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‘Pretends to Tell Fortunes’
An Indian Fighter on the Run

June 14, 1759

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away from his Bail, [1] out of St. George Hundred, New Castle County, upon Delaware, a certain Thomas McLane, born in Ireland, is about five Feet four Inches high, has black curled Hair, broad Face, speaks tolerable good English, is very talkative, and pretends to tell Fortunes. [2]

Had on, when he went away, an old brown Coat and Jacket, Leather Breeches, Shoes and Stockings, and an old Felt Hat.

He served his Time in Chester County, in the Province of Pennsylvania, has been in the Back Country, and fond to boast that he has been in several Skirmishes with the Indians.

Whoever takes up the said Thomas McLane, and secures him in any Goal, shall be intitled to the above Reward of Three Pounds, paid by HENRY VANBEEBER. [3]


1. Having served his time, fought Indians on the frontier, and having been jailed for some offense, Thomas, if caught, will likely be sold as a convict laborer, with a number of years added to that term to compensate the jailer for the three pounds reward [probably 6 months per pound, based on current servant prices]

2. Once again we can see that a person’s true occupation is demeaned by the slave masters in favor of “service.’ One wonders if Thomas may have been charged with fortune telling as a crime in Quaker Pennsylvania?

3. Dutch names abounded in old Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, as Delaware was at first a Swedish and then Dutch colony.

America in Chains

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