A slave must've lived in sight of the "free zone" (evidence: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/09/04/abraham_lincoln_the_president_used_this_map_to_see_where_slavery_was_strongest.html the northernmost slave county on the continent was under 0.1 or 0.05% slaves but not zero and was under 3-4 miles from Ohio or PA everywhere in the county) Since there were so many slaves if I had to guess I would guess that some probably lived on a farm bordering a free state or territory (though yes they were not completely safe until Canada)

Did any live or work on islands in the rivers between slave and free that belonged to the slave side? Or even on one of those weird lands that happen when a channel silts up and moves a piece of your state to the wrong side of the river? That must be the most isolated you can be from the slave states while still in a slave state. Not only is there a land border but there's a moat between you and all but like 3 southerners.

What effects of closeness to the north do historians know about?

I also wonder what causes a guy to decide to have slaves that plow inches or yards or whatever the minimum was from the Mason-Dixon line or be the northernmost dude with slaves in a surrounded sliver of the side of the state that's relatively anti-slavery, and with a land border (Hancock County, WV).

@commenters: Yes, I know they were still "property" in the free states that allowed them there temporarily but I assumed they wouldn't allow you to farm with them in the free states. I just guessed that some would use their "property" as a servant while they were traveling through free states as it's indoors so who could find out. If they even had laws that they couldn't work in transit, that is. Did they even have laws that you couldn't make the slave work but you could still bring them in for awhile? If they were that anti-slavery then why wouldn't they just pass a law like my state (NY) which didn't allow them in without freeing them?

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    Note that according to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, runaway slaves could be recaptured again even in "free" states (and even stablished fines for people helping them); the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 ordered local authorities to arrest black people who were claimed to be runaway slaves. So, runaway slaves would not be completely safe until they got to Canada. – SJuan76 May 14 '15 at 7:38
  • I'm not sure that I understand what the question is or how to answer it. – Mark C. Wallace May 14 '15 at 8:23
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    I'm not sure that I understand your definition of a "servant" distinct from a slave. A slave could stand on free soil and still be chattell (See "The Black Count" for some interesting French examples. Sally Hemings travelled the world with Jefferson and remained chattel. I don't think that H:SE should discuss "psychological profile", or "it must have been..." - these are techniques that are more appropriate to discussion than to Question and answer. – Mark C. Wallace May 14 '15 at 8:37
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    Would it be possible for you to edit your question to make it more answerable? It is a staple of Stack Exchange that Questions should strive to be one, single, answerable question. If your Question actually contains (by my count) 5 distinct questions (question marks). The first two may be answerable, but the third would mean looking at a very large border area. Then you ask about insurance and containment. Then you ask about "psychological profiles"... – CGCampbell May 14 '15 at 13:21
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    @Mark All I'm saying is that if I knew I was on the northernmost or easiest to escape from geography of any plantation and look at free state(s) all day and am not willing to risk being caught escaping I'd be like "the universe mocks me" and I wondered what slaveowners in such locations were like. Or I don't know, maybe they could afford to surround the farm with a wall noone could cross so no problem, the owners there weren't unusual. (I assume they didn't need jail-grade walls further south because it was very hard to reach Canada without being found by those bloodhounds and slavecatchers) – 100602014 May 14 '15 at 22:15