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‘Mistrusted for a Servant’
With A Suspiciously Rich History

May 17, 1770

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away from last New yearday, from the subscriber, in Montgomery township, Philadelphia county, a servant man, named THOMAS LYNCH, who was born in Queencounty, in Ireland, and took shipping at Dublin, with Captain Story, and arrived at Philadelphia last September,

is between 19 and 20 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches high, well set, full faced, and fresh coloured, brown curled hair;

had on, when he went way, a felt hat, a good blue cloth coat, close bodied, with a falling collar, mohair buttons, a jacket without sleeves. The fore part of a brownish colour, the back part of a different colour, with a strip of white down the back, very remarkable, good buckskin breeches, with brass buttons, and strings to the knees, homespun flaxen shirt, two pair of stockings, one of a blue and white, the other a brown colour, neats leather shoes, and steel buckles,

has been brought up to the farming business, and says his father was a considerable farmer in his time, who died the fall before he came away; [1]

as he is a likely fellow, and has but little of the brogue on his tongue, and had good cloaths on when he went he went away, it is likely he has not been mistrusted for a servant. [2]

Whoever takes him up, and brings him home, or secures him in any goal, so as his master may have him again, shall have the above reward, paid by EVAN JONES. [3]


1. Thomas may have sold himself after his father’s farm was taken by creditors or may have been sold to cover any debts left by his father.

2. In Plantation America, it was every free person’s duty to question strangers and determine if they were runaways and take appropriate action against them if they were ‘mistrusted,” as running away was an inherently deceptive business which necessitated adoption of a false identity.

3. Mister Jones seems to have a high opinion of Thomas’ personal qualities and ahs oddly used the term “home” in referring to is recovery, which is the first such instance I have noted.

A Bright Shining Lie at Dusk

A Partial Exhumation of the American Dream

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