STEAL AWAY HOME
The remarkable true story of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who escaped on the Underground Railroad—and returned for the sake of family.
Born into bondage in Louisville, Kentucky, Cecelia was only fifteen years old in 1846 when she made her perilous journey across the Niagara River. With a fellow freedom-seeker’s aid, she reached Toronto, where she married Underground Railroad conductor Benjamin Holmes and began a new life. But she never forgot the beloved family members she had been forced to leave behind.
Cecelia risked her own freedom when she wrote to her Kentucky owners asking the price of her mother’s liberty. The letter rekindled her relationship with Fanny, the Louisville belle who was both her mistress and the closest companion of her childhood, and began a twenty-year correspondence entirely unique in the annals of the Underground Railroad.
Cecelia’s struggle to raise the needed funds carried her across the Atlantic and from the Rochester, New York, of the great Frederick Douglass to the battlefields of the Civil War. At war’s end, she returned to Kentucky with her wounded husband and two small children. But hooded Night Riders roamed the countryside, terrorizing newly freed Blacks. It was to Fanny that Cecelia turned, and these two very different women resumed the precious but unequal friendship that would endure for the rest of their lives.