Catching a Runaway with Poetry

October 25, 2014 | Colonization

A Fulling Mill

On March 6, 1776, this poem was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, as an advertisement to catch a young servant who had run away from his master:

This present instant, on the fourteenth day,
My apprentice boy did run away;
Thomas Stillenger he is called by name,
His indenture further testifies the same;
Small of his age, in his twelfth year,
My bargain of him has been very dear;
He has always been a vexatious lad,
One reason why he is so meanly clad;
Hat, shirt and breeches were almost new,
Sheeps russet stockings, and half worn shoes,
To describe the rest I am not inclin,
Cloth for a jacket he left behind;
Of apple pies with him he took but five,
For to preserve himself alive;
Three quarter dollars are missed of late,
Which perhaps he took to pay his freight;
Believe him not, if you be wise,
He is very artful in telling lies,
He is also guilty of another crime,
Of taking cloth from time to time,
And as he lived so far from sea,
Down Brandywine did it convey;
The freight whereof not being paid,
Sunk to the bottom and there it staid;
All which by chance is got again,
One piece doth only yet remain;
For which I whipt him, I thought severe,
But did no make him shed one tear.
Whoever doth him safely secure,
Of a reward they may be sure,
Six pence at least I do propose,
To give for him with all his clothes;
Or clear me of him for ever, and mine,
And his indenture away I will sign;
Now to inform you further still,
I keep a saw and fulling mill;
In East Fallowfield township and Chester county is the place of my abode,
I subscriber my name unto the same, and that is William Moode.

Found at Journal of the American Revolution.

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