Tag Archives: 18th Century
Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave Notices in the South Carolina Gazette

The South Carolina Gazette (1732–1775)  was South Carolina’s first successful newspaper was begun in 1732 by Thomas Whitemarsh in Charles Town, and released its final issue in December, 1775. A “middle of the road” paper, the Gazette printed news of Europe, what the royalty had worn at the last formal event, news of the colony, notices of births, deaths, marriages and estate auctions, and advertisements, including those for runaway slaves.

These runaway slave notices appeared on October 7, 1756:

Runaway Run away, a yellow Wench named Sue, Bermuda born, (belonging to Louis Outerbridge) about 32 years of age, of a middle size, estimable to be fair, with a pretty large scar on the right side of her neck; she took all her clothes with her, amongst which were a red petticoat, striped jacket and gown, and an oznabrug glow; and it is supposed she signs privately to get on board some vessel bound to Bermuda. Whoever delivers her to the warden of the work house, shall have a reward of 20 pounds and whoever will prove by whom she is or has been harboured, shall receive the like reward.

Run away from the subscriber,a negro fellow named Winter, about 30 years,of age, formerly belonging to Mr. Samuel Wainwright,and is supported to conceal himself aboutGoose-Creek. Whoever delivers him to me, or the warden of the work house shall have 10 pounds reward, and reasonable charges.


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Martha Jefferson Randolph

The Presiding Ladies of the White House

I was doing some research on Martha Jefferson Randolph, the older of President Jefferson’s two daughters, and I stumbled a short little book published by the United States Bureau of National Literature and Art in 1903. The book provides portraits of each of the women who presided over the White House household staff from the time of Martha Washington through Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt as well as short one or two paragraph biographies.

The book is Presiding Ladies of the White House Containing Biographical Appreciations Together with a Short History of the Executive Mansion and a Treatise on its Etiquette and Customs by Lila G. A. Woolfall with an Introduction by Margaret E. Sangster.

This volume is not suitable for serious academic or historical research but it is still a lovely book with wonderful illustrations that is fun to leaf through. We have posted the women’s portraits on the Accessible Archives Facebook Page.

I have included an excerpt from Mrs. Sangster’s introduction here and below that you can page through the book.

Margaret E. Sangster’s Introduction

Margaret E. Sangster

Margaret E. Sangster

There are two attributes of the American woman which are undeniably predominant in her nature, and these are adaptability and individuality.

They are displayed by the members of all ranks and classes, but probably the twenty-five women who form the coterie of “First Ladies of the Land” in our republican court at Washington, have had as great, if not greater, opportunities for exercising these qualities than any who have entered only into court life abroad.

Noblesse oblige” is true in all stations of life, whether it be the nobility of honorable living or of high social birth, but in royal circles there is a code of etiquette which is enforced from generation to generation, just as royal sons and daughters are born to royal parents, and so its followers abide by its mandates as a matter of course. In a democratic country like America, no such rule obtains, for the children of a President of the United States, after their father’s term expires, may relapse into social inconspicuousness and seldom appear before the public, instead of, as in royalty, inheriting their father’s official greatness.

The wife of a President may have been born in affluence and social prominence, or she may have passed her early years in the humblest environment, as was the case with a number of the women who have presided at the White House, but in every instance the duties of hostess have been faithfully and creditably discharged, while natural ease, grace and tact, combined with this wonderful power of adaptation, have rendered the hospitality of the White House unquestionably refined, and marked by the highest breeding.

Some of the women who have held this exalted position have been called to it while little more than young girls, and others have assumed its responsibilities and obligations late in life, yet all have upheld the dignity of the nation of whose social life they were, for the time being, the highest exponents.

The individuality of each hostess has left its imprint upon the history of her time from the pomp and ceremony of Martha Washington’s regime, to the greater freedom from restraint of that of “Dolly” Madison. We hear also of the extreme “simplicity” of Jefferson’s administration and the social festivities which marked Mrs. Grant’s residence at the White House. Mrs. Polk abolished dancing, while Mrs. Hayes banished wine, from their entertainments. Mrs. Fillmore founded the library, for of books there were none when she was installed as mistress of the White House; and Mrs. McElroy marked the administration of her brother, Chester A. Arthur, with the acme of refined hospitality.

The author who has with marvelous industry and good taste, written these condensed biographies of our country’s most eminent women, deserves the thanks of all; yet such short sketches as are embodied in this volume, can give but little knowledge of facts concerning lives with so much interest attaching to them that a history of each would offer absorbing entertainment to the lover of biography, but they can serve to enlighten every intelligent reader sufficiently to arouse a desire for more information relating to these women, famous in the story of their country’s social and political events, and to awaken a feeling of pride that these queens of a republican court have no peers in any foreign realm.

Presiding Ladies

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Am I not a man and a brother?

The Case of Somersett from Freedom’s Journal

Somerset (Somersett), a black slave, had been brought to England, in November, 1769, by his master, Mr. Charles Stewart, and in process of time left him. Stewart found an opportunity of seizing him unawares; and he was conveyed on board the Ann and Mary, Captain Knowles, in order to be carried to Jamaica, and there to be sold for a slave.

Mr. Serjeant Davy brought the case into court before Lord Mansfield on the 24th of January, but professed the cause to be of so high importance, that he requested it might be deferred till another term in order to give him time to prepare fully for its support.

This request Lord Mansfield declined granting, but fixed the hearing for that day fortnight, apprising Serjeant Davy at the same time, that “if it should come fairly to the general question, whatever the opinion of the court might be, even if they were all agreed on one side or the other, the subject was of so general and extensive concern, that, from the nature of the question, he should certainly take the opinion of all the judges upon it.


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John Forbes

His Majesty’s Desertions from Autumn 1758

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution–until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.

Recent Desertions

Deserted from his Majesty’s 17th Regiment of Foot, commanded by Brigadier General John Forbes, now quartered at Philadelphia,

  • October 30, 1758. Thomas Shortale, private Soldier in Lieut. Col. Arthur Morris’ Company, aged about 20 Years, 5 Feet 8 Inches high, fair Complexion, round smooth Face, light brown Hair, has a stoop in his Shoulders, born in Kilkeany, in Ireland, by Trade a Barber, went off in his Regimentals.
  • November 4. 1758. George Edwards, private Soldier in Lieut. Col. Arthur Morris’ Company, aged about 35 Years, 5 Feet 7 Inches high, swarthy Complexion, round Face, black Hair, very round Shoulder, Short necked, born at the Town of Stafford, in England, a labouring Man, went off in a blue Jacket, Regimental Breeches, and the Brim of his Hat cut very narrow.
  • November 6. 1758. Uriah Brooks; private Soldier in Captain John Vaughan’s Company, aged about 26 Years, 5 Feet 8 Inches high, fair Complexion, pitted with the Smallpox, dark brown Hair, short necked, born at Reading, in England, a labouring Man, went off with his Firelock, Steel mounted, and his Regimental Coat cut short in the Skirts, and the Brim of his Hat cut very narrow.

Whoever secures, any of the said Deserters, and can confines them in any of his Majesty Jails, and gives Notice thereof to the Commanding Officer of the said Regiment, at Philadelphia shall receive Twenty Shillings Sterling reward for return of them; and whoever shall be detected in harbouring or concealing any of the said Deserters, will be prosecuted according to Law.


Collection: The Pennsylvania Gazette
Publication: The Pennsylvania Gazette
Date: November 9, 1758
Title: Deserted from his Majesty’s 17th Regiment of Foot…

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Sullivan Expedition Commemorative Plaque

The Battle of Chemung or Newtown of August 1779

Sunday, August 29, 1779, is the date of the battle of Chemung, or of Newtown as it has been indifferently called since. Its scene was at the foot of the eminence now known as “Sullivan Hill,” about half way between the little hamlet of “Lowman’s,” on the line of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, and the mouth of Seeley Creek. The surface of the hillside is very irregular, being cut up by those peculiar ridges, to which I have heretofore referred, called the “Hogbacks.” At its foot flows Baldwin Creek. Our troops began their march on that hot August Sunday morning with extreme care and watchfulness. Their path was through a forest of pines and a thick growth of scrub oak.

The fortifications of the enemy were discovered after a march of about four miles, and about 11 o’clock in the morning. They were very artfully constructed, being built in most places breast high or more, in others lower, and pits or holes were dug where the defenders could be protected. The whole work was masked by the slope of the ridge, being thickly set with scrub oaks cut the night before from the hillside. Somewhat in front of the fortifications were one or two log houses, which served as bastions.

Map of The Battlefield of Newtown

Map of The Battlefield of Newtown
1. Position of the brigades of Generals Clinton and Poorbefore the advance. 2. Position of Proctor’s artillery. Maxwell’s reserve, anclColonel Ogden’s command. 3. Position of Colonel Ogden’s troops and GeneralHand’s brigade in the advance. 4. The forces of Generals Clinton and Poor inaction after the advance as shown by the dotted lines and arrow; also the positionof the enemy. 5. Direction taken by the enemy in retreating. 6. Site ofthe monument 7. The monument.

It would seem that the enemy, considering that their fortifications were perfectly concealed, expected our forces to follow the Indian trail, which was at the right of their defenses. They would open upon them on our flank a sudden and severe fire, which would create confusion at first and result in disaster to our troops. But the reckoning was not wise. General Sullivan did not fall into the well-laid trap. When the advance guard had discovered the enemy’s position a council of officers was called, the ground was well looked over, and a plan of attack was agreed upon. It was most successful in its execution.

During this time the riflemen who were in the advance guard had kept the enemy busy. They formed within 300 yards of the fortifications, and were ordered to hold their position until the remainder of the brigade should come up. This order was hardly given when some 400 of the enemy advanced from the entrenchments, delivered their fire, and quickly retreated to their works. This sortie was repeated several times, evidently for the purpose of enticing our men into their lines. But it failed of its purpose, the riflemen simply holding their position as they were ordered to do. The battle was won by a flank movement.

General John Sullivan and General James Clinton Plaque

General John Sullivan and General James Clinton Plaque


Our County and its People, A History Of The Valley And County Of Chemung from the Closing Years of the Eighteenth Century by Ausburn Towner in the New York County Histories section of American County Histories.

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