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William Appleton & Company Records

William Appleton & Company Records

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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
Title:William Appleton & Company Records
Quantity:0.25 Linear feet (1 envelope)
Abstract:The collection consists of a single item, a typescript copy of a "log book" of William Appleton & Co., "giving facts and figures on some of the ships they owned or chartered wholly or in parts," 49 p., 8 1/2 x 11 cm., with index.
Collection Number:MH 30

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of a single item, a typescript copy of a "log book" of William Appleton & Co., "giving facts and figures on some of the ships they owned or chartered wholly or in parts," 49 p., 8 ½ x 11 cm., with index.

The material contained is not a traditional logbook but appears to be a collection of facts and figures garnered from company account books, vessel cargo inventories, and descriptions from unknown sources that were combined in one "log book." There are 22 vessels listed in the index and the information contained includes, in most instances: builder, when and where launched, tonnage, dimensions, and, in some cases, details regarding construction, spar dimensions, and a disposition of the vessel, etc. Some entries have details of voyages, cargoes, and even ballasting figures. Several vessels also have annotations appended, which are compiled at the end of the material. For example:

"(Note following Ship Horsburg, pg. 26) "Previous to this the writing is in Mr. Sam Hooper's hand, except where it is a clerk's. The firm of Wm. Appleton & Co. consisted of Mr. Wm. Appleton & Mr. Sam'l Hooper." Page 47.

"I joined it in 1851. Mr. Appleton left it in 1857 and Mr. Hooper & I remained together as Sam'l Hooper & Co. until his death about 1865 or '66 - perhaps later, I am not sure."

"Both Mr. Appleton & Mr. Hooper were representatives in Washington (one succeeded the other) at the time or just before their deaths. F.G.D."

"I was in China & thereabouts in '59, '56, '60 & '61."

"F. G. D" annotated the material. "F.G.D." was F. Gordon Dexter. His identity was determined from the Ship Registers of Boston, Massachusetts: 1851 – 1860 (Boston: National Archives Project, 1940) under the names of several vessels owned and registered by William Appleton & Co.

Biographical Sketches

William Appleton was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, on 16 November 1786, the son of the Reverend Joseph Appleton and Mary Hook Appleton. In 1801 at the age of fifteen, he became a clerk in a country store at Temple(ton), Massachusetts. Appleton relocated to Boston in 1807, where he was a successful merchant for over fifty years. He was also involved in banking and finance, serving as president of the United States Branch Bank from 1832 to 1836, and president of the Provident Institution for Savings and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Noted for his benevolence, he donated $30,000 to Massachusetts General Hospital. Appleton was elected to Congress as a Whig in 1850, and served from 1851 to 1855; he later served as a member of the Special Congressional Session, 4 July to 6 August 1861, from which he resigned. He died in Longwood (Brookline), Massachusetts, on 20 February 1862.

Samuel Hooper was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on 3 February 1808. At an early age Hooper went to work in his father's counting house, which was engaged in European and West Indian trade. As agent for his father he visited Russia, Spain, and the West Indies. About 1832 he became associated with the firm of Bryant, Sturgis and Company of Boston, which was engaged primarily in the China trade, where he remained for ten years. He then became a partner in the firm of William Appleton and Company. In 1860, Hooper was elected to Congress as a Republican to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of William Appleton. He was successively reelected until his death, which occurred in Washington, D.C., on 13 February 1875.

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.

Appleton, William, 1786-1862
Dexter, F. Gordon
Hooper, Samuel, 1808-1875
Admittance (Ship)
Barnstable (Ship)
Charlotte (Ship)
Coromando (Ship)
Courser (Ship)
Cygnet (Ship)
Delphi (Ship)
Eben Preble (Ship)
Edith Rose (Ship)
Egeria (Ship)
Hamlet (Ship)
Horsburgh (Ship)
Joshua Bates (Ship)
Living Age (Ship)
Loo Choo (Ship)
Magenta (Ship)
Mary Ellen (Ship)
Milton (Ship)
Nabob (Ship)
Orion (Ship)
Oxnard (Ship)
Tasso (Bark)


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

William Appleton & Company Records, MH 30, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated on 6 February 1957 by the Bostonian Society (acc #14,075).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert F. Craig, November 2001.

Related Material

Wilson, James Grant, and John Fiske, eds., Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 6 vols. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1888, 1889, 1:85; 3:252.

Vital Records of Brookfield, Massachusetts. Worcester, Mass.: Benjamin P. Rice, 1909.

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