Slave Ads from1857
Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on April 11, 1857:

$100 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, living near Randallstown, Baltimore county, Md., on the night of the 7th instant, a NEGRO WOMAN, OMER BIAS, about twenty-seven years of age, five feet four or five inches high, light chestnut color, rather stout and quite fleshy. Had on when she left home a red striped linsey dress, carrying other clothes in a bundle. The above reward will be given if taken out of the State, or fifty dollars if taken in the State; in either case to be secured in jail so that I get her again. Address Dr. T. Z. OFFUTT, Woodstock, Howard county, Md.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on June 16, 1857:

$50 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber on the 11th of this month, residing near Randallstown, Baltimore county, a N E G R O M A N named MOSES, about 35 or 36 years old and about 5 feet 8 inches in height, full-chested, very polite and talkative when spoken to, dark brown complexion and walks very lame in one leg and uses a cane and a thick soled boot. I will give $50 if lodged in jail or put where I can get him.
Randallstown, Baltimore county

This article, like many of the other runaway slave articles, really make me wonder just what the poor helpless slaves went through during that terrible period of time. I just read in the morning’s paper about the skelton remains of former slaves from the New York area a few years ago that are being investigated at Howard University in D.C. Many of the poor slaves back in the 1700s were so overburden with work, carrying heavy loads, etc, that their bodies just broke under the strain. Damn shame, man’s inhumanity towards their fellow man. These articles that I have been posting mostly reflect cuts, bruises and results of broken bones, which cause me to believe that slaves were treated no differently in this area.

Louis S. Diggs

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on June 6, 1857:

RAN AWAY on the 5th instant, JERRY SIDDONS, a colored boy, (I am not sure if the age is 42 or 12) 42/12 years old; had on a new blue cloth cap, green jacket, brown pants, and no shoes. $2 reward will be given if brought to MARY TURNER, one mile out on the Hookstown road, or if secured so that she may get him.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on March 10, 1857:

FIVE DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, on the 25th February, an indentured or bound COLORED BOY, almost 10 years old, well grown for his age, of a dark chestnut color, by the name of JOHN HENRY THIME. Any information left with MR. LOUIS BROWN, 119 N. High Street (late Quinlin’s) will be promptly attended to.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on March 4, 1857:

$20 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber on or about the 18th or 20th of November, N E G R O “Rachel Bordley,” or “Taylor,” formerly living with Morris Sotler (Not sure of this word), about thirty years of age, 5 feet, 5 or 6 inches high, rather bright copper color; the fore finger off at the second joint; scar on the back of the same hand; rather quick spoken; formerly the slave of William Grimes, deceased, of Baltimore county, Md. To be secured in Baltimore city jail. For the last 4 or 5 years had been hired out as a house servant in the city of Baltimore,

Baltimore county, Md.
Reference, No. 66 South Calvert street

Here is another case of disfigurement and scars. So many of the runaway slave articles contain remarks of scars and disfigurements that it really makes me wonder if slave owners purposely marked their slaves. Any comments on this. I am also wondering about the average height of Blacks back in those days; it appears whenever descriptions are given, 5 feet, 5 or 6 inches is the average height. I wonder if there were any really short or really tall Blacks back then????? I also thought it was rather unusual to note that this particular slave was living with another person, Morris. First time I ever noticed this in one of the articles. You know, as you read into these articles they really make you wonder just what it was like back then. Very interesting.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on March 7, 1857:

TEN DOLLARS REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber on the 4th inst., NEGRO BOY WM. JOHNSTON, alias BLACK BALL, 17 years of age, about 5 feet high, on a dark chestnut color. Had on when he left, blue pantaloons, check shirt and coarse boots, and iron collar on. The above reward will be paid if he is brought home or secured in jail so that I get him again.

WM. PAUL, Washington Road
Near Wartman’s Sulphur Springs
Baltimore Co., Md.

There was a similar article posted to the forum on January 24, 1997. WM. JOHNSON had run away on December 25, 1856. Based on this article being run several months later, the young man must have been caught, and had run off again. I only hope like hell that he continued to run and that eventually he reached his freedom. Bad enough they had to enslave people, but to keep iron collars on them - just rotten!!!!!!

Today I am posting one of the most interesting (to me) runaway slave articles yet. If you can recall, yesterday I posted a runaway article on a run away slave named CHARLES HARDEN. The subscriber to the article, JESSE STOCKSDALE, indicated that his slave was in the company of another person. It is that other person who this article is about. Now that is not the interesting aspect of this article. It is so odd that the runaway slave mentioned in today’s article was one of the slaves that I wrote about in my book, “Holding On To Their Heritage.” I’ll explain after I post the article:

$200 REWARD - Ran away from my Farm at Reisterstown, Baltimore county, on Saturday, the 24th of October, my colored boy STEPHEN BROWN, supposed with a slave of Mr. Stocksdale; about 20 years old, not very dark, thick lips, stout for his age, stoops or rather leans forward in walking, has a drawling manner of speaking, and I think but am not sure has his name written on his arm with India ink. The above reward will be taken if brought back or lodged in jail so that I get him again.


This article was published in “The Sun Newspapers” on November 14, 1857.

Here is the interesting thing about this article. Twenty-four years earlier, in 1834, a Stephen Brown was was listed in the Class Records of the Asbury Chapel (not Reisterstown United Methodist Church) as one of the 47 Colored slaves who asked for and received permission to hold class meetings at the chapel. Stephen Brown was listed as one of the original slaves, bit the record noted that “he was believed to have run off.” I really wonder if this Stephen Brown was the father of the Stephen Brown that ran away from slavery in 1857, right from the same community????? Strange coincident, don’t you think? Incidently, all of the names of the slaves that asked for permission to practice their religion is listed in my book, including a Richard Diggs, who I think is one of my ancestors. I was able to trace my ancestors in that area to the 1700s.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on October 13, 1857:

$500 REWARD - RAND AWAYS AND HORSE THIEVES - Ran away from the subscriber, living in Baltimore county, Md., near the Granite Quarries, two NEGRO MEN, Brothers, ROSS and JOHN BEALL; the former left on the night of the 11th instant, taking with him one Chestnut Sorrell MARE, the property of his master. Ross has a dark complexion, nearly black, about 23 years of age, about five feet six or seven inches in height, and has a down look when spoken to. John left on the 10th instant, and also took a horse belonging to a neighbor. He is 18 years old, about five feet ten inches in height, black complexion, smiles when spoken to, showing very white teeth. I will give the above reward of $500 for the apprehension of both, or $250 for either one of them, to be secured in jail so that I might get them again. Communications addressed to

Woodsock Postoffice
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Man, I just hope like heck that thesetwo young men rode those horses all the way to Canada and freedom. It would be just great to come across one of those articles from Canada that they made it.

I am posting a “runaway slave article” that is truly different, just the absolute opposit of the articles I have run in the past. This is the first type of advertisement I have yet encountered, as it pertains to the seeking assistance on the whereabouts
of a missing Black person, but not missing from slavery.

The following article appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” newspaper on October 13, 1857:

ON THE FOURTH OF SEPTEMBER LAST, ALBERT DORSEY, aged 19 years, five feet six inches high, of well-knit frame, chestnut brown, long visage, lower lip hanging, speaks plainly, of quite and reserved manner, born free in Baltimore county, and of excellent conduct and character, was kidnapped and secretly sent from Baltimore city. All efforts by his distressed parents and friends to learn his destination or place of concealment have failed. Any information leading to a trace of him will relieve them and be most gratefully acknowledged. Address CHAS G. LYON, ESQ., Pikesville, Baltimore county., or WM. J. WARD, ESQ., Baltimore

This poor kid was obviously kidnapped and sent into slavery. I would appreciate hearing your ideas as to what you think might have happened to the young man, and whether or not you have seen this type of advertisement before.

Louis S. Diggs

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on October 20, 1857:

$200 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, living near Reisterstown, Baltimore county, on the night of the 4th of October, 1857, my negro man, named CHARLES HARDEN, belonging to the undersigned. Charles is about five feet seven or eight inches high, stout built, has pretty much of a down look when spoken to, and has a scar on one of his fore-fingers, supposed to be on his right hand, occasioned by a felon, and appears to be a little stiff in one of his knees when he walks. There was another boy in company with him belonging to Mr. Daniel Banks. I will give the above reward for his apprehension and delivery to me, on in the city of Baltimore or Baltimore county jail, so that I can get him.

near Reisterstown, Baltimore county,
State of Maryland

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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