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Richardson Family Papers

Richardson Family Papers

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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:Richardson family
Title:Richardson Family Papers
Quantity:3.25 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract:The Richardson Family Papers contain papers from Eunice (Putnam) Richardson (1751-1846), her sons, and one of her grandsons.
Collection Number:MSS 167

Series List

SERIES I. Richardson Family

Scope and Content Note

The Richardson Family Papers contain papers from Eunice (Putnam) Richardson (1751-1846), her sons, and one of her grandsons. The papers reflect the Richardsons' merchant and trading activities, as well as some of their personal accounts and papers. This collection has been divided into two series.

Series I. Richardson Family contains papers from three generations of the Richardson family. People included in this series are Eunice (Putnam) Richardson (1751-1846), her sons Nathaniel (1772-1818), Joshua (1774-1867), and William Putnam Richardson (1785-1826), and grandson George D. Richardson (1806-1868). This series includes estate papers, business correspondence, and financial papers, in addition to some other personal papers belonging to the Richardsons mentioned above, as well as some other members of the family.

Series II. Other contains correspondence, accounts, and shipping papers that do not have a Richardson mentioned in them; however, they might have belonged to associates of the Richardsons. Also included in this series is what appears to be a play and poetry. The play is covered in mold, so care should be exercised when viewing this item.

Biographical Sketches

Nathaniel Richardson was born March 20, 1742, in Salem, Massachusetts. He worked as a tanner and a merchant. Nathaniel married Eunice Putnam (1751-1846), and they had six children who lived to adulthood: Nathaniel (1772-1818), Joshua (1774-1867), Jesse (1776-1814), Israel (1782-1867), William Putnam (1785-1826), and Betsey (1788-1789). Nathaniel died January 25, 1796, in an accident that occurred while he was helping to move a building.

Nathaniel Richardson was born on August 26, 1772 to Nathaniel (1742-1796) and Eunice (Putnam) (1751-1846) Richardson, in Woburn, Massachusetts. He moved to Portland, Maine around 1793, where he was a tanner, merchant, and trader. He owned a number of properties in the city, and built Richardson's Wharf. Towards the end of 1802, early 1803, Nathaniel moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and gave his mother the deed to land and flats in Portland; she would later pass on the deed to another son, Joshua. Nathaniel died of a fever in Málaga, Spain, in January 1818, his property passed to his brothers and their children.

Captain Joshua Richardson was born September 28, 1774 to Nathaniel (1742-1796) and Eunice (Putnam) (1751-1846) Richardson. In 1801 he moved to Portland, Maine, where he joined his brother Nathaniel in the store, later building on Richardson's Wharf. He spent many years in the West Indies trade, later becoming treasurer of Portland Manufacturing Company, and president of Manufacturers and Traders Bank, in addition to being involved in municipal government. Joshua was also a member to the state legislature in 1823 and 1824.

Joshua's first wife was Eunice Lander (1778-1804), the daughter of Captain Peter and Rebecca (Brown) Lander. They had one child who died in infancy. His second wife was Ann (Hanford) Jones (about 1787-1850), the daughter of Thomas Hanford of St. John, New Brunswick. They had eight children together, five who survived to adulthood: Julia (born 1817), Thomas Hanford (born 1820), Nathaniel Putnam (born 1825), William Putnam (born 1829), and Ann Hanford (born 1832). Joshua died in 1867.

Captain Jesse Richardson was born to Nathaniel (1742-1796) and Eunice (Putnam) (1751-1846) Richardson on December 2, 1776, in Salem, Massachusetts. Jesse was a merchant mariner. He married Eunice Dodge (born February 13, 1778), the daughter of Joshua and Elizabeth (Crowninshield) Dodge, who was also born in Salem, Massachusetts. Their children included: Lydia D. (1800-1875), Nathaniel (1802- about 1821), George D. (1806-1868), Eunice Putnam (1808-1883), Elizabeth D. (1809-1861), and Charles Story (1811-1813). Jesse died on February 11, 1814, Eunice died on October 20, 1812.

Israel Richardson was born to Nathaniel (1742-1796) and Eunice (Putnam) (1751-1846) Richardson on January 15, 1782. He moved to Portland, Maine to work as a clerk for his brother Nathaniel. Israel was also involved in the East India trade. He died March 26, 1867.

Captain William Putnam Richardson was born to Nathaniel (1742-1796) and Eunice (Putnam) (1751-1846) Richardson on May 5, 1785. He was a shipmaster in the East India trade, and later a merchant in Salem, Massachusetts. During his time as a shipmaster, he visited some islands in the Pacific Ocean, and copied down the vocabulary of the Fiji language.

William married Deborah Lang (1785-1845), the daughter of Edward and Rachel (Ward) Lang. They had nine children, five who lived to adulthood: Ellen Octavia (born 1808), William Putnam (born 1815), Edward Symmes Lang (born 1816), Eliza Anne (born 1817), and Charles Frederic (born 1818). William died in 1826.

Lydia D. Richardson was born in 1800 to Jesse (1772-1812) and Eunice (Dodge) (1778-1812) Richardson. She married James Dunlap Gillis (1798-1835), a Salem, Massachusetts, shipmaster. They had three children: James Andrew (b. 1827); George Putnam Gillis (b. 1831); and Elizabeth Richardson Gillis (b. 1834). Lydia died in 1875.

George D. Richardson was born in 1806 to Jesse (1772-1812) and Eunice (Dodge) (1778-1812) Richardson. He died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1868.

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.

Merryman, John, active 1835
Richardson, Eunice Putnam, 1751-1846
Richardson, George D. (George Dodge), 1806-1868
Richardson, Jesse, 1776-1814
Richardson, Joshua, 1774-1867
Richardson, Nathaniel, 1772-1818
Richardson, William Putnam, 1785-1826
Estates, Administration of
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

Richardson Family Papers, MSS 167, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was separated from the James D. Gillis Papers (MSS 90), which was found in the collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, November 2017.

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

Vinton, John Adams. The Richardson Memorial, Comprising a Full History and Genealogy of the Three Brothers, Ezekiel, Samuel, and Thomas Richardson, Who Came from England, and United with Others in the Foundation of Woburn, Massachusetts, in the Year 1641, of John Richardson, of Medfield, 1670, of Amos Richardson, of Boston, 1640, of Edward and William Richardson, of Newbury, 1643, with Notices of Richardsons in England and Elsewhere. Portland, ME: Brown Thurston and Co., 1876.

Account book of Jesse Richardson, 1797-1813. MSS 1644.1

Account book of Jesse Richardson, 1809-1813. MSS 1644.2

James Gillis Papers, 1821-1864. MSS 90

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