Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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O'BRIEN, Richard, seaman, born in Maine in 1758" died in Washington, D. C., 14 February, 1824. He embraced a seafaring life, became a skilful navigator, and during the Revolution engaged in privateering, and was lieutenant of the brig "Jefferson" in 1781. After the war he entered the regular naval service of the United States, but in 1785 was captured, and for a long time was held in servitude by the dey of Algiers. For seven years he carried a ball and chain, but an act of kindness to his master's daughter secured his deliverance from the harsher forms of slavery, he performed various useful offices for the dey, conformed outwardly to the Mohammedan religion, and was treated with increasing leniency and respect. He wrote to Thomas Jefferson, then secretary of state, who secured his emancipation, and in 1797 appointed him a diplomatic agent of the United States. He assisted Commander Edward Preble in his negotiations with Tripoli, then returned to the United States in 1804, made Philadelphia his residence, and followed the sea till 1810, when he settled on a farm near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and afterward was a member of the legislature.--His grandson, John Paul Jones, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1817; died in Indianola, Texas, 31 March, 1850, was Graduated at the United States military academy in 1836, and attached to the 2d artillery. He served in 1836-'8 in the Florida war, was promoted 1st lieutenant on 7 July, 1838, took part in the military occupation of Texas and in the march through Chihuahua, served during the Mexican war in the quartermaster's department with the rank of captain, was brevetted major for gallantry at Buena Vista, where he was wounded, and was made captain by regular promotion on 16 May, 1849. He was the author of a treatise on "American Military Laws and the Practice of Courts-Martial, with Suggestions for their Improvement" (New York, 1856).
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