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John White Treadwell (1785-1857) Papers

John White Treadwell (1785-1857) Papers

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JOHN WHITE TREADWELL (1785-1857) PAPERS, 1763-1972

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:Treadwell, John White, 1785-1857
Title:John White Treadwell (1785-1857) Papers
Quantity:0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:This collection contains personal papers of John White Treadwell, who resided in Salem, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MH 221

Series List

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains personal papers of John White Treadwell, who resided in Salem, Massachusetts. The collection includes personal correspondence written to his family while at sea or visiting Washington DC; a lecture on currency; family genealogy; and a Treadwell family Bible.

Box 1, Folder 1 includes a notebook containing letters written to his friend Charles while on board the ship Laurel on a voyage to India in 1803. The letters describe his impressions of St. Nicholas Island, one of the Cape Verde Islands, and also impressions of Cape Town, South Africa. Box 1, Folder 2 contains letters to his wife Susanna (Susan) Farley Treadwell written from the brig Success in Havana, 1810-1811, at the time of the birth of his first child, Susan Treadwell. Treadwell found Havana "an intolerable placeā€¦ no books, no society, nothing pleasant except the climate." Box 1, Folder 3 includes a letter to his son-in-law George Nichols written while visiting Washington DC in 1835. Treadwell notes that "great changes have been wrought in our commercial cities" but finds Washington "the most miserable," and he deplores the state of General Washington's home, Mount Vernon. Box 1, Folder 4 has a letter to John White Treadwell Nichols from Austin T. White regarding the Treadwell family bible, originally owned by Jacob Treadwell, who died in 1814, and later owned by his son, John White Treadwell, and his great grandson, John White Treadwell Nichols.

Box 1, Folder 5 contains a lecture on currency delivered by Treadwell in 1840 to Whig Party associations in Boston, Salem, and Lowell. Box 1, Folder 6 includes a brief genealogy of the Treadwell family. However, the papers describe another branch of the family related to John White Treadwell only through his great grandfather Nathaniel Treadwell (1677-1723); this branch of the family is not reproduced in the genealogy in Appendix I - Treadwell Family Tree. Box 1, Folder 7 includes two photographs of the Treadwell house in Salem, labeled as belonging to Susan Farley (Nichols) Treadwell. Box 1, Folder 8 contains a poem and pressed leaf removed from the family Bible. Finally, Box 2 houses the Treadwell family Bible, which contains inscriptions written by John White Treadwell and Susan Farley Nichols.

Biographical Sketch

John White Treadwell was a sixth generation descendant of Thomas Treadwell, who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in about 1638. He was born in Ipswich in 1785, the son of Jacob and Elizabeth White Treadwell. He moved to Salem, Massachusetts, early in his life, where he was a sea captain, merchant, and later Cashier and President of the Merchants Bank in Salem. He married Susanna Kendall Farley in 1810 (d. 1818); he married her sister, Harriet Kendall Farley, in 1819. By each wife he had six children (see Appendix I - Treadwell Family Tree). John White Treadwell died in Salem in 1857.

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.

Treadwell, John White, 1785-1857
Treadwell, Susan Farley, 1787-1818
Success (Brig)
Letter writing
Seafaring life
Cape Town (South Africa)--Description and travel
Cape Verde--Description and travel
Havana (Cuba)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests 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

John White Treadwell (1785-1857) Papers, MH 221, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


Part of this collection was donated by Susan Farley Nichols Pulsifer in 1965; the provenance of the remaining material is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, October 2012.

Related Material

An Account of the Commemoration, by the Essex Institute, of the Fifth Half-century of the Landing of John Endicott in Salem. Essex Institute Historical Collections 15 (1878), p. 304.

Rollins, William A. Thomas Treadwell of Ipswich, Mass., and Some of his Descendants. Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son, 1906.

Appendix I - Treadwell Family Tree

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