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 Co.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Fisk, John, 1744-1797
John Fisk (1744-1797) Papers
2.5 linear feet (1 box, 7 volumes)
The John Fisk Papers primarily
record Fisk's shipping enterprises and mercantile affairs.
Scope and Content Note
The John Fisk Papers primarily record Fisk's shipping enterprises and mercantile
affairs. The ledgers, journals, and waste books, 1787-1797, accurately summarize his
storefront activities. Lists of goods sold in his stores as well as those shipped on
his vessels are found throughout the waste books and sales accounts (B1 F2). Of
particular interest in the waste books are Fisk's yearly summaries, January 1, 1789
to January 1, 1794, of all his property (real estate, financial assets, store
inventories, and personal holdings).
Fisk's activities as a ship owner and merchant are documented only in the
Account of Sales, Invoice Book, and Orders (B1 F2). This volume provides a brief
overview of the nature of his shipping transactions through instruction letters to
sea captains and invoices of cargo shipped on Fisk and non-Fisk vessels. There are
no ships' papers for his vessels in this collection.
The miscellaneous business and personal papers include receipts, a letter to
Fisk as general of the militia, and estate papers. Additional estate accounts are
also located in the 1793-1797 waste book (volume 7). A copy of the 1683(?) will of
John Browne ( -1685?) will also be found in B1 F4.
John Fisk (1744-1797) was born on April 11, 1744, the son
of Rev. Samuel (1689-1770) and Anna (Gerrish) Fisk of Salem, Massachusetts. A
prominent Salem merchant whose vessels traded with ports in Spain, India, and the
West Indies, Fisk also operated three stores in Salem and one in Boston. Among the
commodities he sold were coffee, tea, raisins, lemons, iron hoops, oil, tar, and
According to Pierce, "'At the time of the Revolution [Fisk] commanded the first
vessel of war commissioned in the service [the privateer Tyrannicide]. At the close of the war, he was commissioned a Colonel,
then a Brigadier, and finally a Major General in the State Militia, which position
he held until his death, in 1797. He was a man of princely hospitality, of
enterprising spirit, and of benevolent impulses. He took great interest in the
various religious and charitable movements of the day, and contributed freely to
their support. He was thrice married, but left no male issue."
His wives were Lydia Phippen (1745-1782), Martha Lee (d. 1785), and Sarah
Wendell (1745-1804). He died on September 28, 1797.
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.
Browne, John, d. 1685?
Estates, administration of
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
This material is an integration and reorganization of seven volumes and one folder.
The receipt book, 1781-1782, was purchased July 10, 1903. Volumes 1 through 7 were
the gift of Mrs. Eben Putnam on May 9, 1945. The remainder of the collection is a
gift from Mrs. Eben Putnam on August 15, 1941 and March 17, 1944.
Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, April 1987. Updated by Tamara Gaydos,
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital
Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Pierce, Frederick Clifton. Fiske and Fisk Family: Being
the Record of the Descendants of Symond Fiske, Lord of the Manor of Stadhaugh,
Suffolk County, England, from the Time of Henry IV to Date, including All the
American Members of the Family. Chicago, IL: W. B. Conkey Co., 1896.
Commission of appointment as Commander of the armed Brig called Tyrannicide to John Fisk by the major part of the council
of Mass. Bay, May 9, 1776, E182.F57 C666.
Letter from John Fisk, Ipswich, 1794, with information concerning American
shipping to the West Indies, HE745.F575.
This material is an integration and reorganization of seven volumes and one folder. The receipt book, 1781-1782, was purchased July 10, 1903. Volumes 1 through 7 were the gift of Mrs. Eben Putnam on May 9, 1945. The remainder of the collection is a gift from Mrs. Eben Putnam on August 15, 1941 and March 17, 1944.