Robert Brattle, 1737–1809


cabinetmaker; ship carpenter, boatbuilder, yeoman


Newport, Rhode Island, South Kingstown, Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island


Robert Brattle (Brattell) was born in Newport in 1737.(1) In 1761 he was identified as a ship carpenter in Newport when he sued cooper Thomas Brooks in the Court of Common Pleas.(2) In January, 1763 he married Susannah Peirce (1744-1815) of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Peirce.(3)

Brattle was called a ship carpenter or boatbuilder throughout the next two decades. It is possible, however, that he was engaged more broadly as a woodworker for his customers. In 1785, he was called a yeoman and cabinetmaker when he successfully sued Providence cabinetmaker Daniel Spencer and recovered five pounds eighteen shillings five pence.(4)

In 1786, the Rhode Island General Assembly granted Brattle twenty one pounds fourteen shillings in payment for making a boat used at Fort Washington.(5)

In 1794, Brattle was called a Newport gentleman when he purchased two tracts of land in South Kingstown from yeoman Samuel Gardner.(6) In 1797 Thomas B. Hazard was called in to adjudicate a dispute involving Brattle. Hazard recorded in a diary entry of August 17 that, "Went to Little Rest to Arbetrate with Samuel J Potter and James Knowles a dispute between John Gardner Formally of Boston Neck and Robert Brattle. we heard the arguments on both sides and agreed to meet to morrow morning to give Judgment. He records the next day that, "I went to Little Rest to Finish the arbetration Between John Gardner and Robert Brattle and we Finished it accordinly."(7)

In 1801 Brattle again purchased land in South Kingstown, this time from yeomen Samuel J. and Henry Potter. He is called a Providence yeoman in the related deed.(8)

Brattle resided in Providence at the time of his 1809 death. He was 73 years old. His wife Susannah died in 1815 at Pawtucket.(9)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, Elder John Gorton and the Six Principle Baptist Church of East Greenwich, R.I., (Hope, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2001), 216.

2. Robert Brattle v. Thomas Brooks, November, 1761. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Newport County, Record Book, vol. F, p. 527. Judicial Archives Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

3. Susannah's maiden name is alternately spelled Pierce, Pearce, and Pearse. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636- 1850,

4. Robert Brattle v. Daniel Spencer, June, 1785. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Providence County, Record Book, vol. 7, p. 700, Judicial Archives Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

5. John Russell Bartlett, ed., Records of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, vol. 10 1784-1792 (Providence: Providence Press Company, 1865), 153-154.

6. Samuel Gardiner to Robert Brattle, deed, February 1, 1794, South Kingstown Land Evidence, vol. 8, pp. 641-642, South Kingstown Town Hall, Wakefield, R.I.

7. Thomas B. Hazard, Nailer Tom's Diary, Caroline Hazard, ed. (Boston: The Merrymount Press, 1930), 202.

8. Samuel J. Potter and Henry Potter to Robert Brattle, deed, December 1, 1801, South Kingstown Land Evidence, vol. 9, pp. 694-695, South Kingstown Town Hall, Wakefield, R.I. .

9. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636-1850,