Arthur Erwin and Slavery

Bucks County Slavery

According to Bucks County Register of Slaves, Tinicum Township held 21 enslaved people between 1783 and 1830, 6 of whom were owned by Arthur Erwin: Peter aged 30, Myrtill aged 28, Call aged 7, Cap aged 6, Isaac aged 4, and Luce aged 1. Nicholas Patterson had 5 slaves: Tone aged 26, Jean aged 24, Mark aged 6, Eff aged 4 and Jack aged 2. Alexander Mitchel had three: James aged 39, Phillis aged 45 and Luce aged 12. John Baily, Robert Ramsey, Robert Stewart, Thomas Stewart, William McIntyre, William Davis, and Thomas Ramsay each had one slave.

Run Away

We know that Arthur Erwin owned at least one other enslaved man dating back to 1772. An advertisement in the Pennsylvania Packet of that year lists a four dollar reward for the return of “a negro man named Jack, born in the West-Indies, speaks the German language, is about 30 years of age, and five feet six or seven inches high; a thick well set fellow, and has remarkable lumps and scar on his legs; had on when he went away a brown cloth lapelled jacket with linsey lining, a thickset under jacket, tow shirt and trowsers and old boot feet for shoes” to one Arthur Erwin of Tinicum Township Bucks County.

Compliance with the Gradual Abolition Act

Arthur complied with the new law and by the 1790 census there were no slaves recorded at either his home or that of his son William. 

Bucks County Register of Slaves, Arthur Erwin Slave Owner

Page of a Slave Registry showing the slaves of Arthur Erwin

Escaped Slave owned by Arthur Erwin, Pennsylvania Packet 1772

Ad placing a $4 reward for the return of a run away slave belonging to Arthur Erwin.

1790 Census including Arthur and William Erwin

Listing of William and Arthur Erwin in the 1790 Census