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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Irish Indentured Servants On the Run in 18th Century Boston


 
  New England Courant, February 8-15, 1725

"Many of the original Irish to Boston were indentured servants who gained passage to America by agreeing to work in servitude for up to seven years.  But once they got here, many of them quickly absconded from their masters, as evidenced by the number of classified ads in the first half of the 18th century, like this ad for Mary Farrel. 

"Sometimes the runaway servants were caught and punished, only to escape again.  Edmund Murphy absconded from Milton resident Thomas Craddock in November 1737, was captured and returned to Craddock, only to run away again in March 1738.  A companion of Murphy who didn’t fit the servant persona was Edmund Butler, who escaped from Craddock in May 1738. Butler was described as “a good scholar who speaks English, Latin, Greek, and French, a thin-looking fellow of middle stature.”"

Excerpt from Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past, by Michael Quinlin, published by Globe Pequot Press.