Josiah Henson was born on a plantation near Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland on June 15th, 1789. Henson was a faithful servant to his slave owner Isaac Riley. In 1825, Henson went to work, along with 28 other slaves, including his family, for his owner's brother, Amos Riley, in Kentucky. During this period, Henson tried to buy his freedom legitimately, but was unsuccessfully duped on the contract because he could not read.
In 1830, Henson plotted to escape his owner because he discovered that he was making arrangements to sell him South. Henson ran away with his family one night in September, 1830. They crossed the Ohio River and made it Cincinnati within two weeks and then they eventually found their way to Buffalo where they took a ship to freedom, landing in Canada on October 28th, 1830.
"When my feet first touched the Canada shore, I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfuls of it and kissed them and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman." Freedom Seekers193.