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John Cambridge was born on 13 December 1748 in Wotton under Edge, the son of Francis and Sarah (Wallington) Cambridge. After following the trade of chairmaker in London, John Cambridge took up an appointment as Robert Clark's agent in Prince Edward Island in 1784. Here he quickly acquired various large parcels in his own right and expended considerable energy to encourage settlement to these lands. He combined the exporting of timber with the building and marketing of vessels in England as well as establishing a fishing enterprise at Beach Point and building a brewery in the Murray Harbour area. In 1814 John Cambridge moved to Bristol to handle the firm's transatlantic business there. At the time of his death in 1831 Cambridge held 102,000 acres on the Island as well as extensive mill, shipbuilding facilities and stores.