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Richardson Family Papers

Richardson 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:Richardson family
Title:Richardson Family Papers
Quantity:2 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:The Richardson Family Papers contain papers of three members of the Richardson family of Salem, Massachusetts, namely Addison Richardson, his son William Richardson, and his grandson, Addison Richardson.
Collection Number:MH 195

Series List

SERIES I. Captain Addison Richardson (1739-1811)
A. Personal Papers
B. Estate Administrator Papers
SERIES II. William Richardson (1769-1807)
SERIES III. Addison Richardson (1804-1880)

Scope and Content Note

The Richardson Family Papers contain papers of three members of the Richardson family of Salem, Massachusetts, namely Addison Richardson, his son William Richardson, and his grandson, Addison Richardson. There are also papers for a few other family members. The collection has been organized into four series.

Series I. Captain Addison Richardson (1739-1811) contains letters, deeds, and legal papers of this Revolutionary War officer. Subseries A. Personal Papers includes letters from his brother-in-law, Gordon Greenleaf, letters to his wife Mary Richardson from Addison during the Revolutionary War, letters to Mary from other people, documents about his military service, estate papers, and deeds. Subseries B. Estate Administrator Papers includes his appointments as administrator for a number of people and deeds.

Series II. William Richardson (1769-1807) contains shipping papers for the schooner Experiment and brig Exchange, a letter to William's father Addison, and estate papers. Of special interest is a note payable that contains Chinese calligraphy.

Series III. Addison Richardson (1804-1880) consists of personal letters.

Series IV. Other includes a letter to Isaac Richardson (born 1796), letters to William Richardson, Jr. (1794-1823), some genealogy, poetry, a greeting card, and needlework.

Biographical Sketches

Captain Addison Richardson was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, on July 3, 1739, the son of Isaac and Elizabeth Richardson. After the death of his parents, he lived for a few years in Cambridge. A veteran of the French and Indian War, he participated in the expedition to conquer French Canada in 1758.

In 1761 he married Mary Greenleaf (1734-1799) of Medford. Sometime after his marriage he moved to Salem. During the Revolutionary War, he received a commission as captain. He fought in the battle of Fort Washington, near New York, and was one of approximately 203 continental officers captured in the loss of the fort on November 16, 1776. He remained a prisoner at Gravesend, Long Island, until exchanged on May 9, 1778. He later served as administrator for a number of people's estates in Salem.

He married Mary Greenleaf on December 24, 1761. The couple had five children: Addison, Isaac, William, Mary, and Stephen. Mary died in February 1799. He then married Anstiss Blanchard of Salem on January 1, 1800. She died on December 8, 1807. Later he married Lucy Holden, of Princeton. She died in Princeton on November 26, 1848. Addison Richardson died in Salem on July 31, 1811.

William Richardson was born in Salem on April 8, 1769, the third son of Captain Richard and Mary Addison. He lived in Salem and was a ship's captain. William married Elizabeth Townsend (born 1771) on March 17, 1788 and the couple had ten children: Elizabeth, Mary White, Mary Greenleaf, Hannah, William, Isaac, Lydia Lambert, Stephen, Olivia, Addison, and Penn Townsend. William Richardson died in Salem on December 8, 1807. Moses Townsend was the administrator of his estate.

Addison Richardson is William Richardson's fourth son and the namesake of his grandfather, Captain Addison Richardson. Addison was born in Salem on June 6, 1804. He, along with his brothers William and Isaac, were ship captains. Addison was issued a Seaman's Protection Certificate on February 24, 1817; he was 12 years old. Addison was commander and part owner of the ships Charlemagne, Gallia, Duchesse d'Orleans, and F. A. Palmer, among others. Addison married Eleanor Waters (born 1809) of Salem on October 13. 1833. The couple had five children: William, Edward Waters, a son who died at birth, Henry Robinson, and Ella. Addison died in New York after 1880.

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.

Felt, James
Felt, Jonathan C.
Greenleaf, Gordon
Heywood, Samuel
Pease, Jonathan
Richardson, Addison, 1739-1811
Richardson, Addison, 1804-1880
Richardson, Hannah, 1749-
Richardson, Isaac, b. 1796
Richardson, Mary, 1734-1799
Richardson, William, 1769-1807
Richardson, William, Jr., 1794-1823
Exchange (Brig)
Experiment (Schooner)
Administration of estates
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783


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

Richardson Family Papers, MH 195, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


Some material was donated by William C. Waters on December 20, 1951 (acc #12,574). Twenty-three letters and papers were donated in memory of Louise du Pont Crowninshield by the Acorn Foundation on November 23, 1960 (acc #15,299).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jessica Cosgrove and Tamara Gaydos, December 2015.

Related Material Web: US, New England Seamen's Protection Certificate Index, 1796-1871 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

On Gallows Hill, Bob. "Capt Addison Richardson (1739 - 1811) - Find A Grave Memorial." Capt Addison Richardson (1739 - 1811) - Find A Grave Memorial. Find A Grave, Inc., 09 Feb. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Vinton, John Adams. The Richardson Memorial, Comprising a Full History and Genealogy of the Posterity of the Three Brothers, Ezekiel, Samuel, and Thomas Richardson, Who Came from England, and United with Others in the Foundation of Woburn, Massachusetts, in the Year 1641, of John Richardson, of Medfield, 1679, of Amos Richardson, of Boston, 1640, of Edward and William Richardson, of Newbury, 1643, with Notices of Richardsons in England and Elsewhere … Portland, Me.: Printed for the Subscribers by B. Thurston, 1876.

Protection paper of Addison Richardson issued by the District of Salem and Beverly, February 24, 1817, MH 0.440

Account book of Addison Richardson, Jr., 1803-1839, MSS 1356.1

Account book of Addison Richardson, Jr., 1804-1817, MSS 1356.2

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