Slave Ads from1854
Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on April 12, 1854:

FIVE DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, on Suturday, 7th April, a Negro BOY, supposed to be about 14 years of ago, and stout built. His complexion is a blackish brown, black eyes, flat nose, with a slight scar on his forehead. Had on when he started a suit of grey clothes and black slouched hat, both the worse to wear; a blue and white striped shirt. Was seen on Sunday, 8th near Mr. Shipley’s Hotel in Baltimore Street, and is supposed to be still in Baltimore. Any person securing the above mentioned Negro and informing me of the same, will be paid Five Dollars reward.


Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on March 20, 1854:

RAN AWAY, on Thursday, the 16th instant, from the Farm near Sweet-Air in
Baltimore county (lately occupied by James Sterett, deceased.) “Charles,” a MULATTO MAN, aged 24 years, 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high. He has one of his upper front teeth broken, and a scar across his upper lip. If he has not returned to the Farm, One Hundred Dollars reward will be paid for his apprehension and delivery to the subscriber, in Baltimore City.
No. (can’t make out) St. Paul St.

After about 70 of these runaway slave postings, I am really beginning to notice that many of the runaway slaves have “scars” noted on their faces. I wonder if these scars are indicative of the treatment they received from the owners?

Louis S. Diggs

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on May 12, 1854:

TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber on Saturday, 8th inst., my Servant Man, LLOYD BOWEN, about 28 or 30 years of age. He is about 5 ft, 11 inches high, stout, strong, wel made; of a dark brown color, has severa suits of good clothing, and makes himsef quite agreeabe to strangers. He has numerous acquaintances throughout Baltimore city and county, and on the Eastern Shore of this State and may have forged a pass to enabe him to Pennyslvania probably by way of York or Harrisburg, towards Philadelphia. $200 will be paid for his apprehension and delivery in Baltimore jail, if taken out of this State, and $75 if taken in this State, and delivered in Baltimore jail.

6 miles from Baltimore, near Washingtonville

I’m changing the format once again today. There is no posting of a runaway slave article, rather, I would like to reprint a story that appeared in “North Side View of Slavery”, from Toronto, Canada, that follows the two articles I just posted about Robert Belt, Ellen Cole, and the two runaway slaves from Baltimore County that made it to Canada and freedom.

This article is an interview with William Howard, a former slave from Baltimore County, MD. I could not locate a runaway newspaper article on him:

“WILLIAM HOWARD”: I was raised in Baltimore county, Md.- was a slave from birth, until twenty-seven years old. I had no master, - my mistress was a widow lady. She gave me no religious instruction, neither taught me to read nor write - didn’t want I should know any such thing as that. She was kind to me, but I didn’t hardly thank her for it. I hired my time, giving her seven dollars a month, although I could earn a great deal more. The reason she did this was, she was afraid I would come away; she never sold any of her servants. I married a free-woman, and had two children there. My mistress died, and I was told that the farm was to be sold. Upon this, I came away, and had no difficulty in doing so. My wife and children followed.

I stopped a while in the free States, but came here on accounbt of my friends being here. I did not feel concerned as regards the fugitive slave law. Slavery made the colored people where I lived, very unhappy. One thing was, they did not get enough to eat or to wear - some I knew did not. I have known that if some were not at work by daylight, they were tied up and received a hundred and fifty lashes with a raw hide, and then had brine put on their backs, and an iron yoke put on their necks afterwards, for fear they would run away. Frequentl;y they would have no bed to lie on. Siometimes when a young man and woman were attached to each other, the masters would interfere, and, may be, would sell one of the parties. I have known children to be dragged away from their parents, and wives from their husbands; that’s no new thing to me. I knew one man who had children by his slave, a yellow girl, and then sold his own children.

My opinion is, that the yoke ought to be taken from every man, and that every one should be loosed. It looks quite strange to me when I look back into the country where I was born, and see the state of things there. If they would set the slaves free, they would go to work and make a living. If any people can make a living, they can.

All they want is a little education, and something to start upon. I do not think the masters would incur any danger by settings the slaves free. I thought is honorable to carry my mistress the money I earned; it seemed to me now that she was not honorable in taking it, if I was in giving it.

I expect to work for a living, go where I would. I could not be stopped from working. Canada is the best place I ever saw; I can make more money here than anywhere else I know of. The colored people, taken as a whole, are as industrious as any people you will find. They have a good deal of aambition to go forward, and take a good stand in the community. I know several who own houses and lands. They are temperate people.”

I hope everyone enjoys this article.

Louis S. Diggs

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on October 18, 1854:

TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, on Sunday, 15th day of October, a very bright mulatto BOY called JOHN GIBSON; aged about 22 years, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, well proportioned, black hair, wears it sometimes plaited, but usually has it combed out when it hangs down on the cape of his coat, and looks like a wig. He has a very small, thin wishers, and a few straggling hairs on his chin; he does not shave. Had on a fine black frock coat, likewise a brown tweed coat, black pants, patent leather gaiter shoes, Kossuth hat. The above reward will be given if taken out of the State and $100 if taken in the State and secured so that I get him again. It is very possible he may be in the company with a woman called Ellen Scott; she is black, about 35 years of age, short, knott wool, very high cheek bones, and has a mulatto child with her about 9 months old. Any information will be thankfully received.

Little Gunpowder. Baltimore co, Md.

I had some feelings about this posting as I typed it. I continually visualized John Gibson as a half-White person making an attempt to “pass” as he fled from slavery, but this notion was knocked down when Ellen Scott entered the picture. John Gibson just dosen’t come across to me as a Black person.
Well, just my feelings.

Louis S. Diggs

This posting is a special one; special because several articles were written about two slaves who ran away from their owners, made their way to freedom in Canada, and married. I will try to run the articles in sequence. These articles are also special because I believe in my heart that it was the Underground Railroad that saved these people.

The first was a newspaper article from “The Baltimore Sun,” on October 25, 1854:

FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from me on Wednesday night,
October 18, 1854, a negro Man named ROBERT BELT - light copper color, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, about 25 years old. He stole from me about $50 in cash. He also took with him a variety of clothing. I will give the above reward - no matter where taken, if secured so that I get him again.

Near Texas, Baltimore county

Right behind this article, came a second article that I believe also appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” on October 28, 1854:

The Runaway Slaves, from the neighborhood of Texas, referred to last week, were four in number, one belonging to Thos. D. Cockey, of J., one to Elias Parks, one to Jos. Kelley, and one to Capt. Lee. The one belonging to Mr. Kelley carried off about $50, which he had procured for two loads of his mater’s hay he had sold in town, and Mr. Cockey’s boy carried off considerable clothing. Nothing has yet been heard of them. The slave boys, the property of Miss C.D. Owens, near Cockeysville, made
their escape on Tuesday night.

On October 25, 1854 in “The Baltimore Sun” newspapers, another runaway slave article appears as follows:

$400 REWARD - Ran away from me on Wednesday night, October 18, a negro girl named ELLEN COLE, dark copper color, about 18 years old, fine looking, pleasant when spoken to. Took with her a variety of clothes - I will give the above reward, no matter where taken, if secured so I get her again.

near Texas, Baltimore county

Robert Belt and Ellen Cole ran off together, with possible two other young Black men (these were the four referred to in the separate article that ran on October 28, 1854), and guess what? - they made it to Canada and got married! There was an article on Robert Belt in the North Side View of Slavery out of Toronto, Canada that read as follows:

Interview of Mr. Robert Belt: I came from Maryland. I was in slavery about twenty-five years. I had heard that there was a notion of selling me. There was a mystery about it - some saying that I was born free. A white man told me that he thought I would be sold, as there was a dispute. In about one month later, I came away. In one place where I was concealed, I saw people from the neighborhood hunting for me. I
travelled more than a hundred miles on foot, and suffered a great deal
by getting sore feel, and from cold and want of food. I got work soon after my arrival here, which was quite recent; since I have been here, I have prospered well,. My calculations is, to own a house and a piece of land by and by. I feel much better satisifed for myself since I have been free, than when I was a slave; but I feel grieved to think that my friends are in slavery. I wish they could come out here. My wife came with me from an adjoining farm. (the name of his wife was Ellen Cole).

Now, this is the type of runaway slave articles that I love to write. This is the only one where I found the runaways married each other, and from all indications from the Toronto, Canada article, lived happily ever after!

What really makes me think that Robert Belt and Ellen Cole, and surely the other two, were moved by the Underground Railroad is where Robert Belt mentions in his interview that “place where I was concealed.” This sounds like pre-designated hiding spots along the trail! What are your thoughts?

This article is a bit long, so I will post the runaway slave article on the other two slaves that ran away with Robert Belt and Ellen Cole in the next day or so.

Louis S. Diggs

This is the second part to the slave posting I recorded yesterday. In yesterday’s posting I posted runaway slave articles on Robert Belt and Ellen Cole, with a separate article about their escape with two other slaves. This is the article that appeared in “The Sun Newspapers” on October 27, 1854 about the two other slaves that escaped with Robert Belt and Ellen Cole:

THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, 12 1/2 miles from Baltimore on the York Road, near Cockeysville, at 10 o’clock on Tuesday, the 24th, two NEGRO BOYS, JEF AND ZACK, aged 21 and 23 years. Jef limps in one leg and is a mulatto. Zack has marks on his neck from Poll-evil; also a mulatto. I will give the above reward if they are apprehended and secured so that I can get the,

JOHN O., PRICE, Agent for C. D. OWENS

I imagine that these two young men made their escape good to Canada
along with Robert Belt and Ellen Cole. Good for them!

Louis S. Diggs

Book Links:
It All Started on Winters Lane
The first published history of one the forty historically Black settlements in Baltimore County, MD

The Oblate Sisters of Providence

The Buffalo Soldiers
African-Americans have fought in military conflicts since colonial days.

Holding On To Their Heritage
A comprehensive book which documents the history of the historic black communities.

In Our Voices
In Our Voices chronicles the stories of many families that founded the African American settlements.

Run away Slave Ads
These Ads were extract from Baltimore Sun Newspapers.
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