The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Timothy Ropes Family Papers
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
This collection is comprised of
a modest number of personal papers belonging to one branch of the Ropes family of
Scope and Content Note
This collection is comprised of a modest number of personal papers belonging to one
branch of the Ropes family of Salem, Massachusetts. Included are personal letters,
receipts, photographs, one sketch, a church covenant (1680), and newspaper articles.
In addition, the collection includes a transcript of the autobiography of John
Bertram, a prominent Salem citizen who married Mary Anne Ropes in 1848.
The first three folders contain personal writings of members of the Ropes and
Bertram families. In Folder 1 are 16 letters from Thomas Holmes Ropes (1803-1845) to
his family dating from 1838, when he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to his death in
1845. During this time he worked as a grocer and merchant but never achieved
financial success. Folder 1 also contains two letters to Thomas Holmes from his
brothers George or Henry, as well as a letter of condolence to his father following
Thomas Holmes' death.
Folder 2 contains writings of Joseph Ropes (1812-1885). There is a long lecture
about the uses of imagination and the role of the artist in conceiving works of
beauty, delivered to a young men's association in Portland, Maine, in about 1840.
Also present is a letter to his sister Mary Anne (1840) and two passports (1855,
1864) documenting his extensive travels in Europe, especially in Italy, France, and
Folder 3 is a 27-page typewritten transcript "Incidents in the Life of John
Bertram Written by Himself" which John Bertram wrote in the form of a diary and
finished in 1876. The autobiography tells the story of a young seaman whose family
emigrated from the Isle of Jersey to Salem in 1807. Bertram rose quickly through the
ranks to become a respected ship master. He retired from the sea in 1832 to pursue
his mercantile interests. His vessels sailed to Para, Zanzibar, Madagascar, and many
other foreign ports and also to California after the discovery of gold. Bertram also
had interests in railroads, shipbuilding, and civic affairs. He is remembered in
Salem as a noted philanthropist. (The autobiography, including a facsimile of the
original handwritten work, was published by a descendant in 1964.)
The next three folders contain receipts belonging to Thomas Holmes (Folder 4),
his son-in-law Timothy Ropes (Folder 5), and Timothy's son Thomas Holmes Ropes
In Folder 7 is a hand drawn sketch by Joseph Ropes entitled "My Room at 373
Essex Street," with a note added later "In this chamber Timothy Ropes died on
February 17th 1848 and Sarah Ropes his wife died March 9th 1848."
Folder 8 contains one photograph of the Ropes-Bertram house at 373 Essex
Street, and two photographs of the Assembly House at 138 Federal Street, occupied by
Mary Anne Bertram from about 1885 until her death.
Folder 9 contains a church covenant dating from 1680. It renews the original
convenant of the First Church of Christ in Salem, a covenant that was first composed
Folder 10 contains three newspapers, including the Salem
Gazette of August 19, 1796, and the Essex
Register of February 23, 1832, and April 27, 1840. Also present is an
account from the Salem Gazette (October 26, 1888, and
correspondence following) of General Washington's reception at the Assembly House in
Salem in 1789. This house was occupied by Mary Anne Bertram at the time the Salem Gazette article appeared.
Timothy Ropes was born in Salem in 1773, the youngest son
of Benjamin and Ruth Ropes. He was a cooper and then a master mariner. He married
Sarah Holmes in 1796, and they had nine children: Timothy, Sarah Grant, Thomas
Holmes, Elizabeth Grant, George, Mary Anne, Joseph, David Nichols, and Henry.
Timothy and his wife, Sarah, both died in Salem in 1848.
Thomas Holmes Ropes, the second son of Timothy and Sarah
Ropes, was born in 1803. From 1838 to 1845 he was a grocer and merchant in
Louisville, Kentucky, where he died unmarried in 1845.
Mary Anne Ropes, the third daughter of Timothy and Sarah
Ropes, married John Bertram in 1848. Captain Bertram (1796-1882) was a successful
merchant, ship owner, public servant, and philanthropist in Salem, Massachusetts.
Joseph Ropes, the fourth son of Timothy and Sarah Ropes,
was born in 1812. He became an artist and teacher of art, and he traveled abroad for
several years. He died in 1885.
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.
Bertram, John, 1796-1882
Ropes, Joseph, 1812-1885
Ropes, Thomas Holmes, 1803-1845
Ropes, Timothy, 1773-1848
First Church of Christ--Massachusetts--Salem
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
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
This collection is comprised of a modest number of personal papers belonging to one branch of the Ropes family of Salem, Massachusetts.
Salem (Mass.); Bertram, John, 1796-1882; Ropes, Joseph, 1812-1885; Ropes, Thomas Holmes, 1803-1845; Ropes, Timothy, 1773-1848; Architecture, Domestic--Massachusetts--Salem; Church buildings--Massachusetts--Salem; Dwellings--Massachusetts--Salem; First Church of Christ--Massachusetts--Salem
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.