Runaway Slave Ads

Baltimore County, Maryland

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Baltimore Sun on March 6, 1851 ~:

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, on the 21st of July last, my NEGRO BOY JAMES, he calls himself James Hart; he is about 19 years of age, 5 feet 3 or 4 inches high, dark complexion; his teeth short and yellow; speaks quick and lisps a little; he has a mark on his arm like a leat (could be teat) in the centre of the place where he was vaccinated. He took a silver watch and good many clothes with him. It is likely he may be lurking about Columbia (not sure of this word) as it is thought he went to Pennsylvania. I will give one hundred dollars if taken in the State of Maryland, or one hundred and fifty dollars if taken out, so that I get him again. He must be brought home to me, four miles from Baltimore on the Hookstown road, or lodged in jail.


Note: Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The [first] article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on July 26, 1850. I certainly hope James Hart was never found!

Baltimore Sun on May 12, 1851 ~:

TEN DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber’s residence at Owing’s Mills, Baltimore county, on the 8th inst, a colored BOY - rather dark, squint-eyed, about five ft. five inches tall, and answers to the name of TOM. Said boy had on when he left a gray monkey jacket, Crossbarred (not sure about this word) Pantaloons, and Cloth Cap. The above reward will be given to any person returning said boy to

Owing’s Mills

Note: Beginning very soon I will be including some quotes from a very old book that I recently came about that shows how Slaves and Free Negroes were dealt with in Maryland during the period 1704 to 1856. The book which is crumbling in my hands was given to me by an elderly lady at a church in Catonsville where I was giving a talk on a book I had written on the history of a Black community, and on one that I expect to have published by Black History Month. She was so engrossed with my talk that she had this book she wanted me to read that may help me out in one of my books. The book is entitled “The Justices’ Practice under th Laws of Maryland; including the Duties of a Constable: with an Appendix” by John H.B. Latrobe of the Baltimore Bar, dated 1886. Thus far I am truly carried away with reading of all the laws Maryland enacted to restrict Blacks period! Free and Slave. I’ll be sharing with Afrigeneas from time to time.

Baltimore Sun on July 21, 1851 ~:

RAN AWAY , on the evening of the 21st ult., my Man, RALPH THOMPSON, aged about 33 years, a bright mulatto, about 5 feet 10 inches in height. He has an impediment in his speech. He was seen entering Baltimore on Thursday or Friday afternoon last. He wearing blue pantaloons and a white felt har. $3 reward will be paid for his recovery and return to SAMUEL MOORE, near Cockeysville, Md.

Note: Concerning runaway slaves from Maryland, the following is quoted from: “The Justices’ Practice under the Laws of Maryland; including the Duties of a Constable: with an Appendix,” by John H.B. Latrobe of the Baltimore Bar, dated 1856:

“1396. In all cases where a runaway slave from this State be apprehended in the limits of a free State, the sum allowed for seizing, taking up and securing such runaway slaves shall be one hundred dollars, or one half the value of such slave arrested, at the option of the owner, which however shall not apply to the counties of this state bordering on the Pennsylvania line; Provided, in all cases where a slave may have been advertised as a runaway, in a sum greater than is allowed by this act, the said sum shall be considered and deemed as including the amount to which the person so seizing, taking up and ecuring said runaway would be entitled to under this act. Ib. s. 2 “(Note: Ib. refers to an 1844 MD law)

So, maybe with the amount of reward already allowed by State law does have an impact on how much a reward is noted in the runaway newspaper article. I gather from reading the quote, the owner has to pay the reward authorized under the act and not from State money?????

Baltimore Sun on August 22, 1851 ~:

SIX AND A QUARTER SENTS REWARD - Went away from the subscriber’s farm, in Baltimore County, on the 19th inst., a NEGRO BOY, named JOSEPH WHITE, aged 18 years. I do hereby foreward all persons against harboring or trusting the said boy on my account, as the law will be strictly enforced upon them.


Baltimore Sun on October 15, 1851 ~:

FIVE DOLLARS REWARD - Absconded from the subscriber, on the York Turnpike (can’t make out the next word) 8 miles from Baltimore, a Negro Man, named JAMES A. J. COATES. I will give the above reward for his apprehension and placed in any jail in Maryland, so I get him again.


Baltimore Sun on December 9, 1851 ~:

RAN AWAY FROM THE SUBSCRIBER, on or about the middle of October last, a NEGRO BOY named ISAAC DORSEY, about 15 years old, rather small for his age. I will give a liberal reward for his return to me, or delivery in Jail, so I get him again.


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