Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law.
Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.