Edward Carrington (1775-1843) was born in New Haven, Connecticut. As a young man, he came to Providence, R.I., where he worked as a clerk and supercargo for local merchants Seth Wheaton, Samuel Butler, and Richard Jackson. He resided in Canton, China from 1802 to 1810, serving as American Consul, acting as an agent for other American merchants, and amassing a considerable fortune by trading on his own behalf. The collection documents his mercantile and shipping activities in China, South America and Europe during 1802-1857. It also documents his other business enterprises in the textile industry in Rhode Island with the Hamlet Mill and Manufacturing Company, 1834-1860 and the Blackstone Canal Company, 1823-1831. The collection also contains the personal papers of Edward Carrington, his son Edward II, and Edward II's wife Candace (Dorr) Carrington.
James Brown II (1698-1739) was born in Providence. His father was Elder James Brown (1666-1716), a pastor on the First Baptist Church; his mother was Mary (Harris) Brown. James II established himself early in the mercantile business, trading in rum, molasses, slaves and less controversial wares.
John Brown (1736-1803) was born in Providence, R.I., the fourth son of merchant James Brown II (1698-1739) and Hope (Power) Brown (1702-1792). He began his working life in partnership with his three brothers (Nicholas, Joseph and Moses) and his uncle as Obadiah Brown & Co., a mercantile firm that traded in rum, slaves, molasses and other goods. The firm was renamed Nicholas Brown & Co. after the death of Obadiah in 1762.
Obadiah Brown I (1712-1762) was born in Providence. His father was Elder James Brown (1666-1716), a pastor on the First Baptist Church; his mother was Mary (Harris) Brown. Upon reaching adulthood, Obadiah joined his older brother James Brown II (1698-1739) in the mercantile trade, which included traffic in cocoa, rum, molasses and slaves.