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Richard G. Wheatland (1799-1842) Papers

Richard G. Wheatland (1799-1842) Papers

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RICHARD G. WHEATLAND (1799-1842) PAPERS, 1819-1842, 1974-1975


Processing and conservation of this collection were funded by a grant by a gift from the Pingree family heirs.

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:Wheatland, Richard G., 1799-1842
Title:Richard G. Wheatland (1799-1842) Papers
Dates:1819/1842, 1974/1975
Quantity:5.25 linear feet (6 boxes)
Abstract:The Richard G. Wheatland papers contain the personal and shipping records of the Salem, Massachusetts, ship master Richard G. Wheatland.
Collection Number:MSS 197

Series List

SERIES I. Shipping Papers
A. Correspondence
B. Ships' Papers
SERIES II. Personal Papers
SERIES III. Wheatland Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Richard G. Wheatland papers contain the personal and shipping records of the Salem, Massachusetts, ship master Richard G. Wheatland. In addition the collection contains shipping papers of his father Richard Wheatland (1762-1830) and papers of other family members. The collection has been divided in to three series.

Series I. Shipping Papers contains correspondence and ships' papers. Subseries A. Correspondence consists of two letterbooks kept by Richard Wheatland on his various voyages which contain copies of his correspondence to the ship owners and merchant agents. Subseries B. Ships' Papers contain records for Wheatland's earlier vessels and complete documentation for his two later vessels, the ship Boston and the brig Eliza. The ships' papers include crew lists, bills of lading, outfitting bills, and loose correspondence with ship owners and merchant agents.

Series II. Personal Papers consists primarily of letters written by Wheatland to his wife, Mary, while he was at sea. These letters provide lengthy descriptions of his experiences at sea and in foreign ports. The folder of financial and legal records contains receipts, an indenture, and an inventory of Richard Wheatland's (1762-1830) estate.

Series III. Wheatland Family Papers contains the shipping papers of Richard G. Wheatland's father, Richard Wheatland (1762-1830). These include papers for the ships Perseverance, Indus, William, and Compadore. It also contains papers of Bridget Wheatland's estate and Benjamin Wheatland. Also included is a folder of Stephen Wheatland's containing genealogy notes and transcripts of Richard Wheatland's letters.

Biographical Sketches

Richard Goodhue Wheatland was born in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts, the second son of the Salem merchant Richard (1762-1830) Wheatland and his second wife, Martha Goodhue (1770-1826). Wheatland graduated from Harvard University in 1818. He worked for one year in a Salem counting room and then embarked on a 20-year career as a ship master for vessels owned by his father Richard Wheatland, Gideon Barstow, and Timothy Bryant Jr. He was 26 years old when he became master of the brig Lama. In 1837, he lost the ship Boston in a hurricane on Cat Key in the Bahamas. He returned to Salem, but his health was impaired and he died in 1842.

Wheatland married Mary Bemis Richardson (1795-1834) and they had three children, Stephen Goodhue (1824-1892), John (1827-1828), and Richard Henry (born 1830). The two boys were raised by their uncle George Wheatland after their father's death.

Richard Wheatland was born in Wareham, England, in 1762. He entered the British Navy at age 17. He was in the West Indies when Captain Silver of Salem met him and brought him to Salem in 1783 in his ship Vigilant. Richard married Captain Silver's daughter and when she died, married Martha, daughter of Stephen and Martha (Prescott) Goodhue in October 1796. They had six children.

Wheatland was master of the ship Indus on its voyage to Canton in 1802, when it was dismasted at Whampoa. The frustration of getting the ship repaired seems to have upset and nervously affected Wheatland for he was very brutal on the homeward voyage arriving back in Salem in May 1803. He never commanded another vessel, but became part owner of other ships with Willard Peele, the Forresters, and the Barstows. He died in 1803.

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.

Wheatland, Benjamin
Wheatland, Bridget
Wheatland, Mary Bemis, 1795-1834
Wheatland, Richard G., 1799-1842
Wheatland, Richard, 1762-1830
Boston (Ship)
Ceres (Brig)
Compadore (Ship)
Eliza (Brig)
Forrester (Brig)
Indus (Ship)
Jones (Barque)
Lama (Brig)
Newburyport (Ship)
Perserverance (Ship)
Statesman (Bark)
William (Ship)
Administration of estates
Crew lists
Letter writing
Ship captains
Ships' papers
Salem (Mass.)


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

Richard G. Wheatland (1799-1842) Papers, MSS 197, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by the Pingree family heirs. One folder of Richard G. Wheatland papers was removed from the Henry Wheatland papers. The 1830-1837 letterbook was donated to the Peabody Museum by Lawrence W. Jenkins (originally cataloged as MH 241).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Caroline Preston, October 1985. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, February 2016.

Related Material

Belknap, Henry Wyckoff. The Wheatlands of Salem & Their Vessels. N.p.: n.p., n.d. , Ship. Mss. 17

James Wingate Sewall Business Records, 1835-1916, MSS 921

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