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‘Wears His Own Black Hair’
Nathaniel McDowell, Rough-Looking Lady’s Man, is on the run

May 12, 1763

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away from the Subscriber, living between the Branches of Elk, [1] on the First Instant, a Servant Man, named Nathaniel McDowell, about 30 Years of Age, born in the North of Ireland, by Trade a Spinning wheel maker, about five Feet eight Inches high, wears his own black Hair, round Face, and rough Features:

Had on when he went away, a blue under jacket, light coloured outside Jacket, with Sleeves and Cuffs, new Cloth Breeches, Thread Stockings, good Shoes, and Check Shirt;, is remarkably fond of Smoaking Tobacco, and drinking Spirits. As it is known an Intimacy has subsisted between him and a neighbouring Woman, the Wife [2] of Alexander Logan, who left her Husband about the same Time, and took her Child with her, a promising Boy, six Years old, with white Hair, it is thought they are gone together, and that they will go to Philadelphia.

Whoever takes up the said Servant, and secures him in any Goal, so as his Master may have him again, shall have the above Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by JOHN STRAWBRIDGE.

N.B. All Masters of Vessels are forbid to carry him off. [3]


1. Cecil County Maryland, near present day Elk Neck State Park and the town of Elkton. Elk, of a smaller eastern breed, were hunted to extinction east of the Appalachians by 1800.

2. Many wives of this period were much younger than their husbands and had been bought at auction to replace a deceased wife. Note that she lacks a name, which would be a useful point of identification. Also, if the boy is six years old, it is within the realm of possibility that the boy belongs to John, as the typical indenture was seven years.

3. John may be on his second or even third term of enslavement, as most of those trafficked out of Ireland in this period were teens.

4. John, if caught, could face the death penalty in Maryland for the theft of a wife and son, who curiously, has white hair.

Books by James LaFond

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