Database Report: Accesible Archives

Newspaper clipping

The Vincennes Gazette, April 4, 1863.

Search Summary

  • A search conducted by Sarah Aillon between January 19, 2019 – February 13, 2019
  • Keywords: “stampede” on its own, “negro stampede,” “slave stampede,” and “black stampede.”
  • Total Hits: Approximately 50 hits.

Top Results:

  • The Vincennes Gazette republished a column written by the North Missouri Courier in April of 1863 , which read, “some thirty or forty American citizens of African descent owned in and around this city, evidently wary of waiting for Congress and the Legislature to make Missouri a free state” fled Missouri, “therefore quietly abolishing themselves into Illinois.” (“Slave Stampede from Hannibal,” The Vincennes Gazette, Vincennes, Indiana, April 4, 1863, Accessible Archives)
  • In early 1856, The Liberator wrote on the Cincinnati Commercial’s report of “another stampede of six slaves” from Boone County, Missouri; the article suspected that the group “took the icy bridge above California,” but that there were no reports of fugitive’s whereabouts. (“Slave Stampede,” The Liberator, Boston, MA, February 22, 1856, Accessible Archives)
  • Some newspaper reports detailed the failed group escapes. On February 2, 1849, the North Star wrote, “we learn that about forty negroes had made arrangements to leave their masters in Woodford County [KY], on Saturday night last, but the plot was discovered just in time to defeat its execution.” The report continued, “the negroes all had free papers. According to the plan of operations, each was to steal a horse and cross the Ohio river before day. They were betrayed by a negro to whom the plot was disclosed and who was requested to join in it.”  (“Stampede Frustrated,” The North Star, Rochester, New York, February 2, 1849, Accessible Archives)


General Notes

  • Some newspapers referenced “stampedes” in different contexts; in 1860, the Weekly Vincennes Western Sun described the phenomena under which slave owners left Virginia to go further south as a “stampede of slave owners.”  (“The Stampede of Slave Owners from Virginia,” The Weekly Vincennes Western Sun, Vincennes, Indiana, May 4, 1861, Accessible Archives)
  • The Frank Leslie’s Weekly defined different American slang terms in 1859, writing, “[American’s] political parties are ‘barn-burners,’ ‘hard-shells,’ ‘soft-shells,’ ‘hunkers,’ ‘locofocos,’ ” and also provided quick definitions of terms, like   “to be angry is to be ‘riled,’ to confound is to ‘onfakilise,’ to defeat is to ‘chaw up,’ to apologise is to ‘cave,’ … An individual is called a ‘coon,’ a dilemma a ‘fix,’ a general run a ‘stampede’… and so on.” (“A Chapter on Slang,” Frank Leslie’s Weekly, April 2, 1859, Accessible Archives)
  • Accessible Archive is a subscription database.that contains a number of collections, including the African American Newspapers Collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers Collection, American County Histories Collection, the Civil War Collection, and the Women’s Suffrage Collection.
  • Although 400 hits emerged when searching the database for the term “stampede” and its variants, the majority of hits did not reference to group slave escapes and instead, detailed stampedes of soldiers and livestock.

Relevant Coverage

  • Canada West (Ontario): Provincial Freeman
  • Massachusetts:   The Liberator
  • New York:  Frederick Douglass’ Paper and The North Star
  • Washington DC: The National Era


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