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‘A Smart Look and Lofty Carriage’
A Runaway Employee?

October 11, 1770

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Buckingham, Bucks County, September 15, 1770.

RUN away from my Employ, [1]

a certain John Trusdel, by Trade a Weaver, born in Ireland, about 24 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 or 9 Inches high, has short black Hair, a smart Look and lofty Carriage; [2]

had on when he went away, a brown coat, with Mohair Buttons, brown Jacket, the Fore Parts English Plains, with blue Lincey Backs, half worn, Buckskin Breeches, with a small Piece in the Crotch, two Shirts, one or both fine, a Stock with a Buckles, white ribbed Thread Stockings, much broke in the Feet, half worn Calfskin Shoes, with Pinchbeck Buckles, and a half worn Castor Hat; [3]

has a Scar on his Left Cheek; [4]

writes a good Hand;

he had a Silver Watch, with a China Face, much out of Order; he also had two Half Johannes, and 6 or 7 Pounds in other Money, part thereof stole;

has a Clearance from Captain Cheevers, [5]

and a Certificate from the […]; [6]

he has been near two Years in the Country, and […] and Chester County Part of last Winter.

Whoever […] said Trusdel (who is suspected of stealing) shall have […] Shillings Reward, when brought to Conviction, paid by MATTHEW KELLEY.

N.B. The Public are cautioned from taking an Assignment of a Note of Hand of L 11 17 1, passed by me to said Trusdel about the 10th of July last, as no Part thereof will be paid, until the Conditions on which said Note was given are complied with by said Trusdel. [7]



1. From the French “to use.” In Plantation America the term employee designated a servant, an unfree person.

2. Arrogant, confident

3. The wardrobe is ostentatious, if ragged. However, the common man of the age, if he had the means, would heap on clothes as do the homeless of our age, for all they owned was upon their back, in their pockets, or bundled to a stick.

4. Either from discipline or adventure. Scars to the left face almost always indicate an antagonistic stroke.

5. Trusdel’s passage to America was paid and he disembarked a free man.

6. The above freedom paper would be used to acquire a travel pass from the local magistrate.

7. Perhaps a line of credit promised if Trusdel accomplished a certain work order?

America in Chains

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