Slavery

Early Virginia Runaway Slave Poster Offering a Higher Reward if Captured in Northern States or “secured in any jail.”


Broadside, 9” x 9.75” (visible). Archivally matted to 15.75” x 13.25” and framed to 17.5” x 15”. Charlestown, Va., June 8, 1835. Uniform toning, minor paper loss in upper left blank area. In apparent fine condition.

In full, “150 Dollars / REWARD.” In full, RAN AWAY from the subscriber, living near Harpers-Ferry, Jefferson County, Virginia, on Friday night the 5th inst., a Negro Man named ROBERT, who is 29 years old, not very black, is about five feet ten inches high, has a large mouth; and may well be known, on examination, by a large scar on his neck, caused by the cut of a knife. He had on, when he absconded, a seal skin cap, linen pantaloons, and a white linen roundabout; but doubtless will change his clothing.

“The above reward will be paid if taken in the State of Pennsylvania; $100 if taken in Maryland; and $50 if taken in Virginia. The same reward will be given, provided Robert is secured in any jail, so that I get him again, as if brought home.

“Letters containing intelligence of the abovementioned Runaway, may be directed to the care of Mr. ISAAC N. CARTER, Charlestown, Jefferson co. Va. Jonathan Kearsley / June 8, 1835.”


In 1826, Isaac N. Carter (1806-82) married Ann Kearsley (1809-49), daughter of Jonathan Kearsley (1778-1852). Carter owned the Carter Hotel in Charlestown, Va. (later, West Virginia). Kearsley, according to the 1830 Federal Census, owned 11 slaves, including four under the age of 10. Unless Kearsley bought a slave between 1830 and 1835, Robert was his only slave between the ages of 15 and 41.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 ensured that slave owners would be able to recover their slaves in any state.


Exhibition History: Wilton Historical Society, 2019.

Item: 55466

Price: $4,000.00
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