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Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889) Papers

Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889) Papers

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PELEG WHITMAN CHANDLER (1816-1889) PAPERS, 1829-1908

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:Chandler, Peleg W. (Peleg Whitman), 1816-1889
Title:Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889) Papers
Quantity:2 Linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract:This collection consists of legal papers and some personal papers of Peleg W. Chandler, a mid-nineteenth century Boston attorney.
Collection Number:MH 55

Series List

SERIES I. Cases Involving Debt
SERIES II. Cases Involving Collisions Between Vessels
SERIES III. Cases Involving Interdiction Under The Non-Importation Acts
SERIES IV. Cases Involving Breach of Contracts
SERIES V. Cases Involving Contested Cargo
SERIES VI. Cases Involving Insurance
SERIES VII. Cases Involving Probate
SERIES VIII. Case Involving the Contested Ownership of a Vessel
SERIES IX. Case Involving a Contested Lease
SERIES X. Case Involving the Transfer of Patent Rights
SERIES XI. Case Involving A Paternity Suit
SERIES XII. Case Involving the Abuse of a Seaman
SERIES XIII. Miscellaneous Papers

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of legal papers and some personal papers of Peleg W. Chandler, a mid-nineteenth century Boston attorney. The legal papers include cases involving ships, leases, probate, and a paternity suit. The collection has been divided into 13 series.

Series I. Cases Involving Debt (1843-1861) contains material associated with cases related to efforts to collect unpaid fees for either goods or services. This is the largest set of cases contained in the collection.

Series II. Cases Involving Collisions Between Vessels (1855-1863) contains materials relating to suits and libels resulting from the collision of vessels while underway. These cases were heard in both the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts and Suffolk County Superior Court.

Series III. Cases Involving Interdiction Under The Non-Importation Acts (1835-1859) results from the seizure and forfeiture of vessels violating the non-intercourse acts passed to prevent commercial intercourse with territories controlled by Britain and France in the first decade of the nineteenth century. The cases represented here involve vessels that proved their departure from British ports between June 3 and September 15, 1812. Under an act of Congress, January 2, 1813, the U.S. district courts could remit the seizure and forfeiture if it could be proved that the vessels were unaware of the declaration of war between the United States and Great Britain. In such cases the normal duties were paid on the imported cargo. The object of these cases is efforts by heirs of the port collectors and surveyors to recover a portion of those paid duties.

Series IV. Cases Involving Breach of Contracts (1856-1864) focuses on disputes resulting from the failure of one or more parties to comply with the terms of a contract. Included are disputes over terms of charters, a diverted voyage, and the sale of a vessel.

Series V. Cases Involving Contested Cargo (1852-1860) involves disputes over the failure to deliver consigned cargoes against a bill of lading, contesting the weight of a cargo for duty purposes, etc.

Series VI. Cases Involving Insurance (1852-1860) deals with the failure to pay insurance premiums, questions regarding the payment of claims, disputes involving the assets of failed insurance companies and their receivers, and a dispute regarding the valuation of a vessel in determining a loss.

Series VII. Cases Involving Probate (1829-1857) involves the estate of merchant William Potter of Brunswick, Maine. Peleg Chandler was administrator of Potter's estate. These papers include administration documents as well as those related to a suit by Chandler against Caleb Reed, trustee of the estate, for mismanagement of estate funds.

Series VIII. Case Involving the Contested Ownership of a Vessel (1851-1858) deals with the efforts of an alleged owner of the bark Otis J. Chaffee, impounded by the deputy sheriff of Suffolk County, to release the vessel.

Series IX. Case Involving a Contested Lease (1856) deals with a disputed land lease between C. T and H. D. Gardiner and Donald McKay.

Series X. Case Involving the Transfer of Patent Rights (1852-1858) involves the sale and disposition of the patent rights of Jesse Reed, inventor of a ship's steering device.

Series XI. Case Involving A Paternity Suit (1863) deals with the claim of a seaman that the child born to his wife could not possibly be his because of his being at sea at the time of conception.

Series XII. Case Involving the Abuse of a Seaman (1858) deals with a suit brought by a seaman aboard the bark Prescott against the mate for physical abuse during a voyage in 1858.

Series XIII. Miscellaneous Papers ranges from 1847 to 1908 and includes bills/receipts, a variety of legal papers, blank court forms, personal papers, correspondence, accounts, a collection of maritime poems belonging to a Horace Chandler (son of Peleg), and the printed public refutation of Samuel D. Crane against the claim of Elisha T. Loring that Crane used the name of Loring & Co. without Loring's knowledge.

For item-level inventory, see 1999 Collection Register in Box 1.

Biographical Sketch

Peleg Whitman Chandler was born April 12, 1816 in New Gloucester, Maine, the son of Peleg Chandler and Esther Parsons. He received his early education at Bangor Theological College and was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1834. He commenced reading for the law in his father's law office in Bangor and continued his studies at Harvard's Dane Law School. During his years in law school he also served as a court reporter for the Boston Daily Advertiser. Chandler was admitted to the Suffolk County bar in 1837 and commenced the practice of law in Boston, with offices located at 4 Court Street. On November 30th that same year, he married Martha Ann Bush Cleaveland (1812-1881) of Brunswick, Maine. The couple had three children: Ellen Maria (1839-1908); Horace Parker (b. 1842); and Parker Cleaveland (1848-1908).

In his early career, Chandler became involved in Boston and Massachusetts politics. He served as a member of the Boston common council from 1843 to 1845, was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1844, the executive council of the Commonwealth in 1854, and again to the House of Representatives in 1862. In 1846 he began a seven-year stint as city solicitor for the city of Boston, resigning in November 1853.

Peleg Chandler's law practice was confined to civil and commercial law and he was considered an expert in bankruptcy law, having served as a commissioner in bankruptcy during the early 1840s. He was particularly known for his courtroom ability, and was considered one of the finest lawyers in Massachusetts to present a case before a jury. Unfortunately, during the height of his career, deafness made it necessary for him to withdraw from trial work, and eventually from the practice of law altogether. He died on May 28, 1889.

In addition to his law work, Chandler was a prolific writer. He founded a monthly journal, the Law Reporter, and wrote two volumes of American Criminal Trials (1841, 1844), Bankruptcy Laws of the United States, and the System with Rules and Forms in Massachusetts (1842), Revised Ordinances, Boston (1850), Authority of the Gospels, By a Layman (1867), and Memoir of Governor Andrew, with Personal Reminiscences (1880).

George Otis Shattuck was born May 2, 1829 in Andover, Massachusetts, the second of four sons of Joseph and Hannah (Bailey) Shattuck. He graduated from Harvard College in 1851 and from Harvard Law School three years later. Admitted to the bar in 1855, he entered into law practice as a junior partner with Peleg W. Chandler in 1856. In 1857, Shattuck married Emily Copeland, the daughter of Charles and Susan (Sprague) Copeland. During his lifetime he held memberships in the Massachusetts Colonial Society, Massachusetts Historical Society, and the New England Historical Genealogical Society, and was a member of the Board of Overseers for Harvard College. He died on February 23, 1897, leaving his wife and a daughter.

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.

Crane, Samuel D.
McKay, Donald, 1810-1880
Potter, William
Reed, Jesse
Shattuck, George Otis, 1829-1897
Soule, James
Abagun (Bark)
Adriatic (Schooner)
Annie Maria (Schooner)
Appleton (Bark)
Baltic (Ship)
Boston & Southern Steamship Company
Boston (Brig)
C. W. Dyer (Schooner)
Concordia (Vessel)
Daniel Hill (Schooner)
Dolphin (Brigantine)
Elizabeth Watts (Brig)
Enterprise (Ship)
George Byron (Schooner)
Golden Eagle (Ship)
Good Friends (Ship)
Homer (Brig)
Homer (Brigantine)
Iris (Brig)
Joseph Whitney (Steamship)
Kate L. Bruce (Schooner)
Lochiel (Schooner)
Madeira (Brig)
Massachusetts. Superior Court (Suffolk County)
Merchants and Miners Transportation Co.
Milford (Bark)
Montezuma (Bark)
Nautilus (Sailboat)
Occident (Bark)
Otis J. Chaffee (Bark)
Pico (Brig)
Poconocket (Brig)
Prescott (Bark)
R. H. Moulton (Schooner)
Ring Leader (Ship)
Salem (Brig)
Sam Slick (Bark)
Saxon (Steamship)
Troy (Ship)
United States. District Court (Massachusetts)
William Jenkins (Steamship)
Breach of contract
Collisions at sea
District courts
Estates (Law)


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

Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889) Papers, MH 55, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was purchased in 1942 (acc #11,029).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert F. Craig, June 1999.

Related Material

Johnson, Allen, Dictionary of American Biography, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), 3:615

Adams, George M., compiler, "Necrology of Historic Genealogical Society," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 52 (1898): 152.

Hall, Edward Henry, "Memoir of George Otis Shattuck, LL.B.," Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts - Volume VIII, Transactions 1902-1904, (Boston: By the society, 1906), 7-12.

Holmes, O. W., "Memoir of George Otis Shattuck, LL.B." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second Series,Vol. XIV (Boston: By the society, 1901), 361-63.

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