Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: runaways

He passed for a free man for fifteen months.


From the Subscriber on the 10th day of September, a bright mulatto fellow by the name of Ralph. He is about 35 years old – a number of his fore teeth are missing – several before, so as to disqualify him from chawing any thing hard. He has a very down look. He had on when he left me cotton clothes, except his coat, which was cotton cambrick, of a brown colour, made in the present fashion. The coat had a pocket on the inside of the left lappell. – He is about five feet, eight or ten inches high – thick built. I expect he will attempt to pass for a free man, and perhaps aim for Richmond, in Virginia, where he was raised.  He left his former master, whose name was Jeffery, (lived in South Carolina,) and passed for a free man about fifteen months in the counties of Duplin, Bladen, and Jones, where he was at length taken up and committed to Wilmington Jail, where his master got him. Any person who will confine said Negro in any Jail in this state so I get him again, shall receive a reward of ten dollars, and if delivered to me in Wadesborough, 25 dollars. JOHN JENNINGS. Wadesborough, Sept. 25, 1809.

Star, Raleigh, 19 October 1809.

They are called Ephram Mitchell.


Ranaway from the subscriber on Sunday night the 29th instant, two negro slaves, (mulattoes,) by the names  of DUNCAN and JIM the former about twenty four years of age, and the latter twenty one – the said negroes belong to the estate of John Whitted, dec’d, and are hired to the subscribers and probably at this time are lurking in the neighborhood of Haywood (Chatham county, in this State) for the purpose of taking off along with them their Brother, who is also a mullatto, (by the name of Stephen) these boys having calculated on their freedom from their late masters will, and feeling disappointed in their expectation, it is therefore believed that they will make for some part of the country, where freedom is tolerated, and in the mean time pass as free persons of colour, as they are determined to effect their freedom if possible. – Duncan is likely not very stout about five feet ten inches high and has a scar on his neck occasioned by rising, any person or persons who will apprehend the same negroes and deliver them to the subscribers in Hillsborough shall be reasonably rewarded – or if taken up out of the state and secured in any Jail thereof, so that the subscribers get them shall receive a reward of five dollars each.

N.B. It is said these negroes have procured some kind of instrument of writing from a free man of colour by the name of Ephram Mitchell which was given by the Clerk of county some time past, which they will probably make use of to answer their purpose, therefore they will try to pass in his name, Ephram Mitchell.  H. Thompson, John Young. August 29th 1819.

Star, Raleigh, 10 September 1819.

He is called William Wall.

Four Hundred Dollars Reward.

The store of the subscribers was robbed on the night of 24th February last, of three thousand, three or four hundred dollars, by a mulatto fellow named JIM, the property of William L. Thomas, esquire, of Chesterfield District, South-Carolina. Jim is about five feet eight inches high, a little round shouldered, has a large scar on his left arm near the shoulder, and wore a pair of whiskers. His dress cannot with accuracy be described, but had on when last seen a green bombazette coatee – He was seen and pursued on the 2d instant, by a party of men in Moore county, North Carolina, where he had purchased a horse, but was forced to abandon his horse and baggage when pursued. Jim has obtained a free pass or rather certificate of his freedom in which he is called William Wall; but it is not improbable he will again change his name, and procure another pass to prevent detection by the old one, as he is a very artful fellow. It is his avowed intention to go to the state of Pennsylvania or Ohio, but he may be at this time in Chatham county, North Carolina, from whence he was brought some time in the  month of May last year by a Mr. Ramsay. Any person or persons who will apprehend said fellow and confine him in any jail so that the subscribers may get him, shall receive $100 reward m or $120 if deleivered to them at their residence, and ten per centum for all the money restore. The money is in notes on different banks in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, & one $50 note on the Hudson Bank of New York, which is a counterfeit, and on the back is written “Atwaters,” the man’s name from whom it was received.  GILLESPIE & SANDERS. Chatham, Chesterfield District, South-Carolina, 19th March, 1816.

Star, Raleigh, 31 May 1816.

Runaway bound boy, no. 7.

COMMITTED to the Jail of Rowan County, on the 4th of August, a negro boy named Edward Bailey, who says he is free, and bound to Newsome Westmoreland of Stokes county. Said boy is of dark complexion, about 13 or 14 years of age. N. ROBERTS, Jailor. Salisbury, Aug. 16, 1845.

Carolina Watchman, 18 August 1845.

They are very well known.

$200 Reward. Ranaway from the subscriber, on the 22nd inst., FOUR NEGRO BOYS, named as follows: CHARLES WINN, aged about 24; WILLIAM, aged about 17 years; JOHN, aged 14 years; JIM, aged about 12 years.

The above boys are very well known as the children of Adam Winn. I think they intend trying to get to some free state. The above reward will be given for their delivery, or for their confinement in any jail in the State.   THOMAS BENNETT. Mt. Olive, Wayne co., July 25, 1854.

Fayetteville Observer, 3 August 1854.

[Sidenote: Adam Winn was a free man. Several of his sons were slaves. — LYH]

No. 1 negro woman takes up with free negro man.

$100 Reward

Ranaway from Mr. N. Carpenter, on the Charlotte Rail Road, near Brown Marsh, in November last, my negro Girl BELL.  The said girl is a No. 1 negro, about 5 feet 6 or 8 inches high, very well put up, and with a smooth black skin.

She is supposed to have taken up with a free negro man in the Brown Marsh neighborhood. I will give the above reward for her delivery to me in Fayetteville, or $50 for her confinement in any jail so that I can get her.   James P. Robertson. Jan. 23.

Fayetteville Observer, 26 January 1863.

They may have obtained free passes.

Two hundred Dollars Reward. Run-away from the Subscriber on the 20th Oct. last two Negro men, named SAMPSON and JOE, Sampson is about 50 years of age, about 5 feet 5 inches high, tout made, dark complexion, wore away a tarpaulin hat, white trowsers and jacket. – Joe is about 30 years of age, about 6 feet high, and very black complexion, slender made, marked with the small pox in the face, he has lost the toe next to the great toe on the left foot, wore away a fur hat and striped homespun jacket and overalls. From a former attempt I think it probable they will try to pass as free fellows under the name of Samuel Brown and Joe Ferrel; they may have obtained free passes which I suspect is the case. – I suppose they are lurking on the sea board between Swansboro’ and Norfolk, having been informed they left the former place enquiring for Edenton. I am clearly of the opinion their intention is to get on board some vessel – The above reward will be given to any person for the delivery of said Negroes to me, or one hundred and fifty dollars for securing them in any jail so that I get them again, or a proportionate reward for either. All masters of vessels and other persons are forewarned from conveying them away, or harboring them in any way under the severity of the penalty of the law.  EASLER KILPATRICK. Duplin County, (N.C.) April 3.

Norfolk & Portsmouth Herald, 6 April 1818.

She has a free colored sailor for a husband.


Ran away from the Subscriber, on the 7th inst., a negro woman named HAGAR. She is from thirty five to forty years of age, of a slim figure, in delicate health, and has had on one or both of her thumbs what is called a bone film.  She has lived for a number of years in the family of Charles Stewart, — and having a free coloured man, a sailor, for a husband, it is supposed that she has gone off with a view of getting to New York. All masters of vessels are cautioned not to take her away, under the penalty of the law.

The above reward will be paid to any person who will deliver the above named woman to me or secure her in jail so that I get her.    JOHN L. DURAND. June 13th, 1840.

Newbern Spectator and Literary Journal, 13 June 1840.


She lived among free colored people and white people of the lower order.

Ranaway. From the Subscriber, some weeks since, a mulatto Girl Slave named HANNAH, alias Tillah. She is thought to be lurking in the neighborhood of Laurel Hill at present. She has on a former occasion made her way to Robeson County, and lived there among the free coloured people a considerable time, and she has also lived among, and has been employed and entertained by some of the lower order of white people in that County during the last Winter and Spring. I forewarn all persons from harboring, employing, or entertaining said Girl, under the penalty of the law. I will give Five Dollars for her apprehension and delivery to me, if taken in this County, and an additional compensation if caught out of the County, and delivered to me.  JNO. R. BUIE. Near Laurel Hill, Richmond C’ty, N.C., April 16th, 1838.

Carolina Observer, Fayetteville, 25 April 1838.

He went immediately among free negroes.


RAN AWAY from the Subscriber, on Saturday the 1st inst., my negro fellow named SHADRACH, he is about 21 years of age, five feet seven or eight inches high, well made and proportioned, a dark copper colour, talks rather slow when spoken to, is very likely, if any scars not remembered, and had on when he left an osnaburg shirt and pantaloons (considerably worn,) and old straw hat. I understood he went immediately on Neuse, Craven County, among the free negroes and called himself Jim Sampson and took passage in some boat for Newbern, no doubt he will try to get to the north in some vessel.

All persons are forewarned from harboring, or carrying him away under the penalty of the law, which will certainly be enforced against those who violate its provisions in such case made and provided. The above reward will be paid to any person for lodging him in any jail in this State so that I get him again.

DAVID L. JONES. Carteret County, August 5th, 1840.

Newbern Spectator and Literary Journal, 8 August 1840.