Never caught : the Washingtons' relentless pursuit of their runaway slave, Ona Judge

Never caught : the Washingtons' relentless pursuit of their runaway slave, Ona Judge

Dunbar, Erica Armstrong author.


First 37 Ink/Atria Books hardcover edition.

Physical Description
xvii, 253 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Betty's daughter -- New York-bound -- New York in black and white -- The move to Philadelphia -- The blacks in the family -- Life in Philadelphia -- The wedding -- The fugitive -- Slavery and freedom in New Hampshire -- A close call -- The negotiator -- Mrs. Staines -- The survivor -- Epiogue: Ona's sister : Philadelphia Costin.

Personal Subject
Judge, Oney.
Washington, George, 1732-1799.
Washington, Martha, 1731-1802.

Subject Term
Slaves -- United States -- Biography.
Fugitive slaves -- United States -- Biography.
African American women -- Biography.
Slavery -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History -- 18th century.


When George and Martha Washington moved from their beloved Mount Vernon in Virginia to Philadelphia, then the seat of the nation's capital, they took nine enslaved people with them. They would serve as cooks and horsemen, as house servants and personal attendants. The North was different for the entire household, free and enslaved, white and black. There was a new climate to adjust to, and new mores as well. Slavery, in Philadelphia at least, was looked down upon. Indeed, there was even a law requiring slaveholders to free their slaves after six months. Yet George Washington thought he could outwit and circumvent the law by sending his slaves south every six months, thereby resetting the clock. Among the slaves to figure out this subterfuge was Ona Judge, Martha Washington's chief attendant. Having interacted with Philadelphia's sizable free black community, Ona Judge observed and soon longed for liberation. And, risking everything she knew, leaving behind everyone she loved and had known her entire life, she fled. Here, then, is the story not only of the powerful lure of freedom but also of George Washington's determination to recapture his property by whatever means necessary. Never Caught is the only book that examines the life of an eighteenth-century fugitive woman in intricate detail, and it provides a new look at George Washington's relationship to slavery.

LibraryMaterial TypeCall NumberItem AvailableCopiesStatus
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)Book306.362 DUN11Nonfiction Collection
Lake Elmo LibraryBook306.362 DUN01Checked Out
Park Grove Library (Cottage Grove)Book306.362 DUN01Checked Out
R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)Book306.362 DUN11Nonfiction Collection