Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Ancient Combat
‘He Was Bred’
A Forty Shilling Man on the Run

June 7, 1770

The Pennsylvania Gazette


RUN away from the subscriber, in Juniata, in Cumberland county, an Irish servant man, named John Stokes, about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, of a brown complexion, [1] about 20 years of age;

had on, when he went away, an old brown coat, wanting sleeves, a brown sleeveless vest, 2 coarse shirts, old coarse trowsers, old leather breeches, and an old fur hat; he took with him a coarse sheet, of which it is supposed he will make a hunting shirt;

his clothing is meally, having attended a mill since last fall;

he wear his own hair tied, which is of a dark brown colour;

he has been in this country about 20 months;

he professes being a tolerable scholar, and may endeavour to pass for a schoolmaster;

he was bred [1] in the West of Ireland, which is easily discovered by his dialect;

it is supposed he will endeavour to return to Ireland, therefore, it is requested that all masters of vessels would refuse him a passage. He went of[f] the 13th of May.

Whoever secures said servant in any goal, so as his master may have him again, shall have the above reward, paid by me SAMUEL HOLIDAY.


1. The specificity of brown skin, having worked indoors per at least a year in forested country, suggests that this man might have been of mixed race. Nowhere in these northern lists have I found a mixed –race person listed as “a person of color” or as a quadroon” or “octoroon” as they would be in the old south. Might the “one drop rule” have been weak in northern climes? Could he have been the son of a Barbary Pirate?

Stillbirth of a Nation: Caucasian Slavery in Plantation America: Part One

Add Comment