On Tuesday, November 3, 1840, an enslaved man named John, around 48 years in age, escaped from Bois Brule Bottom in Perry county, Missouri. His enslaver, F.L. Jones, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture, calling him "an artful fellow and a great rogue."
View All Escapes // 1840s // 1850s // 1860s
Displaying 1 - 50 of 333
On Monday, December 19, 1842, an enslaved man named Jefferson escaped from near Richmond in Ray county. Noting that Jefferson "is a keen shrewd fellow, and will in all probability be furnished with free papers," his enslaver Henry Jacobs advertised a $20 reward for his recapture.
On Saturday night, August 12, 1843, an enslaved man named Simon, aged 25, escaped from a farm three miles south of Fayette in Howard county, Missouri. His enslaver, B.F. Broaddus, advertised a $50 reward for Simon's recapture.
On Saturday night, September 23, 1843, three enslaved men––Clem, Peter (age 20), and Robert (age 18)––escaped from a farm near Salt Creek in Chariton county, Missouri. Their enslaver, G.W. Gauss, suspected the three men "will probably aim to go down on a steamboat," and offered a $30 reward for their recapture.
Four enslaved people escaped from St. Louis in 1844, and successfully reached Chicago. Despite slaveholder James Bissell's efforts to send slave catchers in pursuit, the four freedom seekers' bid for liberty was successful.
On Wednesday, April 28, 1847, a roughly 21-year-old enslaved man named Ben escaped from St. Louis. Ben had formerly been enslaved in Hannibal by M.P. Owsley. His current salveholder, B.W. Alexander, offered a $200 reward for his return.
A 20-year-old enslaved man named Harry escaped from the steamer St. Paul on Friday afternoon, September 24, 1847. Harry's enslaver, B.F. Thomas, had hired him out to a St. Louis hotel, but since September 6 Harry had been working as fireman aboard the steamboat.
On Sunday, April 23, 1848, an enslaved man named Adrian, aged about 23, escaped from Lexington, Missouri. His enslaver, Thomas Henker, suspected that Adrian was "now in St. Louis, as it is known that he has brothers and sisters living in that place," and advertised a $100 reward for his recapture.
On April 27, 1848, a 26-year-old enslaved carpenter named Matison broke out of the jail at Fulton in Callaway county. The St. Louis slave trading firm White & Tooly advertised $100 for Matison's recapture.
On Thursday, June 1, 1848, an enslaved man named Armstead escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, William North, suspected that Armstead had escaped along with a recently sold enslaved man "of notorious charachter." North offered $200 for Amstead's recapture.
On Saturday afternoon, June 24, 1848, a 37-year-old enslaved woman named Dicy escaped from St. Louis. Slaveholder Elizabeth Walker predicted that Dicy would change her clothes and likely would seek out her husband, a free African American man named Andy. Her husband had left St. Louis several days before Dicy's escape, and Walker seethed that Andy had "doubtless made arrangements for her escape."
On Saturday, September 30, 1848, a 20-year-old enslaved man named Jonas escaped from St. Louis. Reports placed Jonas on board the steamer Swiss Boy, bound for Illinois. Jonas's enslaver, James McFadin, advertised a $200 reward for his recapture.
In the fall of 1848, a 35-year-old enslaved man named Joe escaped from a farm seven miles south of Danville in Montgomery county, Missouri. His enslaver, Richardson Culpepper, advertised a $100 reward for Joe's recapture.
On Tuesday, October 3, 1848, a 30-year-old enslaved man named Jack Holliday escaped from slaveholder W.G. Clark's sawmill north of St. Louis. Clark advertised a $150 reward for Holliday's recapture.
On Monday, March 26, 1849, an enslaved couple, 40-year-old Aaron and 30-year-old Ann, escaped from Potosi in Washington county, Missouri. Their enslaver, Michael Pierpont, advertised a $200 reward for their recapture.
Around April 1, 1849, an enslaved man named Tom, aged 16, escaped from a farm near the town of Ashley in Pike county, Missouri. His enslaver, John J. Lewis, offered a $100 reward for Tom's recapture.
On Monday night, May 7, 1849, an 18-year-old enslaved woman named Caroline, and a 24-year-old enslaved woman named Martha, escaped from their enslavers in St. Louis. A $300 reward was offered for their recapture.
Facing imminent separation, John and Lucinda Henderson, with their two children in tow, escaped from St. Louis. With the aid of vigilance operatives near Alton, the Hendersons reached Chicago.
On the morning of August 14, 1849, a 16-year-old enslaved boy named George Ben (or Ben George) escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, A.G. Switzer, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture.
On Wednesday, July 18, 1849, an enslaved child named Joseph White escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, J. Small, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture.
On Saturday night, September 29, 1849, an enslaved man named Henry, around 21-22 years in age, escaped from the town of Savannah in Andrew county, Missouri. His enslaver, William R. King, offered a $75 reward for Henry's recapture.
On Saturday night, October 27, 1849, two enslaved men, Emmanuel and Bill, escaped from Ste. Genevieve county, Missouri. Slaveholding judge William James offered a $50 reward for Emmanuel's recapture, and slaveholder Kavin Byrne advrtised a $50 reward for Bill's recapture.
Up to 14 freedom seekers escaped from St. Louis and passed through Springfield, Illinois in January 1850, where they received help from Jameson Jenkins, a free black neighbor of Abraham Lincoln's.
On Tuesday night, February 12, 1850, an enslaved man named Hilliard Small, aged about 25, escaped from the farm of slaveholder Lewis Bryan near Palmyra, Missouri. The same night, Small was accused of setting fire to the livery stable of Bradley & Lee in downtown Palmyra. B.B. King, sheriff for Marion county, advertised a $150 reward for Small's recapture.
An enslaved person, who was not identified by name, escaped from New Madrid county, Missouri around 1850 and sought refuge at Sparta, Illinois. When the slaveholder, a man named Sherwood, discovered the escapee's location, Sherwood dispatched his son and a posse in pursuit. Local anti-slavery activists protected the escapee with threats of force, sending the Missourians returning south empty-handed.
An enslaved man named Moses Johnson escaped from slaveholder Crawford E. Smith in Lafayette county, Missouri on July 4, 1850. Johnson was recaptured by U.S. officers under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law nearly a year later, in Chicago, in early June 1851. He was released following a rendition hearing before U.S. Commissioner George W. Meeker.
On Saturday night, September 7, 1850, a 26-year-old enslaved man named Anthony, and a 22-year-old woman named Margaret, escaped from a farm 10 miles south of the town of Florida in Monroe county, Missouri. They took with them a bay mare. Their enslavers, James F. Botts and James Wilfley, advertised a $300 reward for the pair's recapture.
On Saturday, January 11, 1851, an enslaved man named Oliver escaped from a farm near Fayette in Howard county. His enslaver, Robert W. Baskett, advertised a $200 reward for Oliver's recapture.
On Tuesday, January 21, 1851, an enslaved man named Reuben, approximately 20 years of age, escaped from a farm near Ramsey's Creek in Pike county, Missouri. His enslaver, George Wilson, advertised a $100 reward for Reuben's re-enslavement.
On Sunday, March 30, 1851, an enslaved man named Edmond, aged about 20, escaped from Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, Henry W. Hudley, suspected that Edmond was "lurking around" Bredell's old copper works in Franklin county, and advertised a $100 reward for Edmond's recapture.
During the summer of 1851, an enslaved woman named Missouri, around 24-25 years old, was granted permission to visit her sister in St. Louis, but she "violated the confidence reposed in her and left, and is now at large," slave master Robert Caldwell declared much later.
On Tuesday, April 27, 1852, an enslaved man named Harrison escaped from Bridgeton in St. Louis county. His enslaver, a man named Edwards, advertised a $100 reward for Harrison's recapture.
A 14-year-old enslaved child named Harris escaped from his enslaver in St. Louis. His slaveholder, P.D. Papin, promised that anyone who recaptured Harris would be "liberally rewarded."
An enslaved person was captured aboard a steamboat en route to Alton, Illinois.
On Monday, May 24, 1852, an enslaved man named Jerry, around 23-24 years old, escaped from Elk Grove in Lafayette county, Missouri. His enslaver, James Backley, advertised a $200 reward for Jerry's recapture.
On June 27, 1852, a roughly 19-year-old enslaved man, who was not named, escaped from Portland in Callaway county, Missouri. His enslaver suspected "there is another Negro man in company with him, who may have free papers," and advertised a $100 reward for the man's recapture.
Sometime during the early summer of 1852, four enslaved people escaped from Palmyra, Missouri. Two were recaptured by an Illinois sheriff near Quincy.
A 26-year-old enslaved man named George escaped from the small village of Ohio in St. Clair County, Missouri. His enslaver, John Means, offered a $150 reward for George's recapture.
On Monday, July 5, 1852, a 22-year-old enslaved man named Bill escaped from Howard county, Missouri. His enslaver, G.W. Walker, Sr., advertised a $100 reward for Bill's recapture.
On Tuesday, July 13, 1852, four enslaved people escaped from St. Louis: 23-year-old George (or William Johnson), who had a free wife in St. Louis, 36-year-old John, 20-year-old Henry, and 16-year-old Isaac. Their enslaver, John Mattingly, advertised a $400 reward for their recapture.
Two enslaved people, Barry, held by slaveholder William Spratt, and an unnamed enslaved person held by John J. Reese, were dressed as Indians and helped to escape by two New England-born white emigrants, Samuel and Miriam Clements. The group was overtaken, the freedom seekers re-enslaved and the Clements convicted to two years in the Missouri penitentiary
On Thursday, July 15, 1852, a roughly 20-year-old enslaved man named Henry escaped from Beaufort in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, Pierce N. Butler, advertised a $100 reward for Henry's recapture.
In the summer of 1852, an enslaved man named Abner, around 24 years old, escaped from Jonesboro (modern-day Napton) in Saline county, Missouri. His enslaver, C.E. Smith, advertised a $150 reward for his recapture.
On Saturday, September 25, 1852, an enslaved man named Anderson, aged about 25 years old, escaped from Rocheport in Boone county, Missouri. His enslaver, Moses U. Payne, advertised a $150 reward for Anderson's recapture.