• Colonial Broadside Offers Reward For Return Of Runaway Servants, Important Source Of Labor

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    Indentured servants were a vital part of the Colonial economy’s labor force. When their period of service ended, they were forced to pay a fee to gain freedom or forced into slavery and often had any land they owned taken away. Many indentured servants were English men and women who agreed to indenture with the promise of freedom after they had completed their servitude.  Indentured servants were not paid but received food and housing.

    Offering a 6 1/2 x 7 manuscript broadside, dated July 3rd, 1729, offering a reward for the return of two runaway servants, signed by Ralph Hunt, a pioneer of Maidenhead, NJ, and John Anderson, reading, “Runaway the fifteenth day of June from Capt. Ralph Hunt & John Anderson, both of Maindenhead, two servant men the one an English man of short stature with a tear on his left eye which is a great blemish. He had on a grey homespun...shirt of cloths somewhat bluish new linen breaches, buckles on his shoes & a fine shirt. His name is John Jackson tho’ probably they have both changed their names. The other is an Irishman, a slight looking...fellow &...named Francis Macdearmont. He had on a grey Duroy shirt...Linen breeches...They had both felt hats on. Whoever takes up the said servants & brings them home or secures them so they may be had again shall receive three pounds for each & all reasonable charges...”

    The historical narrative “Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, NJ” edited by Francis Bazley in 1907, notes that Ralph Hunt was a “pioneer of Maidenhead and a prominent man in the community and well known as Captain.” Maindenhead “contained the best agricultural land in the state” which explains why so many settlers from Long Island and Connecticut flocked to the area to buy land from the Quakers who had originally purchased it in the 1670s.

    Folds, toning, some staining. A couple of small holes at folds. Overall very readable and an incredible example of Colonial history involving indentured servants.

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