Saturday, February 17, 2024

Pogue's Servant Runs Away

The First Black Man in Auglaize County
If you recall from my last blog, Col. Robert Pogue brought a black servant named David with him when he came to Fort Amanda in 1812. 

Officers at the time were authorized to have a personal servant so Pogue selected David, a family slave to accompany him. Whether David volunteered or “was volunteered,” we will never know. What we do know is that Pogue did have an "expense account" and was reimbursed for David’s services (22 cents a day). Not a bad wage considering the average soldiers pay was about 33 cents a day.

Robert Pogue Lt. Col. Comm.

4th Regiment Ky. Vol. Militia

For: The pay of David, a private servant not of the line or militia from the 27th day of August, 1812 to the 18th March 1813, being 6 months and twenty three days at $6.66 per month. ($44.90).
I certify on honor that the above account is accurate and just, and that I employed and kept in service, a servant not of the line of the army or militia for the term above charged, and that I didn’t during the time herein charge, keep or employ as a waiter or servant any soldier from the line of the army or militia
Robert Pogue, Comm. 4th Rgt. Ky M. Vol.

Flemingsburg Kentucky, August 24, 1813. Received of Lt. George Botts pay muster to the 4th regiment Ky. Vol. Militia forty four dollars ninety cents in full payment of the above account for the services of my private servant Davey. Having signed triplicates.
Robert Pogue. 


David Runs Away
Pogue a wealthy tobacco farmer owned 11 slaves at the time. Ten years later on Tuesday, January 22, 1822, David walked away from the Pogue farm without permission and without telling anyone. He traveled 12 miles south as far as Flemingsburg, Ky. when, for whatever reason, he decided he wanted to return to home. 

Davids Journey from Mayslick to Flemingsburg, Ky. A Distance of 12 Miles

12 miles from the Pogue farm to Flemingsburg.

Presbyterian Church - Flemingsburg, Ky.  Built 1819

When David arrived in Flemingsburg, he went straight to the home of a man named James K. Bunch, who happened to be a friend of Col Pogue. Fearing some sort of reprisal from Pogue, David asked Bunch to intercede on his behalf which. Bunch did in the form of a letter (below).

  Flemingsburg, January 22, 1822
My dear friend

Your black man, David just visited at my house, and solicited me to give him a pass to return home. He says he left home this morning without your permission or knowledge. He declares to me that it is his desire and intention to return home this evening. He fears chastisement for his conduct. He appears penitent. He promises future obedience and submission. He begs me to intercede for him.
My dear friend will you forgive him. Make trial I doubt not but he deserves chastisement, but perhaps his promises are sincere. Perhaps he will keep them. Alas! How often has we disobeyed, offended and run away from our Master in Heaven. And how often has he kindly forgiven us.
May the Lord God of …… bless you and your dear companion and children and servants.
Yours most sincerely and affectionately
James K. Bunch
My dear brother in Christ If I have done wrong you will forgive
Flemingsburg, January 22, 1822
My dear friend


Until I found this letter, the only thing I knew about David was his name. Now after reading and re-reading it several times, I've made a few observations readers might find interesting. 

First of all, my guess is that David was between 15 - 20 when he came to Ft. Amanda as Col. Pogue's servant in 1813. I say that because Pogue needed someone old enough and strong enough to perform physical labor and withstand the rigors of camp life compared to an older man who might not be able to. This would then mean that when the events in the letter took place, David may have been between 20 and 25. If he was married, that could help explain his change of heart and wanting to return home. 

At this point, my obsession for details kicked in and I had to now khow the escape took place, including the time, weather.  Things I considered:

1: The moon phase the night of Jan. 22, 1822 was a waning crescent meaning there was very little light from the moon that night. It was perfect for someone trying to travel unnoticed.

2: There was only about 11 hours of daylight on this date. (7 AM to 6 PM)

3: It was the middle of Winter, cold with possible snow and ice on the ground.

4. It was 12 miles from the Pogue farm near Mayslick to Flemingsburg, Ky.

5: David wanted to return that same day and if he wanted to be home by 6, he'd have to leave Flemingsburg by 2 that afternoon.

Taking all this into consideration, I created the following scenario of what Davids escape may have looked like showing that David left the Pogue farm shortly after midnight on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1822.

I believe David left the Pogue farm shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning. He knew there was only a 7 hour window of darkness between midnight and daybreak at 7 o'clock AM. David knew he had to travel after dark to avoid capture either by Pogues men or even worse by slave hunters. There was very little moonlight that night so he had to travel slowly to avoid stepping in holes, ditches, etc., plus there may have been snow and ice covering the road. He also had to walk slowly to avoid working up a sweat, getting wet and risk pneumonia or even worse, freezing to death. 

Somewhere along the way David, for whatever reason decided he wanted to return home. He knew that at daybreak, Pogue would be alerted to his being missing so he had to get to Flemingsburg before daylight. Allowing 5 hours for slow travel and rest stops, my guess is he arrived at the Bunch home around 5:00 that morning meaning Bunch was probably still in bed. He knew that James Bunch, who lived there was a friend of Pogue otherwise he wouldn't have gone there. Bunch would have known David as well otherwise he may not have let him into his home, especially at that hour of the night. Once inside, the two men talked for about an hour during which David made clear that he wanted to come home and he wouldn't try to escape again. Bunch then penned the letter to Pogue. 
David had requested that he be allowed to return home that day and they both knew that if that if he was to be home by dark David would have to leave Flemingsburg no later than 2 o'clock that afternoon. By this time it would be approaching 7 o'clock in the morning. Bunch would have made arrangements for a rider on horseback to deliver the letter to Pogue. Leaving Flemingsburg around 6:30 AM, the rider would have gotten to Pogues farm around 9 o'clock. Assuming Pogue got the message right away, he would have written Bunch a brief note, given it to the rider and sent him back to Flemingsburg around 9:30 AM. Arriving back in Flemingsburg around noon, Bunch would have shared Pogue's response. Assuming it was favorable, David probably left the Bunch home shortly after noon and arrived back in Mayslick between 4 and 5 o'clock that afternoon. If Jane Pogue's Last Will and Testament is any indication of the Pogue family's relationship with their servants, I feel certain that while David may have received some sort of reprimand, it wasn't too harsh.

Note: I found it interesting the term "slave" was never used in Pogues correspondance.  Rev. Bunch refers to David as a "black man,"  and Pogue referred to David as his "servant." Neither used the term "slave." In addition, the second line in Pogues wife Last Will and Testmetnt she declared that money be put aside to secure the freedom of "Charles Canterbury." Again, there was mention of the word, slave or servant. Was it because David and the others had lived with the Pogues for so many years, they were considered more as servants rather than slaves per se. In addition, when I located the old 

Last Will and Testament of Jane Pogue (Wife of Fort Amanda's Builder) Regarding  Freeing Charles Canterbury

 I Jane Pogue of Mason County Kentucky, being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament.

First I desire my burial conducted and completed in the manner I have repeatedly desired and not necessary to be repeated and my burial and funeral expenses (including a plain monument for myself and late husband each) to be paid.

First I desire my burial conducted and completed in the manner I have repeatedly desired and not necessary to be repeated and my burial and funeral expenses (including a plain monument for myself and late husband each) to be paid. 

Second - I set apart out of the first money arising from my estate a fund sufficient to purchase the freedom of Charles Canterberry and direct that he be purchased and set free so soon after the collection of said fund as the same can be realized after sale on the usual terms and credits.

Third - I desire the real estate I now own to be rented out for four years after my decease and then to be sold to the highest bidders (desiring that some one of my grandchildren will prepare him or herself to purchase) on a credit of instal(l)ments equal to one year and this with all other moneys arising from my estate after specific legacies to be equally divided among my seventeen grandchildren, Eli, Elizabeth, Robert, Franklin, Amanda, and Maria, children of E. P. Pogue, Henry, Amanda Jane, Robert, William and Harriet, children of W. L. Pogue, Andrew W., son of Jane I Mackey. Eliza Jane daughter of John W. Pogue, Robert, Samuel, John and Gideon children of Ann E. Garrison. Should any money be left from my personal estate after the purchase of Charles it is to be lent out at interest until the money arising from my land is collected.

 I have given to each of my granddaughters, Elizabeth Jane and Amanda Jane a feather bed and bedding, a carpet the former, the carpet now in the lower South room which beds and carpets are to be excluded from the computation in making the distribution as above provided, and they are now to be considered as forming no part of my estate.


I hereby nominate and appoint William L. Pogue the Executor of this my last will and testement desiring that he should not be required to give security for the performance of his duties as such.

In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 15th day of October 1846.

Jane Pogue (seal)


Signed sealed and published by the testatrix in presence of us and w have signed and witness and seal the same in presence of the testatrix.

John H. Shanklin

James H. Shanklin

 Mason County 1st December Court 1846

The last will and testament of Jane Pogue deceased , was produced in court and proved by the oaths of John H. Shanklin and James H. Shanklin the publishing witnesses hereto and hesame is ordered to be recorded.

Sworn to by William L. Pogue the Executor therein named who executed bond in the penalty of four thousand dollars conditioned as the law requires. And upon his motion it is ordered that probate be granted him in due form.

Attach John James Key MC

Copy attach Robt. A. Cochran MCM CO. Ct.

 I located the Pogue family graveyard in an overgrown woods in Kentucky in 2000. In addition to Amanda's grave we learned that some of the family "servants" were also buried in the same family grave yard.  The assumption is David lived out his life with the Pogues and nothing has been found as to the whereabouts of Charles Cantebury after he was freed. 

Pogue's Servant Runs Away

The First Black Man in Auglaize County Runaway  If you recall from my last blog, Col. Robert Pogue brought a black servant named David with ...