Thursday, April 30, 2009

Taking Up of Slaves and F.P.C.

Runaway slave notices commonly appeared in Kentucky newspapers through the end of the War Between the States. The advertisement shown above appeared in the 17 July 1862 issue of the Henderson, Kentucky Weekly Reporter.

Blacks, both free and slaves, who hoped to escape living conditions in the South during the War often traveled through western Kentucky while attempting to reach freedom in the northern states. Being Free Persons of Color did not guarantee freedom from capture as they, along with runaway slaves, were in danger of being taken up by persons hoping to make a profit from a misfortunate human situation. The Taker Up, as the capturing person was generally called, received a reward, usually $75, for blacks caught in Livingston County, Kentucky. After being captured, the black person was turned over to the county Sheriff, who placed him in jail to await his fate. A notice was then placed in area newspapers with a physical description given of the runaway slave or Free Person of Color. If not claimed within a period of time, advertisements of the impending sale of the person was placed in four public places within the county and also on the doors of neighboring county courthouses. When the captured person was sold, the Sheriff, Jailor and sometimes the county clerk, received a portion of the sale. The remainder went to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The end of the War signaled an end to this dark period in the history of our country.

You can also find information on the proceedings of the capturing and sale of blacks in the county court minutes of this era.

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