Tag Archives: Godfrey Malbone Jr

An Arduous Life of Godfrey Malbone, Jr


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An established estate of Godfrey Malbone

The life of Godfrey Malbone Jr. was delineated in his familial relationships, personal businesses, early life in Newport and his following achievements to his society. A complete description of his autobiographical experiences provides an intricate sketch of his temperament, which also reflects the historical background of America around that period. As I comprehend deeper and analyze through Malbone’s experiences during the American Revolutionary War, his personality was thoroughly ingrained and understood in that painstaking era.

Godfrey Malbone Jr. was born on September 3, 1724, in Newport, Rhode Island, who was the descendant of Peter Malbone of Virginia. His father, Godfrey Malbone Sr., purchased 3000 acres of lands in the towns of Pomfret and Brooklyn, Connecticut, while he gradually became the wealthiest man in Newport through his involvement in privateering and the triangle trade. During the American Revolutionary War, his father’s mortgaged land was impounded by the state of Connecticut, for the reason of his inclinations to the loyalists. In his later life, he accomplished the feat of the construction of Trinity Church with the establishment of an original Malbone Estate. The construction materials utilized the deposits of brown sandstone from his land holdings, which are durable and easier to laminate than slate or granite. Eventually, he died on November 12, 1785, and is buried in his old Trinity Cemetery.

All in all, Godfrey Malbone’s personal experiences and the in-depth historical backgrounds behind his life reflect both a zeitgeist and a painstaking “conception” of an individual’s life. For my next research, I will delve into the specifics of the Malbone Estate, to understand more historical backgrounds of him that are related to his entrepreneurship.


  1. http://www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss549.htm
  2. http://library.brown.edu/riamco/xml2pdffiles/US-RNR-ms551.pdf
  3. http://newporthistory.org/2012/history-bytes-godfrey-malbone-and-brownstone/
  4. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=58261655
  5. Photo Credit:  By Ssaco – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27607738

Godfrey Malbone Jr Loyalist

My English language skills class is researching freedom and slavery around 1774 in our local area, Pomfret, Connecticut.  Can we find out who were patriots and who had loyalist sympathies?  We started by trying to identify patriots and loyalists in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

My topic is Godfrey Malbone Jr, who lived in Pomfret/Brooklyn, CT from 1766 to 1785 when he died. He is buried there in the church, Old Trinity Episcopal, which he built in 1770-1771. In my research, I found that his father, Godfrey Malbone Sr. (1695-1768), was born in Virginia and relocated to Newport RI around 1700 when Godfrey Jr would have been about 5 years old.  Godfrey Malbone Sr owned merchant ships and was famous for being a part of triangle trades and for slaver trading, which made him the wealthiest man in Newport, Rhode Island.  He built the Malbone Hall in Newport, which was “considered the most splendid edifice,” but it burned in 1766, which is one of the reasons why Godfrey Malbone Jr moved to Pomfret, CT.  Another reason is that as a loyalist, he “suffered greatly from Newport mobs” and privateers, so he escaped to the “forest and meadow land” of Pomfret, CT.


One of Malbone’s homes in  Brooklyn

With his wealth, Godfrey Malbone Sr had bought land in Pomfret/Brooklyn, Connecticut in 1739. The land was transferred to his son, Godfrey Malbone Jr, in 1764. The deed shows that the farm had 3000 acres, “80 cows, 45 oxen, 30 steers, 59 young cattle, six horses, 600 sheep, 180 goats, 150 hogs and 27 Negroes, in that order.” Until recently, researchers thought Godfrey Malbone Jr was the largest slave owner in CT at the time.  However, archeologist Gerald Sawyer from Central Connecticut State University has found a plantation with slaves owned by Samuel Browne in Salem, CT, which operated from 1718 until about 1780. Samuel Browne had 4000 acres and 60 slave families. My next research step is to find out more about Samuel Browne and the plantation in Salem, CT.


Griggs, Susan J. Early Homesteads of Pomfret and Hampton. Abington, CT., 1950.

Lang, Joel.  “Chapter One: The Plantation Next Door.” Hartford Courant 29 September 2002. Web 6 April 2017. http://www.courant.com/news/special-reports/hc-plantation.artsep29-story.html



Photo Credit  http://www.putnamelms.org/