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‘Of A Swarthy Complexion’
Another Runaway School Teacher

June 8, 1769

The Pennsylvania Gazette

May 27. 1769.

RUN away from the Subscriber, living in Warrington township, Bucks county, a servant man, named James Henderson, born in Ireland, about 26 years of age, [2] about 5 feet 5 inches high, long black hair tied behind, of a swarthy complexion, [1] and pitted with the small pox;

he has taught school some time in Maryland, and afterwards in Bucks county; [2]

had on and took with him, a half worn brown coat, a cotton jacket, striped with yellow silk, nankeen breeches, Germantown and white cotton stockings, good shoes, and square steel buckles.

Whoever takes up said servant, and secures him in any goal, so that his master may have him again, shall receive Forty Shillings reward, and reasonable charges, paid by JOHN CRAIG. [2]

N.B. As it is thought he intends for Ireland, all masters of vessels are desired not to carry him off, but to secure him in goal, for which they shall have the above reward.


1. Another dark-skinned man out of Ireland and of the professional class at that. There remains the possibility that there may have been a great deal of cheap servants of the manual trades who were not valuable enough to warrant an advertisement fee and a reward and were simply let go, particularly if there were a glut of them. By the 1780s Benjamin Franklin was concerned that as many runaways were on the loose as there were servants on plantations.

2. It seems that James is working on his third term of servitude and has been in America for at least six years, suggesting that professional servants were held for shorter terms of 3 years.

So His Master May Have Him Again

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