If a person ran away once, they were liable to do so again. In some cases this provides two distinctive descriptions of the same individual, but the example below shows that an ad might be largely reused. This woman ran away in August and again in October, taking almost the same clothing with her each time. The biggest difference between the two ads is her last name; perhaps the person who placed the ad dictated the text to the printer, or submitted it with poor handwriting. Or maybe he wasn’t sure of his servant’s name.
Forty Shillings Reward. Run away, the 1st of this instant August, from the subscriber, living in Salisbury township, Lancaster county, a servant girl, named Catherine McDaniel; had on, and took with her, a linen check bonnet, and white linen bed gown a brown lincey ditto, two petticoats, one brown lincey, the same of the bed gown, the other tow linen, 2 coarse shifts, 2 or 3 tow aprons, a red cloak, and small check handkerchief, no shoes, nor stockings; she has a bold look, is about 5 feet 1 or 2 inches high, has brown hair, full faced, full brown eyes, very talkative, and lived some time in the city of Philadelphia, with Mr. William Graham, at the Sign of the Black Horse. Whoever takes up said servant, and confines her in any goal, shall have the above reward, and if brought home, reasonable charges, paid by Henry Cowen. [Pennsylvania Gazette, August 12, 1772]
Thirty Shillings Reward. Ran away the 14th instant, from the subscriber, living in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, an Irish Servant girl, born in Dublin, named Catharine M’Donald, had on and took with her a white linen bedgown, one brown ditto, three petticoats, one light brown lincey, one flanell, and the other tow linen, two coarse shifts, two or three tow aprons, a red cloak, and a large linen handkerchief, has neither shoes nor stockings; she has a bold look, is about 5 feet one or two inches high, has brown hair, full faced, full brown eyes, very talkative; she lived some time in the city of Philadelphia, with Mr. William Graham, at the sign of the Black Horse. Whoever takes up said Servant, and confines her in any goal, shall have the above reward, and if brought home, reasonable charges paid, by Henry Cowen. [Pennsylvania Journal, October 21, 1772]
If you liked our week-long runaway series, you may also enjoy Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls: Advertisements for Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770–1783 by Don N. Hagist (Westholme, 2016).