Processing and conservation of this 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
Hudson Family Papers
6 linear feet (10 boxes, 4 volumes)
The Hudson Family papers
document the diverse business and personal activities of four generations of the
Hudson family of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
SERIES I. James Hudson (1719-1792) Papers SERIES II. Henry Hudson (1748-1823) Papers SERIES III. John Rogers Hudson (1784-1831) Papers
A. Shipping Papers
B. Business and Personal Papers
SERIES IV. Charles Hodge Hudson (1812-1898)
A. Hardware Store Records
B. Telegraph Company Records
C. Business and Personal Papers
SERIES V. Family Papers SERIES VI. Miscellaneous Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Hudson Family papers document the diverse business and personal activities of
four generations of the Hudson family of Newburyport, Massachusetts. The collection
contains the papers of James Husdon (1719-1792), shipping merchant and store owner,
Henry Hudson (1748-1823), shipping merchant, auctioneer, insurance agent, and church
assessor, John Rogers Hudson (1784-1831), shipping merchant, bank cashier,
bookseller, and militia adjutant, and Charles Hodge Hudson (1812-1898), hardware
store owner, telegraph company superintendent, Probate Court register, and inventor.
Papers of additional family members are included. The collection is divided into six
Series I. James Hudson (1719-1792) Papers contains
legal and financial papers and typescript drafts of his anonymously-authored
biography. James' papers include shipping accounts, a shipbuilding agreement,
general store records, and diagrams of the Salisbury salt works.
Series II. Henry Hudson (1748-1823) Papers contain
business, personal, and church papers. The correspondence includes letters from
foreign and domestic shipping merchants, and personal and shipping correspondence
with his father- and brother-in-law, John Rogers, Sr. and Jr. Also included are
Henry's letters to his sons, John (1784-1831) and Henry (b. 1787) Hudson. The
financial papers and account books document Henry's shipping and insurance, his
involvement in running the Hudson family wharf, and his work as an auctioneer and
appraiser of ship cargos and estates. Of interest are estate inventories of a number
of Newburyport individuals: Captain John Fletcher, Eleazur Johnson, John Boardman,
Nathan Poor, Captain Samuel Bowers, Captain James Nowell, John W. Murray, Ebenezer
Stone, Jacob Moody, Janus Smith, and Sarah Brown. Also included are Henry's repair
accounts for work overseen on the Boston home of James Ivers. The legal and
miscellaneous papers contain Henry's auctioneer licenses, deeds, and a plan of the
Newburyport wharves. Of note are memorandums noting John Rogers' household goods
(1792), the production of various weavers (1793), and repairs made to the home and
store of Henry's uncle, Eleazur Hudson (b. 1712). The First Religious Society
Records include notices, bills, receipts, and parish tax assessments documenting
Henry's activities as church assessor and a member of the committee for the church
Series III. John Rogers Hudson (1784-1831) Papers
consist of shipping, business, personal, and military papers. Subseries A. Shipping Papers containing ships' papers and
correspondence, documents the cargos John consigned on vessels voyaging to Europe,
India, the East and West Indies, and coastal United States ports. (See Appendix I
for a list of these vessels.) Subseries B. Business and Personal
Papers contains letters from his brother Henry (b. 1787) regarding their
subscription bookselling partnership, correspondence with the Balch family, and
letters relative to the Mechanics Bank, where John was employed as a cashier. Also
included are meeting minutes and correspondence generated by John's involvement in
the Newburyport Academy and the First Religious Society. Letters for John from his
mother, Anna (Rogers) Hudson, may be found in Box 8 Folder 8. The financial papers
include personal accounts, bookselling subscription books, notes and stock of the
Mechanics Bank, and accounts of the Newburyport Academy and the First Religious
Society. John's military papers document his membership in the Washington Light
Infantry Company and his activities as adjutant of the Massachusetts Militia 6th
Regiment 2nd Brigade 2nd Division. These papers include notices, correspondence,
accounts, and memorials regarding the disbanding of the Regiment in 1817. Also of
interest are lists of warrant officers, commissioned officers, guards on Plum
Island, and substitutes for drafted men. Of note in the miscellaneous papers are
copied religious correspondence of John Q. Adams, a memorandum book of sermons
preached in 1797, and the will of Rowley, Massachusetts, resident, Anna Hunter, of
whose estate John was executor.
Series IV. Charles Hodge Hudson (1812-1898) Papers
document his hardware stores in Newburyport and Roxbury, his involvement in
telegraph companies, his activities as Probate Court Register, his inventions, and
his interest in the First Religious Society and politics. Subseries A. Hardware Store Records consist primarily of orders, and
account and inventory books from Charles' Newburyport store at #5 West Row.
Subseries B. Telegraph Company Records document the
companies for which Charles acted as superintendent. The correspondence contains
letters, circulars, and editorials regarding line repairs, office regulations,
prices, stock, errors in transmitting newspaper stores, and news of rampant
competition among telegraph lines. The meeting minutes and charters include papers
of the Boston & Newburyport, Boston Salem & Newburyport, and Boston &
Portland Telegraph Companies. The legal and court papers contain contracts, patent
and sale deeds, and documents from stockholder and patent suits. The financial
papers consists of monthly company balances, bills and receipts for the line's
upkeep and repair, stockholders' shares and dividends, and rate of competitive
companies. The miscellaneous papers include clippings, printed pamphlets,
advertisements, and miscellaneous messages transmitted over the line.
Subseries C. Business and Personal Papers documents
Charles' activities as a member of the Whig Party and the First Religious Society, a
register of the Probate Court, and an inventor. Charles' correspondence includes
political, register's and inventor's correspondence, as well as personal letters
from his parents and siblings. The financial and legal papers contain personal
accounts, Whig committee subscription lists, Probate Court papers, Charles' patent
for an atomizer, and the charter of the Newburyport Screw Manufacturing Company, of
which Charles was a founding member. The invention drawings include sketches of
Charles' improved versions of skates, armor plating for ships, and a steamship
engine signaling device base on the telegraph. The miscellaneous papers contain
copied business correspondence of John T. Balch, miscellaneous notes and printed
material from the Probate Court, and pamphlets describing Frederick Gisborne's
engine signaling devices.
Series V. Family Papers contain business and personal
papers of family members and genealogical notes. Anna (Rogers) Hudson's (d. 1831)
papers consist of correspondence with her mother Mary Rogers, and her siblings, John
and Mary. Also included are letters to her son, John Rogers Hudson (1784-1831).
Letters to Anna from her daughter-in-law, Louise C. Hudson, may be found in Louise's
papers (B9 F2). Henry Hudson's (b. 1787) papers document his personal and
bookselling activities. Also include is a memorandum book noting sermons preached in
1799. Letters for Henry to his brother John (1784-1831) are located in Box 3 Folders
4 and5. Hanna (Balch) Hudson's (d. 1828) papers contain a diary, and correspondence
with her sister, Elizabeth G. Balch. Louise C. Hudson's personal correspondence
consists of letters to her mother-in-law, Anna (Rogers) Hudson, and her niece, Sarah
H. Hudson. John Rogers Hudson's (b. 1810) papers include business and personal
correspondence with John T. Balch, a shipping receipt book, and almanac diaries
noting personal and political events, and arrivals and departures of vessels from
Newburyport harbor. The miscellaneous family papers contain correspondence and
accounts of Hudson, Balch, and Rogers family members. Of interest is a photograph of
John Roger's portrait. The genealogies consist of notes and essays regarding the
Hudson family in the 17th and 18th centuries, and a number of related Newburyport
and Newbury families, such as the Fairfields, Davenports, Toppans, Atkinson,
Sewalls, Dummers, and Greenleafs.
Series VI. Miscellaneous Papers contains personal and
business correspondence, accounts, shipping memorandums, clippings, shorthand
exercises, silhouettes, and poetry. Of interest is a 1778 Rhode Island army battle
order plan, legal case materials regarding a seaman's loss of wages (circa 1842), an
undated map of Newburyport, and a Lafayette badge.
James Hudson was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in
1719, the son of Eleazur (1668-1736) and Deborah (Ford) (d. 1772) Hudson. James was
a ship master, shipping merchant, and owner of a general store. He started the
Salisbury salt works in 1765 and became active in Revolutionary War politics. He
married Mary Rolfe (1722-1788) and later Mary Gwyn and had six children. He died in
Henry Hudson was born in Newburyport, on June 18,
1748, the son of James (1719-1792) and Mary (Rolfe) (1722-1788) Hudson. He was a
shipping merchant, auctioneer of estates and ships' cargos, and insurance agent. He
was the assessor for the First Religious Society of Newburyport (of which his
grandfather Eleazur Hudson (b. 1712) was founder). He married Anna Rogers (d. 1831)
and they had four children. He died on November 14, 1823.
John Rogers Hudson was born in 1784, the son of Henry
(1748-1823) and Anna (Rogers) Hudson. He was a shipping merchant and partial owner
of the brig St. Paul. He became cashier of the
Mechanics Bank in approximately 1814. He was an adjutant of the Massachusetts
militia 6th Regiment 2nd Brigade 2nd Division from 1813 to 1817. He was a partner
with his brother, Henry, in book publishing and selling activities. He was also a
trustee of the Newburyport Academy. In 1810 he married Hannah Balch (1784-1828) and
they had seven children. John died in 1831.
Charles Hodge Hudson was born in Newburyport on
January 17, 1812, the son of John Rogers (1784-1831) and Hannah (1784-1828) Hudson.
He owned and operated a hardware store from 1834 to 1849. After falling badly into
debt in 1849, Charles sold his hardware inventory and rented his store to Nathaniel
Noyes. In approximately 1860 Charles opened another hardware store in Roxbury,
Massachusetts. Charles became superintendent of the Boston and Newburyport Telegraph
Company in approximately 1847. In 1848 a telegraph office in Salem was added to the
line and the company was renamed the Boston Salem and Newburyport Telegraph Company.
When the Portland office was added in 1850, the company became the Boston and
Portland Telegraph Company and Charles functioned as superintendent and treasurer.
By 1859, an office at Halifax, Nova Scotia, was added and the line was renamed the
Atlantic Telegraph Company. Charles was a Register of the Probate court from 1857 to
1859 and justice of the peace in 1857. He was an inventor, making improvements on
armor plating for ships, skates, steamship engine signaling devices, and atomizers.
He was a member of the Whig Party and of the First Religious Society. He married
Clarissa Balch (1812-1848) and they had five children. After Clarissa's death, he
married Mary Snowman. He died on December 28, 1898.
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.
Hudson, Anna Rogers, -1831
Hudson, Charles Hodge, 1812-1898
Hudson, Hannah Balch, -1828
Hudson, Henry, 1748-1823
Hudson, Henry, b. 1787
Hudson, James, 1719-1792
Hudson, John Rogers, 1784-1831
Hudson, John Rogers, b. 1810
Hudson, Louisa C.
Atlantic Telegraph Co.
Boston & Newburyport Telegraph Co.
Boston & Portland Telegraph Co.
Boston, Salem & Newburyport Telegraph Co.
Bunker Hill (Schooner)
First Religious Society (Newburyport, Mass.)
Mechanics Bank (Newburyport, Mass.)
New Leader (Brig)
Sally Ann (Brig)
St. Paul (Brig)
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 6th
Justices of the peace
Salt industry and trade
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 Hudson Family papers document the diverse business and personal activities of four generations of the Hudson family of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Atlantic Telegraph Co.; Boston & Newburyport Telegraph Co.; Boston & Portland Telegraph Co.; Boston, Salem & Newburyport Telegraph Co.; First Religious Society (Newburyport, Mass.); United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 6th; Mechanics Bank (Newburyport, Mass.); Alert (Sloop); Alexander (Brig); America (Ship); Bunker Hill (Schooner); Citizen (Schooner); Dolly (Schooner); Eos (Brig); Harmony (Schooner); Hibernia (Brig); Industry (Brig); Juno (Sloop); Lydia (Brig); Marmion (Ship); Mary (Ship); Merrimack (Brig); New Leader (Brig); Polly (Schooner); Potomac (Ship); Relief (Brig); Ruby (Brig); St. Paul (Brig); Sally (Schooner); Sally Ann (Brig); Sukey (Brig); Swift (Brig); Triton (Brig); Volant (Ship); Washington (Schooner); Account books; Journals (Diaries); Newburyport (Mass.); Hudson, Anna Rogers, -1831; Hudson, Charles Hodge, 1812-1898; Hudson, Hannah Balch, -1828; Hudson, Henry, 1748-1823; Hudson, Henry, b. 1787; Hudson, James, 1719-1792; Hudson, John Rogers, 1784-1831; Hudson, John Rogers, b. 1810; Hudson, Louisa C.; Hunter, Anna; Nowell, James; Poor, Nathan; Genealogy; Inventors; Justices of the peace; Letters; Salt industry and trade; Shipping--Indonesia; Shipping--India; Whig party
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.