This September 6th, 1825 edition of the National Intelligencer (in Washington DC) contains 3 particularly heartbreaking runaway slave ads. The first is a “$100 DOLLARS REWARD” for BEN, and states “He can write a pretty good hand, and no doubt has copied the papers of some free man; and I have reason to believe he stole the Stafford County seal and attached the impression of it to his papers. He carried with him three of his daughters, the property of my neighbor, Moses Kendall, and a Negro Man, the husband of one of them…”
The second advertises a “THIRTY DOLLARS REWARD” for “a negro servant named SYLVIA, and her child named JANE…She dresses neatly, and is a good looking servant.” Jane, her daughter…is about six years old, and looked delicate, owing to a late sickness; her complexion is lighter than the mother.” Any guesses how this “good looking servant” ended up with a daughter that is lighter than the mother?
The third slave ad advertises “ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD” for GEORGE, “a bright mulatto Negro man slave….one of the most industrious and faithful field hands I ever knew, added to his simplicity, which amounts almost to the want of common sense, I am induced to believe he must have been decoyed off….(He) is most remarkable for having sucked one of his thumbs from his infancy, (though now more than 30 years old) and which consequently is rather smaller and whiter than the other…”