Processing and conservation of this collection
was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Cabot Family Papers
2.5 linear feet (3 boxes, 1 volume)
The Cabot Family Papers
illuminate the prosperous shipping activities of this wealthy Salem and Beverly,
SERIES I. Shipping Papers SERIES II. Family Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Cabot Family Papers illuminate the prosperous shipping activities of this wealthy
Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts family. The collection contains only a small
portion of the shipping papers amassed by Francis (1717-1786) and Joseph Cabot
(1720-1767), and Joseph's sons, John (1744-1821), Joseph (1745-1774), George
(1752-1823), and Andrew (1750-1791). Also included are personal and miscellaneous
business papers of these and other family members. The papers have been divided into
Series I. Shipping Papers documents the mercantile
activities of two generations of the Cabot family. The ships' papers (see Appendix I
for a listing) contain vessels owned and mastered by Francis, Joseph Sr., John,
George, Andrew, and Joseph Cabot Jr. Of interest are the stores inventory of the
brig Gipsy's voyage to India, and tallies of fish
caught on board the fishing and trading schooner Sally.
The bulk of the shipping correspondence consists of letters to Joseph Jr., John, and
Andrew from foreign and domestic merchants in Kittery, Maine, Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, Barcelona, London, Bilbao, and Philadelphia. Also included is master's
correspondence from Josiah Orne aboard an anonymous vessel (1767-1768) and letters
from John Jr. (1782-1855) regarding a French spoliation claim on the brig Welcome Return. The ledger and waste book, which belonged
to Joseph Cabot Jr., include distillery accounts, as well as accounts of the
schooner Tryall, schooner Sally, brig Union, and schooner George. The miscellaneous shipping papers contain cargo,
outfitting, and insurance accounts for miscellaneous or multiple vessels.
Series II. Family Papers contains two notebooks and
correspondence reflecting Joseph S. Cabot's work on Neopolitan claims cases circa
1833. Also included is correspondence, financial, and legal papers of a personal or
business nature of many family members: John (1680-1742), Dr. John (1704-1749),
Francis (1717-1786), Joseph (1720-1767), Joseph (1745-1774), Elizabeth (Higginson)
(1722-1781), Susanna, Andrew (1750-1791), Deborah (Higginson) (1754-1820), William,
Rebecca (Orne) (1748-1818), George (1752-1823), John (1744-1821), John (1782-1855),
Sally, Lucy (1785-1848), Henry (1783-1864), William P., Hannah, and Lydia (Dodge).
This series also includes an account book for a distillery house belonging to John
and Andrew Cabot. Of interest is a 1744 Isle of Jersey deed of sale from Marston
Cabot and an 1810 copy of the New England
The Cabot family was one of the wealthiest and most prosperous shipping merchant
families in 18th-century Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts. John Cabot (1680-1742)
emigrated from the Isle of Jersey to Salem in 1700. His sons, Francis (1717-1786) and Joseph (1720-1767),
followed him into the shipping business, developing trade with the West Indies,
England, and coastwise United States ports. Upon Joseph's death in 1767, his widow
Elizabeth (Higginson) Cabot moved their family to Beverly, beginning the Cabot
family's association with that town.
Many of Joseph and Elizabeth's children continued the family's prosperous
shipping activities. Three of the sons, Joseph
(1745-1774), John (1744-1821), and George (1752-1823), developed their mercantile acumen while serving as
supercargo and masters. George, John, and Andrew
(1750-1791) also formed the merchant house of J. & A. Cabot in association with
their brother-in-law, Joseph Lee. They were owners, in whole or part, of at least 41
vessels, specializing in the Spanish trade, most notably with Bilbao. They also had
interests in fishing and during the American Revolution amassed a considerable
amount of wealth through privateering.
Several Cabot family members held important positions in government and
business. John (1744-1821) was a Representative in the Massachusetts legislature in
1792. George (1752-1823) was a delegate to the Provincial Congress in 1779, a close
friend and advisor of Washington and Hamilton, Massachusetts Senator (1791-1796),
president of the Boston branch of the United States Bank (1803-1811), and president
of the Boston Marine Insurance Co. from 1809 until his death in 1823. Samuel
(1758-1819) served as a British spoliation claims commissioner in London
(1796-1800), and was president and director of the Boston Marine Insurance Co. from
1805 to 1809. Joseph Sebastian (1796-1874), Joseph's (1745-1774) grandson, turned to
banking and civic duties after a brief career in the East India trade. He was
president of the Asiatic National Bank and the Salem Savings Bank, president of the
Massachusetts Horticultural Society, a Neopolitan claims commissioner circa 1833,
and mayor of Salem (1845-1848).
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.
Cabot, Andrew, 1750-1791
Cabot, Francis, 1717-1786
Cabot, George, 1752-1823
Cabot, John, 1680-1742
Cabot, John, 1744-1821
Cabot, Joseph S. (Joseph Sebastian), 1796-1874
Cabot, Joseph, 1720-1767
Cabot, Joseph, 1745-1774
Lee, Joseph, 1744-1831
Orne, Josiah, 1745-1789
J. & A. Cabot (Firm)
United States--History--Neopolitan Claims
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
The Cabot Family Papers are a reintegration and reorganization of 4 account books, 2
notebooks, one scrapbook, and one envelope of manuscript material. The bulk of the
collection was donated by Mrs. Joseph S. Cabot in 1879. The inventory book of the
Brig Gipsy was the 1915 gift of Mrs. Francis H. Lee.
Removed from the collection are correspondence and financial papers of Orne family
members (see Separation Sheet for exact listing).
Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, December 1984. Updated by Catherine
Robertson, March 2015.
Account book of the Horton family, 1781-1828, MSS
George Bailey Loring Papers, 1831-1904, MSS
Salem Insurance Companies Records, 1779-1893, MSS
Susan Marsh Emerson Diary, 1859-1860, Fam. Mss.