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Joseph Moseley (1760-1799) Papers

Joseph Moseley (1760-1799) Papers

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JOSEPH MOSELEY (1760-1799) PAPERS, 1782-1814

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:Moseley, Joseph, 1760-1799
Title:Joseph Moseley (1760-1799) Papers
Quantity:2.5 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:The Joseph Moseley papers mostly contain ships’ papers for the vessels on which Captain Moseley sailed.
Collection Number:MH 162

Series List

SERIES I. Ships' Papers
SERIES II. Personal Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Moseley papers mostly contain ships’ papers for the vessels on which Captain Moseley sailed. The collection has been divided into two series.

Series I. Ships’ Papers consists of passports, letters of credit, invoices, customs documents, passports, permits, certificates of measurement, protests, receipts, insurance policies and more. The bulk of the ships’ papers are from the brigantine Volant. Some household receipts may be mixed in with shipping receipts in folder 10 of box 1. Series II. Personal Papers contains one letter from his brother, Emperor Moseley, household receipts, and a poem by Polly Moseley.

Biographical Sketch

Joseph Moseley was born in approximately 1760 in Nixonton, North Carolina, to Emperor (born 1715/1720) and Elizabeth (b. about 1730) Moseley. He went to Salem, Massachusetts, on one of the Yankee vessels that traded with Albemarle, Virginia, in or about the year 1780. He became a master mariner living in Salem. He was, for several years, commander of the brig Volant, which belonged to William Gray, Jr. Her voyages were mostly to European ports. In 1792 he went on a voyage to Calcutta, in the ship Grand Turk, as mate, with Captain Benjamin Hodges, and in 1793 to St. Petersburg, as captain of the same ship. In 1795 he commanded the schooner Active belonging to Ichabod Nichols and Benjamin Hodges on a voyage to St. Petersburg, and in 1797 the ship Francis, belonging to Mr. Gray on a voyage to Havre De Grace and St. Petersburg.

On October 20, 1782, Moseley married Elizabeth Crowninshield (1757-1833), daughter of John and Mary (Ives) Crowninshield and sister of Clifford Crowninshield. They had eight children together: Elizabeth (born 1783); Mary (born 1784); Abigail (born 1786); Joseph (born 1787); Emperor (born 1789); Nancy (born 1794); Clifford Crowninshield (born 1797) and Martha (born 1797).

His last voyage was in the ship Enterprise in 1799. On the 16th of July, in the North Sea, he was hailed by a privateer which showed Dutch colors. While standing upon the deck, a shot from the privateer struck him in the head and he died in the arms of his men. He was buried in Norway.

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.

Derby, Elias Hasket, 1739-1799
Moseley, Emperor
Moseley, Polly
Sigourney, Elisha
Active (Schooner)
Attempt (Schooner)
Francis (Ship)
Grand Turk (Ship)
Trio (Schooner)
Volant (Brigantine)
Insurance, marine
Maritime law--United States
Sailors--United States
Ship captains
Shipping--Russia--Saint Petersburg
Salem (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

Joseph Moseley (1760-1799) Papers, MH 162, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by William C. Waters (acc #10,654 and 14,131).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, September 2015.

Related Material

Moriarty, Jr., G. Andrews. "The Emperour Family of Lower Norfolk County (Concluded)." The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 23.4 (1915): 438-40. JSTOR. Web. 03 Sept. 2015.

Moriarty, Jr., G. Andrews. "Capt. Joseph Moseley of Salem and His Ancestors." Historical Collections of the Essex Institute XLIX (1913): 183. Print.

E.S. W. “Additions and Corrections.” Historical Collections of the Essex Institute IV (1862):259- 260. Print.

Seamen agreement, America (Bark) Boston, Mar. 21, 1848, MH 0.534

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