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Rantoul Family Papers

Rantoul Family Papers

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Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Rantoul Family
Title:Rantoul Family Papers
Quantity:8.5 linear feet (6 boxes)
Abstract:The Rantoul Family Papers include correspondence, receipts, bills, account books, publications, and genealogical records for the Rantoul family.
Identification:MSS 450

Series List

SERIES I. Robert Rantoul (1778-1858) Papers
A. Account Books
B. Correspondence
C. William Endicott Account Books
SERIES II. Robert Rantoul, Jr. (1805-1852) Papers
A. Personal Papers
B. Business Ventures
SERIES III. Rantoul Family Papers
A. Correspondence
B. Publications
C. Genealogy

Scope and Content Note

The Rantoul Family Papers include correspondence, receipts, bills, account books, publications, and genealogical records for the Rantoul family. This collection has been arranged into three series.

Series I. Robert Rantoul (1778-1858) Papers includes account books, day books, cash books, and ledgers of Robert Rantoul and his son-in-law, William Endicott. These records are most likely in relation to the apothecary owned by Robert Rantoul and managed by William Endicott.

Series II. Robert Rantoul, Jr. (1805-1852) Papers includes correspondence, bills, receipts, legal documents, speeches and notes of Robert Rantoul, Jr. from his time as a lawyer in Salem and Beverly, his business ventures with Western Railroad Corporation, and his time served in the House of Representatives and United States Senate.

Series III. Rantoul Family Papers includes correspondence between, portraits of, and genealogical records of the Rantoul Family.

Biographical Sketch

Robert Rantoul was born on November 23, 1778 in Salem, Massachusetts to Robert Rantoul (1753-1783) and Mary Preston (1755-1816). At age 14, Rantoul began apprenticing with local apothecaries, Dr. William Stearns and Dr. Joseph Osgood of Salem, before opening his own apothecary in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1796. Rantoul was involved in a variety of social organizations in Beverly and held multiple political positions as well. He served in the town militia and eventually became Captain of the Light Infantry Company of Beverly from 1805 to 1809. He acted as Overseer of the Poor for over fifty years. He was Parish Clerk of the First Parish Church and deacon of the First Church for forty-six years. He was appointed Justice of the Peace and acting Trial Justice for Beverly from 1808 to 1858. In 1809 he was appointed to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was reelected to the position annually until 1820. Rantoul married Joanna Lovett (1780-1846) on June 4, 1801 and the couple had seven children: Joanna Lovett Rantoul (1803-1863); Robert Rantoul, Jr. (1805-1852); Mary Elizabeth (1809-1821); Samuel (1813-1831); Charlotte (1816-1839); Elizabeth Augusta Lovett (1819-1837); and Hannah Lovett (b. 1821). William Endicott (1799-1899) married Rantoul's oldest daughter Joanna on September 26, 1824 and took over management of Rantoul's apothecary in August 1824. Robert Rantoul died on October 24, 1858.

Robert Rantoul Jr. was born on August 13, 1805 in Beverly, Massachusetts to Robert Rantoul (1778-1858) and Joanna Lovett (1780-1846). He attended Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Harvard University in 1826. He married Jane Elisabeth Woodberry (1807-1870) on August 4, 1831 and the couple had two sons, Robert S. Rantoul (1832-1922) and Charles W. Rantoul (1839-1864). Rantoul practiced law in Salem and Gloucester, Massachusetts before becoming a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1835 to 1839. He was the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1846 to 1849. In 1850, he was elected to the 32nd Congress as a United States Senator from Massachusetts. Rantoul served in the Senate until his death on August 7, 1852 in Washington, D.C. at age 46.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894
Endicott, William Putnam, 1803-1888
Rantoul, Margaret, 1860-1938
Rantoul, Neal, 1870-1956
Rantoul, Robert, 1778-1858
Rantoul, Robert, 1805-1852
Beverly (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Account books


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Rantoul Family Papers, MSS 450, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


A portion of the collection material was donated by the Misses Rantoul on January 29, 1936.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Halley Grogan, February 2012.

Related Material

Hill, Ruth Henderson. Robert Rantoul and His Descendants. Beverly Historical Society, 1960.

Rantoul, Robert S. Some material for a history of the name and family of Rentoul--Rintoul—Rantoul. Salem: Salem Press, 1885.

Robert S. Rantoul Papers, 1817-1920, MSS 448

Harriet C. Rantoul Papers, 1784-1949, MSS 451

William G. Rantoul Papers, 1889-1940, ARCH 1

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