18th Century Ribbed Stockings

As with the striped stockings, both the depictions and the descriptions seem to indicate that ribbed stockings were only worn by men.

Extant examples

Portraits and illustrations


  • “He brought out a pair of sheets, and a pair of ribbed stockings.” (Trial of John Martin and Mary Macklaughlin, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 11, 1745)
  • “Ran-away from his Master Jonathan Dwight, of Boston, Innholder, on the 15th Instant at Night, a Negro Man named Newham, lately owned by Mr. Luke Vardy, had on a blue Coat, red Lining, and blue ribb'd Stockings.” (Boston Weekly News-Letter, June 19, 1746)
  • “RAN away from the Subscriber, this Day, a Servant Man, named William Frye, about [illeg.] Inches high; had on when he went away a bluish grey Kersey Coat, with yellow [illeg.] Buttons, Buckskin Breeches with Pewter Buttons, a brownish Jacket with flat Metal Buttons, Virginia-made Double-channel Pumps, light grey Ribb'd Stockings, a white Shirt half-sleeved with new Linen, and sundry other Cloaths.” (Virginia Gazette, October 31, 1751)
  • “We went away on Wednesday, I passing by there, asked the boy if he would take the money for the bays, then I wanted a pair of ribbed stockings, he asked me 3 s. and 6 d. I said, I would give him 2 s. and 9 d.” (Trial of Abraham Benjamin, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 8, 1752)
  • “Run away from the subscribers, living in the Forks of Gunpowder, in Baltimore county, Maryland, the 19th instant, the following servants, viz. John Jebb, a convict servant man, large and well made, about 30 years of age, fresh complexion: Had on when he went away, a new felt hat, grey wig, red coat, and a white fustian frock, flowervest, two or three holland shirts, ruffled at the bosom, blue cloth breeches, and blue ribbstockings: He is a shoemaker by trade, but understands farming, and was born in Shropshire, in England.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, July 31, 1752)
  • “an apprentice of Mr. James James joiner, named George Gordon, aged 27 years, an Englishman, a well set fellow, about 5 feet high, of a fair complexion, lisps, and is a great talker: Had on a snuff colour coat and waistcoat, light cloth breeches, white ribbed stockings, good shoes, and copper buckles, cut through.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, July 4, 1756)
  • “Ran-away from his Master Mr. Joseph Lynde jun. of Malden, on the 22d of June Instant, a Negro Man Servant named John, about 35 Years of Age, a Pock-broken Fellow, with small Pitts on his Nose; and has a great Scar on one of his Shins: he is a well sett short Fellow: Had on when he went away a Sil Grogram Coat, a white pair of ribb'd Stockings, and a Pair of Channel Pumps.” (Boston Gazette, July 4, 1757)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, last Sunday Morning, a Servant Man, named Thomas Heggarty, lately arrived from the North of Ireland, is about 5 Feet 6 Inches high, and 25 Years of Age: Had on a grey Frize upper Jacket, a blue under Jacket, old Leather Breeches, grey ribbed Worsted Stockings, new Shoes, new Felt Hat, and Check Shirt, wore his Hair tied behind, talks very bad English, and scarcely understands what is said to him.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, October 21, 1760)
  • “On the 13th of October last, Mrs. Herbert sent her little boy to my house for a dozen and half of knit ribbed-hose.” (Trial of James Matthews, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, January 16, 1761)
  • “RUN AWAY from the Subscriber, living in Kent County, Maryland, A Servant Man, named Thomas Connor, a Shoemaker by Trade, and is an Irishman, born in the West of Ireland, is about 50 Years of Age, has a large cut in his right Cheek, which he says he got when he was a Soldier in the Regulars last War; he has been in Germany, and talks much of it, and his been in the Provincial Service this War, and has forged Beating orders with him; he is very remarkable by the Shaking of his Head, which he cannot help, and says it was occasioned by a Ball: Had on, and took with him, when he went away, A brown Broadcloth Coat, with Whitemetal Buttons, white Flannel Jacket, black Everlasting Breeches, with Plaid Garters tying them at the Knees, white ribbed Stockings, good Shoes, with Steel Buckles, wears his own Hair, which is grey.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 3, 1762)
  • “RUN away, on the 17th of last Month, from James Colgan, of the Town of Dover, in Kent County, on Delaware, two Servant Men … The other named John McQue, born in Ireland, about 22 Years of Age, about 5 Feet 5 Inches high, Pock marked, wears long black Hair, not tied: Had on when he went away, A blue Cloth Coat, half worn, a Crimson cut Velvet Jacket, with small high Crown Silver Buttons, blue Saggathy Breeches, without Lining, and black ribbed Stockings.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, September 2, 1762)
  • “the prisoners came on the 20th of Aug. about 5 in the evening, and asked to see some black ribbed stockings” (Trial of Charles Morgan and Jacob Sidenden, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 14, 1763)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, living in Sadsbury Township, in the County of Lancaster, and Province of Pennsylvania, a Servant Man, named James Garlen, late from Ireland, about 5 Feet 6 Inches high, of a dark Complexion, round faced; had on, when he went away, a blue Coat, Jacket and Breeches of the same, a new Felt Hat, a brown Wig, light blue ribb Stockings, square Buckles in his Shoes, one of them Brass, the other Whitemetal; he is about 25 Year of Age, speaks pretty much in the Irish Dialect.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, September 15, 1763)
  • “A Fellow, who calls himself JOHN YOUNG (which Name he will probably change) has, for about three Months past, resided and worked in this Township and Neighbourhood, during which Time he run considerably in debt, particularly with the Subscriber; and on Saturday, the 12th inst. thought proper to abscond; he is about 25 Years of Age, born in Ireland, of a small Stature, thin Visage, and smooth Face, speaks English in a pretty good Dialect: had on, when he went away, an old brown Coat and Breeches, a new striped Shirt, new ribbed blue Stockings, and took with him the Pattern of a Coat and Waistcoat of blue Broadcloth, two Yards and an half of a yellowish Fustian, five Yards of white Shaloon, a new Hat, and other Things not known.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, November 24, 1763)
  • “Broke out of his Majesty's Goal in Cambridge, This Day, two Prisoners, one … wears … white Yarn ribb'd Stockings” (Boston Post-Boy, April 9, 1764)
  • “Ran away from his Master Jonathan Norwood, of Gloucester, (Cape-Ann) on the 22d of September Inst. a very likely Negro Man named Newport, about 5 Feet and a half high, a strait limb Fellow, about 35 Years of Age, very likely in the Face; had on when he Ran away a good Castor Hat, clean white Frock, a woolen Shirt, white short Trousers, white ribb'd worsted Stockings, pretty good Pumps, very large Silver Buckels in his Shoes.” (Boston Post-Boy, October 1, 1764)
  • “Ran away from the Subscriber in New-York, on Monday the 27th of August, an Indented Servant Man … Had on when he went away … ribb'd mottled worsted Stockings” (Newport Mercury, October 1, 1764)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, living in Mount Bethel Township, in Northampton County, on the 17th Day of March last past, a Highland Servant Man, named Donald McDonald, about the Age of 25 Years, about 5 Feet 6 Inches high, of a fresh Complexion, fullfaced, pretty much pitted with the Small pox, has a Scar on the fore Finger of his Left hand, speaks between the Highland and Irish Dialects; having lived about three Years and an Half in Ireland, and pretends to be a Shoemaker by Trade; Had on, when he went away, a old blue Broadcloth Coat, stained with Tar, with carved Brass buttons, an Orange coloured Thickset Jacket, with blue Lining, good Buckskin Breeches; had two Pair of pale blue Stockings, one pair ribbed, with a Darn in the Middle of one of the Stockings, having cut it, with his Leg, last Winter.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 16, 1765)
  • “RUN-away from the Subscriber, Yesterday, a Mulatto Negro Man, a Spaniard, named JOSEPH; about 25 Years old, a short well made Fellow, speaks broken English, (he went off with a big Spanish Negor belonging to Mr. Bayard of New-York, sent here to sell.) He had on when he went away, a blue Jacket, old Leather Breeches, a Pair of black ribb'd Stockings, a Hat bound with Worsted Binding, and a Pair of new Shoes with Brass Buckles.” (The Newport Mercury, November 4, 1765)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber at Richmond, on James river, the night of the 8th instant (May) two convict men. … JOHN MONROE, an apothecary, of a sallow complexion, 27 years old, 5 feet 4 inches and a half high, wears a wig, black coat, dark blue waistcoat, dirty leather breeches, and ribbed stockings.” (Virginia Gazette, May 16, 1766)
  • “RAN-AWAY from their Masters, (Micah Moore, and Abraham Corey) on Saturday Night last, two Negro Men … The other is 25 Years of Age, 5 Feet 9 Inches high, well set, has lost half of one of his upper fore Teeth, is very black, named Crank; had on when he away, a homespun Broad-Cloth Coat, of a light blue, trimmed with black, and double-breasted, black Everlasting Waistcoat, Leather Breeches, blue ribb'd Yarn Stockings, thin shoes, with plain Silver Buckles, and a new Castor Hat; speaks good English.” (The Newport Mercury, May 19-26, 1766)
  • “RUN away from the subscribers, living in Drummore township, Lancaster county, on the 24th of this instant July, two Irish servant lads; the one named John Riley, about 22 years of age, about 5 feet 9 inches high, a broad well set fellow, wears his own brown hair, which curls a little, and speaks with the brogue; had on, when he went away, a blackish mixed home made cloth coat and jacket, felt hat, coarse shirt and trowsers, white ribbed yarn stockings, and good channel pumps. The other named Philip Meganaty, about 17 years of age, a slim thin visaged lad, about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, wear his own hair, which is brown, straight, and commonly tyed, and speaks a little with the brogue; had on, when he went away, a drab coloured coat and jacket, bound with worsted tape of the same colour, but not lined, a felt hat, check shirt, blue breeches, white ribbed yarn stockings, good channel pumps, and took with him a pair of check trowsers.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, July 31, 1766)
  • “RUN away, on the 8th of February last, from the Subscriber, living in Blockley Township, Philadelphia County, a Servant Man, named William Jones, but since he left me goes by the Name of William Evans, by Trade a Tanner, about 25 Years of Age, 5 Feet 9 Inches high, a dark Complexion, a lively light footed Man, has short black Hair, is well set, his two little Fingers are crooked, talks Welch, and is a Welchman, though he says he is an Englishman, he served 7 Years in the Town of Bristol, in Old England, and can do almost any Sort of Farming Business; had on, when he went away, a light coloured Nap Coat, with a bluish home made Worsted Lining, a light coloured cloth jacket, remarkably pieced and short, without Pockets or Sleeves, black buckskin Breeches, black ribbed yarn Stockings, a Pair of half worn Calfskin Pumps, with a Patch on the Toe of one, Buckles not Fellows, an old Check Shirt and a new Wool Hat.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 21, 1767)
  • “RUN away, in the Evening of the 15th Instant, from the Subscriber, living in Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, an indented Servant Man, who writes his Name Nicholas Forster Hughes, but is likely he may change it, born in Ireland, but speaks good English, of small Stature, slender built, thin Face, a little marked with the Small pox, has thin blackish Hair, which he endeavours to curl and has a Scar (it is thought) over his Right Eye brow: Had on, when he went away, an old Beaver Hat, blue Broadcloth Coat, half worn, greyish napped cloth Jacket lined with red, without Sleeves, and Breeches of the same, lined with Check, Check and white Linen Shirts, black and blue ribbed Worsted Stockings, and Calfskin Pumps, with Buckles.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 28, 1767)
  • “RUN AWAY from the subscriber, in Talbot county, Maryland, on the 12th of July last, a servant man named JOHN KNOWLES, though since he left this place he has changed his name, and calls himself HURLEY, a blacksmith by trade, but now passes for a sailor, or a waterman. He is about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, an Irishman born, has a pretty fresh complexion, and is marked with the smallpox. Had on when he went away two blue jackets, one without sleeves, a pair of buckskin breeches died black, about half worn, and a pair of black and white worsted ribbed stockings.” (Virginia Gazette, September 3, 1767)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, an Irish servant man, named James Welch, born in Kilkenny in Ireland, about 23 years of age, about 5 feet 6 inches high, fair Complexion, fair curled hair, by trade a carpenter and wheelwright; took with him, an old blue coat, buckskin breeches, 3 jackets, 1 ratteen, 1 striped cotton, and 1 little red ditto, a sheepskin apron, two shirts, one fine, the other coarse, two pair of ribbed stockings, one pair blue, the other brown, and a felt hat, with white looping.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, April 21, 1768)
  • “LAST night, broke out of the goal of said county, a certain JAMES DICKEY, born in Ireland, but came to this country very young, with his parents, and lived in Oxford township, in said county of Chester, is a very artful fellow, and speaks with the Irish accent, and very mild, is long visaged, wide mouthed, is about 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, wears his own strait hair; had on, when broke goal, a felt hat, blue cloth jacket, without sleeves, leather breeches, white yarn ribbed stockings, coarse shoes, and brass buckles.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, June 30, 1768)
  • “RUN away the 22d of this instant July, from ROBERT HAYS, in Rapho township, Lancaster county, an Irish servant man, named JOHN BERRY, a short thick fellow, about 25 years old, with a large lump on the fore part of one of his shoulders, like a windgall, has short bushy brown hair, scalped before, and a flat cocked up nose. He took with him a little black mare, six years old, white face, glass eyes, one white hind foot, and hollow backed; also an old saddle and bridle; likewise a dark brown snuff coloured coat, bound with tape, almost new, a silk and cotton jacket, with yellow, red and green stripes, and small silver buttons, an old green velvet jacket and breeches, with hair buttons, a Thirty Shilling hat, not much worn, a god linen shirt, a pair of black worsted stockings, and a pair blue yarn ribbed ditto, calfskin pumps, with large square silver buckles, and a pair steel ditto.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, July 28, 1768)
  • “RUN away from the subscribers, near Jennings's Gap, two English servant Men … The other is named Robert Reed, he is about 40 years of age, and about 5 feet 5 inches high, and has short fair hair, a pleasant countenance, and fair complexion. He has on a coarse shirt, old hat, old ribbed stockings, half worn, leather breeches, a blue German serge jacket, and old shoes with clouts, on his feet.” (Virginia Gazette, October 27, 1768)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, in Uwchland township, Chester county, on the 8th instant, a servant man, named JOHN WILSON, by trade a Weaver, about 22 or 24 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, about 5 months from Ireland, well set, fair hair, cut short before, has a scar on one of his cheeks, and is of a dark brown complexion; had on a short coat of a dark yellowish colour, a blue and white striped jacket, with old blue stockings for sleeves, new cloth breeches, of a whitish colour, white ribbed yarn stockings, an old check shirt, a new felt hat, bound with tape, half worn shoes, and carved brass buckles.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, January 19, 1769)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, a tailor, living near Col. Tabb's, in Amelia county, on Monday the 15th of this month (January) an apprentice lad named Charles Worsham, between 17 and 18 years of age; had on when he went away a dark coloured cloth jacket, with buttons and button holes to the flaps, a pair of dark coloured duffil breeches, an osnabrug shirt, a pair of white ribbed yarn stockings, a pair of Virginia shoes without straps, and an old felt hat.” (Virginia Gazette, February 15, 1770)
  • “MADE his escape, the 16th of February last, from the Constable of Norrington township, Philadelphia county, a certain man, named JAMES WELSH, born in Ireland, a taylor by trade, about 30 years of age, black hair, tied behind, about 5 feet 2 inches high, thick legs; had on, when he went away, a short blue coat, spotted swanskin jacket, white cloth breeches, blue ribbed stockings, and old fine hat.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, March 1, 1770)
  • “Run away from the subscriber in Frederick, about the 11th of April last, A SERVANT man named WILLIAM JACKSON, about 27 years old, and has a scar on the left side of his lip; had on a short fearnought coat, a green everlasting waistcoat with sleeves, buckskin breeches, and blue ribbed stockings.” (Virginia Gazette, May 24, 1770)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, near Dumfries, on the 20th instant, an English convict servant man named WILLIAM GRIFFITH, by trade a shoemaker, about 30 years of age, and about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, of a ruddy complexion, with red brown hair tied behind, pitted with the small-pox, the first joint of the forefinger of his left hand is broke, and on the back of one of his hands has a breaking out. His cloathing is various, a blue cloth coat, a green jacket, a scarlet ditto, two spotted flannel ditto, a sagathy lapell'd ditto, with gold basket buttons, a pair of buckskin breeches, a pair of nankeen ditto, and a pair of white ribbed silk hose.” (Virginia Gazette, June 7, 1770)
  • “RUN AWAY from the subscriber, in Cumberland, the 5th of this instant (June) an indented Irish servant man named RICHARD WALSH, about 23 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, remarkably well set, full faced, a fair complexion, light brown curled hair, large eyebrows, has a down look, frowns when he speaks, and pretends to understand ditching and gardening; he took with him a felt or coarse castor hat about half worn, a blue plains short coat and breeches, a short white plains waistcoat without sleeves, an Irish linen shirt, and several osnabrug trousers, a pair of plain white and a pair of blue ribbed yarn stockings, and Virginia made shoes, with buckles in them.” (Virginia Gazette, July 19, 1770)
  • “RUN away from my Employ, a certain John Trusdel, by Trade a Weaver, born in Ireland, about 24 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 or 9 Inches high, has short black Hair, a smart Look and lofty Carriage; had on when he went away, a brown coat, with Mohair Buttons, brown Jacket, the Fore Parts English Plains, with blue Lincey Backs, half worn, Buckskin Breeches, with a small Piece in the Crotch, tow Shirts, one or both fine, a Stock with a Buckles, white ribbed Thread Stockings, much broke in the Feet, half worn Calfskin Shoes, with Pinchbeck Buckles, and a half worn Castor Hat.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, October 11, 1770)
  • “COMMITTED to the borough prison THOMAS KUO, an Englishman, about 35 years old, 5 feet 4 inches and a half high, pitted with the small-pox, short straight black hair, has with him a blue frock coat of Bath coating, button holes, and edges bound, and basket buttons, a pair of old buckskin breeches, with metal buttons, an old linen shirt, old shoes, and pewter buckles, a pair of brown ribbed stockings, and an old black handkerchief, a blue striped flannel waistcoat, and oznabrig trowsers.” (Virginia Gazette, October 11, 1770)
  • “Ran away from Hugh M'Lean of Milton, a Negro Man, named Peleg Abby, about 26 Years of Age; had on when he went away a Brown Great Coat without any Cape, very much torn about the Sleeves, a Corded Fustian Olive color'd close-bodied Coat, a Homespun Stript Jacket, two Stript Cotton Shirts, a Pair ribb'd Yarn Stockings, 1 Pair mill Stockings, a Pair of old blue & white Yarn ones, and 2 Pair of pretty good Shoes, and a Pair of Pumps.” (Boston Evening Post, March 25, 1771)
  • “Fourteen Dollars Reward. Run away from the subscribers, living in Philadelphia, on the 13th of April last, the following servants, viz. Two servant men, Taylors by trade, one … calls himself a Scotchman … had on, when he went away, a pair of old shoes and odd buckles, old white thread ribbed stockings” (Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, living at the Sign of the Bear, in Donegall township, Lancaster county, the 12th of this instant May, at night, a native Irish servant man, named ARTHUR DONELY, about 21 years of age, pockmarked, short black curly hair, about 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high; has been accustomed to drive a carriage in Ireland; had on, and took with him, when he went away, a light coloured napped coat, made frock fashion, and a snuff coloured jacket, with brown backs, likewise one striped and flowered calicoe ditto, a pair of buckskin breeches, 3 coarse shirts, 1 fine ditto, grey ribbed stockings, and old shoes.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 23, 1771)
  • “RUN away the 15th of June, from the subscriber at Chotank, in Stafford county, an Irish servant man named PATRICK CLERK, a weaver by trade; had on when he went away, a light bearskin coat, jacket and breeches, carried with him two white shirts, and two unmade (one white, and the other brown) a new pair of ribbed mixed yarn stockings, a pair of new shoes, and a half worn felt hat; he is much pitted with the small pox.” (Virginia Gazette, July 18, 1771)
  • “ RAN away from the subscriber's plantation near Elk Ridge landing, the four following convict servants, viz. … JOHN TOMLINSON, about 35 years of age, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, a well set fellow, with sandy hair and beard, a little knock kneed, and his ankles sore; Had on when he went away, an old felt hat, country cloth jacket, much worn, greasy buckskin breeches, osnabrig shirt, old grey ribbed stockings, and old shoes.” (Virginia Gazette, July 18, 1771)
  • “RUN away from the subscribers, living in Carnarvon township, Lancaster county, two Irish servant men … The other, named John Glashien, about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, thick made, and pockmarked; had on a blue coat, white linen waistcoat, leather breeches, grey ribbed stockings, white linen waistcoat, leather breeches, a coarse home made linen shirt.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, August 29, 1771)
  • “RUN away on the 27th of February last from the subscriber, in West Nantmell township, Chester county, an Irish Servant Man, named EDWARD GODFREY, but `tis though he will change it, as he has been known to call himself Samuel Johnston; he is about 5 feet 2 and a half inches high, has strait brown hair, a mild countenance, is fair faced, pretty hollow and dark about, the eyes, and has a small scar on his forehead; had on and took with him a lightish grey nap surtout, dark gery broadcloth coat, and waistcoat, with yellow carved buttons, dark fustian breeches, all too large for him, and it is likely he will dispose of them; he also took a half worn beaver hat, with a black ribbon round the crown, and yellow buckle, two or three fine shirts, swanskin trowsers, with blue spots, three pair of stockings, one blue and white worsted, one grey ditto milled, one white yarn ditto ribbed, strong shoes, with carved pinchbeck buckles, a pair of spatterdashes, and an old silver watch, Makername Williams, with a steel chain and silver seal, with a red stone in it.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 7, 1772)
  • “RAN away from the Subscriber, at Taunton, an Irish Servant Boy … blue Yarn Stockings, ribbed” (Connecticut Journal, May 8, 1772)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, a Convict Servant … he is about five feet ten or eleven Inches high, wears a white Broadcloth coat with a white Velvet Cape and yellow Buttons, a Worsted Waistcoat striped with red, a Pair of good Buckskin Breeches, ribbed Stockings, and large plated Buckles.” (Virginia Gazette, June 4, 1772)
  • “RUN away the morning of the 22d of August, 1772, from the subscriber, living in Fourth street, Philadelphia, a servant LAD, named ANDREW GUFFEN, about 16 or 17 years of age, lusty and well grown for his age, smooth faced, and fresh coloured, short curly hair, of a lightish colour, large mouth, and speaks much on the north of Ireland dialect, of which country he is; he had on, when he went away, a grey superfine broadcloth coat, with a scarlet collar, and carved silver washed buttons, striped waistcoat with sleeves of a different colour, black breeches, and white thread stockings, ribbed, a half-worn hat, and old shoes, 2 pretty good coarse shirts.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, August 26, 1772)
  • “RUN away, on the 23d of July last, from the subscriber, living in Cumberland county, Letterkenny township, an indented servant man, named MARTIN McKINNEY, but probably may change his name, he is a native of Ireland, and talks much with the brogue, about 25 years of age, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, slim built, tawny complexion, dark brown hair; had on, and took with him, an old grey sailor jacket, an old fur hat, pieced in the crown, 3 shirts, one about a 9, another about a 7, and the other about a 600 linen, two pair of coarse trowsers, one pair old, the other new, a pair of new shoes, with metal buckles, a pair of black yarn stockings, ribbed; he also took a sickle with him, marked ION.” (Pennslvania Gazette, November 14, 1772)
  • “RUN AWAY from the subscriber, … an English servant man, named EDWARD LEWIS, of a palish complexion, short curled hair, has a down look, and one side of his face a little higher than the other; had on, and took with him, a snuff coloured broadcloth coat, with wooden buttons and brass shanks, a black cloth jacket, one check and one white shirt, one pair of white ribbed cotton stockings, and one pair of ribbed worsted ditto, new shoes, and a half-worn beaver hat.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, November 25, 1772)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, on Friday the 4th of this instant (December) two Virginia born slaves, one of which is a very likely fellow, about 21 years of age, has run away before, and passed by the name JOHN SCOT, but his proper name is JOE; had on an old fagathy coat, Virginia cloth waistcoat, oznabrig shirt, russia drill breeches, coarse ribbed stockings, and an old hat bound with white.” (Virginia Gazette, December 24, 1772)
  • “RUN away, yesterday Morning, an indented English Servant Man named JONATHAN PINKARD, by Trade a Watchmaker, is about twenty three Years of Age, five Feet seven or eight Inches high, of a fresh Complexion, a little Pock-marked, wears his own very short light brown Hair, with sometimes a round Curl, is a talkative Fellow, ill limbed, knock-kneed, his left Leg particularly bending inward. He had on a light brown Coat and jacket, with Metal Buttons, almost new, a Pair of Leather Breeches, ribbed Worsted Stockings, and wore a dirty white Flannel Moth eaten Suitout with a short Cape.” (Virginia Gazette, April 29, 1773)
  • “Run away from York Town, on the 1st Instant (June) a Convict Servant named JAMES RYAN, by Trade a Cabinet Maker, about five Feet eight Inches high, with a fair Complexion, short brown Hair, a pretty large Nose, and smooth Speech. He had on a blue Cloth Coat, with Buttons of the same Colour, a blue Waistcoat with a Half Belt and yellow Buttons, a Pair of Russia Drill Breeches, ribbed Worsted Stockings, new Shoes, and Silver Buckles.” (Virginia Gazette, June 3, 1773)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, living in the Roberson Fork, Culpeper, an indented Mulatto fellow, who goes by the name of WILLIAM LIVELY, about 23 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, square made, has a large upper lip, one fore tooth only above, and his chin short; had on a Negro cotton jacket, a brown linen shirt, cotton breeches, a pair of ribbed yarn hose, and a felt hat much worn.” (Virginia Gazette, July 15, 1773)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, on Monday the 28th ult. WILLIAM CARVER, a Scotch indented Servant Man, by Profession a Groom. He is a stout Man, about 26 Years of Age, five Feet eight or nine Inches high, has sandy coloured Hair, which curls a little, white Eyebrows and Eyelashes, a sharp Nose, is long visaged, much pitted with the Smallpox, and his Hair cut close to the Top of his Head; had on, and carried with him, when he went away, a green lappelled Cloth Coat with white Metal Buttons, a whitish coloured Jeans Coat broke in the Elbows, a spotted Swanskin Jacket, a Surtout Coat of red Bath Coating, new Buckskin Breeches, a Pair of old Do. a small new Beaver Hat, new Shoes, ribbed Stockings, one white Shirt, and two Check Ones.” (Virginia Gazette, April 7, 1774)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber in Cornwall, in Litchfield County, a Negro Man named Prince, about 27 Years old, about five Feet high, this Country born, he is thin faced, with a large Pimple or Wart on one side of his Nose, speaks good English, is a good Fidler. Had on and took with him a coarse brown kersey Coat, with smooth yellow Buttons, one Pair Leather Breeches, one Pair brown ribb’d worsted Stockings, one ditto white Linen, ribb’d, has a small Foot, and wears yellow metal Buckles in his Shoes.” (Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1774)
  • “RUN away last Night from Dorsey's Forge, three Servant Men, viz. WILLIAM GEORGE, born in England, about 34 Years of Age, five Feet seven Inches high, has a down Look, light coloured short Hair, Pock marked, round shouldered, has had his left Wrist broke, which occasions it to be much larger than his right, and is a Carpenter and Joiner by Trade; had on, and took with him, one Check Shirt, one Osnabrug Do, old Leather Breeches, light blue Jacket without Sleeves, small round Hat, bound with black Worsted Binding, and has a small Piece of Crape tied round the Crown, a Pair of ribbed Worsted Stockings, and a Pair of Pumps with Steel Buckles.” (Virginia Gazette, December 8, 1774)
  • “Irish Linnens. To Be Sold at William Scott's Irish Linnen Store, in Ann Street, Boston. Linnens of all widths and prices … White, grey, & marble Silk, silk & worsted, silk & cotton, Patent Ribbed, worsted Hose, thread and cotton Ditto” (Boston News-Letter, February 23, 1775)
  • “Run Away last Night from the Subscriber, a NEGRO MAN named TORY, about 30 Years old, about 5 feet 9 inches high, this Country born had on a brown Homespun coat, (no Lining) old Kersey Jacket, check Shirt; had with him a Tow Shirt, 2 Pair ribbed Stockings black and blue, Trowsers, old felt Hat and new Shoes.” (Connecticut Journal, May 27, 1774)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, in Stafford County, two indented SERVANTS … The other is an Englishman, by Name CHARLES BOOTH, by Trade a Joiner, aged about 20 or 21 Years, 5 Feet 8 or 10 Inches high, slender made, of a fair Complexion, and has white short curled Hair. He had on, and took with him, a Violet or purple coloured Cloth Coat and Waistcoat, a Pair of new Buckskin Breeches, a Pair of old Do. much worn, and very dirty, and old blue Coat lined with white shalloon, a new green Cotton Waistcoat with Plaid Sleeves, and lined with Osnabrug, a Pair of dark ribbed Stockings, and several other Pairs of different Colours, a brown Sheeting Shirt, one fine Irish Linen Ditto much patched, and several others; also a Silver Watch.” (Virginia Gazette, January 7, 1775)
  • “RUN away from the Subscribers, two indented Servant Men … GEORGE PEART, about 5 Feet 8 Inches high, of a light Complexion, pitted with the Smallpox, has light coloured long Hair, which he wore either hanging down his Back or clubbed; had on a white Shirt and Neckcloth, a dark coloured Frieze Coat, an old red Jacket double breasted, a Pair of light coloured Cloth Breeches, gray ribbed Stockings, and a Pair of Pumps. He took with him an old brown Thickset Coat; he is about 22 Years old, and pretends to be a Shoemaker.” (Virginia Gazette, April 29, 1775)
  • “To Be Sold, By Luke Baker, At his Shop in Roxbury, next Door to Major Ebenezer Whiting's … a fine Assortment of Men's plain and ribb'd white and brown thread Hose, a few worsted ditto” (New England Chronicle, or Essex Gazette, June 1-8, 1775)
  • “RUN AWAY from the Subscriber in Stafford County, Two indented Servants: … The other is an Englishman named CHARLES BOOTH, and by Trade a Joiner, about 20 or 21 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 or 10 Inches high, slender made and of a fair Complexion, has white short curled Hair; had on and took with him, a violet or purple Coloured Coat and Vest, a Pair of new Buckskin Breetches, a Pair of old ditto much worn and very dirty, an old blue Coat lined with white Shalloon, a new green Cotton Vest lin'd with Oznabrigs and Plaid Sleeves, a Pair of dark ribb'd Stockings, and several others of different Colours, a brown sheeting Shirt, one fine Irish Linen ditto much patched and several others; also a Silver Watch.” (Virginia Gazette or Norfolk Intelligencer, January 5, 1775)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber in Portsmouth, a servant man named THOMAS REES, (a Welsh man) about 5 feet high, had on when he went away a brown half coat lined with blew, metal buttons, a striped under jacket, white Russia drill breeches, blue ribbed stockings, new shoes and silver plated buckles; he has a mark on his right arm and looks sickly.” (Virginia Gazette or Norfolk Intelligencer, September 13, 1775)
  • “Escaped from Springfield Gaol on Monday the 2d of this Instant, Jonathan Hamton, of New-York, the Master Carpenter taken at the Light-House Island at Boston … had on … mix'd colour'd ribb'd Stockings” (Connecticut Journal, October 11, 1775)
  • “RUN away from the subscriber, living near the Sugarloaf mountain, in Frederick county, Maryland, two servants, viz. JOHN HUNTER, an Englishman, about 25 years old, 5 feet 6 inches high, of a sandy complexion, has short brown hair, is a pretty good scholar, and it is likely will pass for a schoolmaster. He had on, and took with him, a blue and white homespun coat and waistcoat, white drill breeches, black ribbed worsted stockings, turned pumps with plated buckles, an old white shirt, and a coarse hat with a red lining.” (Virginia Gazette, October 13, 1775)
  • “Deserted from the subscriber, on the first instant, a Negro man … had on … a pair of light mixed worsted stockings, ribb'd” (New England Chronicle, or Essex Gazette, November 24-30, 1775)
  • “Run away … living in Water street, near Market street, Philadelphia, the following servants, viz. Frederick Brick, a German, born in the country of Hesse … Had on and took with him … a pair of ribbed and a pair of plain worsted stockings.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, March 27, 1776; see Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls)
  • “Run away … living in Bethel township, Chester county, a Dutch servant lad … had on … one pair of blue ribbed stockings” (Pennsylvania Gazette, June 5, 1776; see Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls)
  • “RUN away last night from the subscriber, a Dutch servant man named JOHN CHARLES KITTLER, who is a breeches-maker, but may pass for a tailor; he is about 23 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, slender made, of a fair complexion, and had long yellow hair; speaks good French, and several other languages, though bad English. He professes to be a great showman, and pretends to all sorts of musick, but not proficient in any. He had on a Virginia copperas striped coattee, leather breeches, ribbed stockings, and carried other clothes with him.” (Virginia Gazette, June 7, 1776)
  • “a pair of ribbed thread stockings, value 3 s.” (Trial of Elizabeth the wife of John Stringer, otherwise Steward, and Cosmo Steward, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 11, 1776)
  • “Run away, on Sunday, the 9th of this instant February, a native Irish servant man, named Philip Clark, about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, pretty well set, of a flesh colour, has a pocked turn up nose, has a remarkable way of throwing his head back when he eats spoon victuals, is much given to liquor, has black hair, which he wears most always curled, has a large white lock on one side of his head, which he says came by a fall from a mare, and sometimes says by a blow with a quart pot; it is thought he will cut off his hair; had on, when he went away, a light cloth coat, with metal buttons and striped lincey lining, two light cloth jackets, buckskin breeches, tied with strings at the knees, two pair of stockings, one plain blue, the other dark grey ribbed, new neats leather shoes, with plated buckles, a plain silver stock buckle, a check silk handkerchief.” (Pennsylvania Gazette, February 12, 1777)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, in Richmond County, on Saturday the 25th Instant, a Negro Man Slave named GLASS, aged about 40, about 5 Feet 9 Inches high, rather on the yellow Cast; he had on a Pair of old Leather Breeches, a blue Fearnought Waistcoat, with blue Horn Buttons, a short under Vest, without Sleeves, of Drab coloured Duffil, a white Cotton Shirt, a Pair of grey Worsted Stockings, & Country made Shoes, he also took with him a Drab coloured Frize Coat and Vest with white Metal Buttons, a Pair of good Buckskin Breeches, a Pair of black ribbed Worsted Stockings, a brown Linen and Dowlas Shirt, a 7 quarter spotted Rug, and a Dutch Blanket.” (Virginia Gazette, November 7, 1777)
  • “Ran away from the subscriber, a negro man named ZEB, about 30 years old, five feet seven or eight inches high, carried off with him a horse, saddle and bridle, very black, full ey'd, had on a brown duroy coat, black short breeches, patch'd, checkd linen draws over them, blew ribb'd stockings.” (The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, June 19, 1783)
  • “REBECCA BIDWELL was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 9th of December, six pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 21 s. the property of William Saunders, privily in his shop … Did you lose any stockings on Tuesday? - Yes, six pair of, fine cotton ribbed … I went backwards to get some stocking, and while I was the prisoner took a paper of cotton stockings with six pairs in it, my back was turned to her, I did not see her take them they were six pair of superfine ribbed cotton … I looked, and missed these six pair of ribbed white cotton.” (Trial of Rebecca Bidwell, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, December 10, 1783)
  • “CATHERINE LING sworn. There were an old pair of white ribbed stockings about the kitchen, and I said the prisoner might have them, they were not worth a farthing, these are not the stockings.
    Prosecutor. These are not the stockings he took from my house, they were in the handkerchief before the headborough.
    Court to Sadler. What is become of the stockings? - These are the stockings, there were no other.
    Prosecutor. They were ribbed stockings my Lord.
    Mr. Peatt to Ling. Were the stockings ribbed that you gave the prisoner? - Yes, they were ribbed stockings, nor worth a farthing.
    Prosecutor. They were in the handkerchief with the other things.
    Were they new stockings? - No.
    Were they old? - They were in the middling way, they might be darned in the heels.
    Did they lay about the kitchen? - In the tap room there is a bureau where a great number of my stockings are, and sometimes they are thrown in there.
    What is the value of them? - They are about five shillings a pair.” (Trial of David Jones, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, February 23, 1785)
  • “the prisoner came into Mr. Butler's shop and asked for a half-pennyworth of worstead, and gave me a shilling to change; and then asked me what a pair of stockings would come to that would fit him; I told him a pair of wove hose would cost twenty-pence; I shewed him some; he said they were too narrow ribbed” (Trial of William Brown, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 6, 1785)
  • “the other young man asked for some ribbed cotton stockings; I shewed them some at four shillings and six-pence a pair, they were too dear; he desired I would shew him some lower” (Trial of Berwick Mayton, May 11, 1785)
  • “ROBERT WALKER was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 27th day of May , one pair of white ribbed cotton stockings, value 4 s. the property of Alexander Leary … I live in Leatherseller's Buildings ; the last witness left a pair of stockings with me, I should know them, I could swear to them; on the morning of the 27th I went into the necessary, and the dustmen called and asked if there was any dust, they had hardly gone in when the prisoner looked in at the window, the stockings laid there, in the place where the prosecutor laid them in, and I saw him lay them in the window the day before, we were at dinner when he called; they were white ribbed cotton stockings; I happened to look out, and they were in the back yard a very little time, and this chap lifted up the sash window, it was between eight and nine, I saw him put them in his pocket, he wore a short white jacket, and when he had done that he took his basket, and I followed him down to his dust cart, which lay at the end of the gate; I laid hold of him by the collar and put my hand into his pocket and pulled them out; he resisted a little, and I sent for a constable.” (Trial of Robert Walker, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, June 29, 1785)
  • “a pair of cotton stockings narrow ribbed, value 2 s.” (Trial of William Moore, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 14, 1785)
  • “ten pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 30 s.” (Trial of George Dunstan, December 14, 1785)
  • “Mr. FIELDSEND's Shopman sworn. I live with Mr. Fieldsend, he is a linen-draper and hosier ; the 27th of May, the prisoner came into the shop about one o'clock, and asked to look at some ribbed stockings; I do not recollect ever seeing him before; I saw my fellow-servant shewing him some stockings; his name is Benjamin Shaw ; when he had shewn two pair, he called me forwards; he desired me to go on the other side of the counter, for the prisoner had concealed two pair of stockings; then the prisoner ran out of the shop; he threw down four shillings upon the counter for a pair of stockings he had bargained for, but he did not take those stockings; we pursued the prisoner, and took him; I saw the stockings in his pocket, as he went out of the shop. (Produced and deposed to.) They cost three shillings and sixpence, they were not at all the worse.
    WILLIAM MARSH sworn. I am a groom; I saw the prisoner run down Oxford-street, and Mr. Shaw pursued him, and cried, stop thief! it was on Saturday; I saw the prisoner throw away a pair of stockings, I picked them up, they were ribbed cotton.” (Trial of William otherwise James Brown, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, May 31, 1786)
  • “the prisoner came in and asked to look at some striped cotton stockings; I shewed him some, and he chose one pair; then he asked for some finer; I shewed him some; he chose one pair; then he asked to look at some brown ribbed, and chose one pair of them” (Trial of William Tennant, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, December 13, 1786)
  • “FOR apprehending FRANK, a mulatto man, about five feet five or six inches high, twenty five years of age, a likely stout strong made fellow, has remarkable large legs, and when he stands up, bends back very much in the knees, has a scar near one of his temples, but do not recollect which, had on when he went away, a jacket of drab fearnought, green negro cotton under jacket, spotted cotton breeches, ribbed yarn stockings, oznabrigs shirt, and common shoes.” (Virginia Gazette and Weekly Intelligencer, April 26, 1787)
  • “a pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 12 d.” (Trial of James Donaldson, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, October 22, 1788)
  • “DOMINICK VERRIOT was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 16th of December last, nine pair of black silk stockings, value 5 l. 3 s. 6 d. six pair of plain white silk stockings, value 3 l. 15 s. and three pair of white ribbed stockings, value 1 l. 16 s. 6 d. the property of William Wilkinson.” (Trial of Dominick Verriot, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, January 14, 1789)
  • “the bundle contained two white shirts, three white aprons, a pair of men's ribbed cotton stockings, a damask napkin, and a common napkin, all tied up in a silk handkerchief; they were my husband's property; I had been for them from the washer woman's” (Trial of Thomas Sherry, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, February 25, 1789)
  • “the prisoner Wood asked for men's ribbed cotton stockings; I shewed them some at three shillings and six-pence a pair; they did not like the rib; I shewed them another, but they were not fine enough” (Trial of Sarah Conjuit and Elizabeth, wife of John Wood, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 9, 1789)
  • “one pair of ribbed cotton stockings, value 3 s.” (Trial of Elizabeth Mason, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 24, 1790)
  • “the prisoner came into the shop, and asked me to shew him some stockings, I shewed him some, one paper, he said, he did not like them, I shewed him another, he said, they were too coarse, in turning about for the third paper, I missed a pair of ribbed cotton, when I missed that pair, I rung the bell for my uncle John” (Trial of James Guy, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, January 9, 1793)
  • “I referred him to the opposite side of the shop to a young man to shew him some, which he did he shewed him a paper of ribbed stockings which he disapproved of” (Trial of Joseph Hewitt, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 10, 1793)
  • “I can swear to this pair, this dark brown pair, they are such a remarkable pair, they had been mended so in the leg; these are not the whole of what I lost, I lost nine dozen and a half, some new and some old stockings. How long had you had them old pair that you speak to? - A fortnight or three weeks, it is a remarkable ribbed stocking, and mended with yellow silk in the leg.” (Trial of Abigail Johnson, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 30, 1794)
  • “I produce one cotton gown, a muslin neckcloth, two salts, a pair of ribbed hose, and a damask napkin.” (Trial of Ann Talboys, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 17, 1794)
  • “MARGARET TOMLINSON sworn. I live at Hungerford-street; I keep a milliner's and haberdasher's shop. On the 7th of this month, the prisoner came into the shop and asked to look at some worsted stockings; I shewed him a parcel, he chose a pair, they came to five shillings, he asked me to shew him some white ribbed cotton … I shewed him some, and he objected to them, because they were small ribbed; he asked me to shew him some plain cotton, which I did, I shewed him two or three parcels of plain cotton, and the first parcel I shewed him he seemed to like, but he objected to the price of them; then he asked me to shew him some broad ribbed cotton; and while I stood to look for the broad ribbed cotton, I see the prisoner take these ten pair of cotton stockings off the counter; they were the parcel of the plain.” (Trial of John Gregg, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, February 18, 1795)
  • “he asked to look at some white cotton stockings, mens white ribbed cotton stockings” (Trial of John Haynes, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, April 16, 1795)
  • “he then desired me to show him some stockings; which I did; I showed him some white first, a parcel in which there were twelve pair; he looked out what he thought proper, and then desired to see some others; I showed him a dozen of patent ribbed; he looked out some of them … upon examining what he had bought, and what I knew I had, I found that he had robbed me of two pair of white silk and three pair of coloured patent ribbed” (Trial of John Jaques, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, June 22, 1796)
  • “RUN away from the Subscriber, in Edenton, on the 16th ult. a Negro Man named ISAAC, about 33 years old, stout made, broad face, and a little yellowish, his under lip is thick and hangs down, when he is alarmed or goes to speak quick, he is apt to stammer, and answeres[sic] yes, without the sir; had on when he ranaway a round blue jacket lined with Osnabergs, and blue trowsers, ribbed yarn stockings, and took with him a blue great coat, two new shirts of ticklenburg.” (State Gazette of North Carolina, January 18, 1798)
  • “Q. Look at these two pair of stockings, and tell me if they are your brother's property or not? - A.They are entire silk; and this pair of stockings, with the white feet, has my own mark upon it; the other has not the ticket upon it, but it is a particular rib, and is the only pair we had of this pattern, they were folded up with the white feet hanging out underneath; it was folded up, by myself, in a bundle for show, and that pair was the top-most; they were all safe at twelve o'clock at night when I went to bed; I always go round the shop the last thing before I go to bed, to see that every thing is safe.
    Mr. Cooke. These are my stockings, this pair with white feet; we had but two pair of that quality in the house, and the ribbed ones were with them; the ribbed pair are what we call a very blue white stocking, they being unfashionable I dyed them.” (Trial of Elizabeth Lang, William Graves, James Field, Mary Johnson, and Ann Parsons, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, February 14, 1798)
  • “JAMES LYNDEN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I live at No. 295, Oxford-street, I am sixteen years of age, my mother keeps a haberdasher's shop there: On Saturday the 20th of January, the prisoner came into our shop, about dusk, and asked for patent worsted stockings; I told him we had ribbed stockings if they would suit him; he asked to see them; I shewed them to him; he picked out four pair, I folded them up for him; then he asked for a pocket handkerchief, he chose two, and offered me a two pound note.” (Trial of Edmond Lovell, February 14, 1798)
  • “I lost every farthing; they took all I had; I have never seen a farthing of it since; I lost two handkerchiefs, a pair of shoes, and a pair of stockings; I think one of the handkerchiefs was cambric, and a black silk handkerchief, and the shoes I pulled off, and a pair of ribbed cotton stockings.” (Trial of Mary Jenkins, James Austin, and Margaret Morrice, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, February 14, 1798)
  • “JAMES LACEY sworn. - I am a hosier, in Clement's-Inn: I had four pair of silk stockings come in, on Saturday the 7th of April, from the makers; they were ribbed, and made on purpose for a gentleman.” (Trial of Sarah Lister, otherwise Egerton, and Jane Williams, otherwise Howard, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 12, 1798)
  • “RUNAWAY from the subscriber in Hanover county, near William Read's Mill, on Friday the 26th of April last, a Negro man named JACK , twenty one years of age, about five feet eight inches high, stout made, has a scar on one of his ancles, occasioned by a burn when a child, his complexion rather darker than common, a very surly look, and when walking or standing stoops forward; had on and took with him, the following clothing, viz. two cotton and two linen ruffled shirts, plains jackcoat, a pair Corduroy breeches, a pair Nankeen overalls, white ribbed stockings, felt hat, dark brown cloth coat and striped waistcoat.” (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser, May 10, 1799)

Thanks to Paul Dickfoss for many of the descriptions above, some of which were originally collected and transcribed by Mike Barbieri.