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Lovett Family Papers

Lovett Family Papers

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Processing and conservation of this collection were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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:Lovett family
Title:Lovett Family Papers
Quantity:3.5 linear feet (8 boxes, 2 volumes)
Abstract:The Lovett Family Papers reflect the mercantile and personal activities of the Lovett family of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MSS 182

Series List

SERIES I. Shipping Papers
SERIES II. Papers of John (1743-1792) and John (1769-1805) Lovett
SERIES III. Family Papers
SERIES IV. Miscellaneous Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Lovett Family Papers reflect the mercantile and personal activities of the Lovett family of Beverly, Massachusetts. The collection contains privateering, fishing, and shipping papers for vessels owned or mastered by John (1743-1792), John (1769-1805), and Jonathan Herrick Lovett (1772-1844). The papers also include general store accounts of John (1769-1805) and William H. Lovett (born 1808), Josiah Lovett's mercantile letterbook, and personal and business papers of Anna (Foster), Lydia (Ray), and James Albert Lovett. Also included are papers of other Lovett family members, and deeds and estate papers of the Foster and Allen families. The collection is divided into four series.

Series I. Shipping Papers contains ships' papers and shipping accounts. The ships' papers are filed alphabetically by name of vessel (see Appendix I). Although the majority of these ships were owned or mastered by John (1743-1792), John (1769-1805), and Jonathan H. Lovett (1772-1844), other members of the Lovett family are also documented here. These individuals include Elizabeth, William H., Augustus, Joseph, Benjamin, Charles T., Josiah, and Pyam Lovett. Lovett vessels made numerous fishing, privateering, and mercantile voyages to the West Indies, Europe, South America, and the east coast of the United States. Of interest in the ships' papers are: lists of shareholders in the privateer ships Pilgrim and Black Prince; an account of the ship Lord Howe's capture of the schooner Alexander in 1782; a protest regarding the 1779 capture of the sloop Polly & Lydia by the British; and the medical certificate and inventory of personal effects made upon relieving Captain Jonathan H. Lovett of his command of the brigantine Lydia in 1797. The shipping accounts, filed chronologically by year, include accounts for more than one vessel, and miscellaneous merchant, cargo, and outfitting accounts.

Series II. Papers of John (1743-1792) and John (1769-1805) Lovett includes business and personal papers, and financial records of John's (1743-1792) wife Elizabeth. The correspondence and legal papers contain merchant correspondence, a letter from John (1743-1792) as town treasurer, and from John (1769-1805) to his brother Josiah at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, and an 1803 shipbuilding agreement. The account books record shipping, farming, general store, and household transactions. Also included are guardians' accounts of John's (1743-1792) children, and account books recording the auction sales of John's (1769-1805) estate goods. Of interest in the financial papers are shares in the Essex Bridge (1788), the Salem Turnpike Road (1802), and the Chelsea Bridge (1803); 1791 memorandums regarding Beverly taxes; and inventories of John (1743-1792) and John's (1769-1805) estates.

Series III. Family Papers contains business and personal papers of William H., Anna (Foster), Emily Frances, Lydia (Ray), James Albert, Josiah, Abiel Abbot, and miscellaneous members of the Lovett family. Also included are papers of in-law Robert Rantoul, and Foster and Allen family relatives. Among the papers of William H. Lovett and his wife, Anna (Foster), are deeds, mercantile account books, papers regarding the purchase and sale of vessels by Foster & Lovett (a shipping company in which Anna was a partner), William's 1856 will, and Anna's will and estate appraisal (1873).

The bulk of Emily Frances Lovett's papers are comprised of correspondence which she received from her sister Nancy and friends. Also included is an 1881 letter she received regarding the estate of her uncle Isaac Ray.

Although the bulk of Lydia (Ray) Lovett's papers contains correspondence to her son, James Albert Lovett, the 1881 wills of her siblings, Mary Ann and Isaac Ray, may also be found here. James Albert Lovett's papers include personal correspondence from his brothers, Henry F. and Horace R. Lovett, mercantile correspondence from his brother-in-law, Captain Charles H. Odell, letters from a New York watch and jewelry firm for which he did business, and his will (1868).

Josiah Lovett's mercantile letterbook includes correspondence to merchants in New Orleans, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Maine. Included with Abiel Abbot Lovett's school compositions, written while at the Beverly Academy, is a list of boys at the school in 1840.

Among the papers of miscellaneous Lovett family members is correspondence, poetry, deeds, legal, financial, and genealogical papers of Josiah, Benjamin, Betsey, Rebeckah, William H. (1778-1805), Jonathan H. (1778-1844), Jonathan H. (b. 1805), Sameul P., Edmonds, Augustus, Hannah, William B., Joseph, and Annie F. Lovett. Of interest is a 1749 will of John Lovett, a genealogical chart of the children of Benjamin and Betsey Lovett, 1791-1792 correspondence from Josiah to his mother on his first sea voyages, letters from Josiah and Jonathan H. Lovett at Phillips Academy, Andover (1791, undated), and militia papers of Samuel P. Lovett (1823). The petty cash books of in-law Robert Rantoul (who married Joanna Lovett) include general store accounts. The papers of the Foster and Allen families contain deeds and estate papers, including Jeremiah Foster's will (1820) and papers regarding the estate of Captain George W. Allen.

Series IV. Miscellaneous Papers contains household accounts of George Raymond, a Cotton family genealogy (covering the 17th and 18th centuries), an undated household inventory and report of the School Committee, and three Beverly land plans.

The correspondence of Lydia (Ray) Lovett (Box 6 folder 3) is available on microfilm #37.

Biographical Sketches

John Lovett (1743-1792) of Beverly, Massachusetts, was the first born son of Josiah (b. 1693) and Rebeckah (Woodberry) Lovett (1700-1787). John became a shipmaster and owner. John married Elizabeth (Herrick) Lovett and the two co-owned multiple ships (see Appendix I). John and Elizabeth had eleven children, several of whom are represented in these papers.

John Lovett (1769-1805) followed his father in becoming a shipmaster and owner. John also owned and operated a general store.

Jonathan Herrick Lovett (1772-1844), John (1743-1792) and Elizabeth's third son, was also involved in the shipping business and co-owned several of the family vessels. Jonathan was Captain of the Volunteer Light Infantry of Beverly, Massachusetts in 1801, though he was often at sea and left the captaincy to Robert Rantoul. Jonathan married Anna Lovett, and the two had eight children, including William Herrick (b. 1808) and Jonathan Herrick (b.1805).

Joanna Lovett (1780-1846) born to John (1743-1792) and Elizabeth Herrick married apothecary Robert Rantoul on June 4, 1801. They had seven children.

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.

Allen family
Allen, George W., 1827-1894
Cotton family
Foster family
Foster, Jeremiah
Lovett, Abiel Abbot
Lovett, Anna Foster
Lovett, Augustus, 1782-1833
Lovett, Benjamin
Lovett, Betsey
Lovett, Edmonds
Lovett, Elizabeth Herrick
Lovett, Emily Frances, 1836-
Lovett, Hannah
Lovett, Henry Francis, 1841-
Lovett, Horace Ray, 1838-
Lovett, James Albert, 1832-
Lovett, John, 1743-1792
Lovett, John, 1769-1805
Lovett, Jonathan H. (Jonathan Herrick), 1772-1844
Lovett, Jonathan Herrick, 1805-
Lovett, Joseph
Lovett, Josiah
Lovett, Lydia Ray
Lovett, Nancy Foster, 1833-
Lovett, Pyam
Lovett, Rebeckah Woodbery, 1700-1787
Lovett, Samuel P.
Lovett, William B.
Lovett, William H. (William Herrick), 1808-
Lovett, William Herrick, 1778-1805
Odell, Charles H.
Rantoul, Robert, 1778-1858
Ray, Isaac, 1807-1881
Ray, Mary Ann
Raymond, George, active 1767-1789
Active (Schooner)
Alert (Sloop)
Alice (Brigantine)
Augusta (Schooner)
Betsey (Schooner)
Black Prince (Ship)
Chelsea Bridge
Defense (Ship)
Diana (Snow)
Eagle (Schooner)
Essex (Schooner)
Essex Bridge
Fish Hawk (Sloop)
Foster and Lovett (Beverly, Mass.)
Freedom (Brigantine)
George (Ship)
Hawk (Schooner)
Hope (Schooner)
Hopewell (Vessel)
Jane (Ship)
Joanna (Schooner)
Juno (Schooner)
Lark (Schooner)
Laurel (Brig)
Lord Howe (Ship)
Lydia (Brigantine)
Phillips Academy
Pilgrim (Ship)
Polly & Lydia (Sloop)
Rajah (Brig)
Rambler (Ship)
Ruth (Schooner)
Sally (Brig)
Scorpion (Schooner)
Sea Cow (Schooner)
Success (Ship)
Swallow (Schooner)
Texas (Schooner)
Traveller (Brig)
Two Friends (Schooner)
William (Brigantine)
Woodbridge (Schooner)
Account books
Capture at sea
Estates, administration of
Fishing industry
General stores
Land titles
Marine protests
Military history
Ship building
Shipping--Canary Islands--Tenerife
Beverly (Mass.)
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783


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

Lovett Family Papers, MSS 182, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The Lovett Family Papers are a reintegration and reorganization of one letterbook, one box of account books, and 13 boxes and 6 envelopes of manuscript material. The bulk of the collection is from an unknown source. A number of gifts, however, have been incorporated into the papers. These include: the wills of Isaac and Mary Ann Ray (1811), donated by Jacques M. Quen in 1964; and ships' papers of the privateering schooner Rambler, donated by Louise Sewall Chapman in 1945. The account book of the schooner Texas was donated by Arthur J. Sorensen in February 1997 (acc #1997.010).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, June 1985. Updated by Catherine Robertson, June 2015.

Related Material

"Mr. Rantoul's Connexion with Military and Legislative Matters." Essex Institute Historical Collections. Volume 6, number 1.

"Rantoul Genealogy." Essex Institute Historical Collections. Volume 5, number 4.

Larkin Thorndike Lee Papers, 1799-1844, MSS 130.

Rantoul Family Papers, 1800-1950, MSS 450.

Appendix I

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