Roper Surname: African-American Ancestry
I have worked on the Roper family history in the United States and England for over thirty-five years. I have concentrated mainly on European ancestry. However, I am seeking Roper data for all ethnic ancestries. I have included all listed as "black" or "mulatto" in the 1880 US census in my huge Roper file. If you are looking for such a person, contact me to ask me to search for names (give dates and places).
Henry Roper of Orange/Caswell County North Carolina owned slaves. One of Henry's sons, Moses Roper was born about 1815 to Nancy; a slave of Henry's. Moses escaped from slavery about 16 times and finally ended up in England in 1835. Moses became quite famous in England because he escaped slavery and wrote a book about his life , which is very explicit about the torture methods used by many slave holders. (Several universities use Moses' book in African-American studies courses.). You can purchase the book at a very low price at
See .
A picture of Moses
A picture of Moses' father, Henry H. Roper and his second wife, Mary Ann Elmore
A short biography of Moses
A Chronology of Moses' Life
Flyer advertising a speech to be given by runaway Moses Roper
Moses' speeches in England
Moses Roper-Ann Stephen Price marriage certificate in England
I found this at the Society of Genealogist library at 14 Charterhouse Buildings in London, England. Robert Preston Dye has found that Moses lived on Sheaf St., Daventry on 9 May 1844.
Marriage certificate of Youhannah El Kârey and Alice Maude Mary Roper, daughter of Moses Roper.
Census record of 1861 with Moses Roper in West Barnwell, Cambridge, England.
Search on "Moses Roper" or "Roper, Moses" on
There are many interesting articles.
Contact if you want a descendants list or a gedcom file of Moses Roper's descendants or ancestors
Since Moses is my distant cousin, I am very interested in learning more about him, particularly about his descendants. He married an English woman, Ann Stephen Price, and had at least one child in England. He moved to western Canada from England about 1844. If you are a descendant of Moses or have information about him, please contact me (E-mail: and tell me all you know about him.
In 2006 I communicated with a descendant of Moses who lives in New Zealand. From data she gave me I learned that one of his daughters, Alice Maud Mary Roper or Mary Alice Roper married in Wales an Egyptian, Youhannah El Karey, a Baptist missionary in Palestine. Here is a book about him: That Goodly Mountain and Lebanon: Being the narrative of a ride through the countries of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee into Syria, in the month of August, 1872 in the company of Youhannah El Karey of Nablus by Thomas Jenner. It can be purchased on
James Cleo Smith, Jr. of Richmond VA (E-mail: and I are working together to learn more about Moses. We think that James is descended from one of Moses' half brothers. James has some pictures that Moses gave to his family:
View a picture of Moses
(The same picture as in Moses' book and available above, except in a frame.)
View a painting of "Good vs. Evil" that Moses sent to the Smiths from England.
I am also interested in learning about the ancestry of other African-American persons who have the Roper surname. Since my computer already serves as the international repository for European Roper data, I would be glad to make it the repository for African-American Roper family data, if no one is already doing such. If you have African-American Roper family data, please contact me at: E-mail:
I recommend an excellent book Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball, Ballantine Books, 1999. It contains some information about some Ropers who are descendants of slaves.
Altavista search for "Slaves in the Family" listing for "Slaves in the Family"

Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray studies african-american slaves who toured Britain giving talks about slavery in the US.

An exhibit about Moses Roper was at Apalachicola Florida in 2021.
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