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Rare 1762 Aaron Lopez Signed Document At Newport, RI

AARON LOPEZ (1731-1782). Historic Colonial and Revolutionary War Era Jewish American Patriot, Merchant, Slave Trader, Newport, Rhode Island.

This lot is an original Trio of Manuscript Receipt Documents. They are well written and easily readable, individually dated 1762, 1763 and 1783 at Newport, Rhode Island, each Very Fine. One is from Merchant Aaron Lopez, who has fully handwritten and Signed within the text on the invoice dated 1762, an invoice being for goods sold to a John Gorton. This Document is 3" x 5" and entirely in the hand of Lopez. The other two receipt documents, dated 1763 and 1783, are not in the hand of Lopez and are from to other merchants to John Gorton, having nothing at all to do with Lopez, but is still a listing a goods including blades, razors and other goods. (3 items).



Additional Information:

Aaron Lopez was born in Portugal in 1731. His family was Jewish, but outwardly professed Christianity because of the continuous persecutions of the Inquisition, and he was baptized under the name of Duarte Lopez. Between 1748 and 1750, most of the Aaron's family settled in Newport, Rhode Island, known for religious tolerance. Aaron, his wife and his daughter joined them in 1752.

Over the next twenty years, Aaron was a major force in making Newport both the leading Jewish community in America, and also the second-largest mercantile port (after New York City). He was instrumental in founding the Touro Synagogue, the first in the colonies. He was also a pioneer in the spermaceti industry, and engaged in a wide variety of mercantile activities, including the slave trade.

Lopez's business was ruined by the American Revolution. Along with many Newport merchants, Lopez had somewhat of a reputation for Tory leanings. His merchant ships were preyed upon by both sides in the conflict. Furthermore, the British occupation of the town and the general devastation of the war finished Newport as a leading port city. During much of the war, Lopez lived in Leicester, near Worcester, Massachusetts. After the British had been driven from Newport in 1782, Lopez set out to help rebuild his home city, but never made it back; he drowned in a pond while tending to his horse.

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