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Regional Fugitive Slave Advertisements


August 20, 1800: Advertisement for runaway William McDonald, who escaped from General Ridgely in Baltimore last April.

August 1800 Baltimore advertisement for escaped slave William McDonald.

Fifty Dollars Reward.

RAN-AWAY from Gen. Ridgely of Baltimore, on the 20th inst. a light coloured negro man, who calls himself WILLIAM McDonald; He is about 24 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches high, neat in his dress, and has a good suit of hair. Had on, when he want away, a good beaver hat, a short light green coate, edged with yellow, and yellow gilt buttons -- a light buff cassimer, double breasted waistcoate, a pair of dark olive coloured thicksett pantaloons -- a white linen shirt, white ribbed cotton stockings, and a good pair of shoes with strings.

He took with him a dark blue coat, a pair of olive cashmer pantaloons, and a light corduroy pair of breeches; also a gold or pinchbeck watch, with a steel chain. He is fond of spiritous liquors, is insolent, has a stupid look, and chews tobacco.--

He was bred in Charles county, Maryland, and purchased of col. John Thomas by gen. Ridgeley. Whoever apprehends said negro, and secures him ni any jail so that the owner may get him again, shall receive the above reward, with reasonable charges if brought home, or delivered to Joshua B. Bond, Philadelphia.
may 1


"Gen. Ridgeley" is Charles Carnan Ridgely (1760-1829), nephew of Captain Charles Ridgely. Upon the death of his uncle in 1790, Charles Carnan inherited the massive Hampton estate north of Baltimore, eventually expanding it to 25,000 acres and hundreds of enslaved persons. He was known as General Ridgely from his appointment as brigadier general in the Maryland State Militia in 1796. Charles Carnan Ridgely was electd governor of Maryland 1815-1818. Upon his death in 1829 and per his will, more than 300 enslaved persons from his estate were gradually emancipated.

"Col John Thomas" is likely Colonel John Thomas (1730-1798) of Charles County, Maryland. He represented Charles County in the Lower House of the Maryland Legislature from 1793-1797.


Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia), 20 August 1800, page 4; National Park Service, "Charles Carnan Ridgely,";

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

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



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