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 301 - 350 of 474

On New Year's Day 1859, a 21-year-old enslaved man named Joe escaped from the property of slaveholder John Quesenberry, roughly 12 miles northwest of St. Louis along the St. Charles Rock Road. Quesenberry advertised a $50 reward for Joe's recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, January 1, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On New Year's Day 1859, a 38-year-old enslaved blacksmith named Sam escaped from Union in Franklin county, Missouri. His escape route took him within the vicinity of Manchester, St. Louis county. Sam's enslaver, A.W. Maupin, advertised a $400 reward for his recapture. He later increased the reward to $600.

Start Date:
Saturday, January 1, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, January 5, 1859, a 20-year-old enslaved woman, who was not identified by name, escaped from St. Louis. Her enslaver, George Smizer, assured readers that he would "pay a liberal reward" for her apprehension. 

Start Date:
Wednesday, January 5, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On January 25, 1859, abolitionist John Doy, two free African Americans Wilson Hays and Charles Smith, attempted to lead 11 freedom seekers from various locations across western Missouri to freedom in Iowa. They were recaptured near Lawrence, Kansas. Doy was later rescued from prison to great fanfare, while Smith and one of the freedom seekers, Bill Riley, also managed to escape Missouri authorities. The others, however, were not so fortunate, and apparently sold down to the Deep South.

Start Date:
Tuesday, January 25, 1859
Numbers:
11
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Mixed

An enslaved man named Henry, aged about 17 years, escaped from Gray Summit in Franklin County, Missouri sometime during late February 1859. His enslaver, Charles W. Jeffries, advertised a $200 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Tuesday, February 15, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Sometime in February 1859, there was a report that 23 freedom seekers escaped from the Virginia panhandle (now West Virginia), passing through Waynesburg, PA on their way toward Canada.  According to a newspaper report, the runaways "were hotly pursued, but contrived to make good their escape."  The report added, "A number more were piloted over the underground railroad some days before, in the same county."

Start Date:
Sunday, February 20, 1859
Numbers:
35
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In March 1859, a 26-year-old enslaved woman named Therese Bonter escaped from St. Louis. Her enslaver, Elizabeth Eddy, advertised a $300 reward for her recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, March 15, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, March 19, 1859, a 22-year-old enslaved man named Elam escaped from Allenburg in Perry county, Missouri. His enslaver, Daniel W. Milster, advertised a $250 reward for Elam's recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, March 19, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, March 28, 1859, a roughly 25-year-old enslaved man named John escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, William Carpenter, advertised a $200 reward for his recapture through an agent. 

Start Date:
Monday, March 28, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

After U.S. authorities arrested alleged runaway Daniel Webster in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in early April 1859, reports described a "stampede" of fugitive slaves who had been residing in the city. 

Start Date:
Monday, April 4, 1859
Numbers:
8
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown
On Wednesday, April 13, 1859, three enslaved men, 35-year-old Sanford, 22-year-old Daniel, and 18-year-old Henry escaped from Longwood in Pettis county, Missouri. Later on April 25, a fourth man, 25-year-old Jim, escaped. Their enslavers, E.D., D.M. and J.H. Williams, noted that Sanford had a wife in Bath county, Kentucky. The four enslaved men had been purchased from Louisville, Kentucky in February. An $800 reward was advertised for their recapture. 
Start Date:
Wednesday, April 13, 1859
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

An enslaved man named Jim, in his late 20s, escaped from Washington in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, George L. Barnes, advertised a $200 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Friday, April 15, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, April 24, 1859, an enslaved man named Peter escaped from a property near Rocheport in Howard county, Missouri. His enslaver, John L. Jones, advertised a $200 reward for Peter's recapture.

Start Date:
Sunday, April 24, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Two enslaved women, Sophia and Corbella, escaped from St. Louis with the help of a free African American man, John Cash, who disguised them in men's clothing. The planned escape reportedly went awry, and the women were apparently recaptured. 

Start Date:
Sunday, May 1, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Saturday, May 21, 1859, four Black men from Cynthiana, Kentucky "made a break" for the Ohio River.  Two of them succeeded by crossing near Augusta, Kentucky, but the other two were caught.  Local newspapers described this effort as a "stampede of slaves."

Start Date:
Saturday, May 21, 1859
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death, Freedom, Mixed

On Thursday, June 2, 1859, a roughly 24-year-old enslaved woman named Rachel escaped from the Nutt Farm on St. Charles Plank Road outside of St. Louis. Rachel's enslaver, William W. Henderson, advertised a $100 reward for her recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, June 2, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, June 4, 1859, three enslaved men, 21-year-old Washington, his 18-year-old brother Jim, and another enslaved man named Ned, escaped from St. Louis. Washington had escaped five years earlier from slaveholder D.M. Frost's father-in-law, Richard Graham, only to be arrested in Indiana for grand larceny and reclaimed by Frost. This time, Frost advertised $1,500 for the recapture of Washington and Jim.

Start Date:
Saturday, June 4, 1859
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday afternoon, June 23, 1859, a 10-year-old enslaved girl named Caroline "strayed" from the household of her enslaver, L.M. Shreeve. The St. Louis slaveholder promised that anyone who recaptured Caroline "will be liberally rewarded."

Start Date:
Thursday, June 23, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday night, July 10, 1859, a roughly 30-year-old enslaved man named Sim escaped from a property roughly three miles east of Marshall, in Saline county, Missouri. His enslaver, Henry C. Simmons, postulated that "it is possible that he is in company with a white man," and advertised a $300 reward for Sim's recapture. Sim was arrested a week later on July 17 in St.

Start Date:
Sunday, July 10, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Saturday, July 16, 1859, four enslaved men, 22-year-old George, 21-year-old Smith, 32-year-old Tom and 28-year-old Isaac (or "Ike"), escaped from Fredericktown, Missouri. Their enslavers, James Hill, Sr. and C.J. Buford, advertised a $1,200 reward for the recapture of the four men.

Start Date:
Saturday, July 16, 1859
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, July 16, 1859, a 21-year-old enslaved man, who was not named, ran away from Hopewell in Washington county, Missouri. His enslaver, John Hunt, advertised a $50 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, July 16, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, July 16, 1859, two enslaved men, 26-year-old Jeff and 23-year-old Allen, escaped from Waverly, Missouri aboard a skiff, reportedly bound for Alton, Illinois with the intention of taking the Alton and Chicago Railroad to Chicago. Their enslavers, the firm of Melton & Woods, advertised a $500 reward for the recapture of Jeff and Allen.

Start Date:
Saturday, July 16, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, July 24, 1859, five enslaved people, Caeser, Charles, Dan, John and Ann, ran away from a property located 16 miles west of Arrow Rock, Missouri. Their enslaver, Osamus Hunt, advertised a $500 reward for their recapture.

Start Date:
Sunday, July 24, 1859
Numbers:
5
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A 35-year-old enslaved man named Jesse Henry escaped sometime in July 1859. His enslaver, E.C. Sloan, advertised a $500 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, July 30, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, July 30, 1859, two enslaved men, 35-year-old Ben and 24-year-old Jeff, escaped from Wellsburg in St. Charles county, Missouri. Their enslavers, John T. Overall and Travis Murphy, advertised a $500 reward for Ben and Jeff's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, July 30, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, August 13, 1859, a roughly 23-year-old enslaved man named William escaped from Fenton, southwest of St. Louis. His enslaver, Samuel Vandover, advertised a $200 reward for William's recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, August 13, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, August 18, 1859, a roughly 37-year-old enslaved man named Bob escaped from a property "in sight of St. Louis." His enslaver, Thomas H. Noble, advertised a $200 reward for Bob's recapture.  

Start Date:
Thursday, August 18, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, August 20, 1859, three enslaved men, 28-year-old Scipio, 35-year-old Leavin and 35-year-old Lewis, escaped from a property located seven miles below Providence, Missouri, along the Missouri river. Their enslavers, S.W. Warren, D.H. Hickman and J.D. Herndon, advertised a $1,500 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, August 20, 1859
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown
Several enslaved people escaped from the farm of Richard Phillips in New Madrid, Missouri, including Jim Gray, who was apprehended in Union County, Illinois by local slave catcher John B. Jones.  Gray, however, was later rescued from federal custody in Ottawa, Illinois. A fugitive slave case ensued, in which several anti-slavery activists were  indicted (including John Hossack, Dr. Joseph Stout, Claudius B. King, James Stout, Hervey King, and E. W. Chamberlin). Hossack received the longest sentence --10 days in jail for violating the 1850 federal Fugitive Slave Law.  
Start Date:
Thursday, September 1, 1859
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Mixed

An antislavery vigilance operative in Detroit publicly boasted on September 28 that "quite a stampede" of more than fifteen freedom seekers had just passed safely through the city. 

Start Date:
Thursday, September 1, 1859
Numbers:
15
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Monday morning, September 5, 1859, two enslaved men, 27-year-old Jack and 23-year-old Solomon, escaped from the town of Benton, in Scott county, Missouri. Their enslavers, Parrot & Crow, advertised a $300 reward for their return.

Start Date:
Monday, September 5, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday night, September 5, 1859, two enslaved men, 24-year-old Jim and 20-year-old Alfred, escaped from the steamer John Walsh as it was passing the vicinity of Cape Girardeau. Their enslaver, B.M. Lynch, advertised a $600 reward for their recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, September 5, 1859
Numbers:
2
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday, September 9, 1859, an enslaved man named Jasper Kinney, around 21 years old, escaped from Mine La Motte in Madison county, Missouri. His enslavers, R.F. & T.F. Fleming, advertised a $300 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Friday, September 9, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Five enslaved people escaped from near Fredericktown, Missouri, and was overtaken by a group of white Missourians between Chester and Sparta, Illinois. One of the freedom seekers was killed in the fray, and two more were wounded, leading to the arrest of one of the white Missourians. 

Start Date:
Saturday, September 17, 1859
Numbers:
5
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Saturday night, October 8, 1859, two enslaved men, 40-year-old Elijah and 28-year-old Simon, escaped from Glasgow, Missouri. Their enslavers advertised a $200 reward for Elijah and Simon's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, October 8, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday night, October 13, 1859, two enslaved men, 28-year-old George and 22-year-old Jeffrey, escaped from Linn, Missouri on horseback. Their enslaver, D.B. Wilson, offered $200 for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, October 13, 1859
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Sometime in October 1859, a group of 26 enslaved people escaped from western Missouri, and were guided by an antislavery operative through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, through Chicago and finally to Detroit.

Start Date:
Saturday, October 15, 1859
Numbers:
26
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On October 16, 1859, John Brown and his men raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia intended to raise an insurrection among the enslaved population and strike blow toward a general revolution against slavery.  Yet at first, many newspapers identified the effort as an attempted slave stampede.

Start Date:
Sunday, October 16, 1859
Numbers:
100
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Violence, Recapture/Death

On Saturday night, October 22, 1859, "some thirty slaves" escaped from homes in Alexandria and Fairfax counties, Virginia.  A North Carolina newspaper wondered if this was a mere "coincidence" coming just days after John Brown's failed raid at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, or if perhaps these freedom seekers were really supposed to be "reinforcements" for the assault on the federal arsenal.  

Start Date:
Saturday, October 22, 1859
Numbers:
30
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, October 22, 1859, just days after John Brown's failed raid in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, authorities in Carroll County, Maryland claimed that they had prevented a planned "stampede" of "some forty slaves."  Newspapers claimed that one of the participants confessed to "the secret" and at least five ringleaders got arrested.

Start Date:
Saturday, October 22, 1859
Numbers:
40
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

On Sunday night, October 23, 1859, enslaved people, 45-year-old David, and three of his children, 13-year-old Richard ("Dick"), 11-year-old Fanny and Jim, around 8-9 years old, escaped from St. Louis. The four freedom seekers were reportedly in company with their mother and a sibling (a girl aged 4-5), both of whom were free. Their enslaver, George L. Lackland, advertised a reward of $1,000 for their recapture.

Start Date:
Sunday, October 23, 1859
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, October 29, 1859, an enslaved child, 12-year-old Aaron, escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver advertised a $100 reward for his recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, October 29, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday night, October 31, 1859, a roughly 28-year-old enslaved man named Spotswood ("Spot") escaped from Glasgow, Missouri. His enslaver, B.W. Lewis & Bros., advertised a $100 reward for Spotswood's recapture.

Start Date:
Monday, October 31, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, November 2, 1859, a 12-year-old enslaved girl named Nelly escaped from a property near the Iron Mountain Railroad in Jefferson county, Missouri. Her enslaver, John Stroup, promised to "pay handsomely" for her return, alleging that someone "stole her."

Start Date:
Wednesday, November 2, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In November 1859, a "stampede" of 10 enslaved people, who were not named, occurred from La Grange, Missouri. The escapees took a boat and apparently crossed the Mississippi river into Illinois.

Start Date:
Monday, November 7, 1859
Numbers:
10
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Friday, November 11, an enslaved man held by David S. Lillard escaped from LaGrange, Missouri.

Start Date:
Friday, November 11, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, November 12, 1859, an enslaved man named Jack, in his late 30s, escaped from near Hamburg in St. Charles county, Missouri. His enslaver, Forunatus Castlio, advertised a $250 reward for Jack's recapture.

Start Date:
Saturday, November 12, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, November 13, 1859, an approximately 50-year-old enslaved woman named Maria escaped from St. Louis. Her enslaver, Charles McLarin, offered a $500 reward for Maria's recapture. McLarin suspected that Maria's escape might be related to the escape of her nephew Willis, who ran away from McLarin in September 1858. 

Start Date:
Sunday, November 13, 1859
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, November 28, 1859, authorities in Cambridge, Maryland arrested six African Americans, accusing them have having attempted a "stampede."

Start Date:
Monday, November 28, 1859
Numbers:
6
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

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