Americans Of Jewish Descent
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Jacob Rodrigues de Rivera

Jacob Rodrigues de Rivera[1]

Male 1717 - 1789  (72 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Jacob Rodrigues de Rivera  [2, 3, 4, 5
    Born 1717  Spain or Portugal Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 5, 6, 7
    Gender Male 
    Naturalized 21 Jan 1746  New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Property 1759  Newport, Newport, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • In trust for the Newport congregation he helped to acquire the land on Griffin Street (now Touro Street) for a synagogue.
    Residence Abt 1776  Leicester, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    moved from Newport during the American Revolution 
    Buried 1789  Colonial Jewish Burial Ground, Newport, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 18 Feb 1789  Newport, Newport, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 5, 6, 9, 10
    alt death 19 Feb 1789  Newport, Newport, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Alt. Birth Portugal Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Obituary 21 Feb 1789  Providence, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  [11
    Providence Gazette 
    Reference Number 2026 
    Person ID I2026  aojd
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2011 

    Mother Sarah,   d. 17 Aug 1727, New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F748  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • =============================================== AARON LOPEZ, JACOB RODRIGUEZ RIVERA and OTHERS. Manuscript LS: "Aaron Lopez", "Jacob Rod. Rivera", "Haye Z. Polock" and "Nathel Hathaway", 2p, 7¼x11¾. Newport, 1768 June 13. To Capt. Nathaniel Hathaway, Master of the Brig The Hope, ordering him to "Entrain the first fair Wind & proceed with her for the port of Surinam...Deliver the part of your Cargoe, which is Consigned to Capt. Joseph Dean...If Capt Dean cannot procure Sufficient Molasses to Load the Brig in the above limited time...the remainder you are to procure us Good Bills of Exch...." Newport, Rhode Island, founded in May 1639, was an important colonial seaport and haven for religious freedom after the settlement of Roger Williams in Providence. The first Jews settled there in 1658 and in 1763 the Touro Synagogue, the first in the United States, was established. These attributes attracted AARON LOPEZ (1731-1782), a Jew who left Portugal after its great earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. He became a wealthy merchant and leader in the Jewish community. At the beginning of the Revolution, Lopez owned 27 square-rigged vessels engaged in the European and West Indian trade and in whale-fisheries. This trade extended as far as Africa and the Falkland Islands. Lopez lent money to the American government during the Revolutionary War and had evacuated Newport along with other Jews during it. He drowned on his return to Newport when his horse bolted while drinking at a pond. JACOB RODRIGUES RIVERA (1717-1789) introduced into America the manufacture of sperm oil, which soon became one of Newport's leading industries. Newport had seventeen manufactories of oil and candles and enjoyed a practical monopoly of this trade up to the American Revolution. His nephew by marriage was Aaron Lopez, who later married his daughter. Folds, slightly shaded and creased. Fine condition.

      Jacob Rodrigues Rivera:
      Merchant; born about 1717; died at Newport Feb. 18, 1789; son of Abraham Rodrigues. He accompanied his father to New York when a mere child. Entering upon a mercantile career, he went to Curaçao, where he married into the Pimentel family. With his wife he returned to New York, where was born his daughter Sarah, who subsequently married Aaron Lopez. Rivera was naturalized in New York in 1746, removing to Newport about 1748, where he soon became one of the leading merchants. He introduced the sperm-oil industry in America, which soon became one of the principal sources of Newport's prosperity. Jacob owned extensive spermaceti factories, and was a large importer of manufactured goods. He was a public-spirited citizen, and his name figures in connection with the Red-wood Library as early as 1758; he appears as one of the organizers of a Hebrew club at Newport in 1761. An observant Jew, he was one of the three who, in 1759, purchased the land upon which the Newport synagogue was erected. Owing to reverses, he was obliged to compromise with his creditors so as to obtain a release from his debts. Later on, however, he again prospered, and a story is told of his inviting his creditors to dine with him, when each creditor found under his plate the amount of his claim, with interest. In 1773 he was named one of the trustees of the Jewish cemetery at Savannah, Ga. Both he and his wife appear in the diary of Ezra Stiles. When the Revolution broke out, Rivera espoused the Colonial cause, and was among those who, in 1777, removed to Leicester, Mass., where he remained until 1782. His stay there is referred to by Emory Washburn in his history of the place. He finally returned to Newport, where his integrity and benevolence were universally esteemed. Jacob's fortune at the time of his death exceeded $100,000. The monument over his grave in the old cemetery at Newport may still be seen. His son Abraham died in New York, leaving an only son, named Aaron Rivera, who settled in Wilmington.
    • (Research):AJLLJ Portraits Database 5 Aug 2011

      Jacob Rodriguez Rivera, a member of a converso family from Seville, Spain arrived in Newport in 1748, after some time spent in Curacao where he had married Hannah Pimental Sasportas. Naturalized, like his father, Abraham, in New York, Rivera was able to participate in the Atlantic shipping and bustling trade coming through Newport, unfettered by Rhode Island's restrictions on Jews.
           Rivera was to become the second wealthiest and most powerful man in Newport's Jewish community, surpassed only by his cousin Aaron Lopez, who became his son-in-law as well after marrying Rivera's daughter Sarah.
           Rivera was responsible for the introduction of spermaceti candle making in the area and founded the United Company of Spermaceti Candlers, created to control cost and distribution.
           A leader of Newport's Jewish community, Rivera, acting in trust for congregation Jeshuat Israel, acquired the land for the synagogue. He would also donate, in conjunction with Lopez, ten thousand feet of lumber for construction at Rhode Island College, now Brown University. [12]

  • Sources 
    1. [S285] .

    2. [S4] PG. 175 LOPEZ I (1) (RIVERA, NEWPORT RI) (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S76] FAMILY GROUP SHEET #1 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S328] CHAPTER: "THE NEWPORT HEBREWS" PGS. 53-69 (Reliability: 3).


    6. [S76] FAMILY GROUP SHEET #7 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S76] FAMILY GROUP SHEET #8 (Reliability: 3).

    8. [S75] JACOB RODRIGUEZ DE RIVERA (Reliability: 3).

    9. [S336] PG. 1 (Reliability: 3).

    10. [S335] (Reliability: 3).

    11. [S286] VOLUME 14, P. 227 (Reliability: 3).
      Jacob Rodrigues de Rivera of the Jewish nation at Newport at an advanced age.

    12. [S294] RIVERA, JACOB RODRIGUEZ (Reliability: 3).