The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Eagleston, John H., 1803-1884
John Henry Eagleston (1803-1884)
2 linear feet (4 boxes, 1 flat file)
The John Henry Eagleston papers
contain materials related to Eagleson's life and time at sea.
SERIES I. John Henry Eagleston Papers SERIES II. Ups and Downs of Captain
Scope and Content Note
The John Henry Eagleston papers contain materials related to Eagleson's life and time
at sea. The majority of the collection is made up of transcripts of his
autobiography, Ups and Downs of Captain John Eagleston.
This collection has been divided into two series.
Series I. John Henry Eagleston Papers includes ships'
papers from the brig Mermaid, which he commanded and a
letter that Eagleston wrote to the editor of the Salem
Register about the Fiji Islands. Included is the original letter written
by Eagleston, the newspaper article, and a photocopy of the article. Other ships'
papers, from the bark Edward Koppisch and the brig
Mermaid, were removed from their log books and
placed with this collection.The majority of papers
removed from the log of the Mermaid, are news clippings
about weather conditions, tide, local news, and trade prices.This series also includes a transcript of Eagleston's article "Account of
An Early California Passage" and transcribed correspondence and ships' papers. There
is a folder of transcripts of ship logs.
Series II. Ups and Downs of Captain
John Eagleston contains manuscripts and transcripts of the
autobiography and correspondence to and from one of Eagleson's sons, James V.
Eagleston, to the Essex Institute about the possibility of publishing his father's
autobiography. In a letter dated September 27, 1924, it is suggested to Eagleston's
son that he have a type-written copy made of his father's autobiography that is
found within the ships' logs. This series also contains multiple copies of
transcriptions of the autobiography, in loose and bound form, which appear to have
been produced by different individuals. The different versions have not been
intermingled. The only version whose producer can be identified is the version
created by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in Maui, Hawaii. This version contains
the first four chapters, which have been indexed, and are contained within black
covers; these transcriptions have been renamed The Journals of
Captain John H. Eagleston. For a detailed explanation as to how
information about Eagleston and his journals ended up in Hawaii, and why a copy of
these transcripts were provided to the Library, see the introduction of the first
chapter (box 3, folder 1). It is possible that the first version listed in the
finding aid was compiled by Eagleson's son, James V., as it was with his
correspondence with the Essex Institute. This autobiography is an excellent resource
for descriptions of foreign ports and customs, as seen through an American sailor's
John Henry Eagleston was born on September 23, 1803 in
Baltimore, Maryland, to Henry and Hester Eagleston. At eight and a half years old he
was apprenticed to Captain Tristram Luce, from Martha's Vineyard, and at the age of
sixteen he set out on his own, working his way up from cabin boy and cook to
captain. He became a member of the Essex Institute Marine Society in 1820. He was a
ship master in Salem, Massachusetts, who commanded ships to the Fiji Islands from
1830 to 1840, including the ship Emerald in 1833.
Eagleston commanded the brig Mary and Ellen, which was
the first vessel to sail from Massachusetts to California after the discovery of
gold in 1828. He also commanded the bark Edward
Koppisch in 1854 (The Marine Room, 106-107).
By 1880 he had retired from the sea.
At the back of several log books kept by Eagleston during his time at sea, he
wrote his autobiography, covering his life from birth until 1861, entitled Ups and Downs of Captain John Eagleston.
Eagleston was married to Elizabeth Anne Green on October 22, 1833 in Baltimore;
she died in childbirth in 1842. Eagleston and Elizabeth do not appear to have had
any children who survived. He then married Mary C. Norton of Tisbury, Massachusetts,
in 1843; Mary died in 1852. Eagleston and Mary appear to have had at least four
children together: Mary E., Ellen V., John H., and Alfred N. Eagleston then married
Mary's sister, Hannah, who he was married to at the time of his death on September
24, 1884. They had three children together: Allen P., Edward L., and James V.
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.
Eagleston, John H., 1803-1884
Edward Koppisch (Barque)
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
John Henry Eagleston (1803-1884) Papers, MH 87, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was found in the collection. Bound transcripts from the journals of
Eagleston, chapters one through four are from the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in
Maui, Hawaii, given to the library in June 1993 (accession #93017). These
transcripts have black covers and indexes for each chapter.
Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, April 2015.
This material was found in the collection. Bound transcripts from the journals of Eagleston, chapters one through four are from the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in Maui, Hawaii, given to the library in June 1993.