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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
          SKETCH OR BIOGRAPHY OF MY LIFE.               277

chair, a piece of board on which a sailor sits when scraping the
mast. To this board was attached a life-line. After a person
had taken his seat, by a given signal the seat was pulled to the
shore; sometimes only the empty seat reaching the shore. We,
who survived, were well treated by the people on shore.  I
remember a quartermaster (a colored man) who lost his life
after saving three children. On attempting to take the fourth
child on shore, both he and the child were lost. I can even now
remember how he was cheered by the officers and crew, each
time he returned from a successful trip, though, I do not re-
member his name.
  We were taken from Colon to Jamaica, in the S. S. "Tamar,"
from where I worked my way back to St Thomas. An Ameri-
can gun-boat was wrecked at the same time.  She also lost a
number of her crew.
  After remaining a few days in St. Thomas, I was appointed
steward of the S. S. "Solent." The ship-wreck and the great
trouble I had undergone only gave me greater courage to see
more of the wonders of God.
  I was in Vera Cruz, Mexico, during the war (1864). I made
several voyages to Mexico in the "Solent," calling on our way at
Havana, Cuba It was in this place that I first saw my race in
slavery. One day, while laying alongside the pier, taking coal,
which was done by slaves, I happened to go on the pier to speak
to them. They could not understand me, and I could not speak
Spanish; but while trying to make myself understood, the
driver, a small, dirty-looking Spaniard, with a very rough face,
came up and struck one of the colored men with a whip he held
in his hand. I was surprised to see him take it so quietly. The
Spaniard raised his whip to strike another one of the men. I
went up and laid hold of his hand. He immediately turned upon
me.  Two of my officers were looking from the ship's deck, so I
had no fear, though, I was only a boy of 16 years. I managed to
take the whip out of his hand, gave him a cut, and threw the
whip into the sea. The then turned upon me with his hands.
Thinking I might get the worst of it, I stooped down, took up
a lump of coal and struck him in the face, giving him a mark
which I am sure always reminded him of me whenever he looked
in the glass. About half an hour afterward, the man came after
me on board the ship, accompanied by two policemen, but they
got such a warm reception from some of the crew that they were
glad to make a hasty retreat, and did not trouble themselves
  The American war was going on at that time. I can remem-
ber meeting with what were called the "Blockade Runners" in
Havana. I also remember an American man-of-war stopping
one of our steamers, "The Trent," outside of Havana.
  I served in the "Solent" as a saloon waiter until September.
At this time, Mr. J. T. Fletcher, who was superintendent
provider, came out from England on inspection. I was selected
to be his personal attendant, while on his tour around the West


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OHS/National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center Serial Collection

African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3

Volume:  06
Issue Number:  03
Date:  01/1890


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