The iron bars were sawed in pieces.

Sylvester Mayo, a free negro, and a negro man by the name of John, broke the jail of Halifax county, on the night of the 28th of September. They procured a case knife, a razor and a glass bottle; and with the razor the knife was made a saw, and the razor was kept sharp by being often applied to the glass bottle. With these instruments, the iron bars of the cage were sawed in pieces, and a hole was worked in the outer wall of the prison, which is constructed of bricks, and they escaped. The Sheriff of the county offers a hundred dollars reward for the arrest of Mayo. Mayo is a free negro and stands charged with the murder of Robert Roberts another free negro. John is a runaway slave, supposed to be the property of Miss Judith Turner, of Albemarle county, Va.

The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh), 19 October 1853.

In the 1850 census of Halifax County, Sylvester Mayhoe, 30, boatman, born in Virginia, and wife Tabitha, 22, born in Halifax.