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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Quince, Parker

by Alan D. Watson, 1994; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, January 2023

12 Dec. 1743–1785

Parker Quince, merchant, was the second son of Richard Quince and his wife, Mary. Richard emigrated from Ramsgate, England, to the Cape Fear about 1740, and became one of the leading merchants of Brunswick. He was justice of the peace of Brunswick County, churchwarden and vestryman of St. Philip's Parish, commissioner of the town of Brunswick, commissioner of pilotage for the Cape Fear River, and member of the safety committees of Brunswick County and the Wilmington District. He refused an appointment as judge of the Admiralty Court at Brunswick for the state of North Carolina. Richard Quince, Jr., and John Quince, brothers of Parker, were also active in public affairs. Richard, Jr., a merchant in Brunswick, was a justice of the peace for Brunswick County, served on the Brunswick County safety committee, and was first major in the Brunswick County Regiment at the outset of the Revolution. John Quince, merchant in Wilmington, was coroner and justice of the peace of New Hanover County, town commissioner of Wilmington, and member of the Wilmington safety committee.

Parker Quince first engaged in the mercantile trade in partnership with his father and brothers as Richard Quince and Sons and later with his brother Richard and with former Bostonian William Hill (1737–83), whose family also came from Ramsgate. His business was based in Brunswick until the onset of the Revolution, when the devastation of that town forced him to move his operations to Wilmington. Although appointed a justice of the peace for Brunswick County in 1769, Quince apparently preferred the pursuit of business to public service. The approach of the Revolution forced a revisal of his priorities, however. After Parliament passed the Boston Port Act in 1774, legislation designed by the British to punish Bostonians for the Tea Party of 1773, Quince volunteered to send supplies to Boston in his ship, Penelope, which he personally accompanied. In April 1775 he represented the town of Brunswick in the Second Provincial Congress and last Royal Assembly. He was also a member of the Brunswick County safety committee. In August 1775 Quince represented the county in the Third Provincial Congress, which appointed him second major in the county's regiment. The Fourth Provincial Congress assigned Quince—among others—to procure firearms in Brunswick County for the use of American troops. In the Fifth Provincial Congress in 1776, he once again represented the town of Brunswick and was appointed collector for the port of Brunswick by the Congress. Legislation in 1778 and 1783 designated Quince a commissioner to regulate pilotage and navigation on the Cape Fear River.

Quince used the proceeds of his successful mercantile trade to acquire a large landed estate. His holdings included Rose Hill, a plantation on the Northeast Cape Fear River where he resided, three other plantations in the Cape Fear area, Oak Island, a house in Wilmington known as The Lodge, and additional lots in Wilmington and Brunswick. The site of his house at Brunswick has been excavated and the foundations are open at the State Historic Site. He enslaved 110 people at the time of his death. The people he enslaved plus his landed property made Quince one of the richest men in Brunswick County.

Membership in St. Philip's Church attested to his Anglican religious persuasion. On 27 Oct. 1767 Quince married fifteen-year-old Susanna Hasell (22 July 1752–28 Sept. 1813), daughter of James, Jr., and Sarah Wright Hasell. They had three children: Richard (28 Aug. 1769–1809), Mary Sarah Washington (23 Sept. 1776–1 Oct. 1819), and William Soranzo (15 Nov. 1780–3 July 1844), who changed his name to William Soranzo Hasell. Parker Quince went to England, probably late in 1784, and was residing in Ironmonger Lane, London, at his death early in 1785.


Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, vol. 3 (1905).

Brunswick County Deeds, Books A–B (Bolivia).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 11–25 (1895–1906).

William E. Craig (Twain Harte, Calif.) to William S. Powell, 17 Apr. 1989.

New Hanover County Deeds, Book C–H (Wilmington).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 6–10 (1888–90).

Additional Resources:

Wilde-Ramsing, Mark. The Rose Hill wreck: historical and archaeological investigations of an eighteenth century vessel at a colonial river landing near Wilmington, North Carolina. Kure Beach, N.C.: N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, Underwater Archaeology Unit. 1992. 18-23. (accessed November 19, 2013).

"Quince v. Quince." North Carolina Reports vol. 5: Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court 1804-1810. Raleigh [N.C.]: E. M. Uzzell & Co., State Printers. 1910 (reprint). 123-124. (accessed November 19, 2013).

"An Act to Enable Thomas Callender, Acting Executor of the Last Will of Parker Quince, late of New Hanover County, Deceased, and the Other Person Therein Named, to Make Sale of Certain Lands and Tenements, Part of the Residuary Estate of the said Parker Quince." Collection of the private acts of the General Assembly of the state of North Carolina: from the year 1715, to the year 1790, inclusive, now in force and use. Newbern [N.C.]: Francois-Xavier Martin. 1794.  (accessed November 19, 2013).

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