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’By Trade a Plaisterer’
To Convict Sailors on the Run

August 29, 1765

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away, in the Night of the 21st of August, from the subscriber, living in Cecil County, Maryland, two Convict Servant Men,

one named William Callahan, born in Ireland, by Trade a Plaisterer, about 30 years of Age, about 5 Feet 6 Inches high, wear an old grey cut Wig, a light coloured short kersey Coat, with Metal Buttons, Ozenbrigs Shirt and Trowsers, old Shoes, and Yarn Stockings;

he is of a swarthy Complexion, has grey Eyes, pitted with the Small Pox, very talkative, much given to Drink, has served some Time on board a Man of War, [1] and came in the Country about 12 Months ago.

The other named Edward Thompson, a Convict, lately imported, an Englishman, a very lusty well looking Man, with black Beard and Eyes:

He had on a light coloured Jockey Coat, blue Serve Vest, with Leather Buttons, Shoes and Stockings, an old fine Hat, with a black Crape Band round it;

he also took with him a light coloured Bearskin Great Coat, a Snuff coloured Thickset Coat, and sundry other Things, likewise a small old sorrel Horse, with a Star in his Forehead, paces slow, and very stiff;

he is a stout resolute Fellow, is apt to drink, and then very insolent;

they are both well acquainted with the Water, and may probably pass for Sailors.

Whoever takes up and secures the said Servants in any Goal, so that their Masters may have them again, shall have Five Pounds Reward for Thompson, and Three Pounds for Callahan, if taken out of this Province, paid by ANDREW PEARCE, HENRY W. PEARCE and JOHN WARD.


1. Serving on board a man of war was the worst military job of the age. How bad must servitude have been for these men to seek service at sea? Perhaps it was not the physical hardship as much as the humiliation of being beaten by a farmer or shopkeeper rather than a marine.

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

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