Processing and conservation of this collection
was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Wood, John, b. 1780
John Wood (born 1780) Papers
2 linear feet (4 boxes)
The John Wood Papers mostly
consist of letterbooks generated by the commission and shipping merchant business
which John Wood established with his sons, John Henry (1810-1841) and Albert
(1812-1853), following his financial failure in 1826.
SERIES I. John Wood Papers SERIES II. John Wood & Sons Papers SERIES III. Miscellaneous Papers
Scope and Content Note
The John Wood Papers mostly consist of letterbooks generated by the commission and
shipping merchant business which John Wood established with his sons, John Henry
(1810-1841) and Albert (1812-1853), following his financial failure in 1826. Also
included is a small amount of material documenting John Wood's original shipping
business. The collection is divided into three series.
Series I. John Wood Papers, 1819-1826, contains
correspondence, financial, and legal papers which briefly illuminate the breadth of
trade which Wood conducted with the West Indies and United States coastal states
prior to his bankruptcy. The correspondence contains letters with foreign and
domestic merchants, with John Stone, Wood's agent in Puerto Rico, and with his
brother William Wood, a shipping merchant in Portland, Maine. Also included is
master's correspondence with the captains of Wood's vessels, the brigs Ann, George, Otter, and other miscellaneous ships, and letters
regarding general financial business. The financial and legal papers contain
shipping papers of the brigs George and Otter, including a protest of the brig George's violation of quarantine laws, and the bankruptcy
indenture which sequestered Wood's vessels and property in 1826.
Series II. John Wood & Sons Papers contains
letterbooks, account books, and miscellaneous papers starting from 1828, when John
Wood established his commission merchant business, to 1853, when Albert Wood died.
The letterbooks, which consist of merchant correspondence, cover this entire period
and reflect the growth of the firm over the years. Aside from business accounts and
merchant correspondence, the miscellaneous papers include personal and business
letters to John Wood from his sons Horatio and George Augustus, and correspondence
regarding real estate.
Series III. Miscellaneous Papers, 1806-1840, contains
miscellaneous merchant correspondence and shipping papers of the schooner Ivanhoe (which was run ashore by a steamship in the
Mississippi River in 1834), the schooners Pembroke,
Nun, and Ada, and the
Jew. Also included is an 1817 cargo book from an
unidentified vessel and directions for sailing the Gulf of Finland.
John Wood was born to Daniel and Sarah Wood on March 25,
1780, in Topsfield, Massachusetts. From 1807 to 1827, he worked as a Newburyport
shipping merchant and was the sole or partial owner of at least twenty vessels.
However, in approximately 1826, his once profitable mercantile business was ruined
by financial failures. His property and vessels were taken over by administrators
Philip Coombs and Stephen Tilton in order to settle his debts.
By 1828, Wood reentered the mercantile business, though now he served as a
commission merchant selling goods imported by others. It appears that John's sons,
John Henry (1810-1841) and Albert (1812-1853), worked as clerks for their father at
this time. Soon, however, the sons became equal forces in the business, and in 1833,
the firm took the name John Wood & Sons. As their business prospered, the Woods
were able to begin investing in ships once again and reestablishing their own
shipping business. With eyes toward the future, Wood also became an incorporating
member of both the Newburyport Boston & Haverhill Steam Boat Co. and the
Newburyport Railroad Co. in 1846.
Wood married Elizabeth (?) and they had seven children together. Wood's death
date is unknown.
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.
Coombs, Philip, fl. 1860-1869
Wood Horatio, 1807-1891
Wood, Albert, 1812-1853
Wood, George Augustus, b. 1816
Wood, John Henry, 1810-1841
John Wood & Sons (Newburyport, Mass.)
Restrictions on Access
Due to their fragile condition, the mold damaged documents in box 4, folder 6
are restricted from general use. Photocopies of these items have been integrated
into the main body of the collection. In addition, a number of the letterbooks have
sustained mold damage. These have been cleaned and folders containing these volumes
have been marked. Caution must be used when handling these items.
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
John Wood (born 1780) Papers, MSS 162, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem,
The John Wood Papers are a reorganization and reintegration of papers culled from
three boxes of Davenport and Wood manuscripts, two account books and seven
letterbooks. The collection is from an unknown source.
Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, January 1985. Updated by Catherine
Robertson, March 2015.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records,
1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations,
The John Wood Papers mostly consist of letterbooks generated by the commission and shipping merchant business which John Wood established with his sons, John Henry (1810-1841) and Albert (1812-1853), following his financial failure in 1826.
The John Wood Papers are a reorganization and reintegration of papers culled from three boxes of Davenport and Wood manuscripts, two account books and seven letterbooks. The collection is from an unknown source.