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‘Is Almost Well’
Freeman Turned Slave, William Shannon, Runs Away

August 17, 1769

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away, the 10th of August instant, at night, from the Subscriber, living in Salisbury township, Lancaster county, an indented servant man, named William Shannon, born in the north of Ireland, about 24 years of age, about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, stoop shouldered, wants one of his upper fore teeth, has light brown hair, has a cut of a sickle across his right ankle, but is almost well, he has been four years in the country, and says he came in a freeman, [1] if he can get liquor, he is very apt to get drunk:

Had on, a light coloured country cloth coat, a russia sheeting shirt, an old spotted flannel jacket, striped trowsers, new black grained shoes, brass buckles, and an old felt hat; it is thought he may have a pass. [2]

Whoever brings him home or secures him in any of his Majesty goals, so that his master may have him again, shall have Eight Dollars reward, and reasonable charges, paid by me JOHN SHELLENBERG.


1. The implication is that he lost his freedom due to drunkenness.

2. Any person not carrying a pass, freedom papers, or countersigned indenture form, could be taken into custody by a sheriff or goalor and sold.

So Her Master May Have Her Again

A History of Runaway White Slaves in Plantation America: Part Two

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