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'Hopping Peg' Barnes and Likeminded Souls
Runaway Maryland Women: 1729-1775

The numerous women named Mary and Anne reflect a strong Irish and English Catholic presence among Maryland slave girls.

Of 945 escaped servants listed in Maryland papers from 1727 through 1775, only 38 were women. A typical servant owner would have need for one or two women to attend his wife and do household chores, while he may require an entire gang of male servants to work his agricultural or industrial [furnaces and iron works] holdings. There was also the matter of women being held closer to the main house rather than in the barn or outbuildings and the fact that men are much better suited to the life of a fugitive.

Also, this was an age when siblings and widowers might sell their sister or daughter as a wife. In fact, the first women sold in Virginia in 1621 when 12 young women were sold aboard the Marmeduke as “wives” in Jamestown harbor.

Note that in Philadelphia women servants were more common, due to the number of workhouses for manufacturing clothing, bedding and shoes.

MG = Maryland Gazette

DMG = Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette

Runaway Wenches by Date

Barry, Eleanor MG, 8-15 July 1729

Taylor, Sarah MG, 24 Nov.-1 Dec. 1730

Piercy, Elizabeth MG, 23 Aug. 1745

Unidentified Woman MG, 27 May 1746

Barnes, Margaret als. Hopping Peg MG, 11 Nov. 1747

Dennison, Hannah MG, 7 June 1753

Young, Anne MG, 2 Aug. 1753

M’Clean, Ellin MG, 25 Apr. 1754

Shefield, Is, Anne Arundelc MG, 30 May 1754

Unidentified woman from Norfolk, Virginia MG, 11 Sept. 1755

Sayer, Anne MG, 6 Oct. 1757

Green, Anne MG, 23 Feb. 1758

Jackson, Mary? MG, 11 May 1758 [with her husband, John]

Gossitt, Mary MG, 16 Apr. 1761

Macgilly, Mrs. MG, 28 May 1761 [with her husband Thomas, who was a servant. Whether or not she was a servant is unknown]

Dixon, Mary MG, 2 July 1761

Earley, Margaret MG, 30 July 1761

Kellock, Mary MG, 3 Feb. 1763

Moran, Mary MG, 25 Aug. 1763

Skinner, Sarah MG, 19 Jan. 1764

Laha, Priscilla MG, 19 Apr. 1764 [People from India were held at this time in Maryland and Virginia]

The unisex name Laha generally means "Little bright-headed one," is of Thai, English, Indian, Welsh origin. This name is shared across persons, who are either Christian or Hindu by religion and is associated to Indo-European God/Goddess cults.

Lacey, Catherine als. Dunn MG, 16 Apr. 1767

Griffith, Anne ? married to man in Philadelphia MG, 16 July 1767

Conway, Sarah? MG, 2 June 1768

Murray, Mary MG, 21 July 1768

Carr, Hannah MG, 16 Mar. 1769

Milson, Susanna MG, 4 July 1771

Clark, Mary MG, 4 June 1772

Joe, Margaret MG, 4 June 1772

Smith Sarah ? MG, 9 Dec. 1773

Carney, Winney, Baltimore MJ, 28 May 1774


The year before the American Revolution saw a vast increase in runaway servant advertisements. This author contends that one of the reasons for the desire to secede from Great Britain on the part of the landowners, who were all servant and slave owners, was that officers of Trade and Plantation, working at the behest of the King of England and his advisors, had continually pressed for less cruel treatment of servants. Being that the gaols and jails and the attending gaolers were predominantly colonial facilities and officials, beholding to the Crown, and that Indians allied to Great Britain were returning fewer runaways and adopting increasing numbers of escaped servants even as they increased their attacks on frontier plantations, one can understand the worry among colonial landowners and slave holders, that their hold on their human property [essentially their farm and industrial equipment] was becoming less secure.

Buchanan, Peggy ? MG, 16 Mar. 1775

Hays, Elinor , Anne Arundel MJ, 19 July 1775

Simpson, Rachel DMG, 25 July 1775

Thompson, Mary, Georgetown MJ, 26 July 1775

Skinner, Jane MG, 10 Aug. 1775

Unidentified Woman, Talbot DMG, 12 Sept. 1775

Kennedy, Judeth, Baltimore DMG, 28 Nov. 1775


Slavery would not end for white women in Maryland at 1775. The dearth of evidence for white servants after 1776 is simply due to the fact that American historians have chosen not to document and compile the institutions of servitude not pertaining to people of African descent, beginning in the year 1776, making the practice appear to be solely an English one, when the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States of America both enshrined white slavery as the law of the land, even striking down territorial ordinances established barring slavery in the Ohio Country. The next volume in this series will attempt to plumb the state archives for the uncompiled rolls of white slaves in Plantation America.

America in Chains

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