Mapping the runaway slave ads for the year 1857 really sheds light on the paths of runaway slaves. Unfortunately, the ads from the Telegraph and Northern Standard do not include any ads of captured slaves, which limits the possible analysis. The Texas Gazette does include captured slave ads, which shows a spread of where slaves ran from, and where they were attempting to run to. Using this data, it can be seen that slaves ran away from all parts of the state. There is also one ad for a runaway from Shreveport, Louisiana. The Slaves that were caught were either heading North to the Indian Territory or South to Mexico, usually getting captured near San Antonio. One slave was caught near College Station, having made his way down from Shreveport. Two slaves from Smith County, Texas were caught heading north, one in Dallas and one in Fannin County.
We have been discussing all year whether geography mattered for these slaves, the map of the Gazette’s runaways shows that at least in these ads, it was. Check out the map here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zH4ESwHh4X5w.kQcyjB-VjCrc . Knowing that the red markers is where the slaves left, and the blue markers is where they were captured, the slaves were clearly fleeing Texas heading north or south.
Unfortunately I could not get my “places sighted” or “places going” fields working. This error leaves a few interesting pieces out of the puzzle, including the slaves who absconded to the Brazos Bottom while not attempting to flee permanently. And of course the numerous runaways that were never reported can not help this data. But from what we do have, it can be seen that a number of slaves attempted to get out of slavery for good.