If your ancestor served at the Valley Forge encampment during the American Revolution, you are probably familiar with author Joseph Lee Boyle. Mr. Boyle worked at the Valley Forge historic site for over three decades, retiring as the Park Historian. He has compiled five volumes on the soldiers who served at Valley Forge from the states of New Hampshire and Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and New York, and Virginia.
Boyle is also the compiler of 19 additional volumes that identify runaway servants whose identities were preserved in colonial newspaper ads placed by their masters. These books cover runaway servant ads for New England (4), New York (2), New Jersey (2), Pennsylvania (6), Delaware (1), and Maryland (4), and in compiling them Mr. Boyle examined scores upon scores of 17th-century newspapers. You can browse the list of titles in this series and other titles compiled by Joseph Lee Boyle HERE.
The runaway servants series was recently the subject of a review in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, written by Bobbi King. We have reprinted it in its entirety below:
Book Reviews: “Runaways”
25 Feb 2022 6:17 PM
The following book reviews were written by Bobbi King:
“Runaways” Volumes Continue Publication by the Genealogical Publishing Company
“Joseph Lee Boyle, the prodigious researcher, compiler, and author, continues to output his extractions of historic advertisements placed into colonial newspapers by the owners of runaway servants, apprentices, military deserters, lawbreakers, errant spouses, and miscellaneous categories of persons on the run.
Each book has an introductory section offering details describing the newspapers searched, the information recovered, the indexing of all the names, the compiler’s efforts to transcribe the ads exactly as read, and examples of particularly notable persons and ads.
Each book has an index, including the several names used for one individual in a notice.
RAN away from Capt. James Oliver of Boston, a Negro Man named Cambridge, about 27 Years old and Pockbroken, that has been used to work at the Baker’s Trade. He had on a new double breasted light coloured Cloth Jacket, with flat Metal Buttons, lined with blue Bays, and a great Coat and breeches of the same Cloth, or else a pair of blue Cloth Breeches, and a Seal-skin Cap. Whoever takes him up, and brings him to his abovesaid Master, shall have 40s. Reward, old Tenor, and all necessary Charges. And all Masters of Vessels are forbid carrying him off at their Peril.
The Boston Evening-Post, January 9, 1744. See The Boston Evening-Post, June 9, 1740. See The Boston Evening-Post, October 17, 1743.
WHEREAS Jane Williams the Wife of Jonathan Williams of said Beverly, hath run him in Debt, and squander’d away a considerable Part of his Estate; THIS is to caution all Persons whatsoever against trading with her, and to inform them, that her said husband will not pay any Debt she shall contract after this Date, as witness my Hand,
The Boston Weekly Post-Boy, January 9, 1744; January 16, 1744.
RAN away from the Ship Providence, John Parr Master, on the 9th of December, 1743, John Scudder, who if he will return to his Duty on board the said Ship in five Days from the Date hereof, he shall be kindly received, but if not, he shall be deemed a Deserter, and treated accordingly.
The Boston Evening-Post, December 26, 1743; January 2, 1744.
These are recent publications:
“Stiles himself a Prize fighter” New-York Runaways, 1706–1768
The majority of persons cited in this series are runaway servants, slaves, and lawbreakers, both men and women. Thirty newspapers were consulted.
“Fond of liquor, dancing and gaming” New-York Runaways, 1769–1783
Sixty-two newspapers were consulted.
“smooth tongued and deceitful” White New Jersey Runaways 1767–1783
The majority of persons cited here are white men and women runaways. Blacks whose names were in the ads are noted and included in the index. Forty-one newspapers were consulted.
“much given to Talk and bad Company” New-England Runaways, 1704–1754
Smallpox outbreaks regularly occurred during this time, and runaways wanted to avoid inoculation. Twenty-five newspapers were consulted.
“He is a person of very ill fame” New-England Runaways, 1755–1768
Twenty-five newspapers were consulted.
“can tell an ample story” New-England Runaways, 1769–1773
Twenty-five newspapers were consulted.
“Runaways” Volumes are available from Genealogical Publishing Company at https://genealogical.com/store/.