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NUÑEZ (RIBIERO), SAMUEL:

Marano physician of the eighteenth century; born in Lisbon. He belonged to a distinguished family in that city, and was a physician of great eminence. Although a court physician he was ultimately denounced to the Inquisition; and he and his family were arrested as heretics and thrown into prison. Subsequently, his medical services being needed, the prisoners were liberated on the condition that two of the officers of the Inquisition should reside with the family, to guard against their relapsing into Judaism. The physician had a very elegant mansion on the banks of the Tagus; and he constantly entertained some of the first families in Lisbon. Under romantic circumstances, while one day giving a dinner to invited guests, he arranged with the captain of an English brigantine for himself and family to be conveyed to England. The plan was successful. The party arrived in London, and soon afterward Nuñez and his family set sail for Georgia, a place much talked of about that time. He proceeded with others to Savannah, arriving there one month after the settlement of the place, in 1733 (see Georgia). The arrival of this Jewish colony was not viewed with favor by the trustees; and although Oglethorpe, the governor, invited their attention to the valuable offices of Nuñez, they, while directing the governor to offer the physician a gratuity for his professional services, insisted that all grants of land should be withheld from the Israelites. Nuñez had broughtconsiderable funds with him to the colony; and when he heard of the uncivil reply of the trustees he promptly left Savannah. His absence must, however, have been of short duration; for his name frequently appears in the records of the trustees, and it is furthermore known that six farms were allotted to him.

Nuñez became the ancestor of Mordecai Manuel Noah of New York.

Bibliography:
  • Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. i. 7-8, ii. 45-48, x. 65-95;
  • Markens, The Hebrews in America, pp. 45 et seq.;
  • Jew. Chron. April 30, 1852, and March 20, 1862;
  • Daly, Settlement of the Jews in North America, p. 66.
A. G. L.
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