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‘A Sly Still Fellow’
Renowned Runaway, James Fennel

August 14, 1766

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away from the Subscriber, living near Chester, on Delaware, an indented Servant Man, named James Fennell, about five Feet ten Inches high, twenty Years of Age, has a thinish Face, down Looks, brown Hair, lost one of his fore Teeth, walks wide, and has a Kind of rocking in his Gait, like one that is just come from Sea: [0]

took with him, a blue Cloth Coat, the Lining torn, a brown Saggathy Coat, with a Rent in the Back, a figured brown Velvet Jacket, two white Shirts, one Check Ditto, a new Pair of Check Trowsers, three or four Pair of Stockings, and a Pair of Shoes almost new. [1]

It is supposed he will steal a Horse (being an arrant Thief) and make towards the Frontiers, forge a Pass, [2] and change his Clothes;

he is a sly still Fellow, looks like country born, tho' he came from the West of Ireland last Fall, where he was advertised, with a large Reward. [3]

Whoever takes up and secures said Fennel, so as he may be had again, shall have the above Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by JAMES WILLCOX.


0. Perhaps a sailor before his enslavement

1. According to the wording, James owned no clothes of his own.

2. Literacy amount the servile class was becoming a dilemma for slave masters. After the white working class attained literacy maintaining them in a passport-regulated open chattel system would be all but impossible. No wonder Negros were forbidden to learn to read and write. Also note the increased willingness of men to head for the frontier since the French and Indian War.

3. It seems that Fennel was enslaved in Ireland, escaped, was recaptured at great expense and then sold into the Plantations.

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

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