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With the proceeds of his business, he helped ...
With the proceeds of his business, he helped slaves to escape and helped support the small ex-slave community of Wilberforce Colony in Canada. One notable case was an escaped slave, Davis, from Kentucky who learned the practice of medicine from his master. Davis began practicing in Rochesterville, but was caught by bounty hunters. He escaped during a trial, was caught, and escaped again to Wilberforce. Steward remained in contact with "Doctor" Davis for many years.
Austin Steward was respected both within Rochester and among free Black people all over the country. He helped establish The Sabbath School for Coloreds and he wrote and lectured on economical, political, and social equality. His book Twenty-two Years a Slave, Forty Years a Freeman became a very important pre-civil war work.