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Martin Root (1802-1880) Papers

Martin Root (1802-1880) Papers

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MARTIN ROOT (1802-1880) PAPERS, 1830-1882

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:Root, Martin, 1802-1880
Title:Martin Root (1802-1880) Papers
Quantity:0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Martin Root Papers consist of four volumes of records of this Newbury, Massachusetts, physician, including one volume of Essex North District Medical Society records.
Collection Number:MSS 560

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The Martin Root Papers consist of four volumes of records of this Newbury, Massachusetts, physician, including one volume of Essex North District Medical Society records. They probably represent only a small portion of Root's records, given that one is labeled "Daybook #7" and one "Ledger #3."

Daybook #7 (Sept. 1852- July 1859) lists patients seen, and the costs of visits and medicine. While occasionally some specific medical information is given ("dressing finger"), more often the consultations simply state "to visit and med." Root was sometimes paid in labor, such as hauling or chopping wood, rather than cash. Inside the back covers of the book are pasted newspaper notices of estates in which Root was involved. The inlaid materials removed from this volume (1830-1874, n.d.) include primarily receipts.

Ledger #3 (1862-1882) lists patients' names with reference to books and pages, probably referring to Root's daybooks. The entries in Ledger #3 all come from Books 9, 10, and 11, and date from 1862 to 1882, although most date from 1868 on. The inlaid materials removed from this volume date from 1867 to 1876, n.d., and include primarily receipts.

The Medical Society Account Book contains accounts from 1853 to 1855 as treasurer of the Essex North District Medical Society, then continues from 1855 to 1867 as "Mass. Medical Society in account with M. Root Treasurer ENDMS."

The Household Daybook (1831-1860) contains nearly daily entries from 8 January 1831 to March 1835, but they drop off sharply after that, ending in September 1858. The accounts include entries for calico, candles, flour, corn, ribbon, sugar, oil, silk, postage, window shades, spelling book, etc. Also contained in this volume are accounts of some of the estates Root settled (1855-1860), boarding accounts (the Root family apparently took in boarders), accounts for his son Martin N. Root, and labor accounts.

Biographical Sketch

Martin Root was born on 8 July 1802 in Montague, Massachusetts, the son of Martin and Lucinda (Clary) Root. At some point he settled in Byfield Parish, Newbury, Massachusetts, where he married Jerusha Barbour (born 17 August 1803 at Bridgeport, Vermont) on 2 March 1829. They had seven children, all born in Newbury (Byfield): Martin Nelson, born 14 December 1829; Mary Jerusha, born 6 February 1831 (died 27 June 1846 of consumption); Joseph Henry, born 29 November 1833; Laura Barbour, born 12 June 1836; Angeline Allen, born 19 May 1839; James McEwen, born 21 March 1842; and Richmond Barbour, born 27 May 1846.

Where Martin Root obtained his medical training is unknown, but he was referred to as an MD by the time of his marriage. He often acted as (or was appointed as) an administrator to settle estates, and was secretary/treasurer of the Essex North District Medical Society for a period in the 1850s and 1860s. He apparently practiced medicine in Byfield until his death there on 28 October 1880.

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.

Root, Martin Nelson, b. 1829
Root, Martin, 1802-1880
Essex North District Medical Society (Essex County, Mass.)
Account books
Byfield (Mass)
Essex County (Mass.)


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

Martin Root (1802-1880) Papers, MSS 560, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The daybook containing household accounts and the account book with the Essex North District Medical Society are of unknown provenance, but were acquired by the Essex Institute. Daybook #7 and Ledger #3 were purchased on October 14, 1999 (acc #1999.052).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jane E. Ward, December 2003.

Related Material

Jackson, Russell Leigh, "Physicians of Essex County," Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol. 84, no. 3 (July 1948): 284.

Root, James Pierce, Root Genealogical Records 1600-1870 (New York: R. C. Root, Anthony & Co., 1870).

Vital Records of Newbury, Mass., to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1911), vol. 1:454; vol. 2: 432, 712.

Martin Root Diary, 1862, DIA 163

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