Yarrow Mamout (ca. 1736-1823) was a member of Georgetown's pre-Emancipation free black community and a lifelong Muslim. Yarrow (Mamout was his first name) was born and educated in Guinea, West Africa. At about age 14 he was captured by slave traders and shipped to the United States, where Samuel Beall of Maryland purchased him. Beall bequeathed Yarrow to his son, Brooke Beall, who had Yarrow make bricks for a house he was building in Georgetown. After Brooke Beall's death his widow freed Yarrow in 1796. Yarrow saved the money he earned as a laborer and after four years was able to purchase a house and other property in Georgetown. He also invested in the Columbia Bank, one of Georgetown's first banks.

Yarrow, who followed the Muslim faith at a time when few Americans did, was immortalized by two white artists near the end of his life. Charles Willson Peale painted Yarrow's portrait in 1819 and recorded information about Yarrow in his diary. That portrait is held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A second portrait, by Georgetown resident James Alexander Simpson (1822), is owned by the DC Public Library.

Recent research shows that Yarrow probably was of Fulani heritage (in which the name Yaro still is used) and was literate in Arabic.

Yarrow was buried in his yard; research is ongoing into whether his remains are still there and whether any part of the house at 3324 could have been Yarrow's.


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