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James Murphy
A Kidnapped Tailor

Obvious from the ad below, James Murphy sought to make his way to New York to work as a tailor, his ships passage paid for by his labor onboard ship. However, without freedom papers he was kidnapped by the Chester County gaoler and held for five-eight weeks, even though a court ruled in favor of his claim to being in the colony without a freedom pass. One of the reasons for the Revolutionary War, cited in the Declaration of Independence in murky terms, was the meddling of colonial courts in the business of servants, with many British courts ruling in favor of white, Indian, Chinese and even black servants.

June 6, 1754

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Chester, May 30, 1754.

Taken up about 5 weeks ago, and now in the common goal of Chester, as runaways,

one James Murphy, a taylor by trade, born in Clonmel, in the county of Tipperary, in Ireland, about 22 years old, five feet nine inches high, of a brown complexion, pock marked, small eyes, slim bodies, speaks a little on the brogue, and talks quick:

His cloathing is an old felt hat, an old black cut wig, grey homespun cloth jacket, with brass buttons, old black stocking breeches, old check linen handkerchief, no shirt, old shoes and stockings.

Says he came from London in the ship Dogger, Capt. Thomas Brown, bound to New York, where they did put in, but landed at Hobbhole, in Virginia; that he agreed with the Captain to work at his trade, during the passage, for his passage.

Any persons who have any demands against the said James Murphy, are desire to come and release him, otherwise he will be discharged, by order of court, in 3 weeks after date, by Samuel Smith, goaler.

A Well of Heroes

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