Runaway Servants, Convicts, and Apprentices

Advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796


Author: Grubb, Farley
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 198 pp.


Perhaps more than half of all immigrants arriving in the mid-Atlantic region in the 18th century were persons engaged to work for a fixed term of years–runaway servants, convicts, or apprentices–and, owing to various tribulations, thousands of these laborers absconded from their contracts, leaving their masters little choice but to advertise in the newspapers for their capture and return. Over the years many thousands of ads for runaways were placed in the centrally situated Pennsylvania Gazette during its years of existence, 1728-1796, and they give many pieces of information on these individuals that are of interest to genealogists. In this work, Prof. Farley Grubb has extracted all relevant details on 6,000 runaways who had been advertised for during this period. Data presented, for example, includes colony or county of residence, national origin, age, occupation, circumstances of employment, date of escape, height and physical features, place and time of arrival in America, and a variety of specialized information.

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