Mapping 1851

After mapping the aggregated spreadsheets of the three newspapers for 1851, Place Captured overwhelmingly fell to the west and southwest of Place Left. However, since there was a large deviation in Place Captured that stretched as far north as Grayson County, as far south as Nueces County, and as far west as Webb County, an examination of individual movements was necessary.

Nineteen runaways, who had both Place Left and Place Captured listed, were mapped to determine individual movements. Two corrections were made to this sample: the two stolen boys (Bob and Simon) were excluded and Houston County, Texas, was manually adjusted since it was consistently mapped as Houston, Missouri (the county seat of Texas County, Missouri). Tracking the remaining seventeen runaways on the corrected map revealed that the runaways still overwhelmingly moved west-southwest: eight ran southwest, three went west, and one headed south. Three others ran northwest, and the last two went northeast. Additionally, several of the runaways were captured within the Austin-San Antonio corridor; one made it to Webb County, just east of Nuevo Laredo.

The predominance of the southwestward movement of traceable runaways in the 1851 ads supports the theory that runaways were headed southwest, and quite possibly to Mexico. Extending the lines of movement beyond Place Captured, all eight headed southwest, the one headed south, and two of the three headed west would have eventually crossed into Mexico. The other westward runaway headed towards Colorado Springs, Colorado. Of the northwest runners, one would have crossed into Oklahoma and the other two into New Mexico.