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An indentured English joiner, Thomas Spear ran away from George Washington's employ on the night of April 19th, 1775, along with brickmaker William Webster. The two men escaped "in a small yawl, with turpentine sides and bottom, the inside painted with a mixture of tar and red lead." Twenty dollars a piece was offered for their return.

In the runaway advertisement, Washington described Spear as "a joiner, born in Bristol, about 20 years of age, five feet six and a half inches high, slender made, has light gray or bluish eyes, a little pock marked, freckled, sandy coloured hair cut pretty short, his voice is coarse and somewhat drauling." Washington further claim that Spear "took with him a coat, waistcoat, and breeches of light brown duffil, with black horn buttons, another light coloured cloth waistcoat, old leather breeches, check and osnaburg shirts, a pair of new milled yarn stockings, a pair of old ribbed do. new osnaburg trousers, and a felt hat, not much the worse for wear."1


1. George Washington, "Advertisement for Runaway Servants, 23 April 1775," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 3, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office).

See also: “To George Washington from James Cleveland, 21 May 1775,” Founders Online, National Archives, [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 10, 21 March 1774?–?15 June 1775, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, pp. 365–367.]