The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Preston, John, 1790-1876
John (1790-1876) and Charles P.
(1820-1887) Preston Papers
1.75 linear feet (4 boxes)
The papers of John (1790-1876)
and Charles P. Preston (1820-1887) contain business records from the family shoe
business, as well as farm and personal papers.
SERIES I. Shoe Business Records SERIES II. Farm and Personal Records
Scope and Content Note
The papers of John (1790-1876) and Charles P. Preston (1820-1887) contain business
records from the family shoe business, as well as farm and personal papers. This
collection has been divided into two series. Papers that were loose within the
various records books were extracted and are now included in the applicable
Series I. Shoe Business Records document John and
Charles' activities in shoe production and peg manufacturing. The account books and
daybooks for the business refer to workers' accounts, but also include shipments,
cash accounts, and accounts of various customers with the Prestons. The workers'
accounts show withdrawal of tools, stock, leathers, etc., and the credit given
various items of footwear, such as shoes, brogans, slippers, etc. The stock books
itemize the manufacturing of footwear, giving an indication of the extent of the
Prestons' shoe business. From March 28, 1835 through March 14, 1840, more than
171,000 pairs of footwear were manufactured. The most productive year was 1837, when
over 51,000 pairs of various footwear were manufactured. The business papers include
shipping documents, lists of shipments of boots, shoes, etc., memorandum of sales,
and a small amount of business correspondence.
Series II. Farm and Personal Records reflect the
operation of the farm, and to a certain extent, some of the Prestons' personal
accounts. The account books record receipts and expenses of various items such as
butter, lamb, mutton, eggs, grapes, apples, and other produce. Entries for personal
items include household expenses and an accounting of the Young Men's Debating Club
(box 3, folder 5). Included in this series is the guardianship account book and
related papers of Charles P. Preston, who was appointed on April 7, 1857 as guardian
to Abby Wadleigh Cass, the minor daughter of John W. Cass, late of Danvers, and
appointed on October 5, 1858 as guardian of John W. Cass, minor son of the late John
W. Cass. This book and related papers detail a meticulous account of his
guardianship of these two children. The miscellaneous papers included in this series
are those that cannot be easily identified with the shoe business; some were removed
from the farm/personal account books.
John Preston was born on December 16, 1790, to Captain
Levi and Mehitable (Nichols) Preston, in Danvers, Massachusetts. John was one of
eleven children. He married Clarissa Putnam of Danvers on December 2, 1819; they had
five children. He was a shoe manufacturer and farmer, and was in business with his
son, Charles P. Preston. John served as a selectman in Danvers from 1831 to 1834 and
also as a state representative during those years. He was the annual town meeting
moderator in 1833 and 1837. John's brother, Samuel Preston, was the inventor of the
first shoe pegging machine. John died in Danvers on May 28, 1876.
Charles P. Preston was born on September 24, 1820, to
John (1790-1876) and Clarissa (Putnam) Preston, in Danvers, Massachusetts. He joined
in business with his father and in approximately 1845 he supplied the first shoe
pegs shipped to England. His civic duties included selectman for the town of Danvers
from 1856 to 1864; town moderator, 1864; and state representative, 1863-1864. He was
appointed by philanthropist George Peabody as a lifetime trustee of the Peabody
Institute in Danvers, and served as its president from 1878 to 1883. Charles married
Sarah Hubbard Hooke of Poplin, New Hampshire, on June 29, 1845. He died on October
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.
Cass, Abby Wadleigh, b. 1842
Cass, John Wadleigh, b. 1844
Preston, Charles Putnam, 1820-1887
Preston, John, 1790-1876
Young Men's Debating Club
Boots and shoes--Trade and manufacture
Guardian and ward
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 (1790-1876) and Charles P. (1820-1887) Preston Papers, MSS 235, Phillips
Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
The Cass guardianship papers were donated by Miss Lucy B. Willson. The remainder of
the collection is from an unknown source.
Collection processed by Don Gleason, October 1993. Updated by Hilary Streifer, August
Vital Records of Danvers, Massachusetts, to the End of the
Year 1849. 2 vols. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1909-1910.
Massey, D. A., editor. History of Freemasonry in Danvers,
Mass., from September 1778 to July 1896. Peabody, MA: C. H. Shepard,
Tapley, Harriet Silvester. Chronicles of Danvers (Old
Salem Village) Massachusetts 1632-1923. Danvers, MA: Danvers Historical
John (1790-1876) and Charles P. (1820-1887) Preston Papers
Preston, John, 1790-1876
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
The papers of John (1790-1876) and Charles P. Preston (1820-1887) contain business records from the family shoe business, as well as farm and personal papers.
Young Men's Debating Club; Account books; Danvers (Mass.); Preston, Charles Putnam, 1820-1887; Preston, John, 1790-1876; Cass, Abby Wadleigh, b. 1842; Cass, John Wadleigh, b. 1844; Boots and shoes--Trade and manufacture; Farms; Guardian and ward
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.