The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Reynolds, Caleb, 1771-1858
Caleb Reynolds (1771-1858)
2.5 linear feet (4 boxes)
The bulk of the Caleb Reynolds
Papers reflects the personal and business activities of Caleb Reynolds (1771-1858),
a mariner. The collection also contains papers of other family members.
SERIES I. Personal Correspondence SERIES II. Shipping Papers SERIES III. Log Books
Scope and Content Note
The bulk of the Caleb Reynolds Papers reflects the
personal and business activities of Caleb Reynolds (1771-1858), a mariner. The
collection also contains papers of other family members. The collection is divided
into three series.
Series I. Personal Correspondence contains letters to
Caleb's wife, Mary, letters to and from various friends, some correspondence of
other family members, and land deeds. It also contains many poems, mostly written by
Series II. Shipping Papers contains documents and
correspondence regarding the different sea voyages that Caleb made aboard the Isabella, the Sultan, and
Series III. Log Books contains logbooks from the
ships Pearl, Sultan, and
Fame. It also contains the log book of his son,
Samuel's, voyage on the ship Panama in 1837.
Caleb Reynolds was born in 1771. Family tradition states
that he had been orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle in Maryland.
Reynolds was a Boston fur trader and "seafarer" on the Northwest coast of America
during the first two decades of the nineteenth century (1804-1819). Between 1804 and
1807 Reynolds was third mate aboard the Boston ship Pearl
on a voyage to Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island to trade for sea
otter pelts. The fur trade in the Pacific Northwest provided the trade material for
American merchants to obtain tea, silk and porcelain in Canton, China. During this
voyage Pearl visited the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) on two occasions and Reynolds met
King Kamehameha and his advisor John Young.
He sailed aboard several ships out of Boston that traded fur for tea and silk
in China. After the Jefferson Embargo, Reynolds made a second lengthy voyage to the
Pacific Northwest this time as second mate aboard the Isabella (1809-1812). His journal includes descriptions of "Kodiac"
canoes, trading with the Russian-American Trading Company at New Archangel (Sitka),
and the restorative benefits of a visit to the hot springs outside Sitka. Back in
New England by the end of 1812, Reynolds, now in his forties, found time to meet and
marry Mary Eels Williams before embarking on his third voyage to the Pacific
Northwest as master of the ship Sultan (1815-1819). Returning to New England at the
end of 1819 Reynolds would spend less than a year at home before embarking on his
fourth, and final, lengthy voyage this time to Gibraltar, Batavia and Chile as
master of the ship Fame (1820-1822).
Reynolds and his wife had three children: Samuel Williams Reynolds (1820-1867),
Joel Barlow (1826-1851), and Charlotte Stark (1829-1920). After a career at sea, he
settled in Pembroke, New Hampshire to farm. He became a government census agent for
New Hampshire and took part in various community affairs. After his son, Sam,
married in 1846 and moved to Philadelphia, Reynolds moved with Mary, Barlow, and
Charlotte to Philadelphia, also. He died in 1858.
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.
Reynolds, Caleb, 1771-1858
Reynolds, Mary Williams
Reynolds, Samuel Williams, 1820-1867
Merchant mariners--United States
Seafaring life--United States--History
Ship captains--United States
Hawaii--Description and travel
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