Captain Walker became famous as an abolitionist and slave-liberator after he was seized in 1844 at sea while attempting to bring seven escaped slaves to the Bahamas, a colony of the British Empire, where slavery had been abolished. A Florida court sentenced him to be fined and branded on the hand with the letters “S. S.” for “slave stealer.” Abolitionists raised funds to pay Walker’s substantial fine and to secure his release from prison. After his release, Walker traveled for several years as a popular speaker at abolitionist events, and in 1845 he published a book based on his experiences, his Trial and Imprisonment of Captain Jonathan Walker.

The photograph below portrays Walker later in life; printed on the back of the card mount for the photograph is an outline of Walker’s life.
J. D. Westervelt, Jonathan Walker, cabinet card (circa 1870), collection of Greg French