Processing and rehousing of this collection
were funded by grants from the following Essex Institute corporate members: Gulf
of Maine Research Group, Bursaw Oil Corp., and Salem Laundry Company.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Woodwell Family Papers
2.25 linear feet (4 boxes, 2 volumes)
The Woodwell Family Papers
document the activities of the Woodwell shipyard and the ship chandlery and hardware
business established by David T. Woodwell.
SERIES I. Woodwell Shipyard Records SERIES II. D. T. Woodwell & Company Records
Scope and Content Note
The Woodwell Family Papers document the activities of the Woodwell shipyard and the
ship chandlery and hardware business established by David T. Woodwell. The
collection has been divided into two series.
Series I. Woodwell Shipyard Records begins with
account books and receipts for Gideons activities as a ship carpenter and conclude
with the closing of the yard by the Woodwell brothers in 1852. Both Gideon and John
(1752-1822) appear to have operated a general store in addition to building ships,
since accounts for vessels built and repaired run alongside those for the sale of
dry goods merchandise. In addition to ship carpentry accounts, the Woodwell Brothers
daybook contains entries for their work on the Parker River and Plum Island
Series II. D. T. Woodwell & Company Records
provides a comprehensive documentation on the fiscal status of the business, but
limited information on the companys actual retail activities. Only the journals
contain itemized listings of goods purchased. The remaining volumes list customer or
suppliers name and the debit or credit rendered. The shipping and estates account
books (B3 F4) may reflect Woodwells management and part ownership in sailing
vessels as well as his administration of various estates.
Gideon Woodwell (1720-1790) began his career as a ship
carpenter; he had begun building vessels by 1759. From the time he established his
Newbury, Massachusetts, shipyard in 1762 until the Revolutionary War halted
manufacturing, Woodwell had built 52 vessels, He resumed shipbuilding in 1783,
forming a company, Woodwell & Hale, with his son John
(1752-1822) and son-in-law Enoch Hale. After Gideons death in 1790, Gideon
(1750-1840), John, and Enoch Hale continued operating the yard.
John (1752-1822) and his sons John (1786-1861), David (1788-1857), and Gideon
(1790-1871) ran the yard under the name Woodwell Brothers. After Johns death in
1822 his sons continued the business until the yard closed in 1852. In addition to
building ships, the brothers also rebuilt the Parker River Bridge and repaired the
Plum Island Bridge.
David Titcomb Woodwell (1820-1884), the son of David
(1788-1857) learned the trade of ship carpenter in the Woodwell yard. After the yard
closed in 1852, he formed a hardware business with his father-in-law, Jacob Haskell.
The company, which was known as D. T. Woodwell * CO., specialized in ship
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.
Hale, Enoch, 1757-1825
Woodwell, David T. (David Titcomb), 1820-1884
Woodwell, David, 1788-1857
Woodwell, Gideon, 1720-1790
Woodwell, Gideon, 1750-1840
Woodwell, Gideon, 1790-1871
Woodwell, John, 1752-1822
Woodwell, John, 1786-1861
D. T. Woodwell & Co. (Newbury, Mass.)
Woodwell Brothers (Newbury, Mass.)
Bridges--Maintenance and repair
Estates, administration of
Shipping--New York--New York
Parker River Bridge (Mass.)
Plum Island Bridge (Mass.)
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