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Peele Family Papers

Peele 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:Peele family
Title:Peele Family Papers
Quantity:2.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:The Peele Family papers document the activities of Robert Peele (1712-1773), Robert Peele (1736/7-1792), Robert Peele (1767-1842), and other Peele family members, tailors and merchants of Salem, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MH 182

Series List

SERIES I. Peele Family Papers
A. Robert Peele (1712-1773)
B. Robert Peele (1736/7-1792)
C. Robert Peele (1767-1842)
D. Josiah Bartlett Peele (1795-1822)
E. Robert Peele (b. circa 1800)
F. Willard Peele (1773-1835)
SERIES II. Other Papers
A. Individuals Relating to Peele Family
B. Papers Collected by Peele Family

Scope and Content Note

The Peele Family papers document the activities of Robert Peele (1712-1773), Robert Peele (1736/7-1792), Robert Peele (1767-1842), and other Peele family members, tailors and merchants of Salem, Massachusetts. The collection also contains various papers that were collected by the Peeles and has been arranged into two series.

Series I. Peele Family Papers consists of six subseries. Subseries A. Robert Peele (1712-1773) Papers contains an agreement with his brother, Samuel, regarding the schooner Elizabeth, some accounts and receipts, a bond, a mortgage payoff to John Higginson, a letter to James Allen regarding shipments, and an inventory of his estate. Subseries B. Robert Peele (1736/7-1792) contains accounts, articles of agreement, receipts, estate papers, legal documents, a copy of his will, and inventories of his estate. Subseries C. Robert Peele (1767-1842) contains financial documents such as tax bills, receipts for his guardians' schooling, accounts for his business, a license to sell foreign distilled spirits, an agreement with Mary Oliver, and a copy of the codicil to his will. It also contains minutes from a meeting of the Salem Firemen's Insurance Company (he was the Secretary) and the Engine Company Number 5 (he was the clerk) and a notebook begun in 1806 describing the history of Salem, the Episcopal Church, and some church groups. Included are shipping papers for the ship George, brig Czarina, and ship Black Warrior for goods he was buying. Subseries D. Josiah Bartlett Peele (1795-1822) consists of two lessons books created by Josiah when he was nine to eleven years old at the West School in Salem. They contain poems and handwriting exercises. Subseries E. Robert Peele (b. circa 1800) consists of a meeting notice for South Church with notes written on it. Subseries F. Willard Peele (1773-1835) consists of four legal documents concerning Ezekiel Hersey Derby building a road over Captain Jonathan Peele's land. Willard Peele was the grandfather and guardian of Jonathan Willard Peele, named in the documents.

Series II. Other Papers is arranged into two subseries. Subseries A. Individuals Relating to Peele Family contains the papers of Josiah Bartlett, Captain David Smith, Captain Thomas Smith, and James Bott. Subseries B. Papers Collected by Peele Family is arranged chronologically with undated items at the end. It is not clear which family members collected these papers. This series includes deeds, land descriptions, letters, receipts, copies of wills, depositions, accounts, and some genealogical notes from the Peele family.

Biographical Sketches

Robert Peele was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on August 29, 1712, to Roger (1655/6-1728) and Margaret Bartoll Kempton (b. 1682) Peele. He was a tailor. He married Mary Bartlett (bp 1713-1771) of Marblehead and they had 7 children. He died on April 29, 1773.

Robert Peele was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on January 4, 1736/7, to Robert (1712-1773) and Mary Bartlett (bp 1713-1771) Peele. He was a tailor. He married Elizabeth Ropes (1743-1770) and they had three children, Josiah Bartlett (1765-1784), Robert (1767-1842), and William (b. 1769). He later married Eunice Stearnes (d. 1780) on June 11, 1771 and then in 1781 Mary Bradshaw (d. 1824). He died on June 12, 1792.

Robert Peele was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1767, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Ropes Peele. Robert was a merchant and ran a hardware business in Salem at the corner of Essex and Sewall Streets. He became a guardian for Sally, Thomas, and William Smith.

He married Elizabeth (Betsy) Smith (1768-1828), the daughter of David Jr. and Hannah Goodhue Smith, on April 18, 1793. Together they had at least three children: Josiah Bartlett Peele (1795-1822), Robert 4th (b. circa 1800), and Elizabeth Ropes Peele (baptized 1816-1882). After Betsy died, he married Sarah Brown (1770-1854) on June 12, 1830. He died on March 21, 1842.

Josiah Bartlett Peele was born in Salem in 1795, the son of Robert and Betsy Peele. He was a mariner and died of "fever" aboard the brig Chase at Havana, Cuba, on July 5, 1822.

Willard Peele (1773-1835), born November 30, 1773, was the eldest son of Jonathan and Abigail (Mason) Peele. Peele was a prominent Salem merchant known for his involvement in the pepper trade.

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.

Allen, James, 1632-1710
Bemis, Luke, 1759-1845
Bott, James, 1745-1829
Bowditch, Joseph, 1700-1780
Buffum, Joshua
Creely, Anna
Derby, Ezekiel H. (Ezekiel Hersey), 1772-1852
Emmerton, Jeremiah, 1753-1826
Fergison, William
Fowler, Ezekiel
Gerrish, Benjamin
Gerrish, Samuel
Gray, William
Greenfield, Archibald
Mugford, Charles D.
Peele, Josiah Bartlett, 1795-1822
Peele, Robert, 1712-1773
Peele, Robert, 1736-1792
Peele, Robert, 1767-1842
Peele, Robert, b. circa 1800
Peele, Samuel, 1716-1745
Peele, Willard, 1773-1835
Pike, Joshua
Plaisted, Colonel
Punchard, Benjamin
Rand, John
Read, Jonathan
Robinson, Matthew
Sewall, Samuel, 1652-1730
Smith, David, Captain
Smith, Thomas, Captain
Waldo, Jonathan
Ward, Joshua, 1752-1825
Alert (Brig)
Black Warrior (Ship)
Czarina (Brig)
Elizabeth (Schooner)
Experiment (Brigantine)
Favorite (Brig)
Friendship (Brigantine)
General Galvez (Ship)
George (Ship)
Junius Brutus (Privateer)
Salem Aqueduct
Salem Firemen's Insurance Company
Salem Hospital
Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation
Speedwell (Brigantine)
Young Henry (Brigantine)
Friends church buildings
Salem (Mass.)
Account books


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

Peele Family Papers, MH 182, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The provenance of this collection is unknown. Four folders of material came from the Peabody Museum of Salem. The rest of the papers were removed from a scrapbook belonging to the Essex Institute. Some papers (marked on the back) were a gift from J. M. Raymond.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, March 2016.

Related Material U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

Derby, Perley, "Notice of the Peele Family." Essex Institute Historical Collections 13 (1875): 64-66.

Account books of Robert Peele, 1762-1792, 1788-1842, MSS 1303.1, MSS 1303.2

Peele Family Papers, 1753-1871, MH 5

Willard Peele Papers, 1795-1871, MSS 66

Union and Naumkeag Engine Company No. 5 Records, 1786-1875, MSS 293

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