The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Allen, Charles Henry, Jr., 1830-1910
Charles H. Allen, Jr. Papers
0.5 linear feet (1 box, 1 volume)
The Charles H. Allen Jr. Papers
consist of material related primarily to four ships, Formosa, Mindoro, Panay, and Sooloo II, on which Captain Charles Allen served as
master at one time or another.
SERIES I. Ship Formosa
A. Ship's Papers
SERIES II. Ship Mindoro
Papers SERIES III. Ship Panay
A. Ship's Papers
Series IV. Ship Sooloo II
A. Ship's Papers
Series V. Silsbee and Pickman Material
Scope and Content Note
The Charles H. Allen Jr. Papers consist of material related primarily to four ships,
Formosa,Mindoro, Panay, and Sooloo II, on which Captain Charles Allen served as
master at one time or another. There are no personal papers of Captain Allen in the
collection. The materials identifiable with Allen are small account books he kept
while master of a vessel and include crew and slop chest accounts, inventories, and
want lists. It is assumed that these papers had been in the in the possession of
Captain Allen at some point and thus were identified with him at the time of their
donation to the Peabody Essex Museum. This collection is divided into five
Series I. Ship Formosa
Papers consist of shipping articles, port activity papers, health
certificate, insurance papers, payroll accounts, manifest, crew accounts, slop chest
accounts, and wants accounts.
Series II. Ship Mindoro
Papers consist of a collection of small notebooks containing crew
accounts, slop chest accounts, wants and inventory accounts.
Series III. Ship Panay
Papers consist of shipping articles, slop chest accounts, wants and
Series IV. Ship Sooloo II
Papers consist of shipping articles, port papers, cargo accounts, crew
accounts, slop chest accounts, food accounts, wants and inventory accounts.
Series V. Silsbee and Pickman Material contains cargo
contracts and pages removed from account books calculating cargo costs for a number
Charles Henry Allen was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on
26 March 1830, the son of William E. and Sarah H. (Wright) Allen. William Allen was
a shipmaster, who died in Africa in 1838. Charles Allen first shipped out at the age
of 15 on the Ship St. Paul, commanded by his uncle,
also named Charles Henry Allen, on a voyage to Manila and back to Salem. Allen
continued voyaging on a number of different ships, although in 1850-51, he stayed
for a period of time in California, where he spent time in the gold mines. A
companion of his during this period was the Salem adventurer, Frederick Townsend
In June 1861, Allen took command of the ship Sooloo. He commanded several other ships during the 1860s and 1870s, but
returned to the Sooloo in 1876 and captained her until
his retirement in 1884.
Allen married Margaret McKenzie of Salem on 10 October 1856. Allen died at his
home in Salem on 5 December 1910. He was survived by his wife and four children:
Charles F. Allen, Mrs. Frederick G. Pousland, Mary F. Allen, and Lillian H.
Historical Note on the Ships
The ship Formosa was designed and built at East
Boston by the firm of John Taylor and was launched on 20 November 1868, 1252 tons.
She made at least eight voyages and was wrecked off Java in 1880.
The ship Mindoro was designed and built at East
Boston by John Taylor, and was launched on 6 November 1864, 845 tons. She made 14
voyages between 1864 and 1883. Ultimately the Mindoro
was towed to Salem and lay idle alongside Derby Wharf for several years until she
was converted to a coal barge.
The ship Panay was designed and built at East
Boston by Justin Taylor, the eldest son of John Taylor, who succeeded his father in
the firm. The Panay was launched on 25 June 1877, 1190
tons. She made at least ten voyages and was lost on 14 July 1890, on Simara Island,
the Philippines, after going aground on 12 July 1890.
The ship Sooloo II was designed and built at East
Boston by John Taylor, and launched on 1 May 1861, 784 tons. She made 19 voyages
between 1861 and 1887/8, when she was sold to the Boston Tow Boat Company and
converted to a coal barge. Sooloo II foundered and was
lost on 15 November 1892.
The ships above were owned by the Salem merchant firm of Stone, Silsbee &
Pickman (later Silsbee, Pickman & Allen - the firm changed its name in 1863).
The reader is referred to the extensive manuscript collection of Stone, Silsbee
& Pickman (MSS #63), to which this material is ancillary.
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.
Silsbee and Pickman
Silsbee, Pickman, and Allen
Sooloo II (Ship)
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
Charles H. Allen, Jr. Papers, MH 28, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem,
This material was donated on 27 September 1956 (acc #13,967). Some material pertaining to the Sooloo II was purchased in 2010 (acc #2010.015).
Collection processed by Robert F. Craig, June 1999.
Matthews, Frederick. American Merchant Ships, Series Two
(Salem, Mass.: Marine Research Society, 1931), pp. 239, 240, 242.
Paine, Ralph D. The Ships and Sailors of Old Salem: The
Record of a Brilliant Era of American Achievement, Rev. ed. (Boston:
Charles E. Lauriat, 1927), frontispiece, pp. 12, 441, 448.
Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their
Voyages, Series III (Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1925), pp. 19-74, 97,
98, 117. This work contains descriptions of the four vessels in question, as well as
biographies of their masters, including Captain Allen. Additionally, there is a
brief biography of John Taylor, builder of the Sooloo,
Mindoro, and Formosa. Putnam also describes
each vessel and its voyages in varying detail.
Salem City Directory, 1911.
Salem Evening News, Dec. 6, 1910.
MH 0.431, Box 5, Folders 11 & 12. This
collection contains a list of vessels built by, and a handwritten biographical
sketch of, John Taylor; the details vary somewhat from Putnam.
MH 0.432, Box 5, Folder 12. Biographical Sketch of
John Taylor: "In his later active business days, his eldest son Justin was
associated with him... The two together built many vessels for the Philippine Island
trade. These were for the Silsbees and Pickmans of Salem. Some of these vessels were
named for islands in the Philippine group, notably The Sooloo - Mindoro - Panay - and Formosa."”
Stone, Silsbee & Pickman Papers, MSS 63
Allen Family Papers, MSS 1
Also see numerous logbooks under the four ship’s names, including four of the
Mindoro while captained by Allen, 1865-1868.