Thursday, October 2, 2014

When Things Work Out Just Right

Every once in a while things work out just right, people are in the right place at the right time, schedules align, and amazing things happen. Call it what you want: karma, the universe. Just such an event happened this past week-end, and it was huge! For those of us involved, we like to think it was a God-thing. 

First things first though. You need a bit of background to appreciate what happened.

On December 20, 1858, eleven slaves in Missouri were rescued by the abolitionist, John Brown, his friend, John Henry Kagi, and a raiding party. Two of those slaves, Samuel Harper and Jane Hamilton were my husband's third great-grandparents. It was believed that Jane was pregnant at the time, and along the way, she gave birth to a child who was named Captain John Brown. For over two months, the fugitive slaves, and their rescuers made their way through Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. One of the places the party stopped along the way was the Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City. This was the home of Allen and Barbara Mayhew. Barbara was John Henry Kagi's sister. The party continued travelling through Iowa, onto Illinois and Michigan. Finally, on March 12, 1859, Sam and Jane Harper boarded a ferry in Detroit, Michigan, crossed the Detroit River and landed at freedom in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Fast-forward to Spring 2014 when I received an email from a woman named Cathy. She is the vice president of the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown's Cave in Nebraska City. Cathy has been researching the slaves who had escaped with the assistance of Brown and Kagi. Furthermore, she has been looking for their descendants. Imagine how excited we were to make contact!
But wait.
It gets even better.

Another connection was made this past week-end, thanks in part to Cathy. A second great-grandson of Allen and Barbara Mayhew happened to be in Toronto on business. He contacted a third-great grandson of Samuel and Jane Harper who happens to live in Ontario. A meeting was arranged. One hundred and fifty-five years after that fateful escape on the Underground Railroad, Darryl Hogan and Brad Mayhew met each other in person at the North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Darryl Hogan and Brad Mayhew, Amherstburg, Ontario, 2014.
Photo by Kathryn Hogan. © 2014. All rights reserved.

Darryl Hogan, Brad Mayhew and Kathryn Hogan, Amherstburg, Ontario, 2014.
Photo by Kathryn Hogan. © 2014. All rights reserved.

Sometimes things work out just right. And, when they do, it's amazing!

Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.