Runaway Slave Ads

Baltimore County, Maryland

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Baltimore Sun on Nov 8, 1842 ~:

ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - Ranaway on the 28th ult, from the subscriber living in Baltimore county, near Catonsville a dark mulatto MAN calling himself TOM TUCKER. He is about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, very square built, aged about 30 years and has a rolling walk; when spoken to he answers in a soft voice. He has small wiskers, and had on when he went away, a pair of blue pantaloons, and other clothes not recollected. It is probable that he will lurk about the neighborhoon, or else in town, as he has left a wife and children living with me. I will give fifty dollars reward if caught in the State, or one hundred dollars if caught out of it, and delivered to me.

Enquire at MRS. LANDALE’S, corner of Eutaw and Baltimore Streets.


In this particular case, we were able to track down the slaves owned by H. W. Waters in the 1840 US Census of Baltimore, 1st District. The owner of the slave was Horatio W. Waters. The census showed that the following slaves were included in his household:
2 male slaves under 10
2 male slaves 10 to 24
2 male slaves 24 to 36
1 male slaves 36 to 55
1 female slaves under 10
2 female slaves 10 to 24
1 female slave 24 to 36

Baltimore Sun on September 14, 1842 ~:

200 DOLLARS REWARD - Ranaway from the subscribers, living 4 1/2 miles from Baltimore, on the Frederick Turnpike, on Saturday night, Sept 3d, 1842, TEN NEGROES, answering to the following descriptions: REISIN, a very dark Negro Man, aged about 36 years, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; EVELINA, his wife, a bright mulatto, aged about 35 years, who also took with her her son DANIEL, a bright mulatto, aged nine years; FLAVELLA, a dark mulatto, aged about 34 years; LUCY, a bright mulatto, aged about 18 years; GREEN, a bright mulatto, aged about 13 years; JOHN, a dark mulatto, aged about 10 years; with 1 Negro Boy 5 years, and 2 female children, one an infant.

It is supposed that JOHN SMITH, (husband of Flavella,) has absconded with them - he is a negro about 35 or 36 years of age, 6 feet 1 or 2 inches in height, lisps slightly when spoeaking.

The above reward will be paid for their apprehension and delivery to the Baltimore county jail - or in proportion to the value of any of them.



As I post these “Sun Newspaper” article, I really get carried away sometime with what I am reading. This article gives me a strong feeling that these runaway slaves were participating in the underground railroad - my reasoning is that they are families, and I assume that entire families walking in White areas would be a dead give away for them. The area in which they ran away from also leads me to believe they were in the underground railroad. Frederick Turnpike in the old days of Baltimore is now Frederick Road. 4 and 1/2 miles from Baltimore would put them somewhere in the vicinity of Catonsville, and there is no way runaway families (Black slaves) would make it through this area unnoticed.

It appears that Flavella (very odd, unusual name) and the six children with her are Smiths.

The only other thing unusual in this article is the reference to “dark mulattos.” I’ve been researching for a long time, and this is the first time I have encountered the word “dark” associated with mulattos - I thought they were always the lighter Blacks. Somebody straighten me out on this one.

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