History of Ravenscroft


We don’t know much about Jenny. A notice was placed in the Virginia Gazette on January 28, 1775 (page 3, column 2).

Virginia Gazette advertisement, January 28, 1775. See the rest of this issue of the Virginia Gazette.

Following Joseph Royle’s death, his slave woman Jenny became, as the advertisement so starkly points out, the property of his estate. For nine years Jenny’s life and the lives of other Royle slaves hung in the balance before Royles estate settlement was finally completed and recorded in the York Court in February 1775. Perhaps, given the timing of this advertisement and the settlement of Royles state, Jenny recognized that things were about to change, and ran to avoid being sold. It is interesting to note that Jenny was well known in the Neighborhood of this City and therefore a more particular Description is unnecessary. It would have been difficult for her to hide in Williamsburg, but not impossible, for other runaway slaves were frequently advertised as likely to be in Williamsburg. The runaway ad for Jenny was reprinted in three more issues of the Gazette, but as yet we have not discovered what happened to her.