Escapes: Bracken, Fleming, and Mason Counties


Sep 29

MASON: Reward Ad for Dick and Attempted Capture

$50 reward is offered for the return of freedom seeker named Dick, who is 35-40 years old, and ownership is claimed by David L. Ward of Mays Lick. A man matching Dick’s description was spotted near Chillicothe, OH, and claimed to be a free man, recently manumitted by a preacher named James Suggett. Ad place by agent William Buckner, Jr. Liberty Hall, Cincinnati, OH; Sep 29, 1807

Jun 27

FLEMING: Escape of Harry

Harry, a man of about 28 yrs old, left enslavement in Flemingsburg on the 20th of May, 1820, wearing his new “roram hat” (similar to a beaver hat). Slaveholder Joshua Stockton offered a reward of $50 for his return. Cincinnati Advertiser, Cincinnati, OH, 27 June, 1820

May 07

MASON: Still Free!

Thornton, a freedom seeker enslaved by Francis Taylor in Maysville, KY, escaped around Christmas, 1829. His absence is referred to in an ad placed in April, 1830, offering a reward for the return of James, another freedom seeker who is suspected to be joining Thornton in freedom. Daily Cincinnati Republican, Cincinnati, OH, 7 May, 1830

May 07

MASON: Escape of James Moss (Lightfoot)

James Moss, AKA James Lightfoot, self-emancipated from slaveholder Francis Taylor of Maysville on April 11, 1830. James is described as “remarkably likely and intelligent” and also reads/writes very well. A $300 reward is offered for his return. The ad indicates that James may try to unite with Thornton, a freedom seeker who left the same slaveholder in 1829. Daily Cincinnati Republican, Cincinnati, OH, 7 May, 1830

Jan 01

MASON: Squire Nelson escapes to Canada.

Squire Nelson, b. 1815, escaped from Mason Co, KY, ca 1831. Made it to Canada and served in Canadian militia. The Ottowa Journal, Ottoway, Ontario, Canada; June 23 1887, p 4

Jan 01

FLEMING: John Hardin escapes, reunites.

John Hardin, enslaved in Flemingsburg, escaped in 1840 to Canada. Returned to reunite with family in 1889. Freedland Tribune, Freedland, Pa; 28 Nov 1889

Nov 17

FLEMING: Slave escapes, conductor caught.

One enslaved person assisted to freedom by conductor named Thompson. Thompson was caught and tried. Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor, Mi; 17 Nov 1841

May 12

MASON: Ad for seven freedom-seekers.

Mr. Lee of Maysville, KY, advertised the loss of seven enslaved people, among them was “Fanny, the mother of the four children is about 25 years of age, white as most white women, straight light hair” Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, Vt., May 12, 1843

Dec 17

MASON: Violence after slaves’ capture.

Several freedom seekers owned by Col. Edward Towers, were hidden in the homes of Robert Miller and Absolom King in the Red Oak Settlement. Two were discovered in Miller’s house and he (Miller) was stabbed to death. At King’s house, a fight ensued. Col Tower’s son was killed, then King was shot . Sheriff arrived, stopped the violence. Days later, Kentuckians returned and burned abolitionists’ houses and hanged a freedom seeker. Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan; 17 Dec 1844, Tue, Page 2

Aug 11

MASON: Mass escape.

15 or 20 freedom seekers from Mason Co. escaped from slaveholders Greathouse, Gorsuch and others. Six of the group crossed at Ripley. Conductors were captured, one white and one FPOC, from Cincinnati. **Occurred on same night as large group from Harrison was being pursued and engaged in Bracken Co. 11 Aug 1848, Covington Journal

Dec 27

MASON: Two slaves escape.

December 16th, two enslaved people (one male, one female) made their escape from slaveholder Mrs. Goddard in Maysville. Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY, Dec. 27, 1848

Sep 10

MASON: Escape attempt across river.

Eight enslaved people attempted to cross “below Maysville” 10 Sept, 1849. Skiff capsized, 4 drowned, four caught, enslaved conductor flogged- 39 lashes. Lower Sandusky freeman., Fremont, Ohio; September 29, 1849, Image 1

May 05

MASON: Woman and children self-emancipate.

A woman and her three children self-emancipated from slave holder F.M. Weedon, of Mason Co., on Sunday, May 4, 1851. Weedon’s 1850 slave schedule shows a young woman and three small children, and three older adults. In 1860, the numbers are reduced to show the loss. Louisville Daily Courier, May 5, 1851. Accessed April 11, 2017

Apr 03

MASON: Father helps children escape.

Free man assists his 5 enslaved children to freedom. Letter to the editor, Anti-Slavery Bugle, Lisbon, OH; 3 April, 1852.

Sep 23

MASON: Eight slaves escape.

Five men, a woman and two children, belonging to “sundry citizens of Mason County” made their escape. It is assumed that they went together and were assisted. The Maysville Eagle calls for an “association of slave holders” for the protection of their property. The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling Wv., Sep 23, 1852

Oct 14

BRACKEN/MASON: 31 slaves escape.

Thirty-one enslaved people from Augusta (Bracken) and Dover, KY (Mason) escaped into Ripley. Clothing found, one homeowner refused a search warrant. Three were captured, local authorities and residents did not cooperate.; Gallipolis Journal, Gallipolis, Ohio; October 14, 1852

Jul 27

MASON: Reward Ad for Emily.

$100 reward Ad for Emily, ran away 27 July, 1853, from “near Lewisburg” Mason County. Slaveholder name- Thomas H. Williams.

Sep 30

MASON: 5 slaves escape.

September: a few miles below Maysville, 5 enslaved escape; 3 are “very fair and delicate mulatto girls”; went through Ripley to freedom; The Liberator, Boston, MA; Sep 30, 1853, p 3

Nov 22

BRACKEN: Escape and imprisonment.

Sept, 1852; one enslaved person, slaveholder Blackstone H. Rankins; assisted by FPOC Dr. Perkins. Perkins, 70, sentenced to penitentiary for 3 yrs. Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY; Nov 22, 1853

Nov 22

BRACKEN: Slave escape.

One enslaved man (unnamed), slaveholder Walter Linn. Freedom seeker was assisted by FPOC Henry and Isaac Rumsey- arrested, acquitted. Also involved two white men, Cripps (teacher) and James Cooper. Cripps bailed out of jail, Cooper didn’t. Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY; Nov 22, 1853, p 2

Apr 20

BRACKEN: Four slaves escape.

April, four enslaved escape from Bracken (slaveholder-Jos. Harris), 4 from Union Co (slaveholder- Williamson), and 2 from Boone Co (slaveholder unk). Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, Ky.; 20 April 1855

Dec 22

MASON: Escape on steamer.

“We learn from the Maysville Eagle that a judgment for some $1500 was obtained against the steamer Bostona in the Lewis Circuit Court last week for having taken off a slave belonging to Mrs. Eshom.”, The Covington Journal, December 22, 1855

Jan 01

MASON: John Price escapes.

Jan 1856- John Price escaped from slaveholder by John G. Bacon of Tuckahoe Ridge (just opposite Rev. Rankin’s home in Ripley); 1858- slavehunter came after him. 200 citizens assisted in his escape. from Roland M. Baumann, “The 1858 Oberlin-Wellington Rescue: A Reappraisal” (Oberlin, Ohio: Oberlin College, 2003)

Oct 17

MASON: Seventeen slaves escape.

Seventeen enslaved people from Washington, KY escaped & were pursued. One man recaptured. 17 Oct 1857, Edgecomb Gazette, Edgecomb, NC

Oct 28

BRACKEN: Eleven slaves escape.

23 Oct 1858; Eleven enslaved people escaped from near Germantown. No other details given, probably related to Juliet Miles case. Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY; 28 October, 1858, p 1 col 5

May 28

BRACKEN: Juliet Miles caught.

Juliet Miles, former enslaved, caught attempting to free her children and grandchildren and others (10 total) from slavery in Bracken and Mason Counties. New York Daily Tribune, Monday, March 28, 1859

Sep 25

BRACKEN: Three slaves escape, one captured.

Three enslaved men escaped (ca. June, 1860) from slaveholders Reed and Pollack, near Germantown. Near Iberia, OH, slavehunters captured one, two escaped with help of FPOC and White citizens. Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, KY; 25 Sp 1860; p 1 col 6

Jan 01

FLEMING: Alvin Smith self-emancipates.

Alvin Smith self-emancipated from Fleming County slaveholder Richard Willet in 1863. Though he connected with the network of the Underground Railroad in Brown County, OH right away, he chose to head south and join the Union Army. Settled in Akron, died in 1948, five days short of his 105th birthday. Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Feb 5, 2018

May 23

FLEMING: Mass escape.

Seven enslaved people belonging to James C. Savage of Germantown escaped in on 23 May, Saturday evening, 1863. Fifteen others of the same neighborhood also escaped the same night. Maysville Weekly Bulliten, Maysville, KY; 28 May 1863, p 3

Aug 01

BRACKEN: Ed Mofford Escape.

Unknown date–Ed Mofford, enslaved, assisted by abolitionist Betsy Hamilton (mother-in-law to John F. Gregg) in Augusta. Letter written by John F. Gregg to William J. Hutchings of Genoa, Ohio, August, 1929. Located in Berea College Special Collections Berea, Kentucky.