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Portrait of Omar ibn Said

FROM The DeRosset Papers, the Southern Historical Collection
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Description of the Original:
This item is part of the DeRosset Papers, P-214, in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is a mounted portrait of Omar ibn Said with a handwritten biographical sketch on the verso. The ink used in the last sentence is different from that in the preceding sentences. It is signed in this second ink, A M Waddell. The item is 5 7/8" by 7". The portrait is a copy on albumen paper of an ambrotype original.

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[Portrait of Omar ibn Said]

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"Uncle Moro" (Omeroh), the African (or Arab) Prince whom Genl. Owen bought, and who lived in Wilmington N.C. for many years, and died in Bladen Co. in 1864, aged about 90 years. see other side


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This old man's history was extremely interesting. Born in the region around Timbuctoo and the son of a King or Chief, he was taught to read & write Arabic, & having committed some offence he was banished by his people who were named by some writers Malis, or Mellès, and by Stanley, Malais. He was captured and sold into slavery to a ship which brought him to South Carolina, where he was purchased by a young upcountry planter, who treated him harshly, and he ran away, wandered over the line into North Carolina, was found ill at a negro cabin, was arrested as a runaway slave, pit in jail at Fayetteville, and having attracted attention by writing on the walls in Arabic, was released by Gen. James Owen on bond, afterward bought by him from the S. C. planter and treat as a pensioner and friend the remainder of his life. Although a devout Mahometan he became a devout Presbyterian, and lived befriended & respected by everybody until his death in 1864, at the age of about 90 years. He is buried in the family graveyard of the Owens in Bladen County N. C.

It was said that he was a Free Mason. He was a short "Mustee" colored man, polite, and dignified in his manners. I remember him very distinctly. AM Waddell. 1905

Titles by Omar ibn Said