Rufus Whitaker, 1741 - before 1788


Occupation

cabinetmaker

Location

Warren, Rhode Island

Biography

Rufus Whitaker was possibly born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, on July 24, 1741.(1) In November 1763 he married Deborah Cockran (Cochran) in Providence.(2)

Though he would have completed his apprenticeship around the time of his marriage, he is not identified as a cabinetmaker in surviving Rhode Island records until 1771. In July of that year, he was sued successfully by Warren, Rhode Island merchant Cromwell and Caleb Childs in the Bristol County Inferior Court of Common Pleas for failing to pay a twenty pound debt. Court records identify him as a cabinetmaker in Warren.(3) Simeon Potter Cockrum (Cochran), a mariner of Bristol, sued Whitaker in the same court session to recover eight pounds fourteen shillings. He was identified as a Warren "shop joyner" in that suit.(4)

Rufus Whitaker was dead by January 1788, when the inventory of his widow was taken, including his tools and furniture-making patterns.(5)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. Vital Records of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 1642-1896, http://www.NewEnglandAncestors.org

2. Vital Record of Rhode, Island, 1636-1850, http://www.NewEnglandAncestors.org.

3. Cromwell Childs and Caleb Childs v. Rufus Whitaker, July, 1771. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Bristol County, Record Book, vol. 1, p. 528, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

4. Simeon Potter Cockrum v. Rufus Whitaker, July, 1771. Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Bristol County, Record Book, vol. 2, 534, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

5. Deborah Whitaker estate inventory, William T. Miller administrator, January 7, 1788, Warren Probate, vol. 2, pp. 4-7, Warren Town Hall, R.I.