~ Samuel Green was born a slave in East New Market, Maryland in 1802 to an enslaved mother. The identity of his father remains unknown. Samuel belonged to Henry Nichols, until Nichol’s death in 1832. A provision in Nichol’s will enable Green to purchase his freedom.
Samuel Green married Catherine (Kitty) who belonged to Ezekiel Richardson from a neighboring plantation. Sam and Kitty had two children, Sam Jr (born 1829) and Susan (born in 1832). Sam brought his wife freedom from Richardson in 1842, but before he had the chance to purchase his children freedom Richardson ran into so money trouble in 1847 and had to sell off some slaves. Sam and Kitty two children was among the sold. Richardson sold Sam and Kitty children to Dr. James Muse.
Sam’s reputation grew in both the African American and the European American community of Dorchester County. In 1852 Sam served as a delegated to the Convention of the Free Colored People of Baltimore, Maryland, where he encourage emigration to Africa.
In October 1855 Sam attended the National Convention of the Colored people of the United States. This event was held at Franklin Hall in Philadelphia. While at this event Sam mingled with many prominent Northern black abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895), Jacob Gibbs, Stephen Myers, William Cooper Nell (December 16, 1816 – May 25, 1874), Charles Lenox Remond (February 1, 1810 – December 22, 1873), John Stewart Rock (October 13, 1825 – December 3, 1866) , and Mary Ann Shadd Cary (October 9, 1823 – June 5, 1893).
In August 1854, Sam’s son, Sam Jr. a skilled blacksmith ran away from Dr. Muse plantation after learning that he might be sold. Using instructions given to him by Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1822 – March 10, 1913). Sam Jr. found his way to the office of William Still (October 7, 1821 – July 14, 1902), Philadelphia’s most notorious Underground Railroad stationmaster. Still forward Sam Jr. to the home of Charles Hicks Bustill (1816-1890), a prominent Black American Underground Railroad agent in Philadelphia. From there Sam Jr. was sent to Chipway, Ontario, Canada near Niagara Falls, where he joined other Eastern Shore runaways living free lives.
It was well known that Sam Jr. to have helped Harriet Tubman and other runaway slaves from the region, no doubt these are the connections that helped Sam Jr. successfully reach freedom.
Once in Canada Sam Jr. wrote his parents telling them the news of his freedom and successful journey his letter also included “plenty of friends, plenty to eat and to drink” Sam Jr. also ask his father in his letter to tell two locally enslaved men Peter Jackson and Joe Bailey to come to Canada as soon as they could. Jackson fled with Tubman and her brother in December of 1854, Bailey on the other hand waited two years for the right time. Both men succeeded.
Sam Jr. sister Susan was unable to flee. Susan was either unwilling or unable due to her being a mother of two young children. Dr. Muse was very angry over Sam Jr. escape and was paranoid that Susan would escape soon, fear he will lose more of his investment Dr. Muse sold Susan to a Missouri family, separating her from her family never to be seen and heard of again.
March 1857 rumors were circulating that Samuel played a big role in the escape Dover Eight, a group of eight runaways who has successfully eluded capture in a dramatic flight from Dorchester County.
Dorchester County Sheriff went to Samuel house to investigate. They found letters from Samuel son Sam Jr. naming Jackson and Bailey the two slaves who had escape to Canada with the help of Tubman. Raising further suspicions, when Sam returned from visiting his fugitive son in Canada the authorities search for more evidence and found a Canadian map, various railroad schedules, and copy of the two volumes set of Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896), 1852 best seller, Uncle Tom Cabin in Samuel home.
Samuel was arrested on April 4, 1857 and charged with “knowingly having in his possession a certain abolition pamphlet called ‘Uncle Tom Cabin.’ and calculated to create discontent amongst the colored population of the state.
Samuel was acquitted on the second charge, but convicted on the first, and on May 14 1857 Sam was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
The case caused a great deal of concern, with abolitionists calling for Green to be released and slaveholders calling for him to remain in jail. John Dixon Long (September 26, 1817 – 1894), wrote in 1857:
Dorchester County is almost exclusively a Methodist County. If the members of the M. E. Church of Dorchester had been liberty-loving, slavery-hating Methodists, no judge or jury would have dared to consign their brother in Christ to ten years’ incarceration in a State prison, separated from wife and children, for having a book in his possession which might have been found on the shelves of the very Judge that pronounced the sentence. To the best of my recollection, I never saw a jury at any County Court on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that was not partially composed of members of the M. E. Church. The Judge who pronounced the sentence was, when I was a boy, a member of the New-school Presbyterian Church in Snow Hill, Md.; and, I presume, he is still a member of that church. He ought to have resigned his seat rather than have pronounced such a sentence. The Methodists of Maryland could have poor Green pardoned in six months, should they desire it. May the prayers of all the good go up to the Throne of Grace for this oppressed brother! I blush for my native State when I think of her bloody code of laws–a code that would disgrace a savage tribe. I blush for the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, and the Baptists of Maryland, who, united, could wipe off from the statute book the black laws that tarnish her fair fame. Maryland denies the humanity of one hundred thousand slaves, and oppresses seventy-five thousand free negroes. May the Omnipotent speed the hour when American slavery shall be blasted by the thunders of His power, amidst the shoutings and hallelujahs of a redeemed race!
The governor of Maryland, Thomas Holliday Hicks (September 2, 1798 – February 14, 1865), sided with the slaveholders. Green, because he was literate, worked in the warden’s office doing paperwork. The cost of the trial, however, forced Kitty and Sam to sell their property in Dorchester County. Kitty then moved to Baltimore to be closer to Sam, supporting herself by taking in laundry. Hicks’s successor and 32nd governor of Maryland, Augustus Williamson Bradford (January 9, 1806 – March 1, 1881), freed Green in 1862, on condition that he leave Maryland. Green and his wife toured Philadelphia, New York, and New England, before emigrating to Canada. Their daughter Susan remained in slavery in Missouri.
Sam and Kitty returned to Maryland after the American Civil War, settling in Dorchester County to resume their pre-trial lives. He was a very active member of the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, working on committees for education and religious instruction. He later became involved in the Centenary Biblical Institute in Baltimore, which trained young men for the ministry and in time became known as Morgan State University. Sam and Kitty moved to Baltimore around 1874, presumably to devote more time to the Institute. Samuel Green died there on February 28, 1877.