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Learn About Our Richard Somers This September 4. Why Did He Leave Somers Point To Fight And Die In Tripoli That Day In 1804?

September 04, 2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
801 Shore Road, Somers Point
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Every September 4, we gather by the Richard Somers statue and mural by 801 Shore Road in Somers Point, New Jersey.  We tell how Richard Somers was born in Somers Point in 1778.  We tell how like most Americans then, he completed school, mastered a trade, and was financially self-sufficient by age 18.   We tell of how America was so peaceful, that we disbanded our navy and almost all of our army as soon as we won our independence in 1783.  However, instead of being left in peace, American merchants and fishermen were viciously attacked, robbed, captured and either held for ransom or sold into slavery by heavily armed “Barbary Pirates” from Tangier, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.  These four cities in North Africa were the biggest and richest slave trading centers in the world.

The “Barbary Pirates” were not pirates.  Pirates are outlaws and criminals of the sea.  The “Barbary Pirates” were instead “corsairs” or “privateers”.  That they had licenses to attack, rape, rob and take captives as slaves from the rulers of these North African cities.  These rulers had declared war on all non-Muslim nations that did not pay them bribes or tribute.  These “corsairs” attacked, robbed, and enslaved captured non-Muslims of all nations from ships and coastal villages from the Mediterranean Sea to as far north as Ireland and Iceland for nearly a thousand years.  However, by the 1700’s, the biggest European sea powers like England, France, and Spain protected their people by paying bribes and tribute to those Muslim rulers rather than fighting more expensive wars with them.

For seventeen years, the United States also paid bribes and tribute to protect our people.  We had no choice, because we had no navy.  However, that changed in 1798 when French pirates attacked Americans in the Caribbean, and when the French rulers also demanded bribes and tribute.  Americans said “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute”.   We built a new navy, and 20 year old Richard Somers of Somers Point was one of the first to join. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson sent that new navy to fight the “Barbary Kingdoms” of North Africa that were sending “corsairs” to attack, rob and capture Americans.  In 1803, Richard Somers of Somers Point was put in command of an 87 foot warship with a crew of 103 men and sent to North Africa.  Somers served and fought with distinction and was promoted to Master Commandant of a squadron of gunboats.

Learn the details and rest of the story on Sunday, September 4.  Meet us for a brief ceremony, including dramatic readings  at 3pm in the Richard Somers Park by the statue and mural at 801 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ.  Then join us for light refreshments at Sal’s Coal Fired Pizza at 501 New Road, in Somers Point from 4pm to 5pm.  Tickets are $35 each.  Please donate $35 online or send your check payable to Liberty And Prosperity to 453 Shore Road, in Somers Point, NJ  08244.  Thanks.


Richard Somers Park, Statue & Mural, 801 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ 08244

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