Even as a boring researcher who spends days on end in dusty old archives, every now and again something shocks you. I came across this ad not long into my research regarding runaway slaves in Eastern North Carolina. [The full size image can be found below the page break].

Runaway Slave Ad
Why is an old advertisement so shocking and interesting? The above advertisement’s five simple (although surprisingly verbose) paragraphs are short hand for a much larger and even more interesting tale. Their story includes enslavement, betrayal, yearning for freedom, fatherhood, rebellion, courage, anger, and half a dozen other compelling emotional angles that should perk the ears and tug at the heart.

Beyond that, the characters are laid out in a detailed manner (considering the space allowed for an advertisement), but in such a way that you are left desiring to know more about them.

Read the rest of this entry »


The JPEG files below are JPEG versions of Excel charts based on runaway slave advertisements from 1818-1824.  I converted the Excel file I posted yesterday into JPEG files so those without Excel could still view the information. Now all you have to do is use the image enhancer Icon (the little magnifying glass with a + sign inside that appears when you click on these JPEGS) to blow them up to full size.

Page 1

Runaway Slave List Page 1

Page 2

Runaway Slave List 2

Page 3

Runaway Slave List 3

So tell me what you think. Did these newspaper ads for runaway slaves include anything that shocked or surprised you? What did you learn?

By Monday I will publish a post on the contents of these ads and what they tells us about slavery in North Carolina during that period (1818-1824). Hope to have plenty of comments by then.