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‘A Lusty, Dirty Slouching Butcher’
The Hunt for William Hamilton Continues

December 9, 1762

The Pennsylvania Gazette


Essex County, New Jersey, ss.

TWO Prisoners escaped from Jonathan Hampton, High Sheriff of said Essex County, as they were going to Baskin Ridge, where they lived, to get bail for the Actions they were then taken upon, not known to the Sheriff, to be for Felony and Forgery, as they since appear to be, which the prisoners then knew, viz.

WILLIAM HAMILTON, for Sheep stealing, at the Camp on Staten Island, born in Ireland, about 50 Years old, a lusty, dirty slouching Butcher, much Sun burnt, wears a cut Wig, seldom combed; has an impudent Boy his Son, about 14 Years old, with him; he has several other Actions against him, for which Sylvester Cole, became special Bail, and unless he is soon taken, must pay the Debts and Costs. His Wife and Children are since gone to him.

JOHN BARCLAY, for Forgery, born in Ireland, about 50 Years of Age, a short chunkey Fellow, of sandy Complexion, full of Palaver when drunk (which is as often as he can) talks thick and quick, is a Clothier by Trade.

They both went to the Southward last Spring, were at Pequea last July, and would have been taken there if one Andrew McGown had not helped them to escape, and secreted them, well knowing they had left me, as above; McGown lately went from Baskin Ridge also.

Barclay Wife, and some of her Children went in the Stage to Philadelphia and Lancaster about two Months ago; she is exceeding much Pock marked, very brown, named Catherine, about 40 Years of Age, but looks much older, a very neat little Woman.

It is thought they are somewhere between Pequea and Willis Creek, but most likely about Susquehannah; but if they are further Southward, even to Carolina, it is hoped they will be apprehended, as such Villains ought not to be countenanced.

Whoever apprehends and secures them, so that I may have them again, or brings them to me or my Goal keeper, shall have for Hamilton Fifty Dollars, and for Barclay Thirty Dollars, and all reasonable Charges, paid by JONATHAN HAMPTON, Sheriff. N.B. A Letter sent by Post, will immediately come to me.


The rewards offered for these criminals are much higher than those offered for runaway servants. Thus, an increase in crime might occupy reward hunters with such desperados and make recovery of runaway servants less likely. Certainly, a slave society in which most slaves were not locked up at night or caged during the day would have to be a strictly law-abiding society, dispensing severe punishments.

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