The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Patch, John, 1807-1887
John Patch (1807-1887) Papers
2.5 linear feet (4 boxes)
The John Patch Papers are
comprised of correspondence, lectures, plays, poetry, political commentary,
journals, genealogical notes, and legal documentation belonging to John Patch
(1807-1887), an Ipswich, Mass. lawyer and author.
SERIES I. Writings
D. Political Commentary
SERIES II. Correspondence SERIES III. Legal Documentation SERIES IV. Emily Goodwin Patch Papers SERIES V. Miscellany
Scope and Content Note
The John Patch Papers are comprised of correspondence, lectures, plays, poetry,
political commentary, journals, genealogical notes, and legal documentation
belonging to John Patch (1807-1887), an Ipswich, Mass. lawyer and author. Also
included are the writings and correspondence of Emily Goodwin Patch (born 1859), his
daughter. This collection is arranged into five series.
Series I. Personal Papers is comprised of various
writings by John Patch and is divided into five subseries. Subseries A contains Patch's Lectures, the
content of which is divided between whole compositions and fragments of lectures.
Their subject matter is diverse; topics span music, literature, the human character,
government, and politics. Most notable are Patch's expansive writings on slavery,
the economy, women's rights, and education (B1 F1). Subseries
B consists of Patch's original Plays—dramas
and tragedies written in three acts. This subseries also contains several excerpted
sections of The Literary Museum, a Boston-based
publication that Patch edited and published for a number of years. The clippings
cumulatively make up a play called "Erodia, the Spirit of Love and Beauty; or, the
Law of Love: A Drama in Three Acts," the author of which is unspecified. They also
contain fragments of various dramatic, musical, and poetic compositions. Authors
noted on the fragments include composer O.W. Withington and poet Lieutenant A.T.
Lee. Subseries C contains Patch's Poetry, an assemblage of complete and fragmented works ranging from the
religious to the political to the sentimental. Subseries
D contains Political Commentary pertaining to
Constitutional Conventions in New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts.
The majority of these writings concern the adoption and ratification of the
Constitution in these states. Subseries E. Journals
contains a maritime journal where Patch wrote about trade, correspondence,
travel, and conditions while at sea. It covers the period from 1804 to 1805, though
the paper booklet is quite fragile and is likely missing pages. The second journal
includes the following handwritten note on the inside of its front cover:
"Commonplace Book, found in the John Patch house, Ipswich, Mass." It is a bound
hardcover book containing myriad thoughts and reflections, the bulk of which are
religious in nature.
Series II is an assemblage of Correspondence contained within the collection, received or exchanged by
John Patch. A significant portion of the series is made up of letters exchanged by
John Patch and Margaret Ann Gurley Poor, whom Patch would eventually marry; it
appears that Patch frequently created facsimiles of his outgoing letters for his
personal cache. Series II also contains two letter books—bound hardcover books
containing transcriptions of letters from various individuals. It is unclear to whom
many of these letters were addressed, as they are dated prior to John Patch's birth,
but nonetheless the entries' handwriting appears to match his other compositions.
Also of note are a series of catalog-type numbers assigned to each transcribed
letter; it appears that each sequence begins with the senders' initials and ends
with a series of numbers (i.e., "DK2986177").
Series III. Legal Documentation consists of two
items, both collected and compiled by John Patch. The first item is a property deed
wherein five acres of land previously under the purview of Roswell Saltonstall of
Saltonstall Farms in Ipswich were deeded to an individual named John Patch in
1732/3. While it is presumably pertains to an ancestor of John Patch (1807-1887), it
is unclear who that may be. Also included in Series III is a hand-written,
hand-bound account of two Supreme Judicial Court cases that took place in beginning
in 1860, titled "Charles Kimball et al Executors vs. John Patch, Appellant." The
opening statement, given by L.B. Ives, Jr., on May 7, 1860, outlined the issues at
hand: John Patch Sr. (1770-1858), left behind an 1853 will that made clear his
disappointment in the "pecuniary failures" of his son and bequeathing his estate
accordingly. John Patch's (1807-1887) appeals addressed the value of his father's
estate and questioned his father's willed intention. The compilation is lengthy and
detailed, and includes substantive local and family history.
Series IV. Emily Goodwin Patch Papers contains papers
and writings belonging to John Patch's daughter, including extensive correspondence,
original poetry, and miscellaneous lectures and editorials. Much of her writings
pertain to family events but also touch on a wide variety of topics including
architecture, social and religious demographics, and literature.
Series V. Miscellany contains a collection of items
pertaining to either John Patch or Emily Goodwin Patch. The large majority of these
items are undated fragments and excerpts for which context or origins are
unascertainable; however, several items were authored by Emily E. Patch, John
Patch's sister and Emily Goodwin Patch's aunt. Series V also includes detailed
genealogical notes; the notes' authors and dates of composition are largely
unspecified, but they do provide extensive insight into the Patch family's lineage.
One packet of notes was copied from the Historical and
Genealogical Parish Register of South Petherton, Co. Somerset, England,
outlining the Patch family's roots going back to 1575. The majority of the dates
contained are for baptisms dating through 1678. Also of note is a brief account of
John Patch, born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1699 to James and Sarah Balch.
John Patch was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on August
23, 1807, to John Patch (1770-1858) and Judith Corning (1774-1863). His family had
previously resided in New England for several generations; notably, his grandfather
(Nehemiah Patch, 1740-1830) and great-grandfather (John Patch III, 1726-1812) were
listed as proprietors of Ipswich's Crane Estate beginning in 1759, though the
property was subsequently apportioned and inherited by various extended family
members. Patch attended school at the Dummer Academy in Newbury and the Phillips
Andover Academy in Andover, and subsequently went on to study German at Harvard
University with a minor focus in the writings of Sophocles and Euripides. Patch
later pursued a law degree through the Dane Law School, Bowdoin College, and the
offices of Luther S. Cushing, Esq. and Theophilus Parsons, Esq. After his admittance
to the Massachusetts bar, he established a law firm in Boston.
Though Patch primarily resided in Ipswich over the course of his lifetime, he
spent an intervening period in various coastal locations including Beverly and
Nantucket, Massachusetts, followed by a relocation to California alongside other
prospectors during the 1849 Gold Rush. After three years spent in California's
mining district he moved to San Francisco, where he opened an office.
Patch eventually returned to the East coast, where he lived out his days on a
farm in Ipswich. In 1846 he was married to Margaret Ann Gurley Poor (1819-1902) of
Andover, Massachusetts, and they had three children together: John Francis LeBaron
(1847-1935), Emily Goodwin Patch (born 1859), and Estelle Corning Patch (born
Patch exhibited a lifelong passion for literature, as evidenced by numerous
original lectures, plays, and poetical works included in his papers. For a number of
years he edited and published a Boston-based periodical called The Literary Museum, though his involvement ended upon his relocation to
California. In 1822, while working as a barrister, Patch published "A Practical
Treatise on the Law of Mortgages." His interest in law and social dynamics is
further reflected in a number of political and legal editorials included in his
papers, many of which aim to critique politicians and legislation. His poetry
frequently reflects political leanings, such as his support for the abolishment of
slavery and for women's rights. Patch went on to publish an 1847 volume of poetry
titled The Poet's Offering. He also wrote and recorded
extensive correspondence; the majority of the letters included in his papers were
exchanged with Margaret Ann Gurley Poor. Patch died of "senile debility" on
September 9, 1887.
Emily Goodwin Patch was born on June 12, 1859, the
second child of John Patch and Margaret Ann Gurley Poor. From her birth to the 1940s
she resided in Ipswich, and while it is likely this is where she died, there are
insufficient records to corroborate that likelihood. The latest census record
available reflects that, in 1940, Emily lived in Ipswich with her niece, Harriet
Budlong. At the time of the census, Emily was aged 80 and was unmarried. It does not
appear that Emily married or had children; census records consistently reflect that
she lived with family, including her mother and her sister, Estelle Corning
Emily completed four years of high school, an education that is reflected in
original poetry and editorials included with her father's papers, much of which
pertains to religion, politics, and family. Items within the collection also reflect
that she taught at a school for four years.
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.
The provenance of this collection is unknown. The Ipswich, Mass. property deed (B4
F2) was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Montgomery, November 12, 1959. A
number of items bear notes reflecting that they were "found in the John Patch House,
Ipswich, Mass.," but do not provide further context.
Collection processed by Amanda Ferrante, May 2016.
Ancestry. "1940 United States Federal Census." Accessed May 31, 2016.
Ancestry. "John Patch." Accessed May 24, 2016.
Ancestry. "Margaret Ann Gurley Poor." Accessed May 24, 2016.
Ancestry. "Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915." Accessed May 31, 2016.
Ancestry. "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988." Accessed May 31,
The John Patch Papers are comprised of correspondence, lectures, plays, poetry, political commentary, journals, genealogical notes, and legal documentation belonging to John Patch (1807-1887), an Ipswich, Mass. lawyer and author.
Massachusetts. Constitutional Convention (1788); Massachusetts. Constitutional Convention (1820-1821); Massachusetts. Constitutional Convention (1853); New York (State). Convention of the Representatives (1776-1777); New York (State). Constitutional Convention (1801); New York (State). Constitutional Convention (1821); New York (State). Constitutional Convention (1846); New York (State). Constitutional Convention (1867-1868); North Carolina. Constitutional Convention (1788); North Carolina. Constitutional Convention (1835); North Carolina. Constitutional Convention (1868); Virginia. Constitutional Convention (1816); The Literary Museum; United States. Supreme Court; Deeds; Diaries; Drama; Family histories; Lectures; Legal instruments; Personal correspondence; Poetry; Andover (Mass.); Beverly (Mass.); Boston (Mass.); England--South Petherton, Co. Somerset; Ipswich (Mass.); Nantucket (Mass.); Newburyport (Mass.); Saltonstall Farm,--Ipswich, Mass.; San Francisco (Calif.); Balch, James; Balch, Sarah; Budlong, Harriet; Corning, Judith, 1774-1863; Cushing, Luther Stearns, 1803-1856; Ives, L.B., Jr.; Kimball, Charles; LeBaron, John Francis, 1847-1935; Parsons, Theophilus, 1797-1882; Patch, Estelle Corning, 1863-; Patch, John, 1699-; Patch, John, 1770-1858; Patch, John, III, 1726-1812; Patch, Nehemiah, 1740-1830; Saltonstall, Roswell, -1840?; Lee, A.T., Lieutenant, author; Patch, Emily Goodwin, 1859-, author; Poor, Margaret Ann Gurley, 1819-1902, author; Poor, Emily E., author; Withington, O.W., (Oliver Wendell), -1853, author; Abolitionism; Bowdoin College; California gold discoveries; Castle Neck, Crane Estate, Ipswich, Mass.; Crane Estate, Ipswich, Mass.; Dummer Academy; Harvard Law School; Harvard University; Phillips Academy; United States--Politics and government; Slavery--United States; Social justice
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.
The provenance of this collection is unknown. The Ipswich, Mass. property deed (B4 F2) was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Montgomery, November 12, 1959. A number of items bear notes reflecting that they were "found in the John Patch House, Ipswich, Mass." but do not provide further context.