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In Their Own Words

March 26, 1739

Cattle Thieves Caught

William Stephens wrote about the capture of two young cattle thieves in his journal:

“…Some more evident Marks appearing of Cattle being newly killed in the neighbouring Woods; it was thought proper to send out several Officers with a search Warrant, and that they should make close Pursuit immediately, to discover what possibly they could; going different Ways at the same Time, the better to surprise such as were concerned in the Fact. This happened to succeed better than some Attempts of the like Nature had done before; for they found the Flesh of a young Bullock cut in Pieces, and stowed away in a private Place, which a Fellow had the Custody of, who was soon wrought upon to confess the Fact to be his, and that another Fellow/ was his Accomplice, whom he named, and they soon after laid hold of also. Upon the Examination it appeared, that the Beast was the Property of Bailiff Parker, who had been unfortunate divers Times in losing several after the same Manner; and the two Thieves were young Rogues, not twenty Years of Age, but indented Servants that had a Year or more to serve: They acknowledged that they did not want Provisions from their Masters, sufficient; but they were tempted to this from a Desire of fresh Meat. They were committed to Prison, in order to take their Trials in due Time.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 305-306.