The subject of earlier posts here and here was the frequent plight of indentured servants. In addition to ill treatment, many found it difficult to collect the “freedom dues” they were entitled to at the end of their terms of service. Ruth McGee went to court seeking redress.
The Humble Petition of Ruth McGee Humbly sheweth that your petitoner is poor and not Sufficient to Earn her living by reason of a child she hath to maintain, your Petitioners Master Josiah Hibberd refuseing to Let your Petitioner have her freedom Dues Which is mentioned in a pair of Indentures (Viz) A new Suit of Clothes for freedoms and five Pounds in Money and Eight months schooling of which schooling I received but four months and twenty two Days. Likewise your Petitioners Said Master Josiah Hibbard detains your Petitioners cloths that she had whilst she your Petitioner Lived with Said Master that is to say one quilted peticoat Short Gown and Apron. Likewise your Petitioner had seven years and six weeks to serve and your Petitioner had but two months to serve her Said Master Josiah Hibbard When your Petitioner was Sent to the Gaol of this county; furthermore your petitioner having Suffered the rigour of the Law your Petitioner apprehends that she should not be detained from her said freedom Dues but that your Petitioner should [have them] for her Support in this your Petitioner‘s Poor condition So your Petitioner Layeth this her Humble Petition before your worships for redress of said Grievances and your Petitioner in Duty bound Shall Ever Pray
May the 21st Anno Domini 1774
It is unlikely that Ruth McGee prevailed. She admitted to having a child out of wedlock (a crime in Pennsylvania), and had been jailed, and possibly whipped, as punishment. Quaker Josiah Hibberd was no doubt relieved to be rid of such a troublesome servant.