The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Pynchon, William, 1723-1789
William Pynchon (1723-1789)
1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
The William Pynchon papers
document his career as a prominent counselor and businessman.
SERIES I. Legal Records SERIES II. Account Books
Scope and Content Note
The William Pynchon papers document his career as a prominent counselor and
businessman. They do not shed light on his loyalist views. The collection is
arranged into two series.
Series I. Legal Records consists of fee and receipt
books. Arranged alphabetically by client and then by court session, the court fee
books recount the type of services rendered and the fee charged. Case settlement
fees, with Pynchon acting as intermediary, are recorded in the receipt books. Legal
activities not resulting in a lawsuit are recorded in the legal bee book (B1 F2) and
payment receipt book (B3 F1) Additional legal charges may be gleaned from the
Series II. Account Books consists of a ledger,
journal, and two daybooks. Entries include household and personal expenses, son's
college bills, legal fees, dry goods ship sales, shipping ventures, and
miscellaneous business investments. Within each year, Pynchon groups some of his
accounts into subject categories: building, "movables," fees, expenses, shop goods,
William Pynchon (1723-1789), a Salem, Massachusetts,
lawyer and loyalist, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of William and
Catherine (Brewer) Pynchon. He graduated from Harvard College in 1743 and two years
later moved to Salem. There he read law with Mitchel Sewall, clerk of courts and the
register of deeds in Essex County. Pynchon became a prominent lawyer and was
appointed justice of the peace in 1761.
Pynchon married Sewall's daughter, Catherine, in 1751. They had five children:
Elizabeth married Timothy Orne; Catherine married William Wetmore; Sarah married
Thomas Fitch Oliver; William married Martha Elkins; and John.
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.
Pynchon, Catherine Sewall
Pynchon, William, 1723-1789
Justices of the peace
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 from an unknown source. The A Brief Account of
Salem was given by his son J. Pynchon to Mr. Cushing and by him to J.
Pickering, Jr. March 21, 1806 (acc #89042).
Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, March 1988. Updated by Tamara Gaydos,
Pynchon, William. The Diary of William Pynchon of Salem: a
Picture of Salem Life, Social and Political, a Century Ago. Ed. Fitch
Edward Oliver. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1890.
Shipton, Clifford Kenyon. "William Pynchon." New England
Life in the 18th Century: Representative Biographies from Sibley's Harvard
Graduates. Vol. XI. , 1741-1745. Boston: Massachusetts Historical