|The Dutch in Tripoli|
by Lieve Pietersz Vershuier (1627-1686)
Dr. Daniel Mason (1647-1698) is a distant cousin of mine, through the Fiske family. He graduated from Harvard College in 1666. He was a physician and in served as a ships surgeon and sailed from Charlestown, Massachusetts in n 1679. He was captured by a Barbary Corsair and carried to Algiers and is supposed to have died in slavery, 1698. In the Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Files there is a letter Addressed to the ship captain’s wife, requesting her to pay the ransom for Captain James Ellson, ship surgeon Daniel Mason, Asher Bearstow of Watertown and Richard Ellson, his brother. Daniel Mason was born 19 Feburary 1648 in Watertown, Massachusetts, the son of Hugh Mason and Hester Wells.
Thousands of American, Europeans (and Africans) were captured and sold into slavery in North Africa during this episode of history. According to Wikipedia, “between 1530 and 1780 between one and one and a quarter million Europeans were captured and made slaves in North Africa, principally in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, with further captives in Istanbul and Sallee.”
For more information:
A wikipedia article on the Barbary Corsairs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_corsairs
At Archive.org there is the full text of “White Slavery in the Barbary States” http://www.archive.org/stream/whiteslaveryinba00sumn/whiteslaveryinba00sumn_djvu.txt which lists many New Englanders captured as slaves by Barbary pirates, including Daniel Mason. It was a lecture by Charles Sumner given to the Boston Mercantile Library Association in 1847.
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo