Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     In his previous books, Joseph Lee Boyle focused on colonial compulsory workers in Maryland and Delaware. Now he turns his attention to laborers in the Keystone State. His fifth compilation is “LAZY, LOVES STRONG DRINK, AND IS A GLUTTON”: WHITE PENNSYLVANIA RUNAWAYS, 1720-1749. Boyle’s latest publication supplies data about white male and female colonists in the servitude category (for example, indentured servants, redemptioners, political exiles, and convicts) in the first half of the eighteenth century.

     Boyle’s interesting and informative introduction gives a thorough history of the utilization of white forced laborers and enslaved blacks in the American colonies. He points out that Pennsylvania received one-tenth of all male indentured servants and approximately one-fifth of female indentured servants during the 1720s through the 1740s. One authority believes more than 67,000 German immigrants arrived at the busy port of Philadelphia from 1720 through 1760; at least half of them went into bondage. One estimate states around twenty to twenty-five percent of all servants fled from their masters.

     Other interesting facts he emphasizes are that eighty percent of the runaways were males. Most fugitives departed during the months of good weather, usually April through October. Ship arrivals also tended to be seasonal. Fall arrival was preferred because ships could take cured tobacco back to Europe and the new immigrants would have cooler weather to adjust to their new surroundings. Non-British servants, such as Germans, usually did not run away because of the language barrier.

     Most colonial American newspapers regularly printed advertisements that offered rewards for the apprehension of runaways and/or notices about their capture. From seventeen New England and Mid-Atlantic newspapers, Boyle gleaned all legible references pertaining to white escapees who lived in Pennsylvania or had contacts there. (If ads listed names of blacks and whites together, Boyle identifies the blacks separately in the index.) By transcribing verbatim ads published the years 1720 - 1749, Boyle identifies more than 3,000 runaways and their masters. Generally, the notices provide the names of the runaways, the person or persons offering the reward for their return, any captured fugitives, and who had them in custody; a location; and the name and date of the newspaper reference. Additional information may vary from a few sentences to a long paragraph. Details may include the individual’s age, occupation, country of origin or nationality, a description of the clothes worn at the time of the escape, and a summary of his or her physical and personality traits.

     The eighteenth-century newspaper notices and advertisements concerning runaways often furnish valuable information not found in other resources. As a result, details in the ads may furnish clues for new avenues of investigation. An important research tool for genealogists seeking forebears in the Mid-Atlantic area, “LAZY, LOVES STRONG DRINK, AND IS A GLUTTON”: WHITE PENNSYLVANIA RUNAWAYS, 1720-1749 also provides fascinating reading about life in colonial America.

     The 478-page book has soft covers, a lengthy introduction, a bibliography for further reading, a list of the newspapers consulted by the author, and a full name index. To the book's price of $39.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #8130) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website at .

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