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‘Committed for Felony’
One Sure Way to Become a Slave in Plantation America

April 21, 1768

The Pennsylvania Gazette


MADE his escape from Caecil county goal, on Wednesday, the 6th of this inst. April, Edward Johnson (committed for felony) [1] born in Ireland, about 27 years of age, 5 feet 3 or 4 inches high, wears his own dark brown hair, tied behind, a long sharp nose, a little pitted with the small pox, fresh complexion;

it has been reported that he went formerly by the name of Edward Carney; [2]

had on, when he went away, a short brown cloth coat, with large metal buttons, old buckskin breeches, grey yarn stockings, but no shoes.

Whoever apprehends the said Johnson, and brings him to the goal in Charles Town, in the aforesaid county, shall receive the above reward, and reasonable charges, paid by W. MITCHELL, Sheriff of said county.


1. Edward would certainly be sold for his crime, as the criminal justice system was inextricably linked to slave labor, a practice that did not end with the so-called abolition of slavery in the XIV Amendment of 1868. Indeed, Section 1 provides for the denying of “life, liberty and property” under “due process of law.”

2. Carney is a neighborhood in South-Central Baltimore County. It is not known if there is any connection between the Carney family and the locale.

America in Chains

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