Rufus Whitaker, 1741 - before 1788




Warren, Rhode Island


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 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)


1. Vital Records of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 1642-1896,

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

3. Cromwell Childs and Caleb Childs v. Rufus Whitaker, July, 1771. Bristol County Court of Common Pleas vol. 1, 528. Rhode Island Judicial Record Center, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

4. Simeon Potter Cockrum v. Rufus Whitaker, July, 1771. Bristol County Court of Common Pleas vol. 2, 534.

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