Runaway Slave Ads

Baltimore County, Maryland

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Baltimore Sun on March 28, 1852 ~:

FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away on 24th March, a light mulatto BOY named John, 16 Years old, upwards of 5 feet in height; has long black bushy hair, and when he went away, had on clothes and shoes much worn, with old cloth cap. Twenty dollars will be paid if taken in this State, or fifty dollars if caught in Pennyslvania, on returning him to

Epsom, near Towsontown, Baltimore County

Baltimore Sun on June 9, 1852 ~:

RAN AWAY - from the subscriber, on the 9th of May, my Negro JIM WARD. He is 5 feet 5 inches high, between 17 and 18 years of age, not very black, with a down look, full suit of hair, quite entangled. Had on when he left, a drab jacket, black pants, check shirt and black hat. I will pay $10 if taken in the city, or $20 out of it, and all charges paid.


Note: Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on June 9, 1852 and [again on] August 12, 1852.

Baltimore Sun on July 21, 1852 ~:

TWO DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber on the 17th inst. BENJAMIN BOWIE, aged 14 years. I will give the above reward for the delivery of said boy to No. 100 York Road.



Well, this is the second advertisement whereas the slave had the same surname of the owner. I never ran across a slave having the same surname as the owner until I began posting these runaway advertisements, and I have been doing genealogical research for about 10 years now. Live and learn!

Dear Louis,

There was a case in the Rockingham County, Virginia Court Records, Ref: “Register of Free Blacks”, Rockingham County, Virginia 1807-1859, by Dorothy A. Boyd-Rush Ph.D.

John Hite, No. 142, p. 58: Rockingham County to wit Registered in my office as No. 142 the 6th day of April 1830 John Hite, Sixty three yers of age, a Black Man Five feet five inches in height his Fingers on the right hand Crooked and was set free by the will of his late wife Lear Hite Deceased which id of Record in My office the foregoing Register was by the Court Compared with the sais John Hite and found duly made a Copy thereof is ordered to be furnished him according to Law done at April Court 1830.---

I am not offering any opinion, but this is certianly strange, unless Lear Hite was a black woman that owned her husband, literally!

Henry R. Burke

Hi Henry,

Wow! now that truly was a strange one on John Hite. I sort of think like you, that Lear Hite was probably his wife. That case you noted remind me of the father of Benjamin Banneker. Lots of people may not know that his father was of royalty coming out of Africa, and he was caught up in the slave trade. While in slavery in Oella, Maryland, he served a master who also had an indentured English Woman (her name slips me), but when her indentured time was up, she purchased her own slaves, one of which was Banneker’s father. He refused to work, and she married him. These were Banneker’s parents. I forget which book I got that out of, but I do know in the books you read about Benjamin Banneker, that part is not noted. In that same vein, I’d be willing to bet that the runaway slave Benjamin Bowie was probably the son of the owner’s husband. Just a guess!


Baltimore Sun on August 12, 1852 ~:

RAN AWAY from the subscriber, a Negro Boy, (JIM WARD), about 17 years of age, of a chestnut brown color; rather stout built; a down look, and nervous affection of the head when spoken to; walks on his toes with a kind of spring. I will give FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD for the apprehension and securing of the said boy Jim in the Baltimore jail.

Paradise Mill, Baltimore County, Md

N.B. He was in the woods near Govanstown on Friday last.

Note: The [first] article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on June 9, 1852 and [again on] August 12, 1852.

Baltimore Sun on August 26, 1852 ~:

$100 REWARD - RAN AWAY from the farm of John Ridgely, Esq, in Baltimore county, on Friday last, a light colored NEGRO GIRL, who calls herself REBECCA POSEY, about five feet one or two inches high, and fifteen years old; with a round good looking face. She had on when she left a dark blue stripped dress, a dark colored shawl, and no bonnet. The above reward will be paid for the recovery of said girl.

N. COOPER, Manager

Note: I’m not sure, but I believe the girl ran away from the Hampton Mansion Estate located in the Towson area. This Mansion is still intact, operated by the National Parks Service. If ever you visit this area (Baltimore metropolitian area), and are interested in estates, with slaves of course, this is the place to visit. Very interesting. They had many, many slaves.

Baltimore Sun on September 20, 1852 ~:

ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - RAN AWAY from the subscriber on the 16th instat, a NEGRO BOY, named GEORGE STEWART, a slave for life. The said boy is about 20 years of age, five feet in height, of a bright mulatto color. Had on when he left, a pair of blue mixed pants, black frock coat, black hat, and coarse shoes. The above reward will be paid if said boy is taken out of this State, and lodged in jail; or FIFTY DOLLARS if apprehended within the State and secured. Baltimore County, September 17th, 1852.

NICHOLAS M. BRIAN, Stemmer’s Run Post Office

Baltimore Sun on October 6, 1852 ~:

$100 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber living in Baltimore County, on Friday night or Saturday moring, October 2d 1852, a NEGRO WOMAN, MINTY JOHNSON, aged twenty-four years, about five feet five inches high, dark chestnut color; when spoken to she has a downward look; large wide teeth, wide apart. When she left home she had on a light calico dress, straw bonnet, with blue plaid ribbon. She took no other clothing with her. The above reward of One Hundred Dollars will be given if she is taken out of the State, and Fifty Dollars if take in the State and lodged in Baltimore jail so that I get her.


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