Enslaved grooms, stable hands, jockeys, and carriage drivers were often able to use skills they were forced to develop in slavery for their own benefit. Newspaper advertisements for escapees, often called escape slave ads, mention that freedom seekers stole horses to aid in their escapes. By contrast, Nathan Harris, brother-in-law to Caroline Davis Brown who worked as a dairymaid, turned his experiences and reputation at Hampton into a livelihood for himself and his family.
Nathan was a senior coachman at Hampton. According to James McHenry Howard, Nathan was "...the driver who used to handle the four in hand so skillfully as to command the admiration of the people of Baltimore." After Emancipation, Nathan became the owner of a successful stable and horse breeding business in the Govans area of Baltimore City.
Nathan and his wife, Ellen, (Caroline's older sister), had 11 children, among them a daughter Isabella. Isabella was one of the last children to be born enslaved at Hampton. During a recent Ethnographic Study conducted here at Hampton, researchers have discovered dozens of living descendants of Isabella/Belle Harris and her husband Dennis Gross in the Towson area.
As you pause on this lane outside of the stable, with some protection from the watchful eye of the Overseer's House and the mansion, read about Freedom Seeking.