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Penhallow Family Papers

Penhallow Family Papers

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Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Penhallow family
Title:Penhallow Family Papers
Quantity:2.75 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:The Penhallow Family Papers contain letters, wills, deeds, and shipping papers of a prominent shipping and merchant family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Collection Number:MH 183

Series List

SERIES I. Penhallow Family Papers
A. Samuel (1665-1726), John (1693-1735), and Samuel (1722-1813) Penhallow
B. Thomas Wibird Penhallow (1783-1876)
C. Pearce Wentworth Penhallow (1817-1885)
D. Captain Pearce W. Penhallow (1855-1878)
SERIES II. Wentworth Family Papers
SERIES III. Warner Family Papers
SERIES IV. Ships' Papers
SERIES V. Other Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Penhallow Family Papers contain letters, wills, deeds, and shipping papers of a prominent shipping and merchant family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It also includes papers of related individuals in the Cutts, Wentworth, Sherborne, Macphaedris, Wibird, Warner, and Jeffry families. It has been divided into five series.

Series I. Penhallow Family Papers has been organized into four subseries. Subseries A. Samuel (1665-1726), John (1693-1735), and Samuel (1722-1813) Penhallow consists of letters, legal and shipping papers, and a letter copy book. Documents include: the bond of Samuel Penhallow to Richard Wibird, surety for his faithful performance of his duties as treasurer of the province (1723); a power of attorney from John Penhallow to Thomas Phipps (1727); a deposition of James Miller before John Penhallow that dealt with the charter between Capt. John Wiley and George Christy (1730); receipts from Jonathan Warner (1789), John Tuston (1769) and others; a letter from Samuel Penhallow to Mr. Kneeland regarding Lisbon wine (1783); and a copy of Samuel Penhallow's 1812 will. Subseries B. Thomas Wibird Penhallow (1783-1876) contains a letter to Thomas W. Penhallow from Saunders and Beach regarding the sale of their share in the Abellino and various accounts (1817) and a deed of land and buildings in Portsmouth to Thomas W. Penhallow by Hunking and Benjamin Penhallow, merchants (1818). Subseries C. Pearce Wentworth Penhallow (1817-1885) contains papers related to the court proceedings in The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board vs. Penhallow case and letters related to shipping and the guano trade. Correspondents include Glidden & Williams, H. O. Briggs, William Cook & Company, J. O. Baker & Company. Subseries D. Captain Pearce W. Penhallow consists of a scrapbook created by Pearce W. containing genealogical information, family biographies, and copies of documents, such as wills. Some of the documents in this collection were removed from the scrapbook and place in separate folders.

Series II. Wentworth Family Papers contains the papers of John, Benning, Sarah, and Mark J. Wentworth. John Wentworth's papers include a mortgage deed for land in Portsmouth (1717); a letter from Cadiz regarding the capture of the ship George and her clearance for London (1719) including account current with Thomas Palmer (1720); and a note payable for £50 to George Jaffrey, Henry Sherburne, Joshua Peirce, John Rindge, Theodore Atkinson, George Walker, et. al. (1734). Benning Wentworth is represented in the collection by a draft on John Newmarch payable to Messrs Springer & Low for £50 (1727). Also included is a copy of Sarah Wentworth's 1740/41 will. Two documents for Mark H. J. Wentworth include and a letter from Jonathan Nelson regarding a trial shipment of staves (1754) and a tax bill (1785).

Series III. Warner Family Papers contains papers of Daniel Warner and Jonathan Warner. Daniel's papers include: a receipt for salt from Benning Wentworth signed by James Bowdoin (1731); a deposition of Ebenezer Hanscom that Daniel Warner assured Jonathan Brown of Rye reimbursement for all provisions supplied to Joseph Hutchings, shipwright, who was building a schooner for Warner (1784); an inventory of his estate (1778); and probate court's permission to Jonathan Warner, administrator of Daniel Warner's estate, to sell sufficient real estate to pay all bills (1779). Jonathan Warner's papers include papers for or letters about the ships Atkinson, Caesar, Elizabeth, Mary, Nathaniel, New Hampshire, and Treeothick as well as bills, letters, and a deposition of Tobias Lear. Of interest is an agreement between Warner and a black servant, Nero, for a three-year term of service (1800).

Series IV. Ships' Papers consists of papers of Daniel Jackson, master of the brigantines Polly and Success and a sheet of prices current from Liverpool (1792).

Series V. Other Family Papers consists of papers of people related to the Penhallows. Folder 18 contains a deed from John Cutts to Reuben Hull for a parcel of land on the Piscataqua River (1694) and judgement for Charles Runlet to pay £10 to the estate of Captain Richard Cutt (1678, 1762). Folder 19 has five documents: a letter to Capt. Thomas Phipps from Thomas Fitch (1708/9); a deed of land on Great Bay Piscataqua River from Thomas Phipps to Joshua Weeks (1711); account with Capt. John Pickering (1708-1722); power of attorney from Phineas Jones to Thomas Phipps (1732); and the distribution of the Phipps estate (1740). Folder 20 consists of a judgement upon Richard King, shipwright of Kittery, to be paid to Henry Sherburne (1734) and an order of the court to Henry Sherburne, Jr. to sell Peter Greley's widow's third to settle claims on the estate (1757).

Folder 21 includes: a letter from John Arbutnot regarding the ship Earnest (1715); letters from Benning Wentworth regarding consignments for sale in Boston (1716-1720); an account for the sale of four negroes on the snow Ann from Barbados (1717); a letter and account of an order of beef and bread on board the sloop Jackson (1717); a letter regarding the ship Sarah's arrival at Cork from Lisbon (1719); a bill of lading for the Mary Galley (1722); deeds to lots in Rochester and Chester to John Downing and Samuel Rankin from the estate of Archibald Macphaedris (1730); letters regarding the death of Gilbert Macphaedris and settlement of his estate (1735), and other letters. Folder 22 contains a power of attorney from Richard Wibird to Thomas Phipps (1727). Folder 23 contains two deeds, one from Daniel Peirce to John Abbot, cordwainer and mariner, for a parcel of land in Portsmouth (1747); the other a mortgage deed of house and land in Portsmouth from Daniel Croxford to Daniel Peirce (1755). Folder 24 contains correspondence between James Jeffry and his son, Cyprian (1749-1750); an attachment upon the goods or estate of Cyprian Jeffry for debt due John King (1761); and Cyprian Jeffrey's tax bill (1762). Folder 25 contains a receipt for John Davis from John King witnessed by Cyprian Jeffry (1763).

Folder 26 contains: deeds to Daniel and Samuel Sherburne to various lands by John Seward and James Haslet (1771-1772); deeds from Woodbury Langdon to Samuel Sherburne (1783); a deed of a share of land in Gilmantown from Nathaniel Sherburne as executor of Daniel Sherbourne's estate to Samuel Sherburne (1785); and two letters to Samuel Sherburne (1783, 1805). It also includes a copy of the will of Mary, Duchess Dowager of Norfolk (1749). Folder 27 contains shipping papers of Captain Nathaniel Sherburne, including a letter to him from A. W. Truesdel regarding the rescue of a crew from a sloop in distress (1786); a letter of instruction from Joshua Wentworth for the ship Nancy (1789); a bill of lading for the brig George (1790); and a bill of lading for the brig Ceres (1792). Folder 28 contains a letter from Thomas Palmer, a Scottish printer, to Tobias Lear, a Washington banker, about where best to settle in America (1800).

Folder 29 contains a variety of documents, including: a receipt for Greenwich Hospital dues for a "boat-keeper" from Newfoundland (1734); an indenture for John Lee, apprenticed to Edmund Coffin to learn the trades of mariner (1760); a summons to George Massey, administrator of the estate of John Pray, to answer an action of debt brought by Elisha Plaisted (1745); a writ for arrest of Samuel Booth of Scarborough for non-payment of debt by Joseph Bowditch (1760); an indenture for Sarah Tucker to become a servant to John King for two years (1763); an indenture for William Rion, apprenticed to John How, cooper (1764); a protested bill of exchange (1768); a notice of sale of the province excise on spirituous liquors (1774); a letter from Thomas Wilson to William Boyd regarding insurance (1803); and a petition of the inhabitants of Portsmouth to the United States Congress that voluntary contributions be raised under their auspices for the ransom of United States prisoners in Algiers (undated).

Folder 30 contains an account book by a Sherburne family member who also wrote a list of deaths and some genealogical information.

Biographical Sketches

John Penhallow was born on January 13, 1693. His earliest ancestor in this country was Samuel Penhallow who first settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and afterwards in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was clerk of the Superior Court in New Hampshire in 1711 and later went into business with his brother-in-law, James Pemberton, merchant in Boston. He first married Elizabeth Butler (1691-1736) and they had two sons, John (1723-1809) and Samuel (1722-1813). He later married Elizabeth, widow of John Watts, his former business partner. He died on July 28, 1735.

John Penhallow was born in 1723 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was a ship captain. He married Sarah Wentworth (ca. 1727-1773) and they had five children: John, Thomas, Hunking, Benjamin, and Mary. He died on March 13, 1809 in Portsmouth.

Pearce Wentworth Penhallow was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on February 27, 1817, to Hunking (1766-1826) and Harriet Pearce, daughter of David and Bethiah Ingersoll Pearce of Gloucester, Massachusetts. His life was spent on the sea, just like his father. In 1840 he was put in command of the ship Margaret Scott of Portsmouth and traded between New England and the southern United States. In 1844 he was transferred to the ship Rockingham. In 1850 Messrs Glidden and Williams gave him the command of the ship George Raynes of the San Francisco line. In 1854 he was in command of the ship Sierra Nevada which was engaged in the guano trade. He was married on October 16, 1845 to Elizabeth Warner Pitts Sherburne (1823-1909), daughter of John Nathaniel Sherburne of Portsmouth. They had four sons: Thomas Wibird (1846-1930); William T. (1854-1865); Pearce W. (1855-1878); and Charles Sherburne (1852-1921). He died in Boston on December 9, 1885.

Archibald Macphaedris was born 1680 in Antrim, Londonderry, Ireland. He made his fortune as a sea captain and trader before coming to New Hampshire. His first ventures here were in the fur trade and lumber exports. He developed a good relationship with the Indians and set up a network of outposts and employees to acquire furs. Exporting his products back to London made him one of the richest and most important men in Portsmouth at the time. Starting in 1718, he built a house on Daniel Street. The work was finished in 1723, at an expense of £6000. He occupied the mansion for only six years before his death. Macphaedris owned much land, including a plantation in Casco, Maine. He owned saw mills that he wanted to convert to an iron works. These works were on the Lamprey River and in his estate inventory his share was valued at £2000. The Lamprey Ironworks operated until MacPheadris' death in 1728. He married Sarah Wentworth (1702-1776), the daughter of Governor John Wentworth and sister to Benning Wentworth. Two children survived infancy, a son Gilbert and a daughter Mary. [After his death, in 1728, she married George Jaffrey.] Their daughter, Mary (1724-1776), was married to Hon. Jonathan Warner. In 1724 Macphaedris was appointed to the governing council of New Hampshire and retained this position until his death on February 26, 1728.

Jonathan Warner was born on September 6, 1726, the son of Col. Daniel and Sarah (Hill) Warner, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was a royal councilor. He died May 14, 1814.

See Appendices I and II for genealogical charts of the Penhallow family and the Wentworth family.

Index Terms

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.

Jackson, Daniel, Captain
Jeffrey, Cyprian
Lear, Tobias, 1762-1816
Macpheadris, Archibald, -1729
Penhallow, John, 1693-1735
Penhallow, Pearce Wentworth, 1817-1885
Penhallow, Samuel, 1665-1726
Penhallow, Samuel, 1722-1813
Penhallow, Thomas W.
Warner, Jonathan, 1726-1814
Wentworth, Benning, 1696-1770
Wentworth, John, 1672-1730
Wentworth, Mark H. J., 1697-1784
Wentworth, Sarah, 1702-1776
Wibird, Richard, 1702-1765
Ann (Snow)
Ceres (Brig)
Elizabeth (Ship)
George (Brig)
Glidden & Williams (Boston, Mass.)
Jackson (Sloop)
Mary Galley (Vessel)
Nancy (Ship)
Polly (Brigantine)
Sarah (Ship)
Sierra Nevada (Ship)
Success (Brigantine)
Shipping--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
Portsmouth (N.H.)
United States--Commerce--Antigua and Barbuda--Antigua


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


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.

Preferred Citation

Penhallow Family Papers, MH 183, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


Copies of letters relating to the clipper ship Sierra Nevada were purchased on July 27, 1938 (acc #10,374). The manuscript transcript of notes of the trial of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board vs Penhallow, were donated by Charles D. Childs on September 26, 1944 (acc #11, 298). Other papers were purchased on August 9, 1944 (acc #11, 280).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, November 2015.

Related Material

Colby, Fred Myron. "The Warner Home of Portsmouth." The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine Devoted to Literature, History, and State Progress. By John N. McClintock. Vol. VII. Concord, NH: Granite Monthly, 1887. 168-74.

Giszpenc, Nicolas. "Sierra Nevada off Point Lynas." Maritime Art Collection - Blue World Web Museum. The Kelton Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Towne Memorial Fund. v. 1-9: 1845-97. Vol. VIII. Boston: Society, 1907.

Penhallow, Pearce W. Memoir of the Penhallow Family: With Copies of Letters and Papers of an Early Date. Boston: David Clapp & Son, Printers, 1878.

[unknown], Mike. "Marker #96 The Two Mile Streak." Mike in New Hampshire. N.p., 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Nautical Charts and Sailing Directions, 1785, 1802-1861, Ship. Mss. 54

Appendix I

Appendix II

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