The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: February 13

YORK Town, February 13, 1772.
RUN away from my Plantation, in Warwick County, a Negro named WILL, commonly called WILL BUTE, a very likely Fellow, of the middle stature, about seventeen or eighteen Years of Age, with large full Eyes, and a Scar under his right Eye. He has behaved himself remarkably well till lately, having been punished by the Overseer for some Misconduct. He had on a light coloured Fearnought Waistcoat, with Metal Buttons, and told some of the People that he should go to Mr. William Tabb, of Bute County, North Carolina, the Place from whence he came. I will give, to any Person that will deliver him to me, FORTY SHILLINGS if taken in this Colony, and FIVE POUNDS if out thereof. ALLEN JONES.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) February 20, 1772

About this entry:

This young man was called Will Bute, possibly because he talked about his home in Bute County so much. Warwick County was where Newport News is today. Bute County is now Warren and Franklin Counties northeast of Raleigh, North Carolina. Will Bute had a long walk ahead of him. Runaway slave advertisements were printed in most issues of the Virginia Gazette. The descriptions of clothing inform us for the costuming of Colonial Williamsburg's African American characters.

Language notes:

A fearnought waistcoat is a vest made of stout woolen cloth.

Sources: atlas, OED, Hiden

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