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    Slavery   Table of Contents     Marriage

Brown, Hallie Q.
Homespun heroines

- FRANCES JANE BROWN -- April 15, 1819--April 16, 1914
- Crazy Jane

Crazy Jane

There was not much in those early days to interest a little girl like Frances and so minor incidents loomed great in her childish mind.

A strong impression was made upon her by a poor old white woman known as "Crazy Jane" who roamed the streets and lanes repeating snatches of poetry and verses from the Bible, telling the people God was angry with them

for holding slaves. As night came on she would sit on some friendly door-step or by the way-side, crooning and singing her favorite bits. One couplet never left Frances.

Seated in the quiet of Homewood Cottage at twilight in the evening of her long life--memories of her childhood came as the plaintive notes of the woodland dove were heard and the couplet heard so often would be given in the drawl of "Crazy Jane"--

"O, don't you hear the mournful dove
Token of Redeeming Love."

For several years after reaching Ohio, Frances made her home with the family of Major W--in Cincinnati. She became deeply interested in the cause of the slaves and joined the Abolitionists. She had several narrow escapes from being arrested.

Walking down the street one day, she came face to face, with a beautiful, young colored woman who was running and looking back. "What is the matter," said Frances. "I just got of'n the boat," she exclaimed breathlessly, "I'm a slave an' runnin' away. They are after me. Won't you hide me?" Frances took her hand, turned about and the two girls ran as fast as they could and had barely got inside of a friend's house before loud knocks were heard. When the door was opened an irate man demanded his slave whom he said he had seen enter the house. Frances stood trembling. The slave-holder declared she was his property. "O, no," said the friends, "we know this girl but you are at liberty to look further." In the meantime the slave girl Caroline, had been passed over back-gates and fences and was several doors away. With mutterings of wrath, the man hurried back to the boat which had whistled a warning to depart. Caroline was kept in hiding for some time and finally sent to Canada, where after forty years, she and Frances met on English soil to recount that narrow escape from slavery.

    Slavery   Table of Contents     Marriage