Joseph Nightingale (1748-1797)

Col. Joseph Nightingale, Shipping & Slave Merchant, of Providence, R.I,

Associated Houses

Nightingale–Brown House


He fought at the Battle of Rhode Island (1778) under General Sullivan and was Colonel of the Rhode Island Militia. He was one of the leading merchants in Providence and a partner in the firm of Clark & Nightingale, slave-traders, that by the time of his death were at the peak of their power and influence. He and the Nightingale family engaged in what was termed the 'Triangular Trade': the first leg took their distilled rum from Providence to the slave markets of East Africa. The second leg saw molasses exchanged for slaves in the Caribbean islands or the Southern States. The last leg took them back to New England where if they had any remaining slaves they sold them at smaller ports such as Rehobeth, Westport and Taunton, Massachusetts. He was the father of four children and built the Nightingale-Brown House on Benefit Street.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 04/11/2018 and last updated on 19/08/2022.