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Regional Fugitive Slave Advertisements


April 26, 1799: Jacob and Patt and thier two children escape from Benson Gears in Kent County, MD

April 1799 Kent County Maryland advertisement for the return of a family of runaway slaves.

One Hundred Dollars Reward.

RAN away from the subscriber, on Tuesday the second of this inst. April, living in Kent county, Maryland, near Chester Town, the following described Negroes, viz. William, about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, a yellowish complexioned fellow, about thirty years of age, formerly the property of doctor William Matthews, he has been very much given to running away, and has been so often described in the public papers within this twelve months that any further description of him seems needless. --

Jacob, about 6 feet high, and about 32 years of age, of a common Negroe complection, down look, his little finger of his left hand stands straight, occasioned by the cut of a sickle.

Patt, the wife of said Jacob, about 27 years of age, a small light made woman of a yellowish complection, with thick lips for an American of her stature, she is a very good needle woman, and spins on either small or great wheel, and is very handy in any common house work. -- Two children of the said Jacob's and Patt's, the one a male child about four years old, the other a female child about two years old.

The above described Negroes took with them, besides their own wearing apparel, three coats, two of which were linsey cloth of a light grey color, both new; one of the two was a great deal too large for either of said fellows; the other coat of brown cloth, half worn; three under jackets, one a velvet, another a drab, the other a light colored linsey cloth do, one new pair of Calf skin shoes, lined with linnen and bound with leather, one pair of boots remarkably large in the legs, several pairs of stockings and a silver watch, all stolen; their own wearing apparel as follows -- William had on a light-horse regimental coat worked with silver twist, (which coat he had when he was brought home to me the first of February last, a round sailor jacket (blue,) thickset breeches, patched with corduroy in the stride, with other necessary clothing.

Jacob, two linsey cloth coatees, lead colored, one new the other half worn, blue linsey cloth jacket, half worn, tow pairs of linsey cloth trowsers, of a lead colour, the one new the other half worn, tolerable good shoes and stockings. Pat has every day cloathing, and her children wore home-made linen and linsey, her other cloathing not so well known; it is uncertain which course they may take, as William is such an experienced coaster.

Any person or persons apprehending said negroes or founding them, so that their master may get them again, shall be entitled to the above reward, or in proportion for either of them, that is to say, 40 dollars for each of the fellows, and twenty dollars for the wench and children, and if brought home, all reasonable charges paid by
N.B.--All masters of vessels and others, are forbid harboring them at thier peril. B.G.
april 8, 1799

Notes: "Chester Town" refers to modern day Chestertown, the county seat of Kent County, Maryland.

Sources: Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia), 26 April 1799, page 1;

Covering the history of African Americans in central Pennsylvania from the colonial era through the Civil War.

Support the Afrolumens Project. Read the books:

The Year of Jubilee, Volume One: Men of God, Volume Two: Men of Muscle



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