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‘A Person of Ill Fame’
Portrait of a Plantation Era Criminal

December 19, 1771

The Pennsylvania Gazette


MADE his Escape from the Sheriff of Bucks County, a certain Person, named Barnabas McCullough, born in Ireland, about 5 Feet 6 or 7 Inches high, 35 Years of Age, but may be taken to be younger by his Look, well set, of a fair or rather pale Complexion, sandy Beard, black Hair, but not tied behind, as described in some other Advertisements, by Misinformation;

had on, when he went away, blue Clothes, but perhaps may change Dress;

he lived some Time in the Falls Township, at Bordentown Ferry, in the aforesaid County of Bucks, and since moved to Plumsted Township, in said County, from whence he absconded about the 4th instant.

Whoever will secure the above Barnabas McCullough, in any of his MajestyGoals on this Continent, shall receive the above Reward of TEN POUNDS, by giving Notice thereof to

December 11, 1771. GEORGE WALL, Sub-Sheriff.

N. B. It is supposed the above McCullough is gone off in Company with one Henry Tremble, who lived with him last Summer, and followed butchering, is a Person of ill Fame, was also born in Ireland. All Masters of Vessels are forewarned, at their Peril, to take McCullough aboard.


There is no indication that McCullough was a runaway, or had ever been a servant. However, if he is caught and escapes execution, there is only one other fate in Plantation America, to be sold. Which brings up one other aspect of life in that age: how would you want to own this bad man, whose close associate is a butcher of “Ill Fame.” With a certainty, on some occasions, slave masters must have purchased their own robber, rapist or murderer.

Into Wicked Company

A Bright Shining Lie at Dusk

A Partial Exhumation of the American Dream

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