On the 13th of August, a negro man belonging to Mr. Isaac McGirk, of this vicinity, ran away. On Tuesday of last week he was caught by a Mr. Allison, on Blackwater, in Cooper county. After the negro had eloped, suspicion arose in the minds of some, that a fellow by the name of John Slavens, alias Davidson, alias Jones, had taken the Arrow Rock road. Mr. McGirk overtook Slavens in Howard county-- had him arrested and taken before two Justices in Fayette. The testamony was not sufficientt to authorize his commitment, yet the statement of the negro, and the fact of the negro's having been seen with him on the road, together with a number of other circumstances, satisfied everyone that Slavens and two other scoundrels who were travelling with him, were running the negro off.
The other two men hearing of the arrest of Slavens, made their escape. This Slavens came to this city one, two, or three months ago, was married here in the Methodist Church, to a woman, with whom he brought to the place with him, and whom at some places, on his way here, he passed as his sister. He called at a house in Saline county and enquired for stray horses. On learning that the gentleman had taken one up, he claimed the horse, proved him to he his property by his accomplices, took his horse into Howard county, and traded him off. Mr. McGirk heard of the fellow's having passed himself off when on his way to this city, sometimes by the name of Slavens-- sometimes by the name of Jones, and sometimes as John Davidson. The woman with him he alternately passes as sister or wife. We have no description of the persons of these scamps; but hope they will not long escape the penitentiary. --Lex. Express
Glasgow (Missouri) Weekly Times, September 11, 1851.
Note: From the locations mentioned-- the towns of Lexington and Fayette, and Howard, Saline, and Cooper counties-- this story took place in west central Missouri, along the Missouri river as it cuts across the state.