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In Their Own Words

May 04, 1738

Servant Tried to Escape Colonial Georgia

William Stephens wrote in his journal about one of his servants trying to flee the colony, but being captured while drunk:

“…My principal Servant, whom I most confided in, and was at such Times as I could best spare him from Field-Work employed as a Domestic, was missing; and upon my hearing that his Chest was carried off while I was Abroad in the Morning, I made no Doubt but he was preparing to go off in the Night: The Magistrates being neither of them at Home, I sent a Messenger to get a Search Warrant from Mr. Causton, who was at Ockstead; and taking what Precaution in the Interim I thought needful, to hinder his Escape; in the Evening I got some Intelligence what Company he had been seen with in the Day; whom I knew to be idle, disorderly Servants of others; and Mr. Parker being now returned Home, and coming kindly to my Assistance; we laid hold of one of those, threatening to deal severely with him, if he did not discover where my Man was; at which being terrified, he went with the Officer and produced him: Then upon Enquiry where his Chest was, we found that in a small new-built Hut, which the Owner had let a Gentleman have the Use of, for the reception of a few of his Servants occasionally, at such Times as any of them came to Town on their Master’s Business, from his Plantation a pretty Way off. Upon opening the Chest to search what was in it, we found several fair Pieces of Beef, about twelve Pound of Biscuit, some Rice, two or three Bottles of Wine, one Bottle of Molasses, &c. which was a plentiful Provision for a Voyage: But he was so abominably drunk, that it was in vain to attempt any Examination of him this Night; wherefore the Bail- iff committed him close Prisoner… “

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 139-140.