Bob was born around 1805.

When he was about 14 or 15 years old, he escaped from James M. Smith’s tannery. It was September 14, 1819. Two weeks later he had still not been recaptured.

The advertisement (at right), placed by James Smith, in a Tennessee paper gives detail as to the clothing worn by enslaved people – pantaloons (stained with “tan ooze”) and a shirt made out of “tow,” a coarse, broken fiber, removed during processing flax, hemp, or jute. He also wore a wool hat.

Bob was able to avoid recapture by telling the people he passed on his journey that his enslaver was just ahead of or behind him. His fate is currently unknown.


Knoxville Register, September 28, 1819