The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Brown, Francis, 1815-1880
Francis Brown (1815-1880)
0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
The Francis Brown papers are
largely composed of ships' papers with some personal papers included.
SERIES I. Ships' Papers SERIES II. Other Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Francis Brown papers are largely composed of ships' papers with some personal
papers included. The collection has been divided into two series.
Series I. Ships' Papers contains the papers of
sixteen vessels, primarily those in which Brown was master, supercargo, and/or
owner. The majority of these vessels traded with the East Indies, China, or
Zanzibar. The papers cover every aspect of merchant shipping of the period, and
include letters of instruction, insurance policies, crew lists, seaman's shipping
articles, bills of lading, disbursements, invoices, and other accounts. Two vessels
are notable for the extent of the items which relate to them. The papers of the ship
Ann Maria show four voyages spanning the years 1846
to 1850, in which Brown began as master, then master and part owner, and then became
part owner only. The Ann Maria traded during this
period with China, Java, Singapore, the Philippines, and Valparaiso. The papers of
the bark Star, in which Brown was part owner and joint
supercargo, cover voyages in the years 1838 to 1841 to Bombay, Mocha, and
Series II. Other Papers consists of consular drafts,
nautical charts, a power of attorney, a seaman's protection certificate, and memos
of shipments to and from the United States with Muscat, Mauritius, India, and
Francis Brown was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on August
5, 1815 to Ammi and Hannah (Baker) Brown. His early education took place at the
private school of Samuel Archer. Presumably, his first major employer was the firm
of William Dean and Company; Brown was later employed with Ebenezer Seccomb.
He first went to sea on the 290-ton brig Neptune,
most likely on a Sumatra voyage which was registered at Salem on September
29, 1831, under Captain William Osgood. Brown also served aboard the John
Bertram-owned brig Cherokee under Captain Bensen, on a
voyage to Batavia and Europe, from which he returned from Rotterdam on the bark
Brazil. This voyage was most likely the one
registered at Salem on March 6, 1837. After serving for a time as a business partner
in the firm Seccomb and Brown, he landed his first major position on board a ship as
the supercargo on board the bark Star, which he was
part owner of, on a voyage to Zanzibar. Afterward, Brown worked as captain and/or
supercargo on the brig Rattler, the ship Carolina to Rio de Janeiro and Canton, the bark Brazil to Sumatra, and the Ann
Maria, to the East Indies.
After retiring from sea duty, he served as an agent in California for David
Pingree. Upon his return to Salem, he became treasurer of the Salem Gas Light
Company, treasurer of the Salem Lead Company, trustee of the Salem Five Cent Savings
Bank, and a director of the Salem National Bank. Brown was elected alderman in Salem
in 1861. He died on November 14, 1880 after a long illness, leaving behind a widow
and several children.
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.
Andrews, John, Capt.
Bertram, John, 1796-1882
Brown, Edward, Capt.
Brown, Nathaniel, Capt.
Conant, Benjamin, Capt.
Holme, Thomas, Capt.
McMullen, John, Capt.
Ropes, Edward D., 1864-1903
Ann Maria (Ship)
Sea King (Steamer)
United States--Politics and government
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
Francis Brown (1815-1880) Papers, MH 26, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum,
This material was donated on April 5, 1941 (accession #10,810).
Collection processed by John Koza, November 1990. Updated by Hilary Streifer,
Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their
Voyages. Salem: Essex Institute, 1922.
Ship Registers of the District of Salem and Beverly
Massachusetts, 1789-1900. Salem: Essex Institute, 1906.
Vital Records of Salem Massachusetts to the End of the
Year 1849. Salem: Essex Institute, 1916.
Ann Maria (Ship) Logbook, 1846-1847. Log 582, Log 581.
Ann Maria (Ship) Logbook, 1847. Log 1277.
Brazil (Bark) Logbook, 1834; Rattler (Brig) Logbook, 1840.
Brazil (Bark) Logbook, 1844. Log 539.
Brazil (Bark) Logbook, 1841-1842; Caroline (Ship) Logbook, 1843-1844. Log 479.