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‘An Arch Cunning Fellow’
Another Pennsylvania Horse Thief on the Run

August 11, 1768

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Carnarvon Township, August 4, 1768.

RUN away, last night, from the subscriber, a servant man, named James Murray, an Irishman, came from Ireland two years ago; he is about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, an arch cunning fellow, well learned as to reading and writing, and may possibly forge a pass;

had on, when he went away, an old shirt and trowsers, a home made jacket, middling large, of light colour, a pair of good neat leather shoes, with a pair of narrow rimmed buckles, of a yellowish cast, a new felt hat, of William Jenkinsmake:

He stole and took with him, a dark brown horse, of a middling size, well set, in good order, and an old saddle, and possibly has the marks of the gears, as he went in the waggon one of the hind horses, his shoes are newly removed.

Whoever takes up and secures said servant, and horse, so that the owner may have them again, shall have Three Pounds reward, or Four Dollars for each, and reasonable charges, paid by EDWARD HUGHES, in Carnarvon township, Lancaster county, or WILLIAM GRAHAM, at the sign of the Black Horse, in Market street, Philadelphia.

N.B. All masters of vessels are forbid to carry him off at their peril.


"Whoever takes up and secures said servant, and horse, so that the owner may have them again…” says everything the past needs to tell us about the value of working white men in Plantation America. In fact James and the horse—and the horse is barely fit for use—are both assigned the same 3-4 pound value.

By this point in my research I am of the opinion that being threatened with peril by shopkeepers, had gotten sea captains, men of a higher masculine order and higher social status, in such an ire that they were hiring on runaways out of spite.

A Bright Shining Lie at Dusk

A Partial Exhumation of the American Dream

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