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A Maryland Slave Runs Toward Freedom

Runaway slave advertisements offer a wealth of information about the movements and motivations of escaped slaves. This advertisement offers a reward for the capture and return of Sam MacKall, a Maryland slave who ran away from his master in Prince George's County. Because they were so close to the free states of the North, newspapers in Maryland and the District of Columbia hosted runaway ads from local farms and plantations as well as from distant slave owners who hoped to catch escaped slaves before they could reach freedom.

FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD for negro boy SAM, or SAM MACKALL, who left home on Christmas day. Sam is a light copper color, about 20 years old, 5 feet 6 inches high, face smooth and rather full, rather bushy head of hair, a little bow-legged, and very likely polite boy, a very fine house servant, though accustomed to plantation work. As he left home without any provocation, I have no doubt he intends to make his escape to one of the non-slaveholding States, and will, very probably, pass through Washington or Baltimore. I will give $20 for him if he is caught in Prince George's county, and delivered to me, or committed to jail, and information given so that I can get him again; and the above reward of $50 if he shall be caught out of the county, and committed to jail or brought home as above. Sam has relations and acquaintances at Dr. Edward Eversfield's, near Piscataway; at Dr. Bird's, Owensville, Anne Arundel County, and in Washington, at Mr. John Gadsby's. In the neighborhood of some one of these places, he will, probably, conceal himself until he shall be able to make his escape.


Near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's county, Md.

Source | National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.), 8 January 1840; from Teaching American History in Maryland, "Runaway Slaves in Antebellum Maryland,"
Creator | W.N. Dorsett
Item Type | Advertisement
Cite This document | W.N. Dorsett, “A Maryland Slave Runs Toward Freedom,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed February 21, 2024,

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