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Felt Family Papers

Felt Family Papers

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FELT FAMILY PAPERS, 1750-1924

Sponsor:

Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).





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:Felt Family
Title:Felt Family Papers
Dates:1750/1924
Quantity:12.25 linear feet (16 boxes)
Abstract:This collection encompasses the papers of five generations of Felt family members, most of whom were in the shipping business. It is organized into seven series.
Identification:MH 95

Series List

SERIES I. John Felt (1754-1796) Papers
SERIES II. John Felt (1764-1802) Papers
SERIES III. John Felt (1782-1811) Papers
SERIES IV. Jonathan Porter Felt (1785-1860) Papers
A. Shipping Papers
B. Correspondence
1. Personal Correspondence
2. Business Correspondence
C. Financial
D. Writings and Studies
SERIES V. Jonathan Porter Felt, Jr. (1813-1840) Papers
SERIES VI. John Felt (1815-1907) Papers
SERIES VII. John Porter Felt (1848-1938) Papers
A. Shipping Papers
B. Personal Correspondence
C. Business Correspondence
D. Financial
SERIES VIII. Derby Family Papers
A. Elias Hasket Derby (1739-1799)
B. Richard Derby (1712-1783)
C. John Derby (1767-1831)
D. Benjamin Pickman (1740-1819)

Scope and Content Note

This collection encompasses the papers of five generations of Felt family members, most of whom were in the shipping business. It is organized into seven series.


Series I. John Felt (1754-1796) Papers consists of two documents regarding land in Danvers, Massachusetts and papers for the Schooner Hope related to the voyage to the West Indies in 1793/1794 and its seizure by the British. It also contains papers of the Brig Rose and the Schooner Greyhound.


Series II. John Felt (1764-1802) Papers contains papers for the Ketch Brothers, which was wrecked en route to Havana in the spring of 1799 and lost on a reef on Abaco. There is also information about the Schooner Little Cherub.


Series III. John Felt (1782-1811) Papers contains letters to his brother, Jonathan Porter Felt, and an insurance policy for the Schooner Saucy Jack.


Series IV. Jonathan Porter Felt (1785-1860) Papers has been divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Shipping Papers is comprised of accounts, insurance policies, passports, protests, receipts, and other papers for various ships mastered by Captain Felt. Subseries B. Correspondence is divided into two sub-subseries. Sub-subseries 1. Personal Correspondence contains letters from various family members and letters written by him. Sub-subseries 2. Business Correspondence includes letters regarding a lawsuit brought against the New Jersey Steam Navigation Company for the loss of property on board the SS Lexington which caught fire and sank on January 13, 1840 off Long Island Sound. His son was also killed in that accident. It also contains letters about gold mining in Lanesborough, North Carolina and letters pertaining to the Boston Marine Society. Subseries C. Financial contains an account book and receipts for items such as taxes, dues, and subscriptions. Subseries D. Writings and Studies contains a journal, notebooks, genealogy, and numerous writings on topics such as Astronomy, Navigation, Ancient History, Mechanics, and Law. Jonathan Porter Felt was the Treasurer of the Boston Marine Society and this series contains two volumes of records for that society. This series also contains two Felt family Bibles. The Bible published in 1813 includes the genealogy of the Felt family as well as the Huessler family. Jonathan Porter Felt (1785-1860) married Margaret Huessler (1787-1863) in 1810. The Bible published in 1834 includes the genealogy of the Felt family as well as the George Ropes family. The two families were connected when Ephraim Felt (1795-1872) married Elizabeth Ropes (1798-1873) in 1822.


Series V. Jonathan Porter Felt, Jr. (1813-1840) Papers contains a journal of a trip to Virginia in 1839, two high school work books, and copies of letters from him to Stephen C. Phillips. He was manager of Stephen C. Phillips' business in Salem, Massachusetts when Phillips served as a member of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C.


Series VI. John Felt (1815-1907) Papers is comprised of postcard correspondence with his granddaughter, Marion Felt.


Series VII. John Porter Felt (1848-1938) is divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Shipping Papers is arranged chronologically and contains various shipping papers for 19 different ships with which Felt conducted his shipping business. Subseries B. Personal Correspondence contains three letters that Felt received as a child. Subseries C. Business Correspondence contains letters written and received during his business career. Subseries D. Financial contains receipts, invoice books, and an account book.


Series VIII. Derby Family Papers were donated with the Felt family papers, probably because the Felts worked on Derby ships in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The series has been further divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Elias Hasket Derby contains bills of lading, letters, portledge bills, and other papers for many Derby-owned ships. It also includes a folder of requests for charity from various fishermen. Subseries B. Richard Derby contains business letters, disbursements, invoices, and sales accounts for various ships. It also includes the testimony of N. Cushing regarding the Brigantines Massachusetts and Henry and Ann. Subseries C. John Derby contains receipts and accounts. Subseries D. Benjamin Pickman contains receipts, an insurance policy for the Brig Success, and a handwritten document by a Parisian stenographer describing the secret interrogation of the accused, incidents that occurred, debates of the court, and more relating to the escape of Monsieur Fauldes (1818).


Biographical Sketch


John Felt was born on September 16, 1754 in Salem, Massachusetts. He married Mary Porter (1762-1817) in 1780. They had six children. He played a key role in the February 26, 1775 Salem incident known as "Leslie's Retreat." In 1779 John Felt was a lieutenant in Colonel Shepard's Third Massachusetts Regiment. By profession he was a mariner and captained several of Elias Hasket Derby's ships. He died in Salem on September 12, 1796.


John Felt, a cousin of the other Felts in this collection, was born in Salem, Massachusetts on March 24, 1764. His father was John Felt's (1754-1796) brother, David Felt (circa 1733-1817). He married Elizabeth Curtis of Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1784. They had eight children. He was a ship master and member of the Salem Marine Society. He died on Martha's Vineyard on August 23, 1802 while returning from India.


John Felt, son of John Felt (1754-1796), was born on October 27, 1782 in Salem, Massachusetts. He married Betsey Shillaber (1785-1871). They had one child, Sarah Elizabeth, in 1810. He was a mariner and a member of the Salem Marine Society. He died on April 3, 1811 while commanding a vessel, which was lost at sea.


Jonathan Porter Felt, son of John Felt (1754-1796), was born in Salem, Massachusetts on April 5, 1785. He married Margaret Heussler (1787-1863) in 1810. They had seven children. He was a master mariner. Captain Felt moved to Virginia in 1839, but returned to Salem in 1844. He was Treasurer of the Essex Lodge of Free Masons from 1845-1852. He died in Salem on October 22, 1860.


Jonathan Porter Felt, son of Jonathan Porter Felt (1785-1860), was born in Salem, Massachusetts on November 28, 1813. He married Ann Kennedy (1815-1839) in 1838. They had a daughter, Jane, who died at birth in 1838. He was the manager of Stephen C. Phillips' business interests in Salem while Phillips served as a member of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C. He died on January 13, 1840 while on board the SS Lexington on Long Island Sound in a fire where 136 people perished.


John Felt, son of Jonathan Porter Felt (1785-1860), was born in Salem, Massachusetts on November 15, 1815. He married Elizabeth Milod Bowditch (born 1820) in 1847. They had two children, John Porter (1848-1938) and Georgiana Cheever (1853-1860). He moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, but returned to Salem in 1844. He died in 1907.


John Porter Felt, son of John Felt (1815-1907), was born in Wenham, Massachusetts on August 18, 1848. He married Katharine Lavinia Barrows (1855-1951) in 1883. They had one child, Marion, who was born in Salem in 1885. John Porter Felt was a trader with the West Coast of Africa. He died on June 11, 1938.


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.

Cogswell, William, 1838-1895
Derby, Elias Hasket, 1739-1799
Derby, John, 1767-1831
Derby, Richard, 1712-1783
Felt Family
Felt, John Porter, 1848-1938
Felt, John, 1754-1796
Felt, John, 1764-1802
Felt, John, 1782-1811
Felt, John, 1815-1907
Felt, Jonathan P. (Jonathan Porter), 1785-1860
Felt, Jonathan P. (Jonathan Porter), 1813-1840
Felt, Margaret Huessler, 1787-1863
Felt, Marion, b. 1885
Huesler, George Jacob
Phillips, Stephen C. (Stephen Clarendon), 1801-1857
Pickman, Benjamin, 1740-1819
Salem Marine Society
Brothers (Ketch)
Derby (Barque)
Essex (Ship)
Fantee (Bark)
Genealogy
Greyhound (Schooner)
Hope (Schooner)
Insurance policies
Lingarella (Bark)
Lion (Brig)
Little Cherub (Schooner)
Monk (Ship)
Pompey (Barque)
Reward (Brig)
Roebuck (Bark)
Rose (Brig)
Saucy Jack (Schooner)
Shipping
Sophia (Ship)
Sophia (Swedish Brig)
Spy (Ship)
Upton (Ship)
Washington (Brig)
Salem (Mass.)
Account books
Crew lists
Letters

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

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

Felt Family Papers, MH 95, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

This material was donated by the estate of Mrs. William O. Sargent (acc #15,909 and 16, 211) in 1962 and 1963 and John Porter Felt. Some items were a gift of William D. Sargent in 1962 and 1967. The Felt family Bible published in 1813 and the Derby family papers were a gift of Mrs. James E. Bear in 1964. The Bill of Lading for the ship Brothers was a gift of the Boston Athenaeum Library in 1988 (acc #24,753).

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Tamara Gaydos, September 2012.


Related Material

Endicott, Charles Moses. Account of Leslie's Retreat at the North Bridge in Salem, on Sunday Feb'y 26, 1775. Salem, MA: W. Ives & G.W. Pease, Printers, 1856.


Morris, John Emery. The Felt Genealogy: A Record of the Descendants of George Felt of Casco Bay. Hartford, CT: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1893.


Pompey (Barque) logbook, 1806-1807, Log 1806P


Captain Aron Endicott Papers, 1816-1826, Ship. Mss. 102


David Felt Account Book (fisheries), 1786-1795, MSS 1124


George J. Heussler Papers, undated, Fam. Mss. 440


Addison Richardson Papers, 1772-1853, MH 195


Felt Family Tree


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