Newport Slave Traders: A List
The Newport merchants who trafficked in human cargo were among the town’s richest residents.
Of the 135 taxpayers assessed in 1772 at 2 pounds or more, nearly half of the top 50 taxpayers were also slave merchants. Six were former slave captains, seven ran distilleries and 19 were major importers of molasses and rum. A dozen years earlier the list included the town’s early slave merchants, including Godfrey Malbone, William Ellery, David Cheseborough and Abraham Redwood.
|Joseph & William Wanton*||2||6|
|Jacob R. Rivera||6||12|
|Samuel & William Vernon||14||10|
Sources: Elaine Forman Crane, A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era; Jay Coughtry, The Notorious Triangle, Rhode Island and the African Slave Trade, 1700-1807
Paul Davis is a former staff writer for The Providence Journal.