Ona Judge: The slave who ran away from George Washington

Posted October 4

— A new book and a walking tour in New Hampshire are shedding light on a slave who ran away from George Washington and was never caught.

Twenty-two-year-old Ona Judge slipped away from Washington's home in Philadelphia in 1796 and caught a boat to Portsmouth. Despite several attempts by Washington to recapture her, she remained free. She married, raised three children and died in 1848 in Greenland, New Hampshire.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar's book "Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge" tells the story and has cast Washington's role as a slave-owner in a new light as well. A tour has started that highlights several places associated with Judge in Portsmouth. Efforts are under way to fund a trolley that would take visitors out to Greenland.


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