William T. Grinnell, 1788–1835


Providence, Rhode Island

View objects associated with William T. Grinnell >


William Taylor Grinnell was born in 1788 to Peter Grinnell (1765-1836) and Polly (Andrews) Grinnell of Providence. He was named for his father's cousin and business partner in a looking-glass, frame-making, and ornamental painting business, William Taylor. His paternal grandparents were Aaron Grinnell (born 1728) and Margaret (Taylor) Grinnell (born 1727) of Little Compton. His maternal grandparents were Zephaniah Andrews (1738-1816) and Elizabeth Eddy (1747-1832).

William was active as an ornamental painter and gilder as early at 1807, and in 1809 entered into the partnership of Peter Grinnell and Son with his father. Both William and his father were involved in many different businesses simultaneously, eventually shifting their partnership away from looking glasses to stoves and other manufactured goods. The partnership survived until 1828 when it became Peter Grinnell and Sons, incorporating new partners George Grinnell and William Taylor Grinnell, Jr. That iteration of the firm survived until 1865.(1)

The January 22, 1836 issue of the New Bedford Mercury reported that William T. Grinnell had died in Edinburgh, Scotland "in the 48th year of his age."

1. Betty Ring, "Peter Grinnell and Son: Merchant-Craftsman of Providence, Rhode Island," Antiques 117 no. 1 (January 1980): 212-219.