Pacheco, Rodrigo Benjamin Mendes

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PACHECO, RODRIGO BENJAMIN MENDES (d. 1749), early U.S. merchant. Pacheco, whose place of birth is unknown, went to New York City early in his career and was made freeman of the city in 1712. Increasingly prominent as his mercantile business flourished, Pacheco petitioned the authorities in 1728 with others for the right to purchase land for a Jewish cemetery. He was instrumental in the erection of the Shearith Israel synagogue on Mill Street, in 1729–30. In 1731 Pacheco was appointed colonial agent for the province. Around 1740 he did a brisk business in shipping supplies to the new colony of Georgia, where his contact was the Nunezes family. A more extensive enterprise was carried on there by a competitor, Jacob *Franks, who, unlike Pacheco, was Ashkenazi. In the wake of a bitter legal entanglement over his business affairs, Pacheco settled permanently in London in 1731.


J.R. Marcus, Early American Jewry, 1 (1951), 158; 2 (1953), 293; L. Hershkowitz and I.S. Meyer (eds.), Lee Max Friedman Collection of American Colonial Correspondence (1968); M. Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent (1960).

[Leo Hershkowitz]