Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brown Drugget and Yellow Shalloon (Pennsylvania Gazette, 12-16-1746)

By the time he ran away from William Reynolds of Charlestown, Chester County (northwest of Philadelphia), William Reardon had already led a colorful life. Stocky and with a noticeable lisp, he had left Ireland to serve on a privateer, and eventually found himself imprisoned in the Chester jail. Reardon's wanderlust got the better of him again in 1746 when he absconded from his servant position in the company of Mary Sullivan, a "short thick woman, and notorious thief." Reardon wore a coat of brown drugget (in the period, a narrow, light wool, sometimes woven with silk or linen) lined in yellow shalloon (cheap twilled worsted). Shalloon was often used as lining in clothing, including coats, as indicated by tailor's advertisements of the day. Reardon also wore two waistcoats, not uncommon among workers of the period, and relatively good footwear. Willaim Reynolds offered as bounty two pistoles - a Spanish coin in regular circulation in the colonies. We may never know whether these two stocky colonials managed to elude Reynolds, but their personal histories suggest that they probably didn't live happily ever after, or at least not together.

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