Nathaniel Frothingham, 1734–1803


cabinetmaker; chaisemaker


Providence, Rhode Island


Nathaniel Frothingham was born in 1734 or 1735. He lived in Providence by 1766 when he witnessed a deed between blacksmith Samuel Ingraham and housewright Ephraim Peabody.(1)

In May, 1767, he married Barbara Wells, widow of Arnold Wells of Warwick, Rhode Island.(2) Several months later, Nathaniel and Barbara sold some of Barbara's land in Warwick, presumably land Barbara inherited in her previous husband's will. In this deed, Nathaniel was identified as a chaise maker, or carriage maker, of Providence.(3)

In 1787, Nathaniel billed the Reverend Enos Hitchcock for making one "weel barrow" and one "Twilight table." The latter is possibly a corrupted spelling of "toilet" table.(4)

When Frothingham died in Providence in 1803, it was reported that it was the result, Of a lingering illness, on Sunday last, Mr. Nathaniel Frothingham, of this town, in the 68th year of his age. He sustained through a long life the relative duties of the husband, the father, and the good man, to the end.-Christianity has lost an humble, though sincere believer, and society a worthy member.(5)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

Samuel Ingraham to Ephraim Peabody, deed. April 1, 1766, Providence Deeds, vol. 17, p. 473, Providence City Hall, R.I.

Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636-1850.

3. Nathaniel Frothingham and his wife Barbara to James Carder, deed, August 13, 1767, Warwick Deeds, vol. 10, p. 80,Warwick City Hall, R.I.

4. Joseph K. Ott, "Still More Notes on Rhode Island Cabinetmakers and Allied Craftsmen," Rhode Island History 28:4 (Fall 1969): 117.

5. The Providence Gazette, "Died," August 13, 1803,