaw, and showed a determination to use
every means in their power to prove that I was not her child.

This gave my mother an immense amount of trouble, but she had girded
up her loins for the fight, and, knowing that she was right, was
resolved, by the help of God and a good lawyer, to win my case against
all opposition.

After advice by competent persons, mother went to Judge Edward Bates
and begged him to plead the case, and, after fully considering the
proofs and learning that my mother was a poor woman, he consented to
undertake the case and make his charges only sufficient to cover his
expenses. It would be well here to give a brief sketch of Judge Bates,
as many people wondered that such a distinguished statesman would take
up the case of an obscure negro girl.

Edward Bates was born in Belmont, Goochland county, Va., September,
1793. He was of Quaker descent, and inherited all the virtues of that
peace-loving people. In 1812, he received a midshipman's warrant, and
was only prevented from following the sea by the influence of his
mother, to whom he was greatly attached. Edward emigrated to Missouri
in 1814, and entered upon the practice of law, and, in 1816, was
appointed prosecuting lawyer for the St. Louis Circuit. Toward the
close of the same year, he was appointed Attorney General for the new
State of Missouri, and in 1826, while yet a young man, was elected
representative to congress as an anti-Democrat, and served one term.
For the following twenty-five years, he devoted himself to his
profession, in which he was a shining light. His probity and
uprightness attracted to him a class of people who were in the right
and only sought justice, while he repelled, by his virtues, those who
traffic in the miseries or mistakes of unfortunate people, for they
dared not come to him and seek counsel to aid them in their villainy.

In 1847, Mr. Bates was delegate to the Convention for Internal
Improvement, held in Chicago, and by his action he came prominently
before the whole country. In 1850, President Fillmore offered him the
portfolio of Secretary of War, which he declined. Three years later,
he accepted the office of Judge of St. Louis Land Court.

When the question of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise was
agitated, he earnestly opposed it, and thus became identified with the
"free labor" party in Missouri, and united with it, in opposition to
the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution. He
afterwards became a prominent anti-slavery man, and in 1859 was
mentioned as a candidate for the presidency. He was warmly supported
by his own State, and for a time it seemed that the opposition to
Governor Seward might concentrate on him. In the National Republican
Convention, 1860, he received forty-eight votes on the first ballot,
but when it became apparent that Abraham Lincoln was the favorite, Mr.
Bates withdrew his name. Mr. Lincoln appointed Judge Bates Attorney
General, and while in the Cabinet he acted a dignified, safe and
faithful part. In 1864, he resigned his office and returned to his
home in St. Louis, where he died in 1869, surrounded by his weeping

    "----loved at home, revered abroad.
    Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
    'An honest man's the noblest work of God.'"

On the 7th of February, 1844, the suit for my freedom began. A bright,
sunny day, a day which the happy and care-free would drink in with a
keen sense of enjoyment. But my heart was full of bitterness; I could
see only gloom which seemed to deepen and gather closer to me as I
neared the courtroom. The jailer's sister-in-law, Mrs. Lacy, spoke to
me of submission and patience; but I could not feel anything but
rebellion against my lot. I could not see one gleam of brightness in
my future, as I was hurried on to hear my fate decided.

Among the most important witnesses were Judge Robert Wash and Mr.
Harry Douglas, who had been an overseer on Judge Wash's farm, and also
Mr. MacKeon, who bought my mother from H. S. Cox, just previous to her
running away.

Judge Wash testified that "the defendant, Lucy A. Berry, was a mere
infant when he came in possession of Mrs. Fannie Berry's estate, and
that he often saw the child in the care of its reputed mother, Polly,
and to his best knowledge and belief, he thought Lucy A. Berry was
Polly's own child."

Mr. Douglas and Mr. MacKeon corroborated Judge Wash's statement. After
the evidence from both sides was all in, Mr. Mitchell's lawyer, Thomas
Hutchinson, commenced to plead. For one hour, he talked so bitterly
against me and against my being in possession of my liberty that I was
trembling, as if with ague, for I certainly thought everybody must
believe him; indeed I almost believed the dreadful things he said,
myself, and as I listened I closed my eyes with sickening dread, for I
could just see myself floating down the river, and my heart-throbs
seemed to be the throbs of the mighty engine which propelled me from
my mother and freedom forever!

Oh! what a relief it was to me when he finally finished his harangue
and resumed his seat! As I never heard anyone plead before, I was very
much alarmed, although I knew in my heart that every word he uttered
was a lie! Yet, how was I to make people believe? It seemed a puzzling

Judge Bates arose, and his soulful eloquence and earnest pleading made
such an impression on my sore heart, I listened with renewed hope. I
felt the black storm clouds of doubt and despair were fading away, and
that I was drifting into the safe harbor of the realms of truth. I
felt as if everybody _must_ believe _him_, for he clung to the truth,
and I wondered how Mr. Hutchinson could so lie about a poor
defenseless girl like me.

Judge Bates chained his hearers with the graphic history of my
mother's life, from the time she played on Illinois banks, through her
trials in slavery, her separation from her husband, her efforts to
become free, her voluntary return to slavery for the sake of her
child, Lucy, and her subsequent efforts in securing her own freedom.
All these incidents he lingered over step by step, and concluding, he

    "Gentlemen of the jury, I am a slave-holder myself, but,
    thanks to the Almighty God, I am above the base principle of
    holding anybody a slave that has as good right to her freedom
    as this girl has been proven to have; she was free before she
    was born; her mother was free, but kidnapped in her youth,
    and sacrificed to the greed of negro traders, and no free
    woman can give birth to a slave child, as it is in direct
    violation of the laws of God and man!"

At this juncture he read the affidavit of Mr. A. Posey, with whom my
mother lived at the time of her abduction; also affidavits of Mr. and
Mrs. Woods, in corroboration of the previous facts duly set forth.
Judge Bates then said:

    "Gentlemen of the jury, here I rest this case, as I would
    not want any better evidence for one of my own children. The
    testimony of Judge Wash is alone sufficient to substantiate
    the claim of Polly Crockett Berry to the defendant as being
    her own child."

The case was then submitted to the jury, about 8 o'clock in the
evening, and I was returned to the jail and locked in the cell which I
had occupied for seventeen months, filled with the most intense


    "There's a joy in every sorrow,
      There's a relief from every pain;
    Though to-day 'tis dark to-morrow
      HE will turn all bright again."

Before the sheriff bade me good night he told me to be in readiness at
nine o'clock on the following morning to accompany him back to court
to hear the verdict. My mother was not at the trial. She had lingered
many days about the jail expecting my case would be called, and
finally when called to trial the dear, faithful heart was not present
to sustain me during that dreadful speech of Mr. Hutchinson. All night
long I suffered agonies of fright, the suspense was something awful,
and could only be comprehended by those who have gone through some
similar ordeal.

I had missed the consolation of my mother's presence, and I felt so
hopeless and alone! Blessed mother! how she clung and fought for me.
No work was too hard for her to undertake. Others would have flinched
before the obstacles which confronted her, but undauntedly she pursued
her way, until my freedom was established by every right and without a
questioning doubt!

On the morning of my return to Court, I was utterly unable to help
myself. I was so overcome with fright and emotion,--with the
alternating feelings of despair and hope--that I could not stand still
long enough to dress myself. I trembled like an aspen leaf; so I sent
a message to Mrs. Lacy to request permission for me to go to her room,
that she might assist me in dressing. I had done a great deal of
sewing for Mrs. Lacy, for she had showed me much kindness, and was a
good Christian. She gladly assisted me, and under her willing hands I
was soon made ready, and, promptly at nine o'clock, the sheriff called
and escorted me to the courthouse.

On our way thither, Judge Bates overtook us. He lived out a short
distance in the country, and was riding on horseback. He tipped his
hat to me as politely as if I were the finest lady in the land, and
cried out, "Good morning Miss Lucy, I suppose you had pleasant dreams
last night!" He seemed so bright and smiling that I was imbued with
renewed hope; and when he addressed the sheriff with "Good morning
Sir. I don't suppose the jury was out twenty minutes were they?" and
the sheriff replied "oh! no, sir," my heart gave a leap, for I was
sure that my fate was decided for weal or woe.

I watched the judge until he turned the corner and desiring to be
relieved of suspense from my pent-up anxiety, I eagerly asked the
sheriff if I were free, but he gruffly answered that "he didn't know."
I was sure he did know, but was too mean to tell me. How could he have
been so flinty, when he must have seen how worried I was.

At last the courthouse was reached and I had taken my seat in such a
condition of helpless terror that I could not tell one person from
another. Friends and foes were as one, and vainly did I try to
distinguish them. My long confinement, burdened with harrowing
anxiety, the sleepless night I had just spent, the unaccountable
absence of my mother, had brought me to an indescribable condition. I
felt dazed, as if I were no longer myself. I seemed to be another
person--an on-looker--and in my heart dwelt a pity for the poor,
lonely girl, with down-cast face, sitting on the bench apart from
anyone else in that noisy room. I found myself wondering where Lucy's
mother was, and how she would feel if the trial went against her; I
seemed to have lost all feeling about it, but was speculating what
Lucy would do, and what her mother would do, if the hand of Fate was
raised against poor Lucy! Oh! how sorry I did feel for myself!

At the sound of a gentle voice, I gathered courage to look upward, and
caught the kindly gleam of Judge Bates' eyes, as he bent his gaze upon
me and smilingly said, "I will have you discharged in a few minutes,
Miss Lucy!"

Some other business occupied the attention of the Court, and when I
had begun to think they had forgotten all about me, Judge Bates arose
and said calmly, "Your Honor, I desire to have this girl, Lucy A.
Berry, discharged before going into any other business."

Judge Mullanphy answered "Certainly!" Then the verdict was called for
and rendered, and the jurymen resumed their places. Mr. Mitchell's
lawyer jumped up and exclaimed:

    "Your Honor, my client demands that this girl be remanded to
    jail. He does not consider that the case has had a fair
    trial, I am not informed as to what course he intends to
    pursue, but I am now expressing his present wishes?"

Judge Bates was on his feet in a second and cried: "For shame! is it
not enough that this girl has been deprived of her liberty for a year
and a half, that you must still pursue her after a fair and impartial
trial before a jury, in which it was clearly proven and decided that
she had every right to freedom? I demand that she be set at liberty at

"I agree with Judge Bates," responded Judge Mullanphy, "and the girl
may go!"

Oh! the overflowing thankfulness of my grateful heart at that moment,
who could picture it? None but the good God above us! I could have
kissed the feet of my deliverers, but I was too full to express my
thanks, but with a voice trembling with tears I tried to thank Judge
Bates for all his kindness.

As soon as possible, I returned to the jail to bid them all good-bye
and thank them for their good treatment of me while under their care.
They rejoiced with me in my good fortune and wished me much success
and happiness in years to come.

I was much concerned at my mother's prolonged absence, and was deeply
anxious to meet her and sob out my joy on her faithful bosom. Surely
it was the hands of God which prevented mother's presence at the
trial, for broken down with anxiety and loss of sleep on my account,
the revulsion of feeling would have been greater than her over-wrought
heart could have sustained.

As soon as she heard of the result, she hurried to meet me, and hand
in hand we gazed into each other's eyes and saw the light of freedom
there, and we felt in our hearts that we could with one accord cry
out: "Glory to God in the highest, and peace and good will towards

Dear, dear mother! how solemnly I invoke your spirit as I review these
trying scenes of my girlhood, so long agone! Your patient face and
neatly-dressed figure stands ever in the foreground of that checkered
time; a figure showing naught to an on-looker but the common place
virtues of an honest woman! Never would an ordinary observer connect
those virtues with aught of heroism or greatness, but to me they are
as bright rays as ever emanated from the lives of the great ones of
earth, which are portrayed on historic pages--to me, the qualities of
her true, steadfast heart and noble soul become "a constellation, and
is tracked in Heaven straightway."


After the trial was over and my mother had at last been awarded the
right to own her own child, her next thought reverted to sister Nancy,
who had been gone so long, and from whom we had never heard, and the
greatest ambition mother now had was to see her child Nancy. So, we
earnestly set ourselves to work to reach the desired end, which was to
visit Canada and seek the long-lost girl. My mother being a
first-class laundress, and myself an expert seamstress, it was easy to
procure all the work we could do, and command our own prices. We
found, as well as the whites, a great difference between slave and
free labor, for while the first was compulsory, and, therefore, at the
best, perfunctory, the latter must be superior in order to create a
demand, and realizing this fully, mother and I expended the utmost
care in our respective callings, and were well rewarded for our

By exercising rigid economy and much self-denial, we, at last,
accumulated sufficient to enable mother to start for Canada, and oh!
how rejoiced I was when that dear, overworked mother approached the
time, when her hard-earned and long-deferred holiday was about to
begin. The uses of adversity is a worn theme, and in it there is much
of weak cant, but when it is considered how much of sacrifice the
poverty-stricken must bear in order to procure the slightest
gratification, should it not impress the thinking mind with amazement,
how much of fortitude and patience the honest poor display in the
exercise of self-denial! Oh! ye prosperous! prate of the uses of
adversity as poetically as you please, we who are obliged to learn of
them by bitter experience would greatly prefer a change of

Mother arrived in Toronto two weeks after she left St. Louis, and
surprised my sister Nancy, in a pleasant home. She had married a
prosperous farmer, who owned the farm on which they lived, as well as
some property in the city near-by. Mother was indescribably happy in
finding her child so pleasantly situated, and took much pleasure with
her bright little grandchildren; and after a long visit, returned
home, although strongly urged to remain the rest of her life with
Nancy; but old people are like old trees, uproot them, and transplant
to other scenes, they droop and die, no matter how bright the
sunshine, or how balmy the breezes.

On her return, mother found me with Mrs. Elsie Thomas, where I had
lived during her absence, still sewing for a livelihood. Those were
the days in which sewing machines were unknown, and no stitching or
sewing of any description was allowed to pass muster, unless each
stitch looked as if it were a part of the cloth. The art of fine
sewing was lost when sewing machines were invented, and though
doubtless they have given women more leisure, they have destroyed that
extreme neatness in the craft, which obtained in the days of long ago.

Time passed happily on with us, with no event to ruffle life's
peaceful stream, until 1845, when I met Frederick Turner, and in a few
short months we were made man and wife. After our marriage, we removed
to Quincy, Ill., but our happiness was of short duration, as my
husband was killed in the explosion of the steamboat Edward Bates, on
which he was employed. To my mind it seemed a singular coincidence
that the boat which bore the name of the great and good man, who had
given me the first joy of my meagre life--the precious boon of
freedom--and that his namesake should be the means of weighting me
with my first great sorrow; this thought seemed to reconcile me to my
grief, for that name was ever sacred, and I could not speak it
without reverence.

The number of killed and wounded were many, and they were distributed
among friends and hospitals; my husband was carried to a friend's,
where he breathed his last. Telegraphs were wanting in those times, so
days passed before this wretched piece of news reached me, and there
being no railroads, and many delays, I reached the home of my friend
only to be told that my husband was dead and buried. Intense grief was
mine, and my repining worried mother greatly; she never believed in
fretting about anything that could not be helped. My only consolation
from her was, "'Cast your burden on the Lord.' _My_ husband is down
South, and I don't know where he is; he may be dead; he may be alive;
he may be happy and comfortable; he may be kicked, abused and
half-starved. _Your_ husband, honey, is in heaven; and mine--God only
knows where he is!"

In those few words, I knew her burden was heavier than mine, for I had
been taught that there was hope beyond the grave, but hope was left
behind when sold "down souf"; and so I resolved to conceal my grief,
and devote myself to my mother, who had done so much and suffered so
much for me.

We then returned to St. Louis, and took up the old life, minus the
contentment which had always buoyed us up in our daily trials, and
with an added sorrow which cast a sadness over us. But Time, the great
healer, taught us patience and resignation, and once more we were

    "Waiting when fortune sheds brightly her smile,
    There always is something to wait for the while."


Four years afterward, I became the wife of Zachariah Delaney, of
Cincinnati, with whom I have had a happy married life, continuing
forty-two years. Four children were born to us, and many were the
plans we mapped out for their future, but two of our little girls were
called from us while still in their childhood. My remaining daughter
attained the age of twenty-two years, and left life behind, while the
brightest of prospects was hers, and my son, in the fullness of a
promising youth, at the age of twenty-four, "turned his face to the
wall." So my cup of bitterness was full to the brim and overflowing;
yet one consolation was always mine! Our children were born free and
died free! Their childhood and my maternity were never shadowed with a
thought of separation. The grim reaper did not spare them, but they
were as "treasures laid up in heaven." Such a separation one could
accept from the hand of God, with humble submission, "for He calleth
His own!"

Mother always made her home with me until the day of her death; she
had lived to see the joyful time when her race was made free, their
chains struck off, and their right to their own flesh and blood
lawfully acknowledged. Her life, so full of sorrow, was ended, full of
years and surrounded by many friends, both black and white, who
recognized and appreciated her sufferings and sacrifices and rejoiced
that her old age was spent in freedom and plenty. The azure vault of
heaven bends over us all, and the gleaming moonlight brightens the
marble tablet which marks her last resting place, "to fame and fortune
unknown," but in the eyes of Him who judgeth us, hers was a heroism
which outvied the most famous.

       *       *       *       *       *

I frequently thought of father, and wondered if he were alive or dead;
and at the time of the great exodus of negroes from the South, a few
years ago, a large number arrived in St. Louis, and were cared for by
the colored people of that city. They were sheltered in churches,
halls and private houses, until such time as they could pursue their
journey. Methought, I will find him in this motley crowd, of all ages,
from the crowing babe in its mother's arms, to the aged and decrepit,
on whom the marks of slavery were still visible. I piled inquiry upon
inquiry, until after long and persistent search, I learned that my
father had always lived on the same plantation, fifteen miles from
Vicksburg. I wrote to my father and begged him to come and see me and
make his home with me; sent him the money, so he would be to no
expense, and when he finally reached St. Louis, it was with great joy
that I received him. Old, grizzled and gray, time had dealt hardly
with him, and he looked very little like the dapper master's valet,
whose dark beauty won my mother's heart.

Forty-five years of separation, hard work, rough times and heart
longings, had perseveringly performed its work, and instead of a man
bearing his years with upright vigor, he was made prematurely old by
the accumulation of troubles. My sister Nancy came from Canada, and we
had a most joyful reunion, and only the absence of our mother left a
vacuum, which we deeply and sorrowfully felt. Father could not be
persuaded to stay with us, when he found his wife dead; he longed to
get back to his old associations of forty-five years standing, he felt
like a stranger in a strange land, and taking pity on him, I urged him
no more, but let him go, though with great reluctance.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are abounding in public and private libraries of all sorts,
lives of people which fill our minds with amazement, admiration,
sympathy, and indeed with as many feelings as there are people, so I
can scarcely expect that the reader of these episodes of my life will
meet with more than a passing interest, but as such I will commend it
to your thought for a brief hour. To be sure, I am deeply sensible
that this story, as written, is not a very striking performance, but I
have brought you with me face to face with but only a few of the
painful facts engendered by slavery, and the rest can be drawn from
history. Just have patience a little longer, and I have done.

I became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1855; was
elected President of the first colored society, called the "Female
Union," which was the first ever organized exclusively for women; was
elected President of a society known as the "Daughters of Zion"; was
matron of "Siloam Court," No. 2, three years in succession; was Most
Ancient Matron of the "Grand Court of Missouri," of which only the
wives of Masons are allowed to become members. I am at present, Past
Grand Chief Preceptress of the "Daughters of the Tabernacle and
Knights of Tabor," and also was Secretary, and am still a member, of
Col. Shaw Woman's Relief Corps, No. 34, auxiliary to the Col. Shaw
Post, 343, Grand Army of the Republic.

Considering the limited advantages offered me, I have made the best
use of my time, and what few talents the Lord has bestowed on me I
have not "hidden in a napkin," but used them for His glory and to
benefit those for whom I live. And what better can we do than to live
for others?

Except the deceitfulness of riches, nothing is so illusory as the
supposition of interest we assume that our readers may feel in our
affairs; but if this sketch is taken up for just a moment of your
life, it may settle the problem in your mind, if not in others, "Can
the negro race succeed, proportionately, as well as the whites, if
given the same chance and an equal start?"

    "The hours are growing shorter for the millions who are toiling;
    And the homes are growing better for the millions yet to be;
    And we all shall learn the lesson, how that waste and sin are spoiling
    The fairest and the finest of a grand humanity.

    It is coming! it is coming! and men's thoughts are growing deeper;
    They are giving of their millions as they never gave before;
    They are learning the new Gospel; man must be his brother's keeper,
    And right, not might, shall triumph, and the selfish rule no more."


       *       *       *       *       *

             =Transcriber's Notes=

Spelling variations have been retained for:

Chapter I, Page 10: Polly Crocket
(Living with Mrs. Posey was a little negro girl, named Polly Crocket,
who had made it her home there, in peace and happiness, for five

Chapter IV, Page 43: Polly Crockett Berry
(The testimony of Judge Wash is alone sufficient to substantiate the
claim of Polly Crockett Berry to the defendant as being her own

Other minor typographical and punctuation errors have been
corrected from the original to reflect the author's intent.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.