Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Runaway Slave Notice Published by John Pell in 1748 Comes To Light

Slowly, but inexorably, the dust bin of history is giving up more and more information about the sad history of slavery in New York. The sadly overwhelming landmark exhibition by the New-York Historical Society entitled "Slavery In New York" (extended through March 26, 2006) is one example of recent efforts to shed light in this area.

Pelham, New York was no exception to the participation by New Yorkers in the tragedy of human slavery. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting relates a recently-uncovered notice published by John Pell of Pelham in 1748 offering a reward for return of a number of so-called "runaway slaves".

There are a number of important resources that cast light on slavery in Pelham, New York. Among them are:

Bell, Blake A., Records of Slavery and Slave Manumissions in 18th and 19th Century Pelham, Vol. XIII, No. 27, The Pelham Weekly, Jul. 9, 2004.

Harris, William A., Records Related to Slave Manumissions: Pelham, New York, Vol. 123(3), The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, pp. 145-47 (Jul. 1992).

O'Callaghan, E.B., The Documentary History of the State of New-York, Vol. III, (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons & Co., Public Printers 1850) (Report prepared by "John Pell, Captain of the Mannor of Pelham" on April 12, 1755 entitled "A True List of all the Slaves Both Male & Female in the Mannour of Pelham Above the Age of Fourteen Years according to me made in Submission to the present Malitia [sic] Act of General Assembly of this province").

Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790, New York [Copy of the Printed Census for New York 1790], NARA Microfilm #T498, Reel #2, Printed by the Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908).

Westchester County Archives, Affidavit of John Purvis and Alexander Purvis dated May 17, 1806 swearing they have imported into the State three slaves owned for more than one year: Charlotte, Patience and the son of Patience named Joe.

Town Minutes of the Town of Pelham 1801-1850, pp. 196, 199, 200-02, 205-06, 207.

Mon. July 18, 2005: Pelham Manor Runaway Slave Notice in August 29, 1789 Issue of The New-York Packet.

Recently while performing unrelated research, I uncovered four advertisements published in November and December, 1748 by John Pell of Pelham offering a reward for the return of six slaves who had "RUN away". The text of the advertisement and its citation appear immediately below:

"RUN away from John Pell, of the Mannor of Pelham, a Negro Wench named Bell, a Boy named Janneau, a Girl named Tamer, another named Dinah, and another named Issabel; also a Negro Man named Lewis. Whoever will take up said Negroes, and bring them to John Pell aforesaid, shall have Five Pounds Reward, and all reasonable Charges, paid by JOHN PELL."

Source: Run Away From John Pell, The New-York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Nov. 14, 1748, p. 3.

Also published as:

Run Away From John Pell, The New-York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Nov. 21, 1748, p. 4.

Run Away From John Pell, The New-York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Nov. 28, 1748, p. 4.

Run Away From John Pell, The New-York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Dec. 5, 1748, p. 4.

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