Born in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Marchant received an A.M. from the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania in 1762. He joined the bar in 1767, and practiced in Newport, Rhode Island from 1767 to 1777. Marchant was the state attorney general of Rhode Island from 1771 to 1777. He returned to private practice while also farming, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, from 1780 to 1784. Marchant was a Delegate to the Rhode Island General Assembly from 1784 to 1790.
On July 2, 1790, Marchant was nominated by President George Washington to be the first judge of the newly created United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Marchant was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 3, 1790, and received his commission the same day, serving until his death in 1796.
He was a member of Second Congregational Church of Newport. His farm, the Henry Marchant Farm, is located in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Marchant died in Newport, Rhode Island and is buried in the Common Burying Ground, Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA.
Spouse: Rebecca Cooke Marchant 1736 - 1819.
Children: Sarah Marchant Case 1766 - 1833. Henry Marchant 1768 - 1770. William Marchant 1770 - 1772. Elizabeth Marchant Sessions 1771 - 1839.
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