American navy officer Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Noah Whipple, Jr., and Mary Dexter. He went to sea at an early age, working for West Indian traders, including Nicholas Brown and Company. From 1759 to 1760 he commanded the privateer Game Cock and grew wealthy from capturing many French ships in the Atlantic.
A committed revolutionary, Whipple lead a group of 50 Rhode Island patriots to attack and burn the British schooner Gaspée , which had run aground near Pawtucket in 1772. In 1775, Whipple took command of a small fleet commissioned by Rhode Island to protect the state's ports. When the Continental Congress established a navy, he was commissioned navy captain and his ship Katy was renamed Providence . Still in command of the frigate Providence in 1778, Whipple sailed to France to acquire arms and supplies for the American forces. The following year, he captured the British Jamaica fleet that was sailing off the coast of Newfoundland. The prize proved to be one of the richest of the Revolutionary War. He was taken prisoner in the siege of Charleston on May 12, 1780, and held at Chester, Pennsylvania, for the remainder of the war.
In 1761, Whipple married Sarah Hopkins, daughter of Captain John Hopkins and Catherine Templin. They had three children, John, Catherine, and Mary Jane (Polly]. Whipple and his family moved to the Ohio frontier in 1788, and helped found the town of Marietta. He established a farm in Marietta, but in 1813 retired to live with his daughter Catherine. He died in 1819.