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James Wingate Sewall Business Records

James Wingate Sewall Business Records

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The processing of this collection was funded by a gift from the Pingree heirs.

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:Sewall, James Wingate, 1852-1905
Title:James Wingate Sewall Business Records
Quantity:11.5 linear feet (16 boxes, 2 oversized folders)
Abstract:James Wingate Sewall acted as an agent for the Coe and Pingree lands in Maine and New Hampshire. The business records in this collection consist of correspondence, financial records, and legal documents dealing with the management of the lands.
Collection Number:MSS 921

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence
SERIES II. Financial Records
A. Check Registers and Returned Checks
B. Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
C. Taxes
D. East Branch Dam Company
SERIES III. Land Management
A. Scale Accounts
B. "C Surplus” Land Dispute Records
C. Miscellaneous Land Management

Scope and Content Note

James Wingate Sewall acted as an agent for the Coe and Pingree lands in Maine and New Hampshire. The business records in this collection consist of correspondence, financial records, and legal documents dealing with the management of the lands.

SERIES I. Correspondence is comprised of letters received by Sewall regarding taxes, leases and permits, squatters, stumpage bills, legal matters, insurance, and matters regarding the estate of E. S. Coe (1814-1899). Frequent correspondents include R. C. Pingree & Company, the International Paper Company, Elwyn W. Lovejoy, David Pingree, and Thomas Upham Coe. Most letters contain a note with the date responded, or that a letter was not answered. There are two volumes of letters sent dated September 1904 to August 1905. The majority of these letters were written by or on behalf of James Sewall. Those dated after his death were written by Hosea Buck and David Pingree (1841-1932). There are a few letters of a personal nature, mainly relating to genealogy. This series is arranged chronologically.

SERIES II. Financial Records is organized into four subseries, each arranged chronologically. Subseries A. Checkbooks and Returned Checks include those checkbooks kept by Sewall, as well as checks that were returned as receipts after being cashed. Subseries B. Accounts, Bills, and Receipts are the financial records of the day to day business. Some of the receipts have been separated out by payee for those that did a larger volume business. Subseries C. Taxes are taxes on land in Maine and New Hampshire. Subseries D. East Branch Dam Company includes checkbooks and returned checks for the company.

SERIES III. Land Management is separated into three subseries. Subseries A. Scale Accounts includes the returns of scalers reporting on the board feet cut on various properties. Subseries B. “C Surplus” Land Dispute Records is comprised of papers relating to a dispute relative to the title of “C Surplus,” an extension of Township C in Oxford County, Maine. Edwin A. Jones filed a petition against David Pingree et al. in 1900. The papers include deeds (both originals and copies made while researching title history), depositions, correspondence, and family trees for the Peck and Coggswell families. Subseries C. Miscellaneous Land Management includes an oversized map showing townships in which David Pingree held interest, a memo book of applications for permits, and a general office memo book.

Books removed from this collection and cataloged separately are listed in Appendix I.

Biographical Sketch

James Wingate Sewall was born to George Popham Sewall (1811-1881) and Sydney Ellen Wingate (1815-1887) on November 11, 1852 in Old Town, Maine. Sewall graduated from Bowdoin College in the class of 1877 with a degree in civil engineering. He was involved in multiple projects for planning and constructing sewerage works on the east coast. He taught sanitary engineering at M.I.T. In 1880, James and his brother Joseph established the James W. Sewall Company, an engineering firm specializing in the surveying, appraisal, and mapping of forestlands. He surveyed townships for David Pingree and Eben S. Coe for many years. Upon Coe’s death in 1899, Sewall took charge of vast tracts of timber lands belonging to various estates, including Coe’s.

Sewall married Harriet Sterling on March 27, 1883. Together they had four children: James Wingate, Jr. (1884-1946); Katherine Moor (1887-); Virginia H. (1888-1919); and Harriet Sydney (1896-1974). He died from complications of malaria on May 25, 1905.

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.

Bean, J. Hastings (Joseph Hastings), 1853-1925
Buck, Hosea B., 1871-1937
Coe, Eben Smith, 1814-1899
Coe, Thomas Upham, 1837-1922
Coggswell family
Coggswell, William, 1750-
Jones, Edwin Arthur
Lovejoy, Elwyn Winslow, 1850-
Paine, Albert W. (Albert Ware), 1812-1907
Peck family
Peck, John, 1770-1847
Pingree, David, 1841-1932
Sewall, James Wingate, 1853-1905
Thomas, Elias
Wheatland, Richard G., 1872-1944
Androscoggin Lakes Transportation Company
Cornish & Bassett
East Branch Dam Company
International Paper Company
Oxford Paper Company
R. C. Pingree & Company
Forests and forestry -- Northeastern States -- History
Land titles
Logging --Maine
Lumbering --Maine
Pulpwood industry -- Northeastern States -- History
Aroostook County (Me.)
Augusta (Me.)
Bangor (Me.)
Coos County (N.H.)
Penobscot County (Me.)
Piscataquis County (Me.)
Rangeley (Me.)
Salem (Mass.)
Pedigrees (Genealogical tables)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request 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

James Wingate Sewall Business Records, MSS 921, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by Pingree family heirs.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Hornsby, May 2015.

Related Material

Bowdoin College Library. Obituary record of the graduates of Bowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine, for the decade ending 1 June 1909. Lewiston, ME: Journal Printshop, 1911.

David Pingree (1841-1932) Papers, MSS 905

E.S. Coe (1814-1899) Papers, MSS 920

Appendix I

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