"Lazy, loves strong Drink, and is a Glutton": White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1720-1749
Author: Joseph Boyle
Paperback, 478 pages
As Mr. Boyle points out in his very helpful introduction, Pennsylvania received one-tenth of all male indentured servants from the 1720s through the 1740s, and about one-fifth of the women in that period. According to one authority, over 67,000 German immigrants arrived at the busy port of Philadelphia from 1720 through 1760, at least half of whom were servants. Mr. Boyle’s transcription of the runaway ads, taken from seventeen different colonial newspapers (and not just Pennsylvania ones), provide valuable demographic information on more than 3,000 individuals, with name, age, sex, height, plate of origin, clothing, occupation, speech, physical imperfections, and sometimes personal vignettes. For this compilation the author has listed only white male and female runaways; however, for those ads where white and black runaways are listed together, blacks are so identified in the index at the back of the volume.