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 401 - 450 of 474

Two enslaved men, roughly 21-year-old Hardy McElrath (or Mackelrath) and roughly 35-year-old Isaac McElroy (or Mackelrath), escaped from near Warsaw in early November, and were recaptured near St.

Start Date:
Friday, November 1, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

Three enslaved men, William Leslie, Albert Leslie and Thomas Jefferson, escaped from Warsaw, Missouri sometime in early November and were arrested near St. Louis on November 18, 1861. On December 27, Union provost marshal general Bernard Farrar released William and Albert Leslie under the First Confiscation Act, after determining that their slaveholder had forced them to labor for the Confederate army.

Start Date:
Friday, November 1, 1861
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

A roughly 20-year-old enslaved man named Bob Weaver escaped from Quincy, Missouri. Weaver was recaptured near St. Louis on November 18, 1861.  On December 27, Union provost marshal general Bernard Farrar released Weaver under the First Confiscation Act, after determining that his slaveholder had forced him to labor for the Confederate army. 

Start Date:
Friday, November 1, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Sunday night, November 3, 1861, there was a mass escape "of a party of some forty negroes or more" from several different slaveholders around White Point in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  Newspapers in the state blamed "military authorities" for not doing more to protect slave property.

Start Date:
Sunday, November 3, 1861
Numbers:
40
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, November 4, 1861, two enslaved men, 23-year-old Barney and 21-year-old Nelson, escaped from a farm near Morrison Station, along the Pacific Railroad in Gasconade county, Missouri. Their enslaver, A.W. Morrison, advertised a $300 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, November 4, 1861
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On November 8, 1861, more than 150 enslaved Missourians escaped into the camp of Brig. Gen. Joseph H. Lane's Kansas Brigade. Although Lane allowed slaveholders to search his camp, a reporter for the New York Herald attested that not a single freedom seeker had been recaptured. The 150 freedom seekers from new Springfield and others from elsewhere in western Missouri followed Lane's brigade back into Kansas, arriving on free soil on November 13.

Start Date:
Friday, November 8, 1861
Numbers:
150
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

St. Louis county sheriff John Andrews committed 20-year-old Frank Jourdan to the county jail under the presumption that Jourdan was a runaway slave. 

Start Date:
Friday, November 15, 1861
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death, Unknown
Around November 20, 1861, not long after the joint operations of Union army and naval forces had secured control of Hilton Head, Port Royal and Beaufort, South Carolina (October 29-November 7, 1861), there was a reported "general stampede" of enslaved families from neighboring plantations in an area known as Bluffton (southwest of Hilton Head) toward Gen. Thomas Sherman's camp.  Northern newspapers reported that many of the freedom seekers had been shot by their masters for refusing to vacate the area with them.  One female correspondent claimed in late November, "that the stampede of the negroes at Bluffton has ended, and that many of them were returning to work on the plantations, under the belief that they would be paid for their labor by the Government."
Start Date:
Wednesday, November 20, 1861
Numbers:
40
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Violence, Freedom

Around December 10, 1861, about 18 freedom seekers were apprehended trying to escape from the Norfolk area to Union-controlled Fort Monroe.  According to newspaper reports, "The negroes were gathered here preparatory to embarking for Fortress Monroe in a row-boat, the oars of which were carefully muffled, so as to pass our fortifications on the river without arresting the attention of the guards."  The same reports claimed that the runaways were "each armed with a Colt's revolver and a bowie

Start Date:
Tuesday, December 10, 1861
Numbers:
18
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

In early 1862, a Richmond newspaper warned that the Union invasion of Accomac and Northampton counties along the Delmarva peninsula had provoked "An almost general stampede of slaves on the eastern shore." 

Start Date:
Wednesday, January 1, 1862
Numbers:
40
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown
In late January and early February 1862, there were a series of escapes totaling seven people from St. Joseph and dubbed a "stampede" by a local newspaper after it reported mocking coverage of the episode from a Leavenworth, Kansas newspaper.  Two enslaved people, Dan and Sina, escaped from Rev. M.E. Lard near St. Joseph, Missouri. Their enslaver, Lard, offered a $200 reward for their recapture. An enslaved girl named Fanny, aged 14-15, escaped from Col. Howard, who offered a $100 reward for Fanny's re-enslavement.  Four enslaved men––Jason, Charles, Peter, and Shelby––escaped from the farms of slaveholders Pullin, Elder, and Stamper near St. Joseph. The three enslavers advertised a joint reward of $500 for the recapture of the four escapees. According to a report in the Leavenworth, KS Times, the four men reached safety in the neighboring state.  The Kansas newspaper noted that people were gossiping that one of the enslavers was Fanny's father.
Start Date:
Saturday, February 1, 1862
Numbers:
7
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

In early February 1862, a Richmond newspaper reported there had been "a stampede of negroes from the vicinity of Chuckatuck" in Isle of Wright County --which was not far from Union-occupied positions around Hampton, Norfolk and Fort Monroe on the Virginia peninsula.  The newspaper used the story of the stampedes to underscore the need for drafting more local white men into the militia, claiming that the stampede "has made the necessity of these drafts even more apparent than before."

Start Date:
Saturday, February 1, 1862
Numbers:
20
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, February 6, 1862, an enslaved man named Blunt, around 41-42 years old, escaped from a property five miles east of Hopewell Station in Washington county, Missouri. His enslavers, Theodore and William Hunt, advertised a $100 reward for Blunt's recapture.

Start Date:
Thursday, February 6, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In February 1862, between thirty to forty enslaved Missourians escaped from the eastern Missouri counties of Boone, Callaway, St. Charles, and Montgomery. The St. Louis Republican reported on this "stampede of slaves," adding that city police had already been apprised of the names and descriptions of the freedom seekers. 

Start Date:
Saturday, February 15, 1862
Numbers:
40
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, February 17, 1862, an enslaved woman named Ann, around 28 years old, escaped from near Augusta in St. Charles county, Missouri. Her enslaver, Daniel Hays, advertised for her return, promising anyone who recaptured Ann would be "liberally paid for their trouble."

Start Date:
Monday, February 17, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A 14-year-old enslaved male child escaped from St. Louis in late February 1862. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, February 18, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday, February 21, 1862, a 14-year-old enslaved child named Pete escaped from St. Louis. His enslaver, N.H. Whitmore, advertised for Pete's recapture.

Start Date:
Friday, February 21, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday night, March 18, 1862, a 21-year-old enslaved man, who was not named, escaped from Boles in Franklin county, Missouri on a horse. His enslaver, W.B. Perkins, advertised a $100 reward for his recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, March 18, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A 23-year-old enslaved woman, who was not named, escaped from Bonhomme, southwest of St. Louis, sometime in late March 1862. Her enslaver, Bryant S. Steele, advertised a $50 reward for the woman's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, March 30, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday, April 4, 1862, three enslaved men, aged 25, 22 and 20, but not named, escaped from Sandy Creek in Jefferson county, Missouri. Their enslaver, Fleming Hensley, advertised a $150 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Friday, April 4, 1862
Numbers:
3
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday night, April 9, 1862, an enslaved man named Joe escaped from Chamois, Missouri. His enslaver, Benjamin Hull, advertised a $100 reward for Joe's recapture. 

Start Date:
Wednesday, April 9, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Friday morning, April 11, 1862, a 17-year-old enslaved person named Leity escaped from St. Louis. Her enslaver, C.A. McConkin, advertised a $50 reward for Leity's recapture. 

Start Date:
Friday, April 11, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, April 20, 1862, two enslaved brothers, Josephus and Anthony, escaped from St. Clair, Missouri. Their enslaver, J.M. Crowder, advertised a $100 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, April 20, 1862
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Monday, April 21, 1862, a roughly 40-year-old enslaved man named Greef escaped from Gray Summit in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, James R. Roberts, advertised a $50 reward for Greef's recapture. 

Start Date:
Monday, April 21, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Wednesday, April 23, 1862, a 15-year-old enslaved child named Nettie escaped from the household of slaveholder J.D. Lawrin, on 33 South 4th Street in St. Louis. Lawrin advertised a $25 reward for Nettie's recapture. 

Start Date:
Wednesday, April 23, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Around Thursday, May 1, 1862, an enslaved man and cook named George, between 35-40 years old, escaped from Bonhomme, southwest of St. Louis. George's enslaver, Nimrod Snyder, advertised a $10 reward for George's recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, May 1, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown
On Friday, May 16, the New York Tribune reported that "a few days ago" there had been a "stampede" of about a thousand enslaved Blacks, seeking freedom "as if by a preconcerted movement."  The anti-slavery Tribune noted sarcastically that these freedom seekers had "simultaneously left kind masters and happy homes in Prince George's County, Md."  According to the report, the refugees went straight to Washington, DC where they received protection.  Again, the Tribune correspondent observed with cold disdain:  "Marylanders complain that the inconveniences growing out of this emigration to the whites of the country are great, free labor––in many cases now necessarily performed by persons entirely unaccustomed to help themselves––being the only kind to be had."  This story made a great stir across the North.  One Republican newspaper in the midwest observed:  "The recent stampede of over one thousand from a single county to the free District of Columbia, is a pretty strong pocket emancipation argument."
Start Date:
Monday, May 12, 1862
Numbers:
1000
Outcome:
Freedom

A 30-year-old enslaved blacksmith named Alfred escaped from the farm of William H. Righter in Ripley county, Missouri sometime during May 1862, and was last seen heading northward near Pilot Knob in Iron county. His enslaver, Henry C. Wright, offered a $150 reward for Alfred's recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, May 15, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Sunday, June 1, 1862, an enslaved man named Will, aged around 16-17 years, escaped from Labadie Station in Franklin county,  Missouri. His enslaver, F.J. North, advertised "the usual legal reward" for Will's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, June 1, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

An enslaved man named Harrison escaped from slaveholder Samuel Hill (he alternatively claimed he was held by Anderson Guthrie and John Mitchel) in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was recaptured in Clay county in early July 1862.

Start Date:
Sunday, June 15, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

A roughly 50-year-old enslaved man named Jerry escaped from slaveholder E.D. Parsons of Ray county. Jerry was recaptured at Clay county in early July 1862.

Start Date:
Sunday, June 15, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

A roughly 21-year-old enslaved man named Labe escaped from slaveholder Reuben Park in Henry county, Missouri, and was recaptured in Clay county in early July 1862.

Start Date:
Sunday, June 15, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Recapture/Death

Around June 19, 1862, a reported 150 freedom seekers crossed the northern shore of the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. A Boston newspaper reported, "They are going, going, and will soon be gone. What do secession orators say now? Why don’t they make speeches, delineating the beauties, glories, and excellence of secession? Where is the immovable foundation on which African slavery is based?"

Start Date:
Thursday, June 19, 1862
Numbers:
150
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Saturday, June 21, 1862, two enslaved men, 49-year-old Joe and 22-year-old Anbeeson escaped from a property some six miles south of Miami, Missouri. Their enslaver, N.S. Smith, advertised a "liberal reward" for their recapture.  Anbeeson was also identified as a blacksmith.

Start Date:
Saturday, June 21, 1862
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday, June 21, a 40-year-old enslaved man named Joseph (also known as Ceck) escaped from Perry county, Missouri. His enslaver, Cassel Abernathy, advertised a "liberal reward" for Joseph's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, June 21, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In mid-June, the Cecil Whig, a leading eastern Maryland newspaper, shared a brief, but very provocative report from Arkansas.  "A slave revolt and stampede is anticipated in Crittenden county, Arkansas, opposite Memphis," claimed the Whig, "and many of the white are fleeing to Memphis for safety."  There was no other information provided. 

Start Date:
Saturday, June 21, 1862
Numbers:
50
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A roughly 24-year-old enslaved man named Jim escaped from Cooper county, Missouri on Sunday, June 22, 1862. His enslaver, A. Byler, advertised a "liberal reward" for Jim's recapture. 

Start Date:
Sunday, June 22, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

A Missouri slaveholder tracked down two escapees, and brought them before U.S. Commissioner Daniel Hannon who remanded them, but U.S. army officials intervened. General William K. Strong discharged the two alleged runaways. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, July 1, 1862
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Freedom

On Saturday night, July 5, 1862, an extended family of five enslaved people escaped from St. Louis: 26-year-old Charles, 18-year-old Patsy, 13-year-old Clara (niece of Charles), 22-year-old Clement (brother of Charles), and a 17-year-old boy named Jule. Charles, Clement and Jule all spoke both English and French. Their enslavers, F.L. Jones and C.F. DeLassus, advertised a $500 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, July 5, 1862
Numbers:
5
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Thursday, July 10, 1862, an enslaved man named Stepney, in his early 30s, escaped from the household of Frederick Stines in Franklin county, Missouri. His enslaver, R.A. King, advertised a $100 reward for Stepney's recapture. 

Start Date:
Thursday, July 10, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Saturday night, July 19, 1862, an enslaved woman named Molinda, around 18 years old, escaped from the residence of slaveholder Ansyel Phillips some four miles outside of St. Louis along the St. Charles road. Phillips advertised a "liberal reward" for Molinda's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, July 19, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

The New Orleans Delta reported that early in the morning on Monday, August 4, 1862, policemen in their city battled with a group of 25 or 30 runaway slaves along St. Ferdinand Street.

Start Date:
Monday, August 4, 1862
Numbers:
150
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Violence, Recapture/Death, Mixed

On Tuesday, August 12, 1862, a roughly 26-year-old enslaved woman named Julia escaped from Big River mills in St. Francois county, Missouri. Her enslaver, James Ransom, advertised a $50 reward for Julia's recapture.

Start Date:
Tuesday, August 12, 1862
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday, August 12, 1862, an enslaved woman named Mourning Geyer, around 42 years in age, escaped from St. Louis with her 21-year-old son Henson. Their enslaver, Charles R. Hall, advertised a $100 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, August 12, 1862
Numbers:
2
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

Multiple reports citing a Ste. Genevieve newspaper noted a "stampede of negroes" from throughout Ste. Genevieve county during the fall of 1862. 

Start Date:
Wednesday, October 1, 1862
Numbers:
50
Outcome:
Unknown

On Tuesday night, October 14, 1862, four enslaved people, 50-year-old Bob, 38-year-old Lewis, 32-year-old Harriet, and 16-year-old George, escaped with four horses from Pulaski county, Missouri. Their enslaver, Wilson Tilly, advertised a $50 reward for their recapture. 

Start Date:
Tuesday, October 14, 1862
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In November 1862, a group of enslaved people escaped from Loutre Island and escaped across the Missouri river into Hermann, and made their way behind Union lines. Slaveholders managed to re-arrest four of the freedom seekers, who were later freed by Union authorities.

Start Date:
Saturday, November 15, 1862
Numbers:
4
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Mixed

An enslaved man named Walker, around 17 years old, escaped from Glasgow in Howard county, Missouri in early January 1863. He was recaptured on January 21, 1863 in Putnam county, Missouri. 

Start Date:
Thursday, January 1, 1863
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

An enslaved child named Zachariah, around 12 years old, escaped from the home of Walter C. Carr on 131 Chestnut Street in St. Louis. Carr advertised for Zachariah's recapture. 

Start Date:
Saturday, January 10, 1863
Numbers:
1
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown

In February 1863, a correspondent of the New York Times traveling with Gen. McPherson's 17th Corps in Louisiana during Grant's Vicksburg campaign reported encountering hundreds of runaway slaves.  The Massachusetts newspaper which excerpted his account in mid-March, then labeled it "a complete stampede of negroes, old and young, from the Bayou Macon region," and claimed that "the remaining slaves are a source of more anxiety to the rebels than even the Yankees."

Start Date:
Sunday, February 1, 1863
Numbers:
200
Starting Point:
Outcome:
Unknown