The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Parsons, Charles, 1786-1835
Charles Parsons (1786-1835) and Thomas
Parsons (1781-1819) Papers
1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
The Charles and Thomas, Jr.
Parsons Papers contain correspondence and shipping papers of the Parsons family
SERIES I. Correspondence and Accounts SERIES II. Ships' Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Charles and Thomas, Jr. Parsons Papers contain correspondence and shipping papers
of the Parsons family shipping business. The shipping papers are particularly
detailed, covering the provisioning of the vessels prior to departure, accounts of
individual adventures, and current prices of commodities in various ports in
Europe. Much trade was done in the Spanish ports and in the Russian ports of St.
Petersburg and Cronstadt. The collection has been divided into two series.
Series I. Correspondence and Accounts contains
correspondence from Thomas, Jr. and Charles Parsons to their father, Captain Thomas
Parsons. These are business letters, for the most part, giving details about the
cargos, the going prices of commodities in each port, and progress in the purchase
and sale of goods. It also contains the correspondence of Charles C. Parsons, Boston
shipping merchant and agent for the Parsons, relating news of incoming ships,
commodities prices and disposal of cargo. Letters to and from Captain Thomas Parsons
also relate to the family shipping business. There are a few letters to Judith
Parsons, Captain Thomas Parsons wife. Folder 13 contains a notebook of Captain
Thomas Parsons, with recipes for various varnishes, wood, and metal treatments and
boat designs. It is not clear whether the account book in Box 1 Folder 13 is the
work of Capt. Thomas or of Thomas, Jr. Although Folder 18 of Box 1 contains
miscellaneous papers of Thomas Parsons, it should be noted that, given the late
dates of the papers, that the person referred to is neither Captain Thomas nor
Series II. Ships Papers contains the shipping papers of
the brig Garland and several other vessels. Some
letters are from adventurers, investors placing goods on board the Garland to be sold or traded by the captain for maximum
profit. The paper of the schooner Martin (B3 F7)
include a deposition of Captain Thomas Parsons describing the Martins capture and condemnation by a French privateer, and appeal by
the owners to the United States government for indemnification under the Spanish
Treaty and the statement of award. The papers of the brig Halsey (B3 F4) describe damages sustained during a violent storm.
Captain Thomas Parsons was born in Gloucester,
Massachusetts, on November 2, 1756 to Isaac and Hannah Parsons. The family was a
prosperous merchant family and Thomas and his brothers, Isaac, Ebenezer, Nehemiah,
and Aaron, were all engaged in shipping and owned many ships. Thomas sailed out of
Boston. On December 10, 1780, Thomas married Judith Kinsmen. The couple had three
children, Thomas Jr., Charles, and Judith. He died on June 15, 1837.
Thomas Parsons, Jr. was born in May 10, 1781 to Thomas
and Judith Parsons. By 1797 he had already gone to sea as first or second mate. By
1880 he was master of the Greyhound and subsequently of
many other family-owned vessels. He died on October 27, 1819, at the age of 38.
Charles Parsons was born on March 25, 1786, the youngest
of Thomas and Judith Parsons children. He also went to sea at a young age, as part
of the familys shipping business, and was ships master on many voyages. He died,
unmarried, on October 12, 1835.
Charles Chauncy Parsons was born in Newburyport,
Massachusetts, on April 8, 1872 to Theophilus and Elizabeth (Greenleaf) parsons. He
graduated from Harvard and was a shipping merchant in Boston, acting as agent for
the Parsons family and part of the family firm of Thomas, C.C. and C.T. Parsons.
On November 16, 1809, he married Judith Parsons, the daughter of Captain Thomas
Parsons, and the sister of Thomas, Jr. and Charles. There were two children of the
marriage, Elizabeth and Thomas.
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.
Parsons, Charles Chauncy, b. 1782-
Parsons, Thomas, 1781-1819
Parsons, Thomas, b. 1756
Charming Nancy (Schooner)
Mary and Elizabeth (Brig)
Sarah and Susan (Ship)
Stieglitz and Company
Shipping--Russia (Federation)--Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg (Russia)--Commerce
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
Charles Parsons (1786-1835) and Thomas Parsons (1781-1819) Papers, MH 175, Phillips
Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was found in the collection. Some letters and shipping papers were
donated by Morgan Plummer on October 2, 2002 (acc #2002.056).
Collection processed by Frances Malamy, September 2005. Updated by Tamara Gaydos,
Sibbalds, Mary H. The Descendants of Jeffery Parsons of
Gloucester, Massachusetts. Vol. One, Generations 1-5. Rockport, MA:
Charles Parsons (1786-1835) and Thomas Parsons (1781-1819) Papers
Parsons, Charles, 1786-1835
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
The Charles and Thomas, Jr. Parsons Papers contain correspondence and shipping papers of the Parsons family shipping business.
Active (Brig); Antelope (Ship); Brunswick (Schooner); Chance (Brig); Charming Nancy (Schooner); Fanny (Schooner); Garland (Brig); Halsey (Brig); Liverpool (Schooner); Louisa (Ship); Martin (Schooner); Mary and Elizabeth (Brig); Sally (Schooner); Sarah and Susan (Ship); Stieglitz and Company; Boston (Mass.)--Commerce; Saint Petersburg (Russia)--Commerce; Russia--Commerce--United States; Parsons, Charles Chauncy, b. 1782-; Parsons, Thomas, b. 1756; Parsons, Thomas, 1781-1819; Shipping--Spain; Shipping--Russia (Federation)--Saint Petersburg; Shipping--Russia (Federation)--Kronshtadt; Privateering; Shipwrecks
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.