Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRAY, Robert, discoverer, born in Tiverton, Rhode Island, in 1755; died in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1806. He commanded the sloop "Washington," which was fitted out with the ship " Columbia," by merchants of Boston, for the purpose of trading with the natives on the northwest coast. The vessels sailed on 30 September, 1787, and carried with them medals for distribution among the Indians, bearing on one side a ship and a sloop under sail with the words "Columbia and Washington, commanded by John Kendrick," and on the reverse, "fitted out at Boston, N. America, for the Pacific ocean by," encircling the names of the six proprietors. He returned in 1790 in the "Columbia" by way of Canton, China, and was the first man to carry the American flag around the globe. Later he made a second voyage, and on 11 May, 1791, discovered the mouth of a great River to which he gave the name "Columbia," after his own vessel. Subsequently he commanded trading vessels from Boston until his death.
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