6 Legendary Poisons and 1 Legendary Antidote

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iStock.com/AurelianGogonea

The line between true crime and legend can be a blurry one, and in a time before toxicology tests and forensic pathology, stories of mysterious poisons with chameleon-like properties abounded. Here are six legendary poisons, which may or may not have actually existed, and the one antidote to counter them all.

1. GU

Gu was an ancient Chinese poison with magical properties that was said to have been created by enclosing multiple venomous animals such as snakes, lizards, scorpions, centipedes, and assorted insects in a box. They would eat each other until there was only one left, a creature now replete with the toxins of all its digested fellows. A supervenom could then be extracted from the beast and used to kill, cause disease, or create black magic love charms.

Victims of gu poisoning were said to die vomiting blood or when all the food they ingested came back to life inside their stomachs. Gu could even kill from a distance, its malevolent spirit doing all the work with no need for actual poisoning. 

2. PARYSATIS'S ONE-SIDE-OF-THE-KNIFE POISON

Parysatis, mother of Persian King Artaxerxes II (435 or 445 BC-358 BCE), did not get along with her daughter-in-law Stateira. Furious that Stateira was taking her place in her son's affections, Parysatis hatched a plan to get her out of the way. A simple poisoning wouldn't do, because due to their mutual suspicion of each other, they both ate from the same dishes prepared by the same cook. To get past this obstacle, Parysatis smeared an unknown poison on one side of her knife and then cut into a small roasted bird which, according to Plutarch, "has no excrement, but is all full of fat inside; and the creature is thought to live upon air and dew." She gave Stateira the half of the legendary bird that the poisoned side of the blade had touched and ate the clean side herself.

Stateira died a painful death, but Parysatis's victory proved Pyrrhic. Wracked with convulsions on her deathbed, Stateira convinced her husband that his mother was responsible for her murder. Artaxerxes tortured his mother's servants and attendants, executed her most trusted maidservant, and exiled Parysatis to Babylon. They never saw each other again.

3. EITR

In Norse mythology, the liquid eitr is both the source of life and a means to end it. When fragments of ice from Niflheim (the primordial ice realm of the north) encountered sparks from Muspelheim (the primordial realm of fire to the south) in the Ginnungagap, the yawning void between the realms, the ice melted. This runoff was eitr, the generative substance which created the giant Ymir. The gods fashioned the earth from Ymir's flesh, the oceans from his blood, the mountains from his bones, the trees from his hair, the clouds from his brain. Midgard, the realm of men, was made from Ymir's eyebrows.

Eitr was thus responsible for the world and all life on it, but it was also a deadly poison, strong enough to kill gods. According to Norse mythology, at the great final battle of Ragnarök, the sea serpent Jörmungandr, which encircles Midgard, will rise from the ocean to poison the sky. Thor will slay the beast, but because Jörmungandr's blood is eitr, Thor will only walk nine paces before dying from the poison.

In Scandinavian folklore, the legendary liquid of life and death became synonymous with deadly toxins. Eitr is the word for poison in Old Icelandic, eitur in modern Icelandic.

4. THE BORGIA'S SLOW-ACTING WHITE POWDER/CANTARELLA

The Borgia family is now inextricably associated with poison. It all began with Cem, the half-brother of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II and thorn in his side. Bayezid kept his half-brother as far away from him as possible, with Cem eventually lodging with Pope Innocent VIII, and after his death in 1492, his successor Alexander VI (1431-1503), the infamous Rodrigo Borgia. In exchange for hosting his troublesome half-brother indefinitely, Bayezid paid a huge amount up front and another less huge but still enormous amount yearly.

The gravy train ended in September of 1494 when Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and marched down the boot to take the Kingdom of Naples, which he planned to use as a launching pad for a new crusade to recapture Jerusalem. The Pope, alarmed by Charles's rapid advance, allied with Florence and engaged him in a couple of skirmishes which Charles's army won handily. When he reached Rome on December 31, 1494, Charles forced Pope Alexander to hand over Prince Cem. The French left Rome on January 28, 1495, with Cem in tow. On February 25, after a week's illness, Cem died.

Rumors that Cem had been poisoned by the Borgia pope started almost immediately, despite the fact that the Pope lost 45,000 ducats a year and a most useful tool of manipulation against the Ottoman Sultan when Cem died. The long gap between the last time they were together and the Sultan's death was explained with a most convenient device: a mysterious slow-acting white powder of unknown composition that could be administered one day and kill weeks later. So handy was this device that it was soon employed to explain the death of anyone who ever brushed up against the Borgias.

The mysterious white powder soon evolved into a poison of legendary versatility. A single dose could kill instantly, in a few days or in months. It was white as snow with a pleasant taste that mixed easily and undetectably in any food or beverage. It could be imbued in objects like cups and boots, making them fatal to the touch, or in candles, making their smoke deadly. It was dubbed la cantarella, and rumor had it that Pope Alexander VI, his son Cesare Borgia, and his daughter Lucrezia Borgia all made ample use of it.

Some historians posit cantarella may have been an arsenic compound, or perhaps a cantharidin powder made from crushed blister beetles, but the sources are wildly inconsistent about who was killed when under what circumstances. One oft-repeated story, contradicted by contemporary diaries but promoted by chroniclers for centuries, held that Alexander VI died when he and Cesare were somehow served the cantarella-laced wine intended for one or more cardinals. Alexander fell forward, struck instantly dead. Cesare survived long enough thanks to his youth and strength to have himself stuffed into the carcass of a bull. The bull carcass saved his life, and he emerged from it fresh and dewy as a newborn babe while the blackened and bloated corpse of his father putrefied at an accelerated rate.

5. AQUA TOFANA

Reputedly the invention of a 17th century Sicilian woman named Giulia Tofana, Aqua Tofana was colorless, tasteless, and odorless, and sometimes believed to have been a compound of, variously, arsenic, Spanish Fly, pennywort, and/or snapdragon. It could supposedly kill with exceptional precision: doses could be calculated to kill immediately, in a week, a month, or years later, for the poisoner who wanted the plausibility of a slow decline. Some stories say victims gradually lost all their hair and teeth and shriveled up until they finally died in agony. Others insist there were no acute symptoms at all, that victims simply fell into a languor from which they never recovered. The poison was usually added to food, but it could also be applied to the cheek if the victim was likely to kiss it. 

Giulia bottled her deadly liquid in innocuous-looking vials. Since most of her customers were women looking to do away with their husbands, the bottles appeared to be cosmetics, indistinguishable from the other nostrums and remedies on a lady's vanity. Most deviously of all, Aqua Tofana was sold as the "manna" of St. Nicholas of Bari, an oil said to ooze from the tomb of St. Nicholas, which was widely sold for its miraculous curative properties in a bottle painted with the image of the saint (see image above).

The story goes (and there are no reliable contemporary sources for any of this) that Giulia Tofana plied her trade from her teenaged years until her seventies, moving from Sicily to Naples to Rome, always a step ahead of the authorities. She fled to a convent where she lived for 20 years, still dealing in poison, under the protection of the abbess, until finally soldiers broke down the door and arrested her in 1709. Other versions of the story have her taking sanctuary in a church, where the soldiers busted her in 1659. Under torture, she confessed to poisoning 600 men. She and her accomplices, including her daughter, were executed. Or strangled by a mob—versions differ.

Pope Clement XIV (1705-1774) was rumored to have been a victim of Aqua Tofana, as was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1829, 38 years after his death, his widow Constanze told Mozart enthusiasts Vincent and Mary Novello that on his deathbed he had declared "I am sure that I have been poisoned. I cannot rid myself of this idea ... Someone has given me Acqua Tofana and calculated the precise time of my death."

6. POUDRE DE SUCCESSION

The poudre de succession, or "inheritance powder," was named for its prowess in disposing of troublesome heirs. It was supposedly the invention of one of France's most notorious poisoners, Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers (1630-1676). Different sources claim the poudre was composed of ground glass, sugar of lead, a powdered version of Aqua Tofana, and everybody's favorite fallback, arsenic. It was said to be so deadly, a mere whiff of it would kill instantly.

Her career as a poisoner began when her father Antoine Dreux d'Aubray had her lover Captain Godin de Sainte-Croix imprisoned in the Bastille. Sainte-Croix's cellmate was an Italian fellow called Exili who had extensive knowledge of poisons, which he generously shared with his new friend. Upon his release, Sainte-Croix shared his newfound learning with the Marquise, who experimented with different compositions, handing out poisoned bread to unsuspecting paupers in hospital wards where she so charitably volunteered her time.

Her first deliberate target was her father. He died under her care in 1666. That was for revenge. When she killed her brothers Antoine and François d'Aubray in 1670, it was for the inheritance. Other mysterious deaths around them were later attributed to poisoned pigeon pies served at her elegant dinners. In 1672 Sainte-Croix died, perhaps of natural causes, perhaps from inhaling his own product. He left behind a red leather box full of poisons and all of Madame de Brinvilliers's correspondence, which detailed their nefarious activities.

She fled the country, finally winding up in a convent in Liège where she was found by a gendarme named Degrais who had disguised himself as a priest and arranged a naughty tryst with the suspect. When she showed up, Degrais arrested her. In Paris she was subjected to the water cure torture, i.e., forced to drink 16 pints of water, whereupon she confessed to all her crimes. She was beheaded and her body burned.

BONUS ANTIDOTE: MITHRIDATUM

King Mithradates VI Eupator of Pontus (134-63 BC) was paranoid, and justifiably so. His mother had poisoned his father to death and ruled as regent during his minority. Even as a child he suspected she was plotting to do to him what she had done to his dad so she could install his brother on the throne. When he found himself getting sicker and sicker, he ran away into the wilderness where he dedicated himself to developing an immunity to every other poison he could find.

It worked. As an adult, Mithradates was reputed to be unpoisonable. He supposedly created a universal antidote that could counter any poison. After his defeat in the Third Mithridatic War, Pompey the Great found a recipe in Mithridates’s own handwriting that featured dried walnuts, figs, rue leaves, and a pinch of salt. Pompey brought it back to Rome. In 30 CE, a version of this recipe was published in Book V of De Medicina by Aulus Cornelius Celsus.

Mithridatum, and its Greek cognate theriac, continued to be made in a wide variety of complex formulations for the next 1800 years. It had so many ingredients, some very hard to find, and took so long to produce that it was enormously expensive. Only the wealthy could afford invulnerability.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

9 Unsung Heroes of the Underground Railroad

An illustration depicting fugitives along the Underground Railroad in Maryland, taken from William Still's 1872 book The Underground Railroad.
An illustration depicting fugitives along the Underground Railroad in Maryland, taken from William Still's 1872 book The Underground Railroad.
Philadelphia, Porter & Coates, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Considering that the massive network of hidden paths and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad stretched from the Deep South all the way to Canada, it makes sense that hundreds of people were involved in its operation. Some, like Harriet Tubman, were “conductors,” who led the rescue missions, while others—John Brown, for example—were “station masters,” hosting fugitives in their homes and arranging safe passage to freedom. Here are nine other valorous heroes who risked life and limb to help people on their way to liberty.

1. William Still

A sketch of William Still from Wilbur Henry Siebert and Albert Bushnell Hart's 1898 book The Underground Railroad From Slavery to Freedom.Macmillan, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Born to formerly enslaved parents in New Jersey in 1821, William Still moved to Philadelphia at age 23 and took up the abolitionist mantle in more ways than one. He taught himself to read and write, got a job as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and advanced through the organization until he was named chairman of its new Vigilance Committee in the early 1850s. In that position, Still oversaw the region’s network of safe houses—his own house among them—and raised money to finance key rescue missions, including a few of Harriet Tubman’s.

It’s estimated that Still ferried about 800 people to freedom during his tenure; one of them was his brother Peter. But there’s another reason he’s often referred to as “the Father of the Underground Railroad.” Still documented the stories of more than 600 escapees and published them all in a groundbreaking volume called The Underground Railroad in 1872, making him the only Black person ever to write and self-publish a firsthand account of activity on the Underground Railroad. He hoped that the “extraordinary determination and endeavor” exhibited in the harrowing narratives would inspire Black Americans to continue the struggle for civil rights.

“The race must not forget the rock from whence they were hewn, nor the pit from whence they were digged,” he wrote in the introduction. “Like other races, this newly emancipated people will need all the knowledge of their past condition which they can get.”

2. John P. Parker

Parker's house in Ripley, Ohio.Nyttend, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

When John P. Parker was 8 years old, a merchant separated him from his enslaved mother in Norfolk, Virginia, and sold him to a doctor in Mobile, Alabama. There, Parker apprenticed at an iron foundry—and learned to read and write, with the help of the doctor’s children. At age 18, he persuaded one of the doctor’s patients to purchase him and let him gradually buy back his freedom with his foundry earnings. The plan worked, and Parker left for Ripley, Ohio, where he built a house, started a family, and patented a few popular mechanical parts for tobacco machines during a successful career as a foundryman.

Through it all, Parker made regular excursions across the Ohio River to spirit fugitives from Kentucky back to Ripley’s safe houses (one belonged to John Rankin, a prominent white abolitionist who lived less than a mile from Parker). Parker’s rescue missions were especially dangerous, partially because bounty hunters looking for fugitives knew who he was, and partially because Parker himself was dauntless. Once, an enslaver suspected a married couple would attempt to escape, so he took their baby and put him to sleep in his room. Parker snuck into the room, carefully plucked the child from the bed—where the enslaver also lay sleeping—and dashed back through the house. The enslaver awoke and tore after him, firing his pistol, but Parker and the family managed to escape across the river.

Parker recounted these rescues to journalist Frank M. Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript sat forgotten in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed it and published it in 1996.

3. and 4. Harriet Bell Hayden and Lewis Hayden

A portrait of Lewis Hayden from William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper The Liberator.The Liberator, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Born enslaved in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1812, Lewis Hayden watched enslavers tear apart his family not once, but twice. First, his siblings were sold to a different enslaver; and later, his wife and son were bought by Kentucky senator Henry Clay [PDF] and sold somewhere in the Deep South. Hayden never saw them again. In the early 1840s, he married an enslaved woman named Harriet Bell, adopted her son, and soon began plotting their escape.

With the help of Calvin Fairbank, a minister, and Delia Webster, a teacher, the Haydens fled their enslaver’s estate and eventually arrived safely in Canada. By 1846, they had returned to the U.S. and settled in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, where they opened a clothing store. Before long, Lewis and Harriet had joined the Boston Vigilance Committee and turned their home into a boarding house, which became a highly trafficked stop on the Underground Railroad.

A drawing of Harriet Bell Hayden from her obituary in The Cleveland Gazette.The Cleveland Gazette, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Though slavery had been illegal in Massachusetts since 1783, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 stated that enslaved people who had escaped to free states could still be found and returned to their enslavers in the South. The Haydens fearlessly protected hundreds of people from bounty hunters who tried to do just that. Ellen and William Craft, for example, had garnered widespread attention for their risky escape from slavery in Georgia, which involved Ellen impersonating a white man and William posing as her Black servant. When bounty hunters pursued them to the Haydens’ house, Lewis announced that he’d readily blow up the whole property with the two kegs of gunpowder he kept inside if they tried to kidnap the Crafts. The bounty hunters didn’t chance it, and left empty-handed.

Lewis also helped recruit Black soldiers for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry—one of the Union’s first all-Black military units—and was even elected to the Massachusetts General Assembly in 1873. When he died in 1889, Boston’s city council praised him as “one of the pioneers in the freeing of this country from the curse of slavery.” Harriet, who died in 1893, donated her entire estate to Harvard Medical School for the purpose of establishing a scholarship for Black students, which still exists today.

5. Henrietta Bowers Duterte

A photo of Henrietta Bowers Duterte with one of her children.Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1852, Henrietta Bowers, a 35-year-old tailor, married a Haitian-American undertaker named Francis A. Duterte. They both came from well-respected Philadelphia families, and Francis’s mortuary was successful; in other words, it should have been a long, happy union. But by the end of that decade, Henrietta was alone: Her children had all died young, and Francis had also passed away suddenly. Instead of handing the mortuary business over to a man—which would have been expected at the time—Henrietta took it over and, in addition to running the mortuary, turned it into an especially clandestine stop on the Underground Railroad.

Not only did Henrietta use funeral processions as opportunities to help disguised fugitives slip unnoticed through the city, but she also sometimes smuggled them out of Philadelphia in actual coffins. The mortuary continued to be lucrative, and Henrietta funneled the profits into organizations that served Philadelphia’s Black community, like the First Colored Church and Stephen Smith’s Philadelphia Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons. In 1866, she helped arrange the Freedman’s Aid Society Fair to support formerly enslaved people in Tennessee.

6. David Ruggles

A political cartoon depicting a slave owner raging against Ruggles and two other abolitionists who had helped one of his servants escape.Edward Williams Clay, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division // No Known Restrictions on Publication

David Ruggles, born free in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1810, moved to New York City at age 17 and opened a grocery shop, which he staffed with emancipated Black Americans. Before long, Ruggles pivoted to lending and selling abolitionist books, pamphlets, and newspapers, too, making him the nation’s first Black bookstore owner. In 1835, Ruggles and other local abolitionists founded the New York Vigilance Committee, an interracial organization which, like the one in Philadelphia, helped people escape from slavery. Not only did he provide legal aid to Black Americans targeted by bounty hunters, but he also housed many fugitives in his own home on Lispenard Street.

One of these temporary guests was Frederick Douglass, who escaped from slavery and arrived in New York penniless and famished in 1838. He was rescued, he explained in his 1845 autobiography, “by the humane hand of Mr. David Ruggles, whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never forget.” Douglass wrote to his fiancée, Anna, who joined him within a few days, and Ruggles even arranged a marriage ceremony in the house. Soon after the wedding, Ruggles gave the couple $5 and booked their passage on a steamship to New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Throughout his years as an Underground Railroad station master, Ruggles distributed countless anti-slavery publications and advocated for “practical abolitionism,” or the idea that each person should actively take part in emancipating Black Americans. He wasn’t without enemies: twice his shop was burned down, and he was physically attacked on several occasions. By his late twenties, Ruggles’s health was failing, and abolitionist Lydia Maria Child encouraged him to come live with the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a self-sufficient community in Florence, Massachusetts, that championed equal rights for all. There, Ruggles regained some of his strength through hydrotherapy, and he eventually opened his own hydrotherapy hospital, where Douglass often visited him. When he died at age 39, it was Douglass who wrote his obituary.

7. and 8. Harriet Forten Purvis and Robert Purvis

A daguerroeotype of Robert Purvis from the 1840s.Boston Public Library, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Robert Purvis, the son of a white man and a free Black woman, was active in practically all facets of Philadelphia’s anti-slavery movement from the 1830s through the Civil War. He helped found and lead the Vigilant Association of Philadelphia and its Vigilance Committee, which offered boarding, clothing, medical attention, legal counsel, and northern passage to fugitives; and he also worked alongside prominent abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison to establish the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society a few years later.

Since women weren’t originally allowed to be members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Robert’s wife, Harriet Forten Purvis, joined Lucretia Mott and other activists in forming the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in December 1833. Harriet, like Mott, would go on to become a leader in the suffrage movement, too.

Robert and Harriet had both come from extremely successful and respected Philadelphia families, and they used their influence—and financial resources—to assist escapees in any way they could. Their house on Lombard Street became a well-traversed thoroughfare for fugitives heading north.

“He was President of the ‘Underground Railroad,’ and throughout that long period of peril his house was a well-known station where his horses and carriages and his personal attendance were ever at the service of the travelers upon that road,” read Robert's 1898 obituary in The New York Times.

A portrait of Harriet Forten Purvis circa 1874. ExplorePAhistory.com // Public Domain

The couple’s high-profile work sometimes made them a target for those who opposed the upward mobility of Black Americans. In August 1842, a parade celebrating the eighth anniversary of the end of slavery in the British West Indies devolved into violence when an Irish mob—resenting their own low position in society—attacked the revelers and began looting and setting fire to Black-owned buildings along the street. The rioters planned to progress to the Purvises' house, where Robert stood armed and waiting, but a Catholic priest reportedly diverted them.

After that, Robert and Harriet moved their family to a farmhouse in Byberry, a northeastern neighborhood of Philadelphia, and promptly turned their new estate into another station on the Underground Railroad. Robert approximated that between 1831 and 1861, he had helped emancipate about one person per day (though it’s possible that this calculation included his broader work with various anti-slavery organizations).

9. Samuel D. Burris

A sketch of Samuel D. Burris from William Still's book The Underground Railroad.Delaware Historical & Cultural Affairs, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Samuel D. Burris worked tirelessly during the 1840s to lead fugitives through his home state of Delaware and into Philadelphia, where he lived with his wife and children. Though Burris was a free man, he could be imprisoned and sold into slavery if caught helping fugitives in Delaware—and in 1847, he was.

Officials apprehended Burris when he was trying to smuggle a woman named Maria Matthews onto a steamship. Since they set his bail at $5000 (more than $157,000 today), he was forced to spend months in jail while awaiting trial. “They uphold and applaud those slave traffickers, and those inhuman and unmerciful leeches, in their soul-damning conduct, by making the colored people legal subjects for their bloody principles to feast on,” he wrote from his cell, in a letter that was later published in William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper The Liberator.

On November 2, 1847, Burris was convicted, fined $500, and sentenced to 10 more months in prison. After that, he’d be sold into slavery for 14 years. While Burris was serving his 10-month sentence, a group of Philadelphia abolitionists amassed $500 and sent a Quaker named Isaac Flint to pose as a trader and purchase Burris at the auction. Luckily, Flint ended up being the highest bidder (though according to William Still’s account in The Underground Railroad, luck had little to do with it: Flint savvily bought off a Baltimore trader who had tried to top his bid).

“[Burris] was not by any means aware of the fact that he had fallen into the hands of friends, but, on the contrary, evidently labored under the impression that his freedom was gone,” Still wrote. “The joyful news was whispered in the ear of Burris that all was right; that he had been bought with abolition gold to save him from going south.”

As Delaware State University historian Robin Krawitz told CNN, Burris continued helping fugitives after his release, and angry Delawarians actually petitioned the government to discipline him more severely. After officials enacted legislation that recommended public whipping as punishment for anyone caught a second time, Burris halted his operations in Delaware. Instead, he moved to San Francisco, where he raised funds to help newly freed people establish themselves.