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Explanatory Essays

Personal Profiles






Official Records | Newspaper Materials | Slaveholder Records | Literature and Narratives

Although newspaper advertisements for runaway servants and slaves form the bulk of the material on which this project is based, other historical material from Virginia can help us illuminate the lives of the runaways as individuals.

Virginia court records as well as other official documents, including colonial legislative documents from the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Chesapeake newspapers contained a number of revealing articles about slaves and slaveholders, including accounts of slave uprisings and debates over laws quarantining imported slaves and servants because of fears of yellow fever, smallpox, and other "dangerous infectious Distempers.

The diaries, agricultural journals, and correspondence of slaveholders occasionally make reference to runaway slaves or servants, in addition to providing an insight into the mindsets of individuals who claimed to own others as property.

Literature and narratives, such as a European traveler's account of Senegambia, an area of West Africa from which many slaves were taken, give another perspective and insite to slavery in the 18th and early 19th century.