"Ben and Nelly"
"Nelly and Ben"
From the Cumberland, Maryland Advocate, run-away slave notice, January 11, 1832
Ran away from the subscriber near Frankfort, Va. on Sunday night the 11th of December, inst. two coloured people :—One a black man named
about 25 years old, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, handsome in person and very black, talkative and speaks when conversing, Had on when he left roe a pale blue close bodied coat, with one sleeve tore, a wool hat nearly new, mixed grey pantaloons, one pair new socks, and a common pocket knife, new, with a piece broke out the edge near the point, and a pair of new shoes with wooden pegs all over the bottom. Also, a coloured woman, named
about 22 years old, heavy made - rather homely and has a pouched mouth and roughed skin; she is in a forward state of pregnancy; her dress was of plaid linsey, new shoes, and other clothing not recollected. Ran away with black man named Ben. They had between them a white homade blanket nearly new and each two new printed yellow cotton handkerchiefs not hemmed.
I will pay $100 if caught in Pennsylvania, $50 if in Maryland and $30 in Virginia. All reasonable expenses paid if delivered or secured so that I get them again."
Dec. 14, 1831
In 1842, an assessment of property within the City of Cumberland, included a total value of $40,100 in slaves.
From 1840 to 1860, the free black population of Allegany County rose from 215 to 467, while the slave population dropped from 812 to 666.
Prior to the Civil War, Maryland had a law which stated that if a freed black came into slave territory from elsewhere he could be fined $20. A second offense warranted a fine of $500. If the fine could not be paid, the person could be auctioned off as a slave to raise the money. The Maryland Advocate, printed in Cumberland in the late 1820's and 1830's often listed runaway slave notices. The Alleganian newspaper, well into the late 1840's, also printed notices of rewards for runaway slaves, editorials blasting abolitionists, and advertisements for public sales of "Land and Negroes".
Text - Albert Feldstein, image - Maryland Advocate.
The slave notices appear in the back of the Advocate in a section called "The Allegany Advertiser" which featured all types of ads for things to buy and sell. The Maryland Advocate, Cumberland, Maryland January 11, 1832.
From the collection of Albert and Angela Feldstein
Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.
Allegany County, (Md.)