George Roberts

A photo of George Roberts, slave to freeman privateer. In the fall of 1812 he served onboard Captain Richard Moon’s privateer 'Sarah Ann' and was among six American seamen accused of being British subjects and taken prisoner when the Sarah Ann was captured by HMS Statira off the Bahamas on September 13, 1812. Captain Moon denied that they were British:

Eventually, Roberts and the other American seamen were released. After the war, it is unknown what trade he had as a freeman or if he continued serving on-board various merchant vessels from the port of Baltimore, Maryland. What is known is that he was allowed to participate as one of the Old Defenders’ of Baltimore of 1814 during parades commemorating the anniversary for many years.

He lived to the age of 95 (1766 -- 1861)
Date & Place: Unknown
c. 1766 - Jan 16, 1861
Updated Feb 06, 2019

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Ancient Faces
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This photo says it all: Born in the 1760s, he lived into the 1860's. Born a slave, he became a freeman who fought in the war of 1812. A hardworking man with grit and determination (and dignity), what he must have seen and lived through!
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Norma Ferguson
👏👏 Bless him for helping make America great❤️
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Missis Jonathan
104 favorites
He looks like an amazing, hard working man.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Patricia Gardner
Wearing a coat of many colors. ❤️
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Kari Maxwell Hawk
You can almost tell his story of his life...
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Lars Dedorson
Magical picture...❤️
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Roy Carol Candy
Truly magical ! And I want to know about the person that did the patch work on his clothing . So well done. Took whatever they had to hold it together much like his life must have been.
Feb 06, 2019 ·
Lois Aquino
Oh, the stories he could have shared!
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Emma McCourt
I love his picture. He's very dignified. I do wonder what name he was given at birth. I'm sure it was a whole lot different to the name he had as a man.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Roy Carol Candy
One of the best photos .Just wonderful . This photo makes you want to know about him .
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Gloria Rodas
Even with the coat and vest of patches you can see by his dignified demeaner that he respects himself . What a wonderful share this is.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
And the kindness in his face! After all he had been through, he still looked so kind.
Feb 06, 2019 ·
Lori Rooney
Gloria Rodas exactly! I love this photo.
Feb 06, 2019 ·
Maureen Freeson
A Fine gentleman. I bet he went through some very difficult times.A great human being..MO.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Carlina Madelaire
Resilience, strength, dignity...
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Suzanne DeBernardo
He was free before the Emancipation Proclamation. I would love to know the story of his life. What a beautiful picture.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Gina Marie
The coat, the patches, the look in his eyes ~ precious, amazing image ❤
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Anna Gardner
His eyes say he has many stories to tell
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Melanie Viselli
Bless him.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Dorothy White Rader
I would love to know more about his life!
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Brenda Bilger
Great story
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Carol Piquard Compton Weir
Beautiful picture. Love learning black history.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Grace Davis
“The Pride of Baltimore”
On the evening of april 8, 1815, Captain Thomas Boyle sailed his privateer Chasseur
past the ramparts of Fort Mchenry into Baltimore harbor. Boyle ordered the schoo-
ner’s cannons to be fired to salute the fort that six months earlier had withstood the
might of the Royal Navy. The citizens of the city acclaimed the Chasseur the “Pride
of Baltimore.”57
The Chasseur must have been a special source of pride to one of Boyle’s gun-
ners, the free black man George R. Roberts. The african-american seaman was on
board the privateer on august 28, 1814, when Boyle issued his paper blockade of
the British isles, which he requested that the British post at Lloyd’s Coffeehouse in
London. Boyle’s audacious proclamation was a spoof of the blockades of the U.S.
coast that had been declared by British admirals warren and Cochrane in the pre-
ceding eighteen months. During the Chasseur’s capture of the British schooner St.
Lawrence on February 27, 1815, Roberts is said to have “displayed the most intrepid
courage and daring.”58
at the beginning of the war, Roberts had enlisted on board the Baltimore privateer
Sarah Ann under the command of Captain Richard Moon. in October 1812 the Sarah
Ann was captured by the enemy off the Bahamas. Six crewmen, including George Rob-
erts, accused of being British subjects, were put on board ship for Jamaica. in a letter
sent to the owners in Charleston, South Carolina, Captain Moon said he feared the
men would “be tried for their lives.” The privateer skipper rebutted the British charge
that the sailors were not americans. in regard to “George Robert [sic], a coloured man
and seaman,” he stated, “i know him to be native born of the United States. . . . he
entered on board the Sarah ann at Baltimore where he is married. . . .” The editor of
Niles’ Register reported that in retaliation for the British action, the Charleston cartel
took twelve British prisoners from a prison ship “and put [them] into close confine-
ment, to be detained as hostages.”59 No doubt this ploy worked. Certainly, the episode
counts as one of the “hairbreath escapes” this brave african american experienced,
as mentioned in his obituary in the Baltimore Sun following his death in January 1861
at his home in Canton at the reported age of ninety-five years.60
indeed, in his waning years, as his nation teetered toward civil war, the newspa-
permen of Baltimore noted that the aged George Roberts still felt proud to parade
with the other “Old Defenders” of Baltimore. For he too had served.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Roy Carol Candy
Thank you !
Feb 11, 2019 ·
Grace Davis
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
John Schiefelbein
Respect !!!
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Kelsey McKernie
Some people just have faces that make you want to know them better. He is one of them! As others have mentioned, he just radiates dignity and kindness somehow.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Breda J Bergin
Kelsey McKernie absoloutely . V dignified , strong , and id say hardworking. And certainly someone who you would love to have a conversation with . Beautiful picture .
Feb 07, 2019 ·
Daniel Pinna
6.29k+ favorites
This is a fantastic photo and great story - thank you Gaye for sharing George's story!
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Isabel Aurora Koceja
Wish I could go back in time just to talk to him and ask him questions, just listening to him would be amazing.
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Kathleen Fitzgerald
Feb 06, 2019 · Reply
Jennifer Drake
Now that's 1000 words
Feb 07, 2019 · Reply
Betty Burton
The young ones today could learn from him .
Feb 07, 2019 · Reply
Gemma Brooke
What a face he would definitely be at my dinner table of all the people living or dead you would like to sit down and dine with
Feb 07, 2019 · Reply
Robert Letchford
hes mixed race
Feb 07, 2019 · Reply
Linda Dice Waters
His eyes!
Feb 07, 2019 · Reply
Helena Shelby
He had a coat of many colors way before Dolly Parton did.
Feb 08, 2019 · Reply
Donna Cook
A stitch in time saves nine. Someone did a wonderful job of keeping his clothing intact. He looks like a gentle soul.
Feb 09, 2019 · Reply
Susan W. Milam
Such a handsome, dignified looking man. George Roberts, lived to be 95 yrs old.
Feb 09, 2019 · Reply
Lizzie Robinson Jenkins
Everyone’s Grandfather.
Feb 14, 2019 · Reply
Calla Wells
As so many have stated, I would wait my turn in line to be able to sit and listen at his feet. Thank you for sharing
Feb 14, 2019 · Reply
Mike Dawson
He’s seen some stuff... would like to have talked to him
Jan 27, 2020 · Reply
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