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'At Their Peril'
Two Semi-Literate Thugs Want Their Beasts of Burden Back

September 13, 1764

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away from the Subscribers, living near Witherspoon, in New Castle County, on the Borders the Maryland, two Servant Men,

one named George Rankin, about 35 Years of Age, five Feet seven Inches high, long Visage, dark Complexion, black Hair:

Had on when he went away, an old Felt Hat, Linsey Jacket, trimmed with Brass Buttons, old Cloth Breeches, new blue home made Stockings, and old Shoes; took with him, a Pair of long Ozenbrigs Trowsers, a fine Shirt, and a half worn coarse ditto, is apt to get drunk at every Opportunity, and is very talkative: He came from Ireland about ten Months ago, and formerly served his Time [1] in this Country.

The other named William Price, about 40 Years of Age:

Had on when he went away an old light coloured Coat, with white Metal Buttons, with a Hole burnt in one of the Sleeves, a Cloth under Jacket, tow [2] home made Shirts, tow Pair of Trowsers, old Shoes tied with Strings, old Cotton Cap, and an old Felt Hat. He is of a sandy Complexion, and is remarkable by having two Thumbs on his Right Hand, and is blind of the Left Eye, is apt to get drunk, and squeaks when he speaks high:

He ran away in the Year 1762, and says he drove a Team at Pott Ironworks, [3] and called himself John Reese.

Whoever secures said Servants in any Goal, so as their Masters may have them again, shall have Five Pounds Reward for both, or Fifty Shillings for either, paid by JAMES WILSON, and JOHN DOBBINS.

N.B. All Masters of Vessels are forbid to carry them off at their Peril.


1. Despite the modern fantasy of lucky servant apprentices being saved by kind masters and taught a trade, the poor in the British isles and America were repeatedly bought and sold across the span of their miserable lives, as likely as not to be forced to do work for which they were untrained.

2. His fucking master can't fucking spell, so I'm leaving the typos in.

3. Worked for a wage. If he had been used as a servant this would have been indicated. That he did something on his own without a whip to his back indicates that during the war men could get wage employment.

Stillbirth of a Nation: Caucasian Slavery in Plantation America: Part One

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