These records cover more than 300 recorded escapes from Missouri --including more than two dozen newspaper-identified stampedes-- during the period between 1840 and 1865. The total number of freedom seekers documented here exceeds 1,500 people, with more than half from the wartime period. Newspaper articles and runaway advertisements provide the sources for these escape episodes. In all cases, we have indicated the proper source citation and in any case involving stampedes, we have also provided the full-text transcription of the actual newspaper coverage.

View All Escapes // 1840s // 1850s // 1860s

Displaying 1 - 50 of 125

On Thursday afternoon, January 5, 1860, a roughly 40-year-old enslaved woman named Fanny Pipkin escaped from the house of her enslaver, M.N. Taylor, at 261 Pine Street in St. Louis. Taylor advertised a $100 reward for the recapture of Fanny.

Start Date:
Thursday, January 5, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

An enslaved man named Jackson, aged between 21-22 years, escaped from Berger, Missouri sometime in January 1860. He belonged to the estate of a man named Griswold, whose executors advertised a $100 reward for Jackson's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, January 15, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A family of three enslaved people were helped to escape from St. Louis by Theodore Massey, a free African American. Massey and the three freedom seekers were recaptured before they could cross the Mississippi river. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, March 20, 1860
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On the evening of May 4, 1860, a 15-year-old enslaved male child escaped from Pleasant Hill in Cass county, Missouri, near Kansas City. His enslaver, S.W. Taylor, offered a $100 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Friday, May 4, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, May 28, 1860, "some eight or ten slaves," according to newspaper reports, "absconded in a body" and thus conducted a "stampede" out of Frederick, Maryland. These enslaved and unnamed individuals belonged to several slaveholders, including women Caroline E. Brengle and Mary Hammond, as well as men named John Smith, Ezra Hock, and Christian Thomas. 

Start Date:
Monday, May 28, 1860
Numbers:
10
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Two enslaved men, Jim and Jack Cowan, both around 25 years in age, escaped from Spring Garden, in Saline county, Missouri. Their enslaver, E.D. Williams, advertised a $300 reward for their recapture. A month later Williams ran a second ad, this time only for the arrest of Jim, who was reportedly headed for Canada and last seen in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Start Date:
Friday, June 1, 1860
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, June 20, 1860, an enslaved child named John Adams escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, A.C. Coons, advertised a $100 reward for Adams's recapture.

Start Date:
Wednesday, June 20, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Around 2pm on Wednesday, July 11, 1860, a 25-year-old enslaved man named Wilse escaped from the steamer Hannibal City while it was docked at Cap au Gris in Lincoln county, Missouri. His enslaver, W.T. Reynolds, advertised a $200 reward for Wilse's recapture.

Start Date:
Wednesday, July 11, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, July 30, 1860, a 21-year-old enslaved man named Martin escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, T.S. Anderson, advertised a $300 reward for Martin's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, July 30, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, August 13, 1860, an enslaved man named Dave, around 40 years old, escaped from Howard county, Missouri. His enslaver, Davenport Burrus, advertised a $100 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, August 13, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In late August 1860, five enslaved people, a mother, two sons, a daughter and a young child "closely related to them," escaped from slaveholder Edward Bredell's property about six miles outside of St. Louis along the Clayton road. Bredell "was on a visit to the East," and the family of five left under the pretense of visiting nearby African Americans, and used the opportunity to escape. 

Start Date:
Friday, August 24, 1860
Numbers:
5
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Saturday evening, August 25, 1860, two enslaved men, 24-year-old Thornton and 17-year-old Westley, escaped from Cuba in Crawford county, Missouri. Both were fiddlers and literate, and their enslaver, John Simpson, offered an $800 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, August 25, 1860
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, August 27, 1860, a 40-year-old enslaved man named Daniel escaped from a property near New Franklin, Missouri. His enslaver, W.J. Smith, advertised a $100 reward for Daniel's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, August 27, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday, August 28, 1860, an enslaved man named Guss, roughly 21 years in age, escaped from Jefferson City, Missouri. His enslaver, Henry L. Chase, advertised a $200 reward for Guss's recapture.

Start Date:
Tuesday, August 28, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, August 30, 1860, an enslaved man named Richard escaped from the farm of Winfield Edmonson, located between Fulton and Concord, Missouri. Richard's enslaver, Joseph Culbertson, advertised a $150 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Thursday, August 30, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, September 22, 1860, there was "Quite a stampede" in Fleming Kentucky, involving at least four freedom seekers.  The local newspaper mocked these runaways as "would be Free Soilers," but named most them:  Jake (owned by Thomas R.

Start Date:
Saturday, September 22, 1860
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Sunday night, September 30, 1860, two enslaved men, 38-year-old Gus, and another man named Burrel, escaped from Jefferson county, Missouri. After the two were last seen in Monroe City, Illinois, "doubtless making their way to Canada," their enslavers offered a $400 reward for Gus and Burrel's recapture.

Start Date:
Sunday, September 30, 1860
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, October 17, 1860, a 20-year-old enslaved man named Bill escaped from a farm located ten miles northwest of the town of Liberty, in Clay county, Missouri. His enslaver, B.L. Lampton, advertised a $125 reward for Bill's re-enslavement.

Start Date:
Wednesday, October 17, 1860
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In early February 1861, newspapers described how a fugitive slave case in Cleveland scared former runaways in Toledo, Ohio to "stampede" toward Canada.

Start Date:
Friday, February 1, 1861
Numbers:
25
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday morning, February 11, 1861, an enslaved man named Lewis, aged around 31, escaped from Liberty, Missouri. His enslaver, Archibald Lincoln, advertised a $100 reward for Lewis's recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, February 11, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Sometime in March 1861, a family of four--"Onesimus" Harris, his wife Ann and children George and Charles--escaped from St. Ferdinand township, on the northern outskirts of St. Louis. The family was recaptured by U.S. officers in April 1861, and remanded by U.S. Commissioner Stephen Corneau to bondage. The arrest of the Harris family set off what Chicago newspapers described as a "stampede" of other runaway slaves and free black residents in Chicago.

 

Start Date:
Friday, March 1, 1861
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Monday, March 18, 1861, a 40-year-old enslaved man named Solomon escaped from Springfield's store in Callaway county, Missouri. His enslavers, P.H. & R.M. Kemp, advertised a $150 reward for Solomon's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, March 18, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday evening, March 25, 1861, a 20-year-old enslaved man, who was not named, escaped from a property along the Pacific Railroad, situated some four miles northwest of Morrell Station in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, Anderson J. Coleman, advertised a $100 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, March 25, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Sometime in March 1861, a family of four--"Onesimus" Harris, his wife Ann and children George and Charles--escaped from St. Ferdinand township, on the northern outskirts of St. Louis. The family was recaptured by U.S. officers in April 1861, and remanded by U.S. Commissioner Stephen Corneau to bondage. The arrest of the Harris family set off what Chicago newspapers described as a "stampede" of other runaway slaves and free black residents in Chicago

Start Date:
Friday, April 5, 1861
Numbers:
100
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Monday, May 20, 1861, an enslaved man named Berry, around 35-40 years old, escaped from a property some four miles northwest of Ironton, Missouri. His enslaver, Abraham Buford, advertised a $100 reward for Berry's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, May 20, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown
In late May, 1861, northern newspapers began reporting on the arrival of freedom seekers at Union-controlled Fort Monroe on the Virginia peninsula. "STAMPEDE OF FUGITIVES TO FT. MONROE" read one of the earliest headlines. The stories of these "contrabands" fleeing from secessionist slaveholders on the peninsula continued throughout the summer of 1861 and became a major national news story and the impetus for the First Confiscation Act (August 6, 1861).
Start Date:
Sunday, May 26, 1861
Numbers:
1000
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Monday morning, May 27, 1861, two enslaved men, 21-year-old Clay and Albert (age unknown), escaped from a property near Rocheport, Missouri. Their enslaver, John W. Rollins, claimed that "it was a concerted plan of theirs and others with them, to attempt to leave the State, and ... reach Iowa and or Illinois." Clay and Albert were last seen heading north towards Sturgeon.

Start Date:
Monday, May 27, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday morning, June 24, 1861, a 35-year-old enslaved man named George escaped from Glasgow, Missouri. His enslaver, the firm Harrison & Co., advertised a $250 reward for George's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, June 24, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday, July 5, 1861, a roughly 37-year-old enslaved woman named Rose escaped from St. Louis. Her enslaver, J. Hurd, advertised a $100 reward for Rose's recapture.

Start Date:
Friday, July 5, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday, July 12, 1861, a roughly 25-year-old enslaved man named Scipio escaped from Carondelet in southeastern St. Louis. His enslaver, Louisa Walker, advertised a $50 reward for Scipio's recapture.

Start Date:
Friday, July 12, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday night, July 22, 1861, a 20-year-old enslaved man named Aleck escaped from Glasgow, Missouri. His enslavers, the firm B.W. Lewis & Bros., advertised a $200 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, July 22, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, July 24, 1861, a roughly 40-year-old enslaved man named Thornton escaped from a property in St. Louis county. His enslaver, J.B. Crow, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Wednesday, July 24, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, July 25, 1861, an 18-year-old enslaved man named Clint escaped from Manchester, located just west of St. Louis. His enslaver, G.W. Higgins, advertised a $100 reward for Clint's recapture.

Start Date:
Thursday, July 25, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Sometime in early August 1861, an enslaved man named Allen was arrested by Justice Cole Diggs in Danville township, Montgomery county, Missouri. 

Start Date:
Thursday, August 1, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Monday, August 5, 1861, a 19-year-old enslaved man named Sam escaped from a property along the North Missouri Railroad, some five miles northwest of Montgomery City, Missouri. Sam was "supposed to have gone with the United States troops stationed at Mexico, Mo.," and from there to St. Louis or Alton, Illinois. His enslaver, C.B. Harper, offered a $100 reward for Sam's recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, August 5, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, August 25, 1861, a roughly 24-year-old enslaved man named Jackson headed to Lafayette Park in St. Louis, where he wound his way through the Union encampment and reportedly "passed himself as free and hired as cook or waiter by some of the officers." His enslaver, James Clemens, Jr., offered a $50 reward for Jackson's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, August 25, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, August 29, 1861, a roughly 22-year-old enslaved man named Wallace escaped from Perry Furnace, near Potosi, Missouri. His enslaver, William Long, advertised a $200 reward for Wallace's recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, August 29, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday, September 3, 1861, an enslaved man named Dick, around 32 years in age, escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, C. Cockbill, advertised a $50 reward for Dick's recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, September 3, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, September 7, 1861, two enslaved men, 33-year-old Joel and 40-year-old Frank, escaped from Liberty township in Washington county, Missouri. Their enslavers, J.B. and J.H. Johnson, advertised a $200 reward for Joel and Frank's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, September 7, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, September 14, 1861, a roughly 25-year-old enslaved man named Ed escaped fom Gray Summit in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, William North, advertised a $50 reward for Ed's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, September 14, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On September 16, 1861, a group of 14 runaways from the estate of Commodore Jones in Lewinsville made it to Washington, DC.

Start Date:
Monday, September 16, 1861
Numbers:
14
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Thursday, September 19, 1861, a 16-year-old enslaved person named William escaped from Labadie Station in Franklin County, Missouri. His enslaver, F.J. North, advertised a $100 reward for William's recapture.

Start Date:
Thursday, September 19, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, September 28, 1861, two enslaved men, 37-year-old Amos and 27-year-old Aaron, escaped from Central Township in St. Louis. Their enslaver, Joseph Harding, suspected that the two men had "attempted to go with the army" and offered a $50 reward for the capture of each man. 

Start Date:
Saturday, September 28, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday night, October 6, 1861, two enslaved men, 17-year-old Dick and 25-year-old Charles, escaped from St. Louis. Their enslavers, William H. Hockstep and Thomas Kelly, advertised a $100 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In October 1861, multiple newspapers describe "several stampedes of slaves" from Worcester County, Maryland. One Northern correspondent noted, "The negroes begin to understand that they can make hay while the sun shines, and are running away as fast as their legs can carry them."

Start Date:
Saturday, October 12, 1861
Numbers:
70
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A roughly 40-45 year old enslaved man, whose name was not recorded, escaped from a property near Labadie Station, Missouri on Monday, October 14, 1861. His enslaver, Virginia C. Thomas, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, October 14, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

An enslaved man named Luther escaped from a slaveholder named Col. Reed near Fayette, Missouri, and was recaptured near St. Louis on October 31, 1861. On December 27, Union provost marshal general Bernard Farrar released Luther under the First Confiscation Act, after determining that his slaveholder had forced him to labor for the Confederate army. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, October 15, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

An enslaved man named Ned, held by a slaveholder named Benson, escaped from near Fayette, Missouri in October 1861. He was recaptured in St. Louis on November 2, 1861.  On December 27, Union provost marshal general Bernard Farrar released Luther under the First Confiscation Act, after determining that his slaveholder had forced him to labor for the Confederate army. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, October 15, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Sunday, October 20, 1861, an 18-year-old enslaved man named Joseph escaped from Gray Summit in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, S.E. Bibb, advertised a $100 reward for Joseph's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday, October 22, 1861, a 22-year-old enslaved man named Essie escaped from Linn county, Missouri. His enslaver, John Anderson, advertised a $100 reward for Essie's recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, October 22, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown