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Robert H. Waters (1826-1881) Papers

Robert H. Waters (1826-1881) Papers

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ROBERT H. WATERS (1826-1881) PAPERS, 1853-1884

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:Waters, Robert H., 1826-1881
Title:Robert H. Waters (1826-1881) Papers
Quantity:1.5 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:The Robert H. Waters Papers contain correspondence and shipping papers of both Robert H. Waters and John Banchor.
Collection Number:MSS 318

Series List

SERIES I. Shipping Papers
SERIES II. Robert H. Waters Business Correspondence
SERIES III. John Banchor Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

The Robert H. Waters Papers contain correspondence and shipping papers of both Robert H. Waters and John Banchor. There are also a number of real estate papers and other correspondence as well as ships' logs, ships' account books, and ships' disbursement books. The collection consists of three series.

Series I. Shipping Papers includes correspondence, accounts, receipts, and account books of the ships commanded and/or partly owned by Waters. The account books also include invoices of merchandise shipped aboard vessels commanded by Waters. Correspondence consists primarily of letters of instruction to Waters from his employers, Theodore and George Chase, concerning insurance rates and commission on cargos and charters.

Series II. Robert H. Waters Business Correspondence documents Waters' various business affaris, including his accounts and real estate investments. The acconts and account books also contain some of his personal and household expenses. In addition, postscripts to the letters of instruction addressed to John Banchor from Felton & Waters include some personal notes from Waters to his father-in-law. Letters of instruction from Felton & Waters to John Banchor (B2 F2) provide details of the operation of a distillery. The papers in Box 2 Folder 4 document Waters' investment in the company F. F. Holbrook and Small, a firm dealing in agricultural implements. Waters' personal real estate investments (B2 F6) indicate his interest in properties sold as a result of bankruptcies. His real estate holdings included lands in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Boston.

Series III.The John Banchor Correspondence includes letters from family members to Banchor, many relating to his financial difficulties and to his intended move from New York to Boston. There are also some accounts and receipts of a domestic nature.

Biographical Sketches

Robert H. Waters was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 27, 1826. He was the son of Robert Waters (1791-1868) of Salem, Massachusetts, and Mary (nee Breach) of New Haven, Connecticut. Waters came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1843 at the age of seventeen to join the Merchant Marine. He learned the trade of navigation and was engaged by Brookhouse and West, a large shipping house in Salem. His first command was the barque Imaum and then the Vaspasian. From 1856 to 1861 he sailed for Theodore and George Chase, Boston ship owners engaged in the China trade, commanding the Buena Vista, the Industry, and the Eagle Wing.

In 1861 Waters joined in partnership with Luther H. Felton, a Boston distiller and owner of the Crystal Spring Distillery. Waters then moved to Boston and called the new firm Felton & Waters Distillers and Rectifiers. The company engaged in the manufacture of New England rum and other liquors. This firm was dissolved in 1867 and by 1868 Waters became the owner of the Bay State Sugar Refinery.

Waters married Mary Peabody and they had a son, Robert Henry, who was born in 1851. Mary died soon after on June 6, 1852. Waters then married Elizabeth Banchor in May of 1860. There is no available information on any children produced from this marriage. Waters died in 1881 in Wenham, Massachusetts, and was survived by his widow and son, Robert Henry.

John Banchor was a merchant involved in a variety of business enterprises, one of which was a partnership, Banchor's and Boyden, wine merchants located in Boston. During the 1860s Banchor acted as commission merchant and business agent for Felton & Waters, conducting his business in New York City. He later moved back to Boston. Banchor was married to Abigail P. Banchor. The couple had at least three children. In addition to their daughter, Elizabeth, there were two sons, George and John. Banchor died in 1871.

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.

Banchor, John, d. 1870
Chase, George
Chase, Theodore
Banchor and Boyden
Buena Vista (Ship)
Eagle Wing (Clipper)
Edie Waters (Schooner)
F. F. Holbrook and Company
Felton and Waters, Distillers and Rectifiers
Imaum (Bark)
Industry (Clipper)
Reindeer (Steamer)
Account books
Commission merchants--New York
Liquor industry--Massachusetts--Boston
Rum industry--Massachusetts
Ship captains
Ship's papers
Boston (Mass.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


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 Museum.

Preferred Citation

Robert H. Waters (1826-1881) Papers, MSS 318, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was purchased in November 1986 (acc. #86050).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Frances Malamy, January 2002. Updated by Nicholas Long, April 2015.

Related Material [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Date Accessed: April 2, 2015.

Boston Directory; A General Directory of the Citizens, and a Special Directory of Trades, Professions, &c., (Boston Massachusetts), for the years 1855-1882.

Crossman, Charles L., The China Trade, (Princeton, NJ, 1972), p. 1 – 13.

Fairburn, William Armstrong, Merchant Sail, Ed. Ethel M. Ritchie, (Lovell, Maine).

Salem Register, June 7, 1852.

Salem Register, July 14, 1881.

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