“Apt to get drunk at all Opportunities”: White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1750-1762
Runaway servants were not an uncommon phenomenon in the 18th century. One source estimates that between 20-25% of indentured servants fled their masters. From the genealogist┬Æs standpoint, this presents a methodological problem since it was in the runaway┬Æs best interest to conceal his/her identity after making a successful getaway. In other words, even if the runaway kept the same name, it is quite likely that the link to his original residence in America and to his country of origin was lost–lost, that is, unless his/her identity is uncovered in the thousands of runaway ads placed in colonial newspapers by the disgruntled ┬ôowners.┬ö And this is precisely where the research and publications of Joseph Lee Boyle come in–he has combed scores of 18th-century newspapers for references to missing servants. This book marks the sixth collection of runaway servant ads for the Chesapeake region compiled by Joseph Lee Boyle, and the second of Pennsylvania advertisements.
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