Saturday, January 30, 2016

Escaping from the Domestic Slave Trade

I have viewed my fair share of runaway slave advertisements, but this one is unique in my experience. Contained in it are several clues that these three men made their getaway from a dealer intending to send them to the Deep South.  But, before we get into that, I happened upon the ad while browsing through the November 28, 1845 issue of the Richmond Enquirer

The first hint that these three men were part of the interstate slave trade is in the ad's opening line. "Ran away from the subscriber in Buckingham county, Virginia, on his was South . . ." "On his way South" is a key indicator that Richard, Tom, and Albert were destined for the fields of the flourishing growth of plantations in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, or Arkansas.

Each man's description provides clues as their role in the domestic slave trade, too. Richard, for example, was "sold in Richmond, by Mrs. Organ of Surry county;" Tom was "sold in Richmond by Isham Lowry, and formerly belonged to the estate of Mrs. Tevillian, of Hanover county;" and Albert was "sold in Richmond, by Charles D. Pettus of Halifax county."  All of the men came from different directions around Richmond, a center of the Virginia domestic slave trade, and all had different previous owners, but all were purchased in Virginia's capital city.

Lastly, the subscriber, a F.C. Brady, states that the posted reward can be claimed after the fugitives are secured "to Betts and Edmondson in Richmond."  Betts and Edmondson was a prominent slave trade partnership, who operated a slave jail in Richmond. 

All the clues in the ad provide enough evidence for me to feel sure about my contention. One wonders, then, if the men were eventually captured and ultimately made their way to the Deep South or if they somehow made good on their escape and found freedom.   

No comments:

Post a Comment