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‘A Drunken, Impudent, Forward Fellow’
Roger Noland, Slave Soldier of the Province [1] of Pennsylvania


March 28, 1751

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Run away the 17th of this inst. from the subscriber, living in Pilesgrove township, Salem county, a servant man, named Roger Noland, came from Ireland, of middle stature, speaks good English: he served 4 years in this province before, then went on the expeditions to Cape Breton and Canada; [2] he is a likely fellow, of a fresh complexion, has black hair, and is slim; he is a drunken, impudent, forward fellow in company, and talks much; Had on when he went away, a goof coat, between a dove and ash colour, breeches of the same, the coat is trimmed with 3 holes in the flap, and 3 in the sleeve, a good Holland shirt, grey yarn stockings, neats leather shoes, a small brimmhat, more than half worn, and a very old lightish colour jacket.

Whoever takes up and secures said servant in any goal, so that his master may have him again, shall have Fifty Shillings reward, and reasonable charges, paid by MOUNCE KEEN.

Notes

1. Prerevolutionary sources tended to refer to English America as "The Plantations," to individual colonies as "a province" or "the province," or by name, such as Maryland and generally reserved the use of the term colony for referring to the administrative unit, the governor and officials.

2. Roger served 4 years of a term of servant service, which was interrupted by at least a year's service against the French and Indians and then was returned to finish his term of service. This is the kind of freedom America was intended to foster from the beginning, the freedom to exploit lesser men, men that even the king could not keep from finishing their service. Roger was either paid for his military service or his master was paid for his service. In any case, Roger ran away after experiencing the relative freedom of brutal service in a brutal war, perhaps an experience that was preferable to his service to Mounce Keen. This was a nasty Indian war which involved garrison duty and counter-insurgency patrols. Details may be found at the link below: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Dartmouth_(1751)

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