The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Murray, Robert, 1821-circa 1865
Robert Murray (1821-circa 1865)
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
The Robert Murray Papers detail
ship captain Robert Murray's life at sea from 1836 to 1864.
SERIES I. Business Papers SERIES II. Personal Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Robert Murray Papers detail ship captain Robert Murray's life at sea from 1836 to
1864. This collection is organized into two series.
Series I. Business Papers
consists primarily of documents and business correspondence from the ship Franklin, which sailed from New York to San Francisco to
Mazatlán, Mexico, to Pernambuco, Brazil, to Hamburg, Germany, and finally back to
New York, 1860-1862. The Franklin documents are
arranged in chronological order.
The documents in folders 3 and 4 list Robert Murray as first officer on the
voyage from San Francisco to Hamburg, Germany, but he took on the duties of captain
off the coast of Brazil when the current ship master, Solomon Freeman Jr., fell ill
with consumption. In February 1862 the Franklin docked
at Grimsby, England, where Freeman was removed to London and later died. The
personal correspondence to Murray in regards to Freeman's death and last wishes were
added to Series I as business correspondence.
Folder 5 contains various certificates of discharge for Murray listing the
ships' names and the ship masters, and an order to Murray to sail the schooner F.R. Hassler to Jacksonville, Florida. There are two
letters of recommendation for Murray from the master of the ship James Cruikshank and the ship Ostrich. The series is arranged chronologically by date.
Series II. Personal
Papers consists of 47 letters, personal receipts, and certificates.
Folder 6 contains personal receipts, a card detailing a naval academy class, a
letter of recommendation from the Naval Academy, and a Mason certificate. The
oversized items include Murray's indenture and a certificate of competency from the
Committee of Privy Council for Trade.
He wrote to his wife, Sarah, while onboard the
Franklin. His letters to Sarah detail his life on the Franklin, his relationship with Captain Freeman, and the
death of Captain Freeman. His siblings' letters are of general family business.
Folder 10 contains a letter from Murray's son Robert Franklin Murray to Sarah Murray
and thank you notes from Robert's two children to their aunt Fannie M. Murray.
Folder 11 contains miscellaneous items Murray picked up in his travels such as ship
building-related business cards, a list of ships stores from Grimsby, England, a
hospital money table from the Custom House in Boston, an exchange schedule of
Hamburg- English and American currency, and invoice of goods for the African market,
and James Murray's business announcement, 1861.
Robert Murray was born in 1821 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to
Captain John and Margaret Murray. He had four siblings: John Murray, James Murray,
E.M. Murray and Margaret Murray. In 1836 he was indentured, at age 16, to John
Inglis, the ship master of the ship Greenock. Murray
attended the Naval Academy in London from 1842 to 1845; he was certified in
Navigation and Nautical Astronomy. In 1850 he gained a certificate of competency as
master from the Privy Council for Trade. In 1854, at age 32, he was certified as a
Mason in Malta. Murray was consistently at sea. He was either first mate or ship
master from 1845, after his graduation from the London Naval Academy, to his
He married Sarah Fennell on June 5, 1860 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. His son
Robert Franklin Murray was born in 1861 and his daughter Fannie M. Murray was born
in 1864. It is unknown when Murray came to Massachusetts, but he did live in Salem
for a time. His wife and his daughter settled in Dorchester, and his son Robert
moved out west to Montana, where he settled down with a wife and children. Robert
Murray died at sea circa 1865.
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.
Freeman, Soloman, Jr.
Bird of the Wave (Brig)
F. R. Hassler (U. S. Coast Survey Schooner)
James Cruikshank (Bark)
Richard S. Ely (Ship)
S. F. Austin (Ship)
T. W. Lucas (Brig)
William Abrams (Ship)
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
The Robert Murray Papers detail ship captain Robert Murray's life at sea from 1836 to 1864.
Bird of the Wave (Brig); F. R. Hassler (U. S. Coast Survey Schooner); Franklin (Ship); Gardner (Barque); Georgiana (Ship); James Cruikshank (Bark); Ostrich (Bark); Oxenbridge (Ship); Richard S. Ely (Ship); S. F. Austin (Ship); Steadfast (Ship); T. W. Lucas (Brig); William Abrams (Ship); Salem (Mass.); Murray, Sarah; Freeman, Soloman, Jr.; Crew lists; Letters; Sailors; Ship captains; Shipping
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.