Joseph Cotton (mariner)

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Joseph Cotton (1746-1825) (William Ward, 1808)

Joseph Cotton FRS (7 March 1745 or 1746 – 26 January 1825), was an English mariner and merchant, a director of the East India Company and deputy-master of Trinity House.

Cotton was born at St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, the third son[1] of Dr. Nathaniel Cotton. He entered the Royal Navy in 1760 and passed the examination for lieutenant, but left the navy and joined the East India Company.

He made a fortune from two voyages as captain of the Royal Charlotte,[2] an East Indiaman. He then retired and lived the rest of his life in Leyton, Essex, living at Leyton House from 1789 to 1803,[3] and in Walnut Tree House (today Essex Hall) beginning in 1813.[4]

In 1788, he was elected an "elder brother" of Trinity House, and in 1803 became deputy-master, holding the latter post for about twenty years. He published a memoir about the origin of Trinity House in 1818. [5]

He was a director of the East India Company from 1795 to 1823; he was also a director of the East India Docks Company (chairman in 1803), and a governor of the London Assurance Corporation, and the English Copper Company.

He attempted to introduce ramie, a fibre plant, for use in manufacturing, and was awarded a silver medal for this in 1814 by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures; however, the fibre found little commercial usage.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1810.

He died in Leyton in 1825 and was buried at the local parish church.

Family[edit]

He married Sarah Harrison in 1779, and they had 10 children, including William Cotton (a governor of the Bank of England).[2]

He was also grandfather of Henry Cotton (appeals court judge), William Charles Cotton (apiarist) and William Cotton Oswell (explorer); and the great-grandfather of Henry John Stedman Cotton (civil servant in India).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nathaniel Cotton 1705 - 1788". Halhed genealogy & family trees. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b Oswell, William Edward (1900). William Cotton Oswell, Hunter and Explorer, p. 1. London, U.K.: Heinemann. 
  3. ^ David Ian Chapman (2007). "Leyton House and the Walthamstow Slip" (PDF). Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Walnut Tree House". The Shady Old Lady's Guide to London. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  5. ^ Cotton, Joseph (1818). Memoir on the Origin and Incorporation of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond. London, U.K.: J. Darling. 

 "Cotton, Joseph". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.