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Choate Family Papers

Choate Family Papers

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CHOATE FAMILY PAPERS, 1678, 1727-1918, 1947, 1987-1992

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:Choate family
Title:Choate Family Papers
Dates:1678, 1727/1918, 1947, 1987/1992
Quantity:7 linear feet (17 boxes)
Abstract:The Choate family papers document the activities of this Ipswich and Essex, Massachusetts, family.
Collection Number:MSS 380

Series List

SERIES I. Personal Papers
SERIES II. Bound Volumes
A. Music Books
B. Religious Books
C. Seed Catalogs
SERIES IV. Haskell Family Papers
SERIES V. Miscellaneous Objects

Scope and Content Note

The Choate family papers document the activities of this Ipswich and Essex, Massachusetts, family. Included are a smaller group of papers from the Haskell family of Manchester, Massachusetts. The collection has been arranged into five series.

Series I. Personal Papers contains the letters, deeds, photographs, receipts, inventories, scrapbooks, and diaries of 18 members of the Choate family and a few unrelated individuals. It has been arranged into 19 subseries alphabetically by family member with the unrelated items at the end.

Series II. Bound Volumes consists of autograph albums, photograph albums, greeting cards, calendars, and other bound items from the Choate family. It has been arranged alphabetically.

Series III. Books contains printed items such as songbooks, hymnals, piano music, religious books, Bibles, and seed catalogs. It has been organized into three subseries, arranged alphabetically within each subseries.

Series IV. Haskell Family Papers contains papers of Simeon Haskell and other Haskell family papers.

Series V. Miscellaneous Objects contains three silver plates from portraits of Choate family members and one monocle.

Biographical Sketches

John Choate (1624-1695) came to America at age 19 from the county of Kent, England, an apprentice to Mr. Thomas Low. A few years later, he bought a small farm in Ipswich, Massachusetts. In 1660 he married Ann Carramas (1637-1727) and they had nine children. As early as 1667 he began buying shares of common lands allocated to the proprietors of the town which were located on an island. By 1690 he was almost the sole owner of Hog Island.

Francis Choate (1701-1777) was born in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts, and learned the trade of a blacksmith. "It is said that he made all the iron-work for three schooners which he built in company with his brother, Thomas Choate." He owned and chartered many vessels engaged in fishing and in the coasting trade. In 1727 he married Hannah Perkins (1708-1778).

William Choate (1730-1785) was born in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts. He married Mary Giddings (1732-1810) in 1756 and they had 10 children. He became a ship captain and sailed during the winter months while farming in the summer. He taught school on Hog Island.

John Choate (1737-1791) might have been known as Jr. to distinguish him from his uncle. He trained as a blacksmith like his father, Francis (1701-1777) and was a trader and Justice of the Peace. He had two wives (Mary Eveleth (1738-1788) and Sarah Johnson (died 1820)), and three children (Lucy (1764-1787), Christian (born 1769), and Sarah (born 1784).

David Choate (1757-1808) was born in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts. He served in the Continental Army in 1780. He married Mary Cogswell (1760-1784) in June 1784, but she died in August 1784. David then married Miriam Foster (1771-1853) in 1791 and they had six children: Mary (Polly), Hannah, David, Rufus, Washington, and Job.

John Choate (1765-1838) was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Baker (1761-1829) in 1786. In 1832, he married Mary Cogswell. They had six children. He engaged in fishing and in the West Indies trade until the business was interrupted by the War of 1812. He was a Justice of the Peace, Selectman, Overseer of the Poor and a Representative to the General Court. He is from a different branch of the family tree than the other family members in the collection. See Appendix I for a family tree.

Amos Choate (1775-1844) graduated from Harvard in 1795, taught school and was master of the Ipswich Latin School, studied law but did not practice it, and was Registrar of Probate in Salem. He married Lucy Smith and had a son August (1803-1828), who also attended Harvard in 1823. His second wife was Mehitable Neal (1783-1856).

Rufus Choate (1799-1859) was a lawyer, statesman, and orator. He was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1819, spent a year in the Harvard University Law School, served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and in the state senate. He was elected to Congress in 1830 and later served as attorney general of Massachusetts (1853-1854). He died in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July 1859.

Rufus Choate (1834-1913) was born in Essex, Massachusetts. He graduated from Amherst College in 1855, studied law at Cambridge Law and served in the military. He married Sarah E. Burnham and they had two daughters, Agnes May and Celia Mason.

William Cowper Choate (1843-1923) was born in Essex, Massachusetts, to David (1796-1872) and Elizabeth Wade Choate. In 1869 he married Lydia Maria Gage (1843-1891). In 1893 he married Elizabeth M. Norton (born 1851). William and Lydia had one son, David Foster Choate (1875-after 1930). William was in charge of the First Universalist Church choir in Essex for many years.

Washington Choate (1846-1918) was born in Essex, Massachusetts. He graduated from Amherst College in 1870 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1875. He served in various pastorates in New England. He married Grace Richards Whiton (born 1853) in 1875. They had three daughters.

Captain Simeon Haskell (1776-1846) sailed on ships such as the schooner Elizabeth, the schooner Dew Drop and the brig Charles Allen. He married Elizabeth Girdler in 1802.

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.

Andrews, John
Boardman, Stephen
Butler, Abigail
Butler, Isabella
Butler, Martha
Cabot, John
Cadoo, May
Choate, Hannah E., b. 1840
Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
Choate, Amos, 1775-1844
Choate, David Foster, b. 1875
Choate, David, 1757-1808
Choate, David, 1796-1872
Choate, Francis, 1701-1777
Choate, John, 1624-1695
Choate, John, 1737-1791
Choate, John, 1765-1838
Choate, Joseph
Choate, Lydia, 1843-1891
Choate, Miriam F., 1771-1853
Choate, Rufus, 1834-1913
Choate, Stephen
Choate, Thomas
Choate, Washington, 1846-1918
Choate, William C., 1843-1923
Choate, William, 1730-1785
Cleaveland, John, 1722-1799
Crowell, Edward
Dana, Joseph, 1742-1827
Foster family
Foster, Thomas
Haskell, Benjamin
Haskell, Florence
Haskell, Simeon, 1776-1846
Kilbern, Judith
Low, Thomas
Norton, Susan
Piper, Sarah
Rust, Francis
Ryan, Marguerite
Sargent, Thomas
Sewall, Mary
Sewall, Thomas, 1786 or 1787-1845
Story, Jonathan
Story, Lillian E.
Thorndike, Nicholas
Tuck, Samuel
Wade, Thomas
Wainwright, John
Whiton, Grace, b. 1853
Wigglesworth, Samuel, 1689-1768
Charles Allen (Brig)
Dew Drop (Schooner)
Elizabeth (Schooner)
Fanny (Schooner)
First Congregational Church (Essex, Massachusetts)
Galatea (Ship)
Good Hope (Vessel)
Little Charlotte (Sloop)
Lucy (Brigantine)
Lucy (Schooner)
Mobil and Alabama Grand Trunk Railroad Company
Neptune (Schooner)
Oregon (Brig)
St. Isabella (Brig)
Swan (Schooner)
Two Brothers (Schooner)
Two Friends (Schooner)
Account books
Church music
Justices of the peace--Massachusetts--Essex County
Chebacco (Mass.)
Choate Island (Mass.)
Essex (Mass. : Town)
Ipswich (Mass.)
Manchester (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Taku Glacier (Alaska)


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

Choate Family Papers, MSS 380, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection is a combination of materials donated in 1997 by Marcia D. Keller (acc # 1997.057), purchased in 2003 (acc # 2003.019), and found in the archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, May 2008, and updated January 2017.

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

Jameson, E.O. The Choates in America, 1643-1896. Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, 1896.

For additional Choate family material, including logbooks and account books, please visit PHILCAT, our online catalog.

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