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'Denies Her Country'
Finding Betty Dawson


July 1, 1756

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Chester, June 26, 1756.

RUN away, last night, from the Workhouse in Chester, a girl that was committed on suspicion of being a servant to one Thomas Blair, in West New Jersey. She is advertised in the Gazette by the name of Elizabeth Bryan, but calls herself Betty Dawson. She was born in Ireland, but denies her country, is about 18 years old, of small stature, of a dark complexion, and speaks very much through her nose.

Had on a blue calimancoe gown, striped flannel petticoat, and a black silk bonnet; she is bare footed. Whoever brings her to the Work house, shall have Twenty Shillings, paid by GEORGE KEITH.

December 2, 1756

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Chester, June 26, 1756.

RUN way, last night, from the Workhouse in Chester, a servant girl, that belonged to Thomas Blair in West New Jersey; she was advertised some time ago in this Gazette by the name of Elizabeth Burk, but changes her name often, and calls herself Betty Brin, Betty Dawson, &c. She was born in Ireland, but denies her country, is about 18 years of age, of small stature, dark complexion, and speaks much through her nose:

Had on when she went away, a blue calimancoe gown, striped linsey petticoat, and a black silk bonnet, was bare footed.

It is supposed she is gone towards Annapolis, Maryland, to some of her ship mates or friends, who she said lived that way. She stoops much as she walks. Whoever takes up said servant, and secures her in any goal, so that she may be had again, shall have Four Pounds reward, and reasonable charges, paid by GEORGE KEITH.

N.B. I desire that all persons would take notice of this advertisement, and secure the girl, wherever found, as it will ruin me if she is not got; and not to believe what she says, as she will certainly tell many lies. If secured, send notice to David Copeland in Chester, or to said George Keith, with all speed.

Notes

Elizabeth Burk?

Elizabeth Bryan?

Betty Brin?

Betty Dawson?

The plea of the master 'it will ruin me if she is not got' suggests that Betty was bought on credit in an age when an unpaid debt was a capital crime, which, in the plantations, would be punished by the debtor being sold into servitude.

America in Chains

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