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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In later years, it was not uncommon for one buyer to purchase the indentures of all, or a large part, of the human cargo. These 'soul-drivers' loaded their merchandise on wagons and drove through the countryside selling it door-to-door the way a drummer sold sewing needles. A Pennsylvania soul-driver named McCullough got more than he bargained for when he bought a group of servants in Philadelphia and began a circular swing through the farmlands and towns of the backcountry. He sold all but one of the servants, an Irishman whose rowdy behavior frightened away any potential buyers. The two men stayed one night at an inn but the Irishman woke early and, passing himself off as the master, sold McCullough-still upstairs asleep-to the innkeeper. Before he left the inn he warned the innkeeper that his newly acquired servant was a clever rascal, fond of telling lies and even of persuading gullible people that he was the master.
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