Primary Source Offers Questions and Clues About Will, Runaway Slave

Accomack County, Free Negro & Slave Records Box 1, Barcode 1138011.

Located among the odds and ends of Accomack County court records is this 1758 advertisement from Landon Carter of Richmond County for his runaway slave Will.  Landon Carter was one of the sons of Robert “King” Carter of Lancaster County and a rich man himself.  The advertisement is typical of runaway ads in that it seeks to provide as much information as possible about Will in order to facilitate his recapture:  looks, personality, friends and family, residence(s), and conjecture as to possible destination.  The ads are always interesting for what questions they provoke:  What was this “ill-Behaviour” that caused Will to be moved five counties north from Williamsburg to Richmond County?  What characteristics did he possess that would cause his owner to call him “sensible for a slave” (presumably a compliment)?  Were Will and Sarah particularly close, so much so that after his escape he risked fetching her so that she, too, could be free of slavery and the Carters?  Did Will, Sarah and Peter make good their getaway?

 (Citation: Accomack County, Free Negro & Slave Records Box 1, Barcode 1138011.)

 -Sarah Nerney, Senior Local Records Archivist

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4 Comments

  1. Jane said:
    10 August 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Interesting find.
    What is the origin of the name Landon in the Carter family?

    • Dale said:
      11 August 2011 at 8:20 am

      Thanks for the question. One of our staff members knew the answer to your question. Robert “King” Carter’s second wife was Mrs. Betty Landon Willis. She was Landon Carter’s mother. Landon was her maiden name. Thanks for reading the blog.

  2. Chris White said:
    9 July 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Have you any information about the said “Rippon-Hall where the slave was said to have left after “ill behavior”? Rippon Hall was the ancestral home of my ancestor Evan Ragland. He was kidnapped in Wales at 16 by pirates and sold to the owner of Rippon Hall, Stephen Pettus, as an indentured servant. He could read and write so Pettus brought him into his home to work in his office affairs then ended up marrying Susanna Pettus, the daughter of Stephen Pettus. Rippon Hall burned in the 18th century but rebuilt in the 19th century by the Ragland’s and still stands today but on significantly less acreage. My wife and I drove by and snapped a photo on our last trip to Williamsburg.

    • Vince said:
      13 July 2015 at 11:01 am

      Mr. White,

      Our 1939 World’s Fair photograph collection contains an image of a home called Rippon Hall, but no locality is designated. http://image.lva.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/photo.cgi/WF/05/08/007 No additional information on homes called Rippon Hall are readily found in our online catalog. More in-depth research might yield further information.

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