in central pennsylvania
1787 - 1843
A Sampling of Advertisements
for runaway slaves continued to appear in central Pennsylvania newspapers until
the start of the Civil War. Unlike the advertisements from decades
earlier, which were placed by local slaveholders, these advertisements were
usually seeking the return of freedom seekers from Virginia and Maryland. Southern
slaveholders often placed ads in newspapers from several central Pennsylvania
counties, generally those closest to the Maryland border, or those in which the
slaveholder thought the fugitives would seek shelter and aid.
for two Maryland slaves, 24 September, 1787, Carlisle Gazette (Carlisle,
SIX GUINEAS REWARD
RAN-AWAY on the 17th of April last, from the subscriber living in
Charles county, in the state of Maryland, two Negro Slaves, one a man,
about thirty five years old, he is tall slender made fellow, with a
remarkable small head and very black, speaks very broken English, his
name is Walle, but I am apt to think he will change it, as he is a very
artful fellow, and will endeavour to pass as a freeman, he has had a
hurt on one of his hands which prevents him from straightening his
fingers. The other is a woman, a low squat wench, about forty years
old, she is very black, and makes use of a great deal of tobacco, both
of chewing and smoking. I have reason to believe that they have got to
the state of Pennsylvania, they took with them two horses, one light
sorrel, about 14 hands high, nine years old, he had two white feet, a
star in his forehead, very flat feet and branded thus W. The other a
dark bay, not branded, but has a small nick in one of its ears near the
end, about 14 hands high, six years old last spring.--------Whoever
takes up the said Negroes, and secures them in any jail, so that their
master may get them again, shall receive the above reward, or three
guineas for either of them, and two dollars for each horse, paid by me
Wm. Mackall WILKINSON
September 24, 1787
for Baker, January 23, 1813, The Oracle of Dauphin (Harrisburg,
Fifty Dollars reward.
RAN away from the subscriber, in April last, a bright MULATTO MAN, named
Formerly the property of Charles Lewis, of Rockingham county, Va. he is
about thirty years of age; about six feet high, thin visage; walks quick;
he is a straight and handsome built fellow, speaks quick; I believe he has
a considerable scar on one of his shins, perhaps has a pass, which is not
good without the county seal; not a doubt but he will change his
name. He had on when he left the premises, a wool hat, striped blue
and white linsey overalls; he also had a quantity of very good clothing,
viz. three great coats, one light blue, one drab made for a low person,
one brown rough wool, a superfine black cloth close body coat, covered
buttons; two pair of pantaloons of the best kind of dove colored corderoy,
a scarlet jacket; two or three white dimity jackets; a bottle green cloth
coat and pantaloons; a pair of very good boots, and a number of other
clothing that I do not recollect. BAKER was raised, I believe, in
King George county, Va. The above reward will be given to any person
that will deliver him to me and all reasonable charges paid, or confine
him in jail so that I can get him again.
Augusta county, Va. Jan-13, 1813.
N.B. all masters of vessels and others are forbid employing, or
harboring said runaway, on their peril.
for Luke Johnson, 13 September, 1826, Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg,
Text of ad: "$50 REWARD. RAN AWAY
from the subscriber, living within four miles of Liberty Town, Frederick
county, Maryland, on Sunday the 27th of August, Negro LUKE, who calls
himself Luke Johnson. He is 26 or 27 years of age, of a
yellowish complexion, coarse features, and rather sour countenance; he is
about 5 feet 11 inches high, very stout & strong made; he is a shrewd,
sharp, sensible fellow, and is a good hand on a farm, when sober, but is
fond of liquor, and will get drunk when he can get it; he has a
small scar on one side of his neck, just under the jaw, occasioned by
fighting about a year since; was ruptured when a child, and still is
so, but it never has injured him from work. He took with him a fur
hat, somewhat worn, one fine blue coat, and one coarse coat, of homemade
cloth, of a drab or lead colour, one fine linen shirt, one coarse shirt,
and trowsers made of cotton and tow, and some other clothes not
recollected, but no doubt will change his name & clothes.
takes up said Negro, and secures him in jail, or gives me information
which will enable me to secure him, shall have the above reward, and all
reasonable charges if lodged in Frederick jail.
Clemson. Sept. 12.
"The Editors of the Harrisburg
Intelligencer, York Recorder, and Lancaster Journal, will please insert
the above 3 times, and charge this office."
Advertisement for Tom Collins
of Virginia, 1843. Reproduced in Old Mercersburg, by the
Woman's Club of Mercersburg (1912), page 205.
40 DOLLARS REWARD. Runaway from the
subscriber on Saturday evening, the 12th inst., a negro man commonly
called Tom Collins, aged about 43 years, 5 feet, 11 inches high, of slim
make, pretty black, forehead runs far back, hair short and nappy, and
his feet large and projecting outward. Said negro is supposed to
be in company with two other runaways, lurking in the neighborhood of
Mercersburg, Pa. Whoever takes and delivers him to me or lodge in
the nearest jail, so that I can get him again, shall receive the above
HENRY M. NICHOLS. Beddington, Berkeley Co., Va.
Advertisement for Henry of
Virginia, 1825. Transcribed by Susan Salus from the December 13,
1825 edition of the Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, DC
$100 Reward. Left my farm on Saturday night,
15th instant, in company with three others who have been recovered,
Negro HENRY, a bright mulatto, about 18 years of age, of very brisk
motion, and sprightly countenance, and apt to stammer or stutter a
little if confused. His clothing consists of a few fur hat, a gray frock
coat, a pair of brown pantaloons, both domestic cloth twilled, a pair of
cassimere pantaloons, and a white cotton shirt with a linen bosom and
collar. HENRY has brown wavy hair, showing completely the white man and
Negro mixture. His companions were taken near Greencastle, Pennsylvania.
The above reward, and all reasonable expenses, will be given for
apprehending and delivering to me the above Negro. By WILLIAM C.
FITZHUGH, Upperville, Loudoun County, Va, Oct. 17, 1825.
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