Pocket Diary and Runaway Slave Ad Transcriptions

Pocket Diaries:

Pocket Diary

The Diary of Emilie Frances Davis was written by an African-American woman living in Philadelphia during the U.S. Civil War. These excerpts from July 8-13, 1864, p. 49, been rendered verbatim from the diary by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Image: Courtesy of Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

July, Friday, 8, 1864.
“very warm this morning i had a talk with mrs about the all absorbing topic i went to nell and liz today I see i will not be able to spend the summer in germantown”

Saturday, 9.
“rather cloudy and warm we were all called up this morning to receive our ration of supper i talk mrs wister this would have little use for it i went down to”

Sunday, 10.
“Marys to tell her neil It is a beautiful morning i could not go to church home all the afternoon I spent the afternoon in reading in the evening i went to church they had no Preaching”

July, Monday, 11, 1864.
“after church i went home with becky smith mr Johnson was with me exceedingly warm to day i was out this afternoon stoped to see Miss uhman Rachel come and spent the evening”

Tuesday, 12.
“with me very warm I have had my first lesson on the sewing machine suceeded admireablely I worked all the afternoon no word from home this week as yet”

Wednesday, 13.
“Very pleasant today i had been Practicing a little on the machine no word from nell yet in the evening mary m and I went to see rachel and spent quite a Pleas [Pleasant]”


Runaway Slave Ad:

Advertisement, “Ran Away,” The North Carolina Star, September 25, 1809.

Advertisement, “Ran Away,” The North Carolina Star, September 25, 1809.

In this advertisement, a slave owner identifies a runaway slave by the pocket on his jacket lapel. He asserts that the slave would show it to pass as a free man. As noted by scholar Jonathan Square, slaves were often not permitted to have pockets in their garments, where they could conceal small items.

“RAN-AWAY From the subscriber on the 10th day of September, a bright mulatto fellow by the name of Ralph. He is about 35 years old – a number of his fore teeth are missing – several before, so as to disqualify him from chawing on any thing hard. He has a very down look. He had on when he left me cotton clothes, except his coat, which was cotton cambrick, of a brown colour, made in the present fashion. The coat had a pocket on the inside of the left lappell. – I expect he will attempt to pass for a free man, and, perhaps, aim for Richmond, in Virginia, where he was raised. He left his former master, whose name was Jeffrey, (lived in South Carolina,) and passed for a free man about fifteen months in the counties of Duplin, Bladen, and Jones, where he was at length taken up and committed to Wilmington Jail, where his master got him. Any person who will confine said Negro in any Jail in this state so I get him again, shall receive a reward of ten dollars, and if delivered to me in Wadesborough, 25 dollars.”

Wadesborough, Sept.25, 1809.