A Man Who Bought His Family Out of Bondage
In 1835 I married Miss Susan Young. In 1838 I left my wife in the neighborhood of Mayslick as a servant of Mrs. Sissen and came to Maysville. They did not get along together very well, and Mrs. Sissen sold her, as she thought, to Mr. Peck, of Washington, Ky., who was trading in colored people, or rather slaves, because in those times we were not known as colored people. She sold my wife with the expectation of sending her south, or "down the river," as the expression was. My master, John P. Dobbyns, gave the negro-trader the money and sent him out there. He bought and brought her to Maysville and, being unable to keep her, he sold her and three children to John C. Reid. I do not know how long Mr. Reid kept them, but I suppose about ten years. My master bought her back again, leaving her in the hands of Reid, with the three children. She remained with John P. Dobbyns until he failed financially. Having made a final failure, they put her and the children up at the market for sale.
Green, already a free man, wished to purchase his own wife and children out of slavery, but could not afford the $850 to do so. Thankfully, thirteen men came to his assistance and loaned him the money, or rather gave it to him saying, "If you never pay it, we will never trouble your family." Some of these men are recognizable as the early influencers in Maysville. They included: H. Ray, Samuel S. Miner, John McDaniel, John Hunt, A. M. January, Thomas A. Ross, Robert A. Cochran, John Shackleford, Samuel C. Pearce, Michael Ryan, Samuel W. Wood, James A. Johnson, and Lewis Collins.
The full story of Elisha W. Green is in his autobiography that you can read online here.