Database Report- Chronicling America

Search Summary

  • Search conducted by Naji Thompson over the course of a few weeks between December 2018 and February 2019
  • Key terms: stampede, slave + stampede
  • Results: 200+

Selected Images

Top Results

  • In 1849 the North-Carolinian ran an article titled “Slave Stampede.” On Nov. 6th or the night of Nov. 5 the 50 slaves stampeded from the Missouri side of the river shared with Illinois. It describes a stampede of around 50 slaves of “all ages and sexes.” They were overtaken, their leader was killed, and the rest were captured.
  • Anti-slavery Bugle reprinted an article from the Canton Reporter in Lewis County titled “The Great Slave Stampede in Missouri” on February 02, 1850. It tells the story of a slave stampede turned insurrection. It reads “A [sic] excitement prevails in Lewis county, in regard to the recent attempt of the negroes to run away and rise in insurrection; and as many negroes are in circulation in relation thereto, we deem it our duty to publish a true statement of the matter as it occurred.”
  • Weekly National intelligencer reprinted from the St. Louis News on May 7 commenting on the number of slave stampedes from western Missouri ending into Kansas. It also writes of organizations “enticing” enslaved people to leave Missouri and then send “them down to Indian country “to be sold to the “Cherokees and Choctaws.” The article also tells the story of 50 runways from Lafayette County. The group stole wagons, horses, and a carriage. Finally, it says in a three-week time span around 300 slaves have run away from Lafayette county.

General Notes

  • Many of the articles were not focused on actual stampedes but instead discussed slave holders’ anxiety surrounding potential stampedes. They offer insight to the rationalization of slavers, who blamed stampedes on abolitionists and the Underground Railroad. They claimed slaves were being “stolen” away.
  • In addition, a considerable number of articles centered around John Brown and the planned stampede that was supposed to accompany the failed Harper’s Ferry raid.
  • The use of advance search allowed for the considerable narrowing down of results by years and by words. One useful search method was “terms within five words of each other”. This allowed me to search for the words slave and stampede not only on the same page but also within close proximity to each other.

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