William Engs, worked 1782 - 1804


formerly identified as a cabinetmaker


Newport, Rhode Island

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Though William Engs has been connected with the Rhode Island cabinetmaking craft and trade, his role was more likely that of a merchant than that of a maker.

In 1782, the cabinetmaking firm of Goddard and Engs announced their services, advertising, Goddard and Engs, CABINET-MAKERS, from Newport, At their Shop, on the Wharff of Mr. Moses Brown, a little below Messieurs Tillinghast and Holroyd's, near the Baptist Meeting-House, HAVE ready finished for Sale several Articles of Mahogany Household FURNITURE, such as Chairs, Tables, &c. &c.-Any Kind of Cabinet-Makers Work may be had at said Shop, on the shortest Notice, performed in a neat and workmanlike Manner.(1)

In 1969, Joseph Ott identified the Engs of this partnership as George Engs, son of William.(2)

In 1999, Wendy Cooper and Tara Gleason hypothesized that this partnership was comprised of Townsend Goddard and William Engs, based largely on the fact that William served as commissioner for the estate of Townsend's father John Goddard in 1786.(3) Father or son both remain viable as possible partners in the firm, though given the plethora of information identifying William Engs as a merchant in Newport, it seems unlikely that he was ever a cabinetmaker in Providence.

Benjamin W. Colman

1. The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, "Goddard and Engs, Cabinet-Makers," June 15, 1782, http://infoweb.newsbank.com.

2. Joseph K. Ott, "Recent Discoveries Among Rhode Island Cabinetmakers and Their Work," Rhode Island History 28 no. 1 (1969): 20

3. Wendy A Cooper and Tara L Gleason, "A Different Rhode Island Block-and-Shell Story: Providence Provenances and Pitch-Pediments," American Furniture (1999): 202.