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'On Suspicion of Being Runaways'
The Criminal State in Action: York PA, 1764

October 11, 1764

The Pennsylvania Gazette

York Prison, September 29, 1764.

WAS committed to the goal of this county, on suspicion of being runaways, the two following persons, viz.

Thomas Lester, born in England, about 40 years of age, of a fresh complexion, about 5 feet 6 inches high, says he always followed the sea, has on a short brown jacket, coarse trowsers, white yarn stockings, old hat, and half worn shoes, and says he came last from Jamaica.

Patrick Troy, born in Ireland, about 16 years old, of a ruddy complexion, has a defect in his right eye; says he came in with Captain Miller last fall, from Derry, and that one William Marbuckle has his indentures; has on an old light coloured coarse jacket, old tow trowsers, old homespun shirt, no shoes nor stockings, and speaks somewhat foolish.

Their masters, if any they have, are desired to come in 30 days, from the date thereof, and take them away, otherwise they will be sold out for their charges, by JACOB GRAYBILL, Goaler.


Though Patrick Troy, apparently retarded, is admittedly justly owned and escaped property, with no right to live as he sees fit, Thomas Lester, after having spent a lifetime at sea, is going to be sold for a seven year term for the crime of stepping off a ship a free man and neglecting to seek out a local official to draw up freedom papers. A man survives the horrors of the sea in the Age of Sail only to be condemned to toil into what was then old age for the crime of walking the roads of the slave Province of Pennsylvania.

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

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