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‘Simple in His Looks and Behaviour’
Mentally Handicapped Servant Escapes from His Masters

April 11, 1754

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Philadelphia, April 5, 1754.

RUN away, last night, from Wallace and Bryan, on Market street wharff, a north Ireland servant man, named Richard Devine, of a middle stature, fresh complexion, and simple in his looks and behaviour.

Had on, a dark forest cloth coat, remarkably short, a pair of black everlasting breeches, a striped flannel waistcoat, check shirt, grey hose, a hat and wig. He also took with him a pair of scarlet breeches, a fustian [1] waistcoat, two other pair of hose, and two spare wigs. [2]

Whoever takes up and returns said servant to his masters, shall have Fifty Shillings reward, and reasonable charges, paid by WALLACE and BRYAN.

N.B. There is some reason to think he went towards Bucks county. [2]



2. Was Richard Devine carrying wigs for disguise, or might he have been aiming to meet-up with a comrade in Bucks County? By his bond of fifty shillings he was a short-timer, which means he might have had time to strike up a relationship with a servant who had been sold or freed and may have been residing in Bucks County. It seems from the clues given in runaway postings that the bounty hunters relied heavily on searching out known friends and relations of escaped servants. This theme would hold true with escaped Negroes in the down to the 1860s.

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