James Forten became one of the wealthiest buisinessmen in the city of Philadelphia during the 1800's. He devoted his time and money toward efforts to abolish slavery and gain civil rights for blacks. Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia P.A. At the age of 14 while serving on the privateer Royal Louis, the ship was captured by British forces. Forten became a prisoner of war but was exchanged 7 months later on parole. Forten returned to Philadelphia in 1786 where he became apprenticed to sail-maker Robert Bridges. After Bridges' retirement, Forten bought his loft. By 1810 Forten was one of the most successful sail-makers in Philadelphia. In 1814 Forten enlisted 2500 African-American volunteers to protect Philadelphia during the war of 1812. James Forten died on March 4, 1842 in Philadelphia, PA.