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February 13, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Runaway Slave: Patrick Winfrey

runaway slave

Advertisements for runaway slaves naturally included physical characteristics of the missing person and now antiquated descriptions for skin tone. Patrick Winfrey, the property of Joseph Fuqua, was described as “a tolerably bright mulatto” – a fair-skinned African American.  In the case of Patrick Winfrey, he may have headed north, towards freedom.  Other slaves often escaped, attempting to rejoin family members from which they had been separated. The following advertisement ran in June of 1848.  Patrick Winfrey’s fate is unknown.

25 Dollars Reward.

RAN AWAY from the subscriber, living near New Canton, Buckingham County, on 28 December last, a Negro Man named PATRICK, about twenty-three years of age.  He sometimes calls himself Patrick Winfrey, and I understand frequently calls himself Winfrey. He is a tolerably bright mulatto, and when he left home had a bushy head of hair. He is about five feet eight or ten inches high. No scar remembered, but my overseer informs me that, when he left, he had a small bump over one of his eyes, but whether it was a stye or other injury he doesn’t know. His Winter coat was of napt-cotton, his pantaloons of homespun, and his hat a white wool hat, but it is believed he has traded off his coat and hat, and wears a frock coat and cap. It is believed he is making his way to Ohio, and may be in company with another. I have heard he has free papers. The above reward will be paid to anyone who will apprehend him and deliver him to me, or confine him in jail so that I can get him.


Bear Garden, Buckingham co.


Interested in learning more about the use of newspaper advertisements to reclaim runway slaves?

Visit “The Geography of Slavery in Virginia”

Coming next: For Sale: Bear Garden

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