Friday, July 13, 2012

Stephen Mahorney, 1827 Maryland - A Friend of Friends Friday

Ran Away from the subscriber, living about 40 miles west of Cumberland, Allegany co., Md. on the 16th inst., a Negro Man named STEPHEN; calls himself Stephen Mahorney. He is about 21 years old, about 5 foot 7 inches high, stout made, dark complexion, has a grum countenance & down look when spoken to. Had on when he went off a pair of grey cloth pantaloons, not much worn, a short brown country cloth coat, about half worn, which fits him very loose, shoes or bootees, of very strong leather, pegged and nailed with sparables, white yarn stockings, a country linen shirt, a good yellow striped summer jacket, and a half worn wool hat. He took with him a small black and white spotted Dog. He has no doubt made for Pennsylvania. The above reward will be given for securing him in jail so that I get him again, and all reasonable expenses paid if secured in the Cumberland, Frederick or Hagers-town Jail.
April 26.       26-3w.

Leonard Smith is my husband's 2nd great-grandfather. A slave family named Mahawney, listed as belonging to Henry Mattingly, appear in Richard Koch's Western Maryland Catholics, 1819-1851. A cursory examination of census records showed no records for Stephen Mahorney, but the 1830 census includes a free colored Mahorney (or McHerney) family living south of Pittsburg, PA about 80 miles northwest of Smith's land in Maryland. In 1880 a 15 year old black male, Steven Mahorney, is enumerated in the Hagerstown, MD household of his grandfather Francis Nelson. This Steven is obviously not the same young man who fled more than 50 years earlier, but were I researching this man I would investigate a possible relationship.

     [Hagerstown, MD] Torch Light, "$50 Reward," 3 May 1827, p. 3, col. 3; digital images, (accessed 7 Jul 2012), Historical Newspapers.
     Koch, Richard T., "Western Maryland Catholics, 1819-1851," database and images, (accessed 7 Jul 2012); Register of Baptisms, p. 80, record for John Mahawney.
     1830 U.S. census, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, St. Clair, p. 209, line 15, Robt Mahorney; digital images, (accessed 7 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm M19, roll 144. 

     1880 U.S. census, Washington, Maryland, Hagerstown, p. 66, Steven Mahorney; digital images, (accessed 7 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm T9, roll 516.


  1. This is fascinating, Susan - lots of clues to track down for anyone related! I get sidetracked frequently when looking through old newspapers, and when I find something relevant, I want to save it all! Thanks for posting.

  2. This is an amazing article. I love all of your citations (mainly because I can break out in a sweat just thinking about creating citations). I wonder if anyone ever collected the reward.

  3. Hope he got away and stayed free. also wish it was an article about my Dock Allen running away.

  4. The descriptions of the clothing and the dog are fascinating, and, well, SO descriptive. Good stuff Susan!

  5. How DID you do these sources so small , with coding ??

    I wonder if that surname was MAHONY ( as the pronunciation of it has that strong R sound which could produce Mahorney ) .

    And what a hard life .Hard to imagine being the young runaway man - no wonder he had a grum countenance.


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