Runaway Slaves: Time Periods and Seasonality
The information for these graphs come from the project's database
Between 1795 and 1804 there was a peak in the number of escaped slaves. Interestingly, this was a time period of abolitionist push-back against the growth of slavery in New Jersey. Quakers pressured the state government for abolition, some slaves were able to negotiate their manumissions, and some decided to run away as a last attempt at freedom.
Also, during this time, more northern states were becoming "free soil," while the Underground Railroad further expanded. Looking only at the number of runaway slaves, one can assume that, after the growth of Abolitionism and the Gradual Abolition Act of 1804, many slaves had more support and felt more inclined to escape.
-Gigantino, James J. Ii. Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey 1775-1865. N.p.: Univ Of Pennsylvania Pr, 2016. Print.
During the late 18th and early 19th century, Somerset County and Princeton in particular produced fruits (cherries, strawberries, etc) and grains (wheat, flax, etc.). Most farms/plantations in Princeton would begin planting in April and harvest later in November. One can assume that the upticks in runaways in April and in November are related to the hard labor that went into planting and harvesting.
-Weiss, Harry B., and Grace M. Weiss. Colonel Erkuries Beatty, 1759-1823. Pennsylvania Revolutionary Soldier, New Jersey Judge, Senator, Farmer, and Prominent Citizen of Princeton. Trenton: Past Times, 1958. Print.
-Hageman, John Frelinghuysen. History of Princeton and Its Institutions. J B Lippincott & Co, 1879.