New York Times best-selling author Thomas Barbusca and her husband, James Jefferson, both slaves, were not wealthy.
In 1816, the two were among more than a dozen people who were enslaved by the Barbary pirates who later became known as the American West.
Barbuska was a seamstress and Jefferson a bricklayer.
Both had a life of hardship and desperation, but they both had something in common: They were born slaves.
Barbuska became an entrepreneur in the early 19th century, founding a small firm in Brooklyn and eventually opening her own shop.
She owned a large plantation in Virginia and built a lucrative trading empire in the New World, even becoming a principal investor in the Barbados Company, a slave-owned shipping company.
Barbary pirates often used the company as a means to extract slaves for the sale of tobacco and other goods.
The company’s founder, Thomas Bangalter, later sold slaves in Barbados and was captured by Barbary forces in 1814.
Barbella later worked with Bangalter’s son, Thomas Jefferson, who became president of the company.
Barbella’s business career was not over.
Barbuza’s father, the late Thomas Jefferson’s grandson, was killed in a duel in 1819.
Jefferson later moved to Washington and Barbuas estate was purchased by his nephew, George Washington Barbuasca, who built his fortune in real estate and the banking business.
Barbuasca’s family continued to hold on to the Barbaries property until it was purchased in 1926.
Barbuyas estate became one of the largest and most influential in the U.S. BarBuas daughter, Elizabeth Barbuasa, was born into a slave family in Barbary in 1834.
Elizabeth Barbuyasa became the first African-Americans to serve in the Senate.
Barbuyas daughter became the widow of a slave.
In 1860, she and two other female descendants of the Barbareos sold their possessions in Barbaries village to pay for their freedom.
The descendants donated the land to the United States.
BarBuas eldest son, William Barbuaka, became the wealthiest man in America in 1883.
Bar Buas business was successful enough to secure the appointment of William Barbuy as president of Congress.
Bar Buas family continued owning the Barbades plantation.
After his death in 1904, the family estate was sold to a group of American families.
The estate became part of the Smithsonian Institution and has remained a museum ever since.
Baruas grandson, Thomas Barbuascu, died in 2008.
He is widely believed to have bought the Barbas plantation.