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The Life of William Trent

Presented By:
William Trent House Museum

Jason Cherry, a long-time research consultant with the William Trent House Museum, will give a talk on his newest book on William Trent, the son of the man who founded Trenton. His free talk begins at 2 pm on July 20, 2024, both in-person at the Trent House Visitor Center and via Zoom. Beginning at 12:30 before his talk, Jason will sign copies of his book and display items from Trent's life, including the waistcoat the younger Trent had made in London.

The founder of Trenton, William Trent, had five sons. The youngest, also called William, was still a child when his father died suddenly on Christmas Day 1724. After an apprenticeship in Philadelphia, Trent followed in his father’s footsteps as a man of business, trading with Native Americans for furs. But unlike his father he was also a military man, being commissioned by the royal governor of Virginia to assemble a force to defend British trading interests against French competition in Ohio territory. This period of the younger Trent’s life was documented  by Cherry's earlier book, Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost: Captain Trent’s Fort.

​Cherry’s new book, William Trent, Factor of Ambition, is an in-depth account of Trent’s life from his childhood to his death in 1784, documenting his ambitious enterprises, his time as a factor or agent for a powerful land speculating company, and his connections with more well-known Americans, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. This account of a fascinating life during the years leading up to the American Revolution on the American frontier and at the English court also deals with Trent’s relationship with Native Americans, from his role in giving them blankets from smallpox victims during the French and Indian War to his reputation for effective communication in his “frame of speech to the Indians, in their style.”

The Life of William Trent
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