Processing and conservation of the collection
were funded by a grant from the national Endowment for the Humanities.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Burnham, Joshua, 1736-1791
Joshua Burnham (1736-1791)
1 linear foot (2 boxes, 7 volumes)
The Joshua Burnham Papers
document the business of this Ipswich, Massachusetts, ship captain and include some
papers of his immediate family.
SERIES I. Ships' Papers SERIES II. Shipping Account Books SERIES III. Business and Family Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Joshua Burnham Papers document the business of this Ipswich, Massachusetts, ship
captain and include some papers of his immediate family. The collection is divided
into three series.
Series I. Ships' Papers is arranged alphabetically by
vessel, including both fishing and shipping papers. Of interest is a journal of work
performed aboard the sloop Robinwood. See Appendix I
for a list of ships which have papers in the collection.
The volumes in Series II. Shipping Account Books
record Joshua's trading activities with the local merchants in Virginia and Maryland
and often include unofficial cargo manifests. Volume 2 also contains a journal from
the 1782 voyage of the sloop Phoenix and Volume 3
includes a page of a journal from the schooner Swan.
Series III. Business and Family Papers contains
correspondence, legal, and financial papers relating to Joshua's shipping and
business affairs. These papers include merchant correspondence, bonds and deeds,
miscellaneous shipping accounts, receipts for rent paid on the School Farm, and
estate accounts. The family papers (B2 F4) contain shipping correspondence of Mark
Burnham (1738-1791), Joshua's brother, and personal correspondence and financial
papers of Joshua's wife Eunice, and their children Caleb, Joshua, Susan (Sukey), and
Joshua Burnham was born on November 28, 1736 in Ipswich,
Massachusetts. He was a ship master who specialized in trade with Virginia and the
West Indies. From 1761 to 1790, Joshua mastered at least twelve vessels for such
important merchants as Ezekiel Woodward Jr., Daniel Rogers, and John Choate. (See
Appendix II for a list of ships on which Burnham served as master with the dates
served.) Joshua also served as a trade agent, bartering for goods with small local
merchants in Virginia and Maryland.
In 1762, he married Eunice (1738-1801) and they had five children: Lucy (b.
1763); Betsey (b. 1765); Joshua (1768-1816), Susan (b. 1770); and Caleb (1773-1794).
Joshua and his brother, Mark, both died on June 9,
1791. In Ipswich Vital Statistics, under deaths, there is the following entry:
"lately arrived sick from the W. Indies" under Joshua's name; no entry was found for
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.
Burnham, Betsey, b. 1776
Burnham, Caleb, b. 1771
Burnham, Joshua, b. 1763
Burnham, Mark, b. 1738
Burnham, Sukey, b. 1779
Good Fortune (Sloop)
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