Runaway slave notice - piece of history - up for sale - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Runaway slave notice - piece of history - up for sale

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Not many people can rattle off what was happening in Charlotte in 1857.

But Joy Shivar has a piece of paper that perfectly captures history.

"I think it's a victorious history. It's dramatic. It's exciting" says Shivar. "It's a history of overcoming and I can't imagine how anybody, anything could explain this better than this piece."

Shivar, of Justajoy Historical Treasures {}, deals in antiques. She has what historians call a runaway slave broadside - it's similar to a wanted poster.

Shivar says a client hired her to sell the piece.

"All runaway slave broadsides are valuable" says Shivar. "Just because it's extremely rare because it catches that moment in time when things were so completely different than they are now. And this is a very dramatic piece."

The piece of paper tells the story of a $300 reward for three "Negro men" -  Shadrach who was described as a 45 year old mulatto; Lewis who was the same age; and Buster, also described as mulatto.

The hunt was on for them in 1857.

The three men were captured by a jailer in Washington County, Virginia. On the broadside, one of the men said he "belonged to W. F. Davidson of Charlotte."

Shivar says "this obviously shows us at one point in Charlotte's history our first mayor was a slave holder."

William F. Davidson was Mayor of Charlotte from 1853-to-1857 and 1873-to-1875.

His runaway slaves evidently didn't want to come back to him. They escaped from the Virginia jail.

Both the jailer and Davidson posted rewards for them. The notice was mailed to the Post Master in Seven Pines, Virginia.

Shivar says "we pretty much know what these slaves went through. We don't know why they went to Washington County but usually when slaves escaped they would go back to where they had family."

Who knows how or why the paper is still around. "This has probably changed hands 20 times" says Shivar.

But where will it end up?

Shivar says "I definitely think it should stay in Charlotte - hopefully it will. It should be in a museum at least. Where I would like to see it go is the Harvey Gantt Center because Harvey Gantt is our first African American Mayor."

Shivar predicts the piece  - which will probably fetch $3500 to $4500 - will sell quickly.

"They're popular and valuable items and they're only going to go up in value so a lot of people are buying things like this as an investment" says Shivar. "There's a great deal of value and great deal of interest. It just absolutely validates that these kind of things actually did happen. Sometimes with history people want to change history and say it actually didn't happen but when you have an original item like this - how can you deny it?"

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