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

Newspaper Material

In addition to the runaway ads, colonial newspapers contained a variety of other material dealing with servants and slaves.

  • Virginia Gazette (Rind), Williamsburg, March 12, 1767
  • Landon Carter, a prominent Virginia planter who wrote a number of instructive letters regarding his slaves and servants (see the Carter correspondence in slaveholders' records), also wrote numerous letters and advertisements to the newspapers. In this advertisement, the verbose Carter complains about a couple of thieves, including a former convict servant, who had allegedly stolen a still.

  • Maryland Gazette (Green), Annapolis, July 9, 1767
  • The health of slaves and servants imported into the Chesapeake was often a deep concern. In 1767, the pages of the Maryland Gazette featured a debate over the law passed earlier that year by the assembly "to oblige Infected Ships, and other Vessels, coming into this Province, to perform Quarantine," which became known as the "Quarantine Act." The same issue of the newspaper contains an account of the "deplorable Havock" wreaked on an Eastern Shore family by "that horrid contagious Distemper, commonly called the JAIL-FEVER."

  • Maryland Gazette, (Green), Annapolis, July 30, 1767
  • Three weeks later, a Mr. A.B. wrote a letter asserting that the Quarantine Act was unnecessary, because few of the outbreaks blamed on convicts could be traced to them, and that reports of diseased convicts are often "found to be entirely groundless."

  • Maryland Gazette, (Green), Annapolis, August 20, 1767
  • A correspondent calling himself "Philanthropos" responded to Mr. A.B.'s letter, remarking that "it would be an endless Piece of Work to Mark upon every exceptionable Passage in Mr. A.B.'s Piece, for, in Truth, he never makes a Step without a Trip."

  • Virginia Gazette (Rind), Williamsburg, January 15, 1770
  • New York Journal, or General Advertiser Supplement, February 15, 1770 (Reprint)
  • This article describes a desperate fight between slaves and whites on a plantation in North Wales, Hanover County. The writer sees the uprising as due to the fact that "the Negroes belonging to the plantation having long been treated with too much lenity and indulgence." Several colonial papers, including the Virginia Gazette and Maryland Gazette, printed this vivid account of the ferocious battle, and newspapers as far away as New York published accounts, along with news of slaves' "criminal activity" from other parts of Virginia.