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‘Loves Strong Drink’
An Irish Servant Lad Fleeing is Sober Master

September 11, 1766

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away on the 5th of this instant, September, an Irish servant lad, named William Sheppard, about 18 years old, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, has light strait hair, and grey eyes;

had on, a half worn felt hat, a long dark grey Irish frize surtout coat, white homespun linen shirt and trowsers, strong shoes, and brass buckles.

He served his time in Ireland to a weaver, and may have his indentures with him, with a clearance from his master in Ireland. [1]

He can read and write, is very impudent and talkative, much given to cursing and swearing, and loves strong drink, and may have forged a pass to travel with. [2]

He pretended to be lame in his foot, with a sprain, when he went away, and came from Ireland last spring with Captain Mackey.

Whoever takes up said servant and sends him to Philadelphia goal, or secures him in any other goal, and sends him to the Philadelphia goaler, shall have Thirty Shillings Reward, and reasonable charges.


1. Based on his age, William was first sold at age 11 to 15 and despite being freed from that master and having a pass, is now twice owned at age 18. This was not uncommon, Benjamin Franklin had been sold by his father twice, by the time he was William’s age.

2. Once again, in plantation America it was illegal to travel without a pass!

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

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