American Muslims; The Early History (Part2)

American Muslims; The Early History (Part2)
american-muslims2In 1713, the Reverend John Sharpe reported from New York the existence of what he called “Negro marriages” he described a situation familiar to New Englanders. The marriages of the blacks, he explained, “are performed by mutual consent without the blessing of the Church,” Some slaves, he went on, were kept from Christian marriage “because of polygamy contracted before baptism where none or neither of the wives will accept a divorce.

From Black Kings and Governors of New England.

In 1719 The Reverend Peter Thatcher of Milton, Massachusetts complained about his slave woman Hagar sexual life. She was a slave that was married to Sambo, a slave of Mr. Brightman of Boston, in 1716. She apparently had another child after Sambo’s death or departure from the area by 1719. Hagar had three children Sambo, Jimmie, and Hagar.
From Black Kings and Governors of New England.

In 1730 Ayuba (Job) Suleiman Diallo, a well educated Muslim merchant was kidnaped and enslaved from 1730-1733. Job ibn Solomon Dgiallo (Jallo) came from Bundu, Senegal. He was captured in 1730 in Gambia and brought to Annapolis, MD in 1731, where he was delivered to Mr. V. Denton, factor to Mr Hunt. Mr Denton sold Job to Mr. Alexander Tolsey in Kent Island in Maryland. He was a Fulani who lived near the banks of the Gambia river in Senegal. Job was one of the first Muslims written about in America. While in Maryland Job wrote a letter to his father, which came to the attention of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, who helped purchase his freedom and sent him to London where he was finally set free and sent back home to work for the Royal African Company of London in his homeland. While in London Job wrote down three copies of the Quran from memory.

In 1730 Lamine Jay came from Futa-Toro, Senegal. He was captured along with Job ibn Soliman ibn Dgiallo (Jallo) trading on the lower part of the Gambia river. Lamine was also brought to Annapolis, Maryland where he became known as a Linguist. In less than five years Jay was able to win his freedom and return home with the help of his friend Job.

In 1737 a Muslim child named Bakir Turro 1729-1805 spelled in America as Broteer Furro came from Dubreka spelled (Dukandarra) Futa Torro, in present-day Guinea. He was born around 1729. He was born with the name Bakir Torro (Broteer Furro). In his narrative of his life he recalled being from Dukandarra, which is today called Dubreka named after the famous ABubakar Sire of the 1716. Venture (Bakir) tells in his narrative that his father had three wives and his name was “Saungum Furro” which is Sambegu Torro the Prince of Dubreka, Guinea, meaning his father was the son of the King. This area was part of the great Mali Empire of the Muslims in Futo Jalon and Futo Torro areas. This is the same area where Ibrahima Sory Sambegu came from.

Bakir (Broteer) was captured and enslaved at the age of 8 in 1737; he was given the named Venture by Robert Mumford because the youngman was a business venture to him. Venture in his narrative tells of being brought Rhode, Island then to Fishers Island in Connecticut by Mr. Mumford for 13 years and at the age of 22 he married a woman name Meg within 1752 they had a daughter named Hannah about a month later Venture and his master had a disagreement and Venture tried to run away. The Irish indentured servant Heddy and Venture ran away together when Heddy rob some food in Long Island because of Venture moral character he turned Heddy in and was returned to his master.

Venture was then sold to a Thomas Statonan who leave in Stonington, Connecticut about year and a half later Mr. Stanton brought Venture’s wife and daughter Hannah. In 1756 they had a son named Solomon and one named Cuff in 1758.

In 1760 Venture (Bakir) had another problem with his slave master and was sold twice. He finally ended up with a man named Colonel Oliver Smith who had agreed that Venture could buy his freedom and in 1765 at the age of 36 Venture brought his freedom and became known as Venture Smith. In 1769 he purchase the freedom of his sons Solomon and Cuff. Venture also brought a slave for sixty pounds, but the man ran away before off his debt. In 1773 Venture purchase his wife Meg who was pregnant by Thomas Stanton and in 1775, he purchase his daughter Hannah freedom. Venture was known as a good businessman he would cut wood, hire out to fish, farm, and selling items from his garden. Venture was known for shunning alls material vises and not drinking. In 1776 Venture brought some land in Haddam Neck, Connecticut. Near the ending of his life in 1798 he stated that he owned more than 100 acres of land, three houses, and that his freedom is a privilege which nothing else can equal, and that he was thankful for having a good character.

In the winter of 1741 in New York City, three Moorish crewmembers of a captured Spanish ship were sold into bondage and protested their condition, swearing revenge. After several fires flared across town during March and April of 1742, hysterical residents feared that a slave revolt was imminent and suspected that the Spanish Negroes “Moors” were deeply concerned and active in the protest. The episode ended with the public executions of twenty-three people and the exile of seventy-one others.
From the Seaport New York’s History Magazine.

In 1750, true to legend, the Melungeons were already in the area of Knoxville, TN; Camden, SC; and Marion, NC when the first Europeans arrived.

In 1750 in the royal burial ground of the Mohegans Indians in Norwich, CT one of the memorial state’s “In memory of  Elizabeth Joquib, the daughter ofMahomet, great-grandchild to the first Uncas, great sachem of Mohegan, who died July 5th, 1740 at 38 years old. Mamohet was the rightful heir of Qwenoco but Ben, the youngest son of Uncas, of illegitimate birth, succeeded Caesar, the successor as sachem after Owenoco.
From Indian Races of America / The New England Coast.

March 3, 1753 Muslims from North Africa, appear in the records of South Carolina. In the South Carolina Council Journal, No. 21, Pt. 1, pp. 298-299. Two men by the name Abel Conder and Mahamut (Mahomet) petitioned the South Carolina royal authorities in Arabic for their freedom. They came from Asilah (Sali) on the Barbary Coast of Morroco. Their story is that they were in a battle in 1736, with the Portuguese when they lost the battle and was captured. An officer named Captain Henry Daubrib, asked them would they be willing to serve him for five years in Carolina. When they arrived in South Carolina they were transferred to Daniel LaRoche, who then enslaved them for fifteen years until 1753.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.

In 1767, Kunta Kinte was captured and enslaved. Kunta Kinte was a Muslim born in 1750, in the village of Juffure in Gambia. He was shipped to Annapolis, Maryland on the ship Lord Ligonier and sold to a Virginia planter. Kunta Kinte fought hard to hold on to his Islamic heritage. Having learned the Qur’an as a boy Kunta scratched Arabic phrases in the dirt and tried to pray every day after he arrived in America. Kunta Kinte was Alex’s Haley Mandingo forbearer, who he talks about in his book Roots.

In 1768 a Muslim named Charno, living in South Carolina, wrote four Surahs from the Quran. He was the slave of Captain David Anderson. There are at least nine different people reported to have written Arabic text during this period.

In 1769 Savannah Georgia Gazette advertises for three runaway Muslim women from Guinea by the names of Jamina, Belinda, and Hagar.

From 1769 –1790s more than a dozen Muslim names appear in runaway slave advertisement ads like Jamina, Hagar, Mahomet, Armer, Osman, four Sambo’s, Quamie, Ishmael, Mingo, Mustafa, and others who were described as of the Moorish breed or from a Moorish country.

In 1770 the Wahhab brothers were shipwrecked on the coast of North Carolina. Once there they settled, married, and started a farm. Their descendents had owned one of the largest private hotel chains in Ocracoke Island, off the North Carolina coast.

In the late 1770s Salim the Algerian was a Muslim from a royal family of Algiers. He was captured by Spanish men of war and later sold into slavery to the French in New Orleans. He eventually got his freedom after running away from slavery. He lived a while among the Native American Indian tribes and settled in Virginia. Salim eventually met Thomas Jefferson, attended the 1st Continental Congress, and died an insane man after having given-up his family and religion for America.

From 1774-1775 many runaway slave advertisements were of Muslim runaway slaves. Like the one in the Savannah Georgia Gazette, in September 7, 1774 for a runaway Negro fellow named Mahomet.

On June 17, 1775, Peter Salem (Saleem) born (1750?-1816) a former slave who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. The battle was fought at Breed’s Hill according to one story, the colonial troops were near defeat, and British Major John Pitcairn ordered them to surrender. Salem then stepped forward and shot Pitcairn. Pitcairn later died of the wound. Peter Salem got awarded for fighting in the Revolutionary War, and he also fought at Lexington. Peter Salem and Salem (Saleem) Poor were honored for their bravery.

Peter Salem was born a slave in Framingham, Massachusetts. He had at least two owners in his lifetime. The first owner was Jeremiah Belknap. Belknap sold him to Lawson Buckminister of Framingham. Buckminister allowed Salem to enlist in the colonial army. In exchange for enlisting in the army, Salem received his freedom.

After receiving his freedom “Peter Buckminister” changed his name to Salem. He was also known as “Salem Prince.” Local legend has it that the name Salem came from a Massachusetts privateering port where all of the sailors went during the Revolutionary War when people were fighting on their boats. History reports that an old Jewish man told the people that the word was like “shalom” which means peace. The name for peace in Arabic is Salaam and Saleem in Arabic means one who is peaceful.

Salem (Saleem) remained in the army for several years, long enough to fight in the battles of Saratoga and Stony Point. After the war he settled in Leicester, Massachusetts where he barely earned a living weaving cane seats for chairs. He died in the poor house in Framingham in 1816. Postage stamps have been made of Peter Salem and Salem Poor as American Revolutionary war heros.

From 1774–1783 there were at least six people with Islamic names who fought in the Revolutionary War as colonial soldiers. One of them was Yusuf Ben Ali, also known as Joseph (Benenhali) Benhaley, who fought with General Sumter in South Carolina. After the war, General Sumter took Joseph Benhaley with him inland to Stateburg where they settled down. Joseph Benhaley’s name appeared in the 1790 census of Sumter County. Revolutionary records also show that there was a Bampett Muhamed who was a Corporal in the Revolutionary Army, from 1775-1783 in Virginia. Francis Saba was listed as a sergeant with the Continental Troops in roll 132, 1775-1783, and Joseph Saba was listed as a Fifer in the Continental Troops roll 132, 1775-1783.

In 1777 Morocco becomes the first country to acknowledge America’s independence as a new country.

In 1784 Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco.

In 1786 Morocco became the sixth and the first Muslim country to sign a Peace Treaty with the United States in 1786. Algeria in 1795, Tripoli in 1796, Tunis in 1797, and Muscat (Oman) in 1833 followed.

In 1786 two Muslim men appeared in Charleston, SC “dressed in the Moorish habit” and aroused a great deal of suspicion by their strange ways. An officer of the law attempted to question them and found they were Moors who did not speak English. They were taken to an interpreter who found out they came from Algeria and sailed to Virginia were they had been arrested. Then they traveled overland to South Carolina.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.

In 1788 Abrahim Abdul Rahman ibn Sori (1762-1829) born in Timbo, West Africa (In present day Guinea) was captured. He was known as the “Prince of Slaves.” He was a Fulbe from the land of Futa Jallon. Abrahim was captured by warring tribes and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi cotton and tobacco farmer, where he eventually became the overseer of the plantation.

In 1788-1789 The Sultan Mohammed III and President George Washington exchanging letters about peace and asking the Sultan to intercede with authorities in Tunis and Tripoli to obtain the right of free navigation for American ships in the Mediterranean.

August 20, 1789 the Savannah Georgia Gazette, runs an advertisment for a Muslim women runaway describing her as “A Young Negro Wench, named Hagar, has on oznabrig clothes, and wears a handkerchief on hear head. She has been seen a day or two ago selling watermelons near town.”

In 1790 in South Carolina a group of “Moors” by the names of Francis, Daniel, Hammond, and Samuel, along with their wives four Muslim women named Fatima, Flora, Sarah, and Clarinda, asked the South Carolina House of Representatives to treat them as free whites. They stated that while they had been fighting for the emperor of Morocco against an African King they had been taken prisoners. A Captain Clark had the Moors delivered to him on the promise he would take them to England where the Ambassador from Morocco would purchase their freedom. Instead, Clark brought them to South Carolina where he sold them as slaves.
The Journals of the House of Representatives, 1789-1790.

In 1790 Joseph Benenhaly or Yusef Ben Ali from North Africa appears in the 1790 census in Sumter, county. General Thomas Sumter recruited Benenhaly, of Arab descent, and another man known as John Scott to fight with him in the American Revolution. Originally, it is believed that they were pirates. After the war, Sumter took them inland with him to near Stateburg where they settled down and many of their descendents have remained. His dark-skinned descendants, became known as the Turks of Sumter County because of their Moorish background.

In 1791 Thomas Jefferson led the fight for religious freedom and separation of church and state in his native Virginia. This brought him into conflict with the Anglican Church, the established church in Virginia. After a long and bitter debate, Jefferson’s statute for religious freedom passed the state legislature. In Jefferson’s words, there was now “freedom for the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindu and infidel of every denomination.” The bill guaranteed, in Jefferson’s own words, “that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever.” It guaranteed, too, that no one should suffer in any way for his “religious opinions or belief.” Introduced in 1779, the bill did not become law until 1786, when, through the leadership of Legislator James Madison, it was enacted by the General Assembly. When the First Amendment to the Constitution went into effect in 1791, Jefferson’s principle of separation of church and state became part of the supreme law of the land.

In 1792 the South Carolina legislature passed a law, which stopped the importation of slaves in the state. One provision stated that Moors could not be brought into South Carolina from other states in the Union either by land or sea.

In the 1790 census there were 59,000 free blacks in the United States. There were slightly more than 27,000 in the Northern states and 32,000 in the Southern States.

In the closing of the 1700s two groups of people are found, the Guineas and Males of West Virginia. Some of them lived in northern Barbour and southern Taylor counties. Many of them have the last names of Adams, Collins, Croston, Dalton, Kennedy, Mayle, Newman, Norris, and Prichard. Prior to 1800s the names Male, Norris, Dorton, Harris, Canaday, Newman, and Croton were the most common. Some reports say the name Males comes from the infusion of Mali blood into the area. By 1810 the degree of non-white mixture was so great that the census records record the Males and Guineas as Mulattos or mixed race.

The 1700s saw the arrival and appearance of at least nine Muslims Ayub (Job) Ibn Djallo 1730, Lamine Jay 1730, Venture Smith (Bakir) 1737, Kinta Kinte 1767, Charno in 1768, Yusuf Ben Ali and Bampett Muhamed 1774, and Abel Conder and Mahmout 1753.

Soon after the formation of the United States, privateering in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean from the nations of the Barbary Coast prompted the U.S. to form a series of so-called “peace treaties”, collectively known as theBarbary Treaties. Individual treaties were negotiated with Morocco  in (1786), Algeria in (1795), Tripoli in (1797) andTunis in (1797).

In 1792 the South Carolina legislature passed a law which stopped the importation of slaves in the state. One provision stated that Moors could not be bound for terms of years of service and could not be brought into South Carolina from other states in the Union either by land or sea.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.

In 1796 Brooke Beall’s inventory listed Yarrow’s age at about 60 years old. Yarrow (Mamout) Marmood 1736-1844 was enslaved and brought from Guinea, Africa before the Revolutionary War.

In 1797 the Treaty of Tripole in Article 11 reads:

Article 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The treaty was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers on January 3, 1797, finally receiving ratificationfrom the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797.

Compiled By Amir Muhammad


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