What do I still not know — and where can I find that information?

From Carolina Watchman, January 7, 1837 These advertisements tell us what the people placing the ads wanted readers to know -- the details of a slave sale, the willingness of a slave trader to pay money for slaves, and the descriptions of runaway slaves (as well as the rewards offered for their capture). They don't, however, provide a great deal of background information about the people who placed the ads or the people mentioned in them. They also don't reveal the outcome of these situations -- did Tim, Toney, John, or Peter become free or were they captured? What became of the "twelve likely negroes" being sold at auction, or the boy Nathan who was sold in Cabarrus County? Did Tyre Glen receive a large number of inquiries in response to his ad? How many enslaved people did he wind up purchasing? From whom did he purchase them and at what price? And what became of those individuals once Glen had purchased them? We could turn to a variety of sources for answers. State and country records, census data, and wills could tell us quite a bit about the people who placed these ads -- their dates of birth and death, their marriage history, the size of their families, where they lived, and how much property they had. We could also check with North Carolina state, university, and county libraries and archives to find out if any of these individuals left behind papers (letters, diaries, account books, etc.) that might shed more light on their lives. We know, for example, that Tyre Glen's papers are held at Duke University and reading those papers may allow us to learn more about his activities, perspectives, and attitudes. The records of slave holders might also reveal information about the slaves they owned. Often, if a slave ran away or was bought or sold, a slave holder might record that information in a journal, account book, or personal letter. Even though these kinds of sources can only reveal the slave holder's perspective on the slave's life, they can provide valuable information. We could also search to see if any of the enslaved people mentioned in these ads ever left records of their own. Some escaped slaves wrote autobiographies or were written about by abolitionists. In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) interviewed surviving former slaves and recorded their stories. These newspaper ads, placed on the eve of the Civil War, are too early for us to think that any of these individuals might have been interviewed. But it is possible that their children or grandchildren might have been interviewed, or that other slaves who lived on the plantations of the people who placed these ads might have written about their lives. Sources like these may be able to provide some information about the slaveholders and life on their properties from the perspectives of enslaved people.

$20 reward

RANAWAY from the subscriber on 19th of November, a negro man, named TIM about 45 years of age, black complexion, about five feet four or five inches high, has a stoppage in his speech. He professes to be a very devout Baptist. Having purchased him in Montgomery county, not far from Stokes' Ferry, my opinion is, that he is in that neighborhood. I will give the above reward for his apprehension and delivery to me.


Concord, Dec 17, 1836 -- 4w22

State of North Carolina, Surry County

Court of Please and Quarter Sessions, Novem- ber Term, 1836 William Davis, Adm'r & Ex'r Expartae Pursuant to an order of Court, the subscriber will expose to public sale, at Mount Airy, Surry Co. on the 6th day of January next, on a credit of six months, TWELVE LIKELY Negroes, Consisting of a likely fellow, two women, and nine well grown children The purchasers will be required to give bond with approved security.

WM. DAVIS Admir of James McCraw, dec's, and Ex'tor of Matthew Davis, deceased

December 17 -- 3w 22

$50 reward

RANAWAY from the subscriber two negro slaves, viz TONEY and JOHN. Toney is about 35 years of age, fife feet nine or ten inches high, dark complexion, square and stout build and had on when he left, a bright drab Petersham overcoat. He was purchased by me of Mr. Richard Brasley (sp?) of Wilmington, and calls himself Toney Montague. John is about twenty years of age, of rather lighter complexion than Toney, about five feet 10 inches high, and is quite stout b____ -- he has a full round face, and has lost two front teeth above and below which is his most distinguishing mark. He had on when he left, a light grey woolen round Jacket and pantaloons.

The above slaves left the camp of the subscriber while on his way to the Western country, eight miles above Lincolnton, on 28t of last month, and will no doubt endeavor to make their way back to Wilmington. The above reward will be given for their apprehension, so that I get them again.


Dec 10, 1836 -- __21

Cash for negroes

THE Subscriber will purchase any number of likely young NEGROES during the next six months, for which liberal prices in cash will be given.

I wish all letters on business, addressed to me at Germanton, Stokes County.


July 18, 1836 -- __52


IN pursuance of an order of the Cabarrus County Court, made at October Sessions 1836, I will sell at the Courthouse door in Concord, on the 3d Monday in February next a Negro Boy named NATHAN, the property of W.P. Stackton, dec'd, for cash.

W.H. ARCHIBALD, Shff. Of Cabarrus County N.C.

Dec 3 1836 -- tf20

Stop the Runaway.

RANAWAY from the subscriber living near Liberty Hill, in Iredell county, N.C., a negro man named


Formerly owned by James Cunningham. He is between forty and fifty years old; of a yellowish complexion -- round face and small eyes. He is marked with a scar in one of his ears, which has not grown together; also with a scar on the underside of his heel; which has not _______; he has also a small scar on one of his cheeks and is about five feet, five or six inches in height.

Any one taking up this negro and lodging him in jail or delivering him to me, shall be reasonably compensated.


Liberty Hill, Iredell co. N. C.
June 11th, 1836 -- __47