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‘Has with Him an Indenture’
James Welch and Alexander Sweeny Escape with James Wilson’s Slave Paper

April 21, 1768

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away from the subscriber, an Irish servant man, named James Welch, born in Kilkenny in Ireland, about 23 years of age, about 5 feet 6 inches high, fair Complexion, fair curled hair, by trade a carpenter and wheelwright;

took with him, an old blue coat, buckskin breeches, 3 jackets, 1 ratteen, 1 striped cotton, and 1 little red ditto, a sheepskin apron, two shirts, one fine, the other coarse, two pair of ribbed stockings, one pair blue, the other brown, and a felt hat, with white looping;

he can play well on the German flute, or any other instrument of music; has with him an indenture of James Wilson, which name it is supposed he will go by. [1]

Likewise went in company, a certain Alexander Sweeny, about 5 feet 10 inches high, fresh coloured, much pitted with the small pox, short hair, of a darkish colour;

had on, a brown coat, a spotted flannel jacket, grey worsted stockings, a check shirt, and buckskin breeches.

All masters of vessels are forbid to carry off the above persons, at their peril.

Whoever secures the above named persons, in any of his Majesty goals, shall have the sum of Eight Pounds, and reasonable charges, paid by CHARLES OHARO, living in the Barrens of York county, near Stevenson Ferry. April 4, 1768.


1. Whenever possible, runaways took their paper, some else’s paper, or forged one, which is an indication that early America was a comprehensive police state.

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