The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Taylor, John, 1807-1877
John Taylor (1807-1877)
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
The John Taylor papers document
the activities of this Chelsea and Boston, Massachusetts, ship builder.
Scope and Content Note
The John Taylor papers document the activities of this Chelsea and Boston,
Massachusetts, ship builder. Records include contracts to build ships, accounts,
letters, certificates, leases, and bills of sale. Folder 16 contains an account by
Captain S. P. Bray of the wreck of the ship Panay in
the Philippines, dated 1890.
John Taylor was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, on
October 13, 1807, the son of William Taylor, ship builder. He was the youngest of
six children. As he approached adulthood he was apprenticed and served his time with
Galen James, ship builder at Melrose and in 1831 married James' sister, Eliza James.
They had three sons and three daughters.
Taylor first operated as shipbuilder as the junior partner in the firm of Foster
& Taylor, his partner being Joshua T. Foster and they built their first vessel,
the bark Pearl, in 1838. They built a number of ships
before Taylor went solo in 1846. He became a prominent ship builder in Medford,
Massachusetts, located on the Mystic River, across from Boston. He built about 25
vessels which were launched broadside to the river as the river was not wide enough
to launch them in the regular manner. As tonnage increased it became necessary to
have more room for launching, so in 1850 he moved to Chelsea, where he was the first
builder of note to establish a ship yard. After the end of the clipper ship era,
Taylor moved to East Boston (by 1861), where he built sailing ships with his son
Justin (who later took over his father's yard). In Chelsea and Boston he built about
Taylor was a member of the first Board of Alderman when Chelsea became a city
and he served a term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was a member
and deacon of the First Congregational Church of Chelsea. He died in Chelsea on
September 20, 1877.
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.
Benjamin Bangs (Ship)
Clare Wheeler (Ship)
Frederick Tudor (Ship)
George Washington (Ship)
Henry W. Pierce (Schooner)
John Taylor (Steamer)
Josiah Bradlee (Ship)
Kate Howe (Ship)
Lizzie D. Barker (Schooner)
Storm King (Ship)
Wilber Fisk (Ship)
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
John Taylor (1807-1877) Papers, MH 220, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum,
This material was donated by John Taylor in March 1933 (acc #9125).
Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, August 2016.
Knoblock, Glenn A. The American Clipper Ship, 1845-1920: A
Comprehensive History, with a Listing of Builders and Their Ships.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2014.
Robinson, John. The Marine Room of the Peabody Museum of
Salem. Salem, MA: Peabody Museum, 1921.
Biographical information on John Taylor, a prominent shipbuilder in Medford and
Chelsea [letter from his granddaughter, Mrs. Mary M. [Taylor] Perkins, 1920], MH 0.432
The John Taylor papers document the activities of this Chelsea and Boston, Massachusetts, ship builder.
Autocrat (Ship); Benjamin Bangs (Ship); Clare Wheeler (Ship); Frederick Tudor (Ship); Garnet (Ship); Gazelle (Sloop); George Washington (Ship); Havelock (Ship); Henry W. Pierce (Schooner); John Taylor (Steamer); Josiah Bradlee (Ship); Kate Howe (Ship); Lizzie D. Barker (Schooner); Magnolia (Ship); Matchless (Ship); Panay (Ship); Pericles (Bark); President (Ship); Robert (Bark); Shakespeare (Ship); Storm King (Ship); Tiber (Ship); Versailles (Ship); Wilber Fisk (Ship); Chelsea (Mass.); Salem (Mass.); Cummings, Josiah; Goddard, Samuel; Shipbuilding; Shipping
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.