History of Muslims In America
After the first Seminole war Abraham and a delegation of Indian Chiefs went to Oklahoma in 1832 to inspect the land being offered to them in the treaty that was to move them out of Florida. The United States officials would not allow Abraham and the others to leave until they signed the treaty, which they did on March 28, 1833. Abraham opposed the move, therefore spending almost eight months at Fort Gibson. Abraham and several other leaders were opposed to the treaty after learning of its deception, thus the second Seminole war began 1835 to 1842. Abraham had fought in almost every battle of the Seminole Indians wars until 1837. However, in February of 1839 he moved to Oklahoma with his family and became a successful cattle rancher.
Abraham returned to Florida in 1852, ten years after the government officially declared an end to the Seminole war. The government had hired Abraham to take chief Billy Bowlegs, his father in-law, and some other chiefs to Washington, DC., in order to convince them to leave Florida. They met with Millard Fillmore who became President after Zachary Taylor died. The chiefs still refused to move to Oklahoma. They went back to Florida and disappeared in the everglades. Abraham went back to his ranch in Oklahoma where he died years later, sometime after the Civil War in 1870. He was buried in an unmarked grave in today’s Seminole county.
In 1818 Medina, Ohio was organized. It was originally called Mecca, then later it changed to Medina making it the seventh place on the globe at the time called Medina. Three other cities in America bear the name Medina- Medina, New York; Medina, Michigan and Medina, TX.
In 1828, Abrahim Abdul Rahman ibn Sori (1762-1829) was set free by the order of the Secretary of State Henry Clay and President John Quincy Adams. He was born in Timbo, West Africa (in present day Guinea). He was known as the "Prince of Slaves." He was a Fulbe from the land of Futa Jallon. Abrahim left Futa in 1774 to study in Mali at Timbuktu.
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 of Thomas Foster. In 1794 he married Isabella, another slave of Foster’s, and eventually fathered a large family. In 1826 he wrote a letter to his relatives in Africa. A local newspaperman sent a copy to Senator Thomas Reed in Washington, who forwarded it to the U.S. Consulate in Morocco. After the Sultan of Morocco read the letter, he asked President Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Abrahim Abdul Rahman.
In 1807, a coincidental meeting took place. John Cox, an Irish ship’s surgeon, whose life had been saved by Abrahim’s father many years earlier. John Cox recognized the Prince in the market, learned of his story, and began petitioning for his freedom. Twenty five years later in 1828 at the age of 66 Abrahim gained his freedom. Rahman had been a slave in America for forty years before he got his freedom. Rahman and his wife sailed for Africa in February 1829. The following September his former owner died. Foster’s heirs sold two of Rahman’s children and five of his grandchildren to the American Colonization Society (A.C.S), and they were reunited with his wife in Liberia.
In 1828, a Muslim named Sterling living in Hartford, CT met Abdul Rahman during his visit to the New England States.
In 1832, The Village of Mahomet, IL was laid out. Mahomet, IL was originally named Middletown. Sometime during the 1840s it was changed to Mahomet, IL.
In 1834, A Muslim woman named Sylvia appears in "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe,"by William A. Carruthers.
In 1834, in Tennessee, a Muslim by the name of Hamet Abdul is reported to have sought money to return to Africa.
In 1834, two Muslims by the names of Jupiter (Dawud) Dowda and Big Jack were reported by the American Colonization Society’s "The African Repository"to be well-known slaves in New Orleans. Big Jack was a plantation manager.
In 1835, Lamen Kebe known as (Old Paul) was liberated after having been in servitude in South Carolina and Alabama. Lamen Kebe was captured in battle and arrived in America in the early 1800s. He was from an elite class of Serahule who were trained to rule, advise, teach, protect, trade, translate, collect taxes, and travel. His family were the founders of ancient Ghana, and they were among the earliest converts to Islam south of the Sahara. His mother was a Mandinga. In Senegambia, he was a schoolmaster in the land of the Fulah before his capture. Lamen and Omar Sayyid corresponded with each other in 1835 in Arabic. Lamen (Old Paul) through Omar, provided Theodore Dwight, a member of the American Ethnological Society, with information of his native land and school system. Lamen returned back to Africa at the age of sixty in 1835.
In 1839, Oman’s ruler, Sayyid Sa’id, ordered his ship "The Sultana" to set sail for America on a trade mission. The ship touched port in New York on April 30, 1840. The voyage was not a commercial success. The ship’s commander, Ahmed bin Nauman bin Muhsin Al-k’abi Al-Bahraini came from Zanzibar. Ahmed bin Nauman bin Muhsin Al-k’abi Al-Bahraini’s photo hangs today on the third floor of City Hall in New York, NY.
In 1845, Osman Rockman died. His tombstone was found in Connecticut.
In 1852, Osman known as "General Osman" became the leader of the North Carolina Dismal Swamp community from 1852-1862. Osman was a runaway slave from Virginia and lived in the dismal swamp. At one time the dismal swamp was partly owned by George Washington, the first President of the United States. The swamp was drudged out by slave labor in the mid 1700s.
In 1856, The United States cavalry hired a Muslim by the name of Hajj Ali to experiment with raising camels in Arizona. He experimented with breeding camels in the desert. He became a local folk hero in Quartzsite, AZ, where he died in 1903. He was known as "Hi Jolly", his tombstone is a stone built pyramid with a camel on top of it.
In 1859, in Savannah, Ga, many slaves were sold from the Butler plantation in Darien, Ga. Some of the slaves sold were Muslims. It was reported that some of the women wore gorgeous turbans and one of them had a string of beads. At the auction a Muslim named Abel age 19 was sold for $1,295, and one named Hagar, age 50, was sold for $300.
In 1860, a Muslim lady known as "Old Lizzy Gray" died in Edge field County. Her obituary, appeared on the front page of the Edgefield Advertiser, on September 12, 1860. Her physician and owner Dr. E.J. Mims wrote that according to the best computations she was 127 years of age. She had four children in Africa before being taken prisoner. During the revolution she was a prisoner on board an English ship. Before her capture she was educated as a Muslim. As a slave she seems to have combined both faiths and became a member of the Methodist Church. She was known to have always said "Christ built the first Church in Mecca."
In 1860, Muhammad Ali ibn Said (1833 - 1882), known as (Nicholas Said) arrived in America as a free man. Muhammad was born in the Kingdom of Bornoo, West Africa near Lake Chad to a well-educated merchant family. Said was kidnaped and enslaved when he was 16. His first slave master was an Arab named Abdel Kader who took him to Tripoli and Fezzan. Muhammad was then sold to Alexander Menshikov, an aide to the Russian Czar, then to Nicholas Trubetzkoy with whom he traveled to many places during his years of slavery from Russia, Rome, Persia to France. In 1860 he left Liverpool, England with a man from Holland to travel to Boston, New York, Kingston, New Providence, Toronto, Quebec, and other places in North America as a freed man.
In 1861 he arrived in Detroit. Shortly afterward he found a teaching job and in 1863 Muhammad enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts colored regiment and became a Civil War hero. He served faithfully and bravely with his regiment as Corporal and then Sergeant in the South. Near the close of the war he was assigned, at his own request, to the hospital department, to learn some knowledge of medicine. His Army records show that he died in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1882.
In 1864, a monument was erected in New England for a Mr. Smith and it is crowned with three slain Muslim’s heads who were slain by Mr. Smith. From the Isles of Shoals.
In 1864, Captain Harry Dean was born. He was the son of Susan Cuffe Dean whose brother was Paul Cuffe. Captain Dean’s family came from Quata, Morocco. For three generations the family were wealthy merchants in Philadelphia. Captain Dean found the first black nautical training school in America. Dean maintained his family’s Islamic tradition during his seafaring days on the ship "Pedro Gorino" and in southern Africa where he tried to build an African empire. He was also associated with the Muslim Mosque of London. In the United States he distributed Islamic literature in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington state.
In 1866, The Cherokee chief had a Muslim name, Chief Ramadan ibn Wati. Muslims were known to live among many of the different Indian tribes. They lived among the Seminole Indians, The Delawares, The Nanticokes, The Cherokees, and many others.
In 1869, a number of Muslims from Yemen arrived in the United States after the opening of the Suez Canal. Most Yemenis came through New York to Buffalo, and Detroit. Many Yemenis jumped shipped in San Francisco and settled on the West Coast.
In 1875, The first small wave of Muslim immigrants arrived, mainly from Greater Syria (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine). Some of the Syrian-Lebanese Arabs settled on Manhattan’s lower Washington Street and in Brooklyn across the East River around Atlantic Avenue and South Brooklyn. A smaller number came from the Punjab area of India.
In 1876, The Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, attracted Arab merchants and peddlers, where they sold an assortment of merchandise, and some set up centers to import goods.
In 1877, Seven Algerian escapees from French Guyana were admitted by the Mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, and held as exiles.
In 1884, Sambo Swift died. He was born in 1811, and lived in Darien, GA. He was buried with his tombstone facing northeast. Engraved on his tombstone is a hand pointing with one finger up as the Islamic symbol of God’s oneness. This symbol was used by Muslims dating back more than 1400 years. It is believed that Sambo was one of the slaves left on the Butler plantation at the time of the great slave sale of 1859 in Georgia. Sambo was a carpenter and had at least three children named Abraham, Mollie, and Alonzo.
In 1889, Edward Wilmot Blyden, a noted scholar and activist, traveled throughout the eastern and southern parts of the United States proclaiming the truth of Islam. Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832 - 1912) was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on August 3rd, 1832. In 1850 he emigrates to Liberia from America and by 1855-56 became the editor of the Liberian Herald. Blyden served for three terms (1864-1871) as Secretary of State of Liberia, and on three postings as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in 1877, 1879, and 1892-94.
In 1858 Blyden was ordained as a Presbyterian clergyman. By 1886 he resigns from the Presbyterian Church and becomes a Muslim, one of the first known freed Africans to revert back to Islam. In 1887 Blyden published his first book Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race.
From 1901-1906 Edward Blyden was the Director of Mohammed Education in Sierra Leone.
In 1893, Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916) appeared at the First World Exposition Conference on World Religions in Chicago, where he delivered two lectures, "The Spirit of Islam" and "The Influence of Islam on Social Conditions." Among the audience was Mark Twain. Webb converted to Islam in 1888 while he was serving as the American Consul to the Philippines. He was also a Journalist. Webb is known as the first white American convert to Islam. In 1893, Mohammed found the first Islamic organization in America called "The American Moslem Brotherhood" in New York.
In 1897, The Federal government allotted free land, consequently Syrians started moving to Rugby and Williston, North Dakota. From 1899-1914 a total of 86,111 Syrians arrived in America.
In 1899, Hassen Juma had settled in Ross, North Dakota with 160 acres of free land. By 1902 twenty families had followed his path from Birey, Syria. In the early 1920s they built one of the Nations first Mosque.
In the late 1800s many people and former slaves used the Islamic symbol of God’s oneness on their tombstones.