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Hackett Family Papers

Hackett 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:Hackett family
Title:Hackett Family Papers
Quantity:0.75 linear feet (1 box, 2 volumes)
Abstract:The Hackett Family papers include account books, shipbuilding specifications, and both business and personal correspondence.
Collection Number:MSS 228

Series List

SERIES I. Richard Hacket (1716-1767) Papers
SERIES II. William Hackett (1739-1808) Papers
SERIES III. Captain John Bagley (1765-1826) Papers
SERIES IV. Miscellaneous Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Hackett Family papers include account books, shipbuilding specifications, and both business and personal correspondence. The collection is divided into four series.

Series I. Richard Hacket (1716-1767) Papers consists of his account book from his business and loose papers that were removed from this volume. The papers are arranged in the sequential order in which they were removed from the volume. The page of the volume from which the documents were removed has been noted on the back of each document. The account book lists sales of wood, nails, molasses and cider. Accounts were settled by the executor of his estate in 1768 and 1769, with one final entry in 1791.

Series II. William Hackett (1739-1808) Papers consists largely of correspondence, bills, and legal papers, such as contracts, to and from Hacket. These papers are grouped together in chronological order, as virtually all of them concern shipbuilding and shipping. Of interest is a letter of complaint, March 16, 1808, by Captain William Hackett, which offers an autobiographical account. The papers also include an interesting indenture of an apprentice; Thomas Dollor of Salisbury, a “drinking man that… spends all he has in Rum and other strong drink and lets his family suffer,” was apprenticed to Hackett on September 22, 1773 by several Salisbury justices of the peace. The undated material consists largely of lists of ships’ dimensions. Some of the prominent names in William Hackett’s papers include Elias Hasket Derby (1739-1799), Richard Derby (1736-1781), Samuel Gardner (1712/3-1769), Weld Gardner (1745-1801), William Jeffrey ([1737-1772]), Elijah Morrill (1719-1767), Ezra Morrill (1741/2-1797), and Timothy Rogers ([1721]-1766).

Also included in William Hackett’s papers is an account book for a general store, 1764-1790. Accounts are listed under customers’ names and describe the sale of fabrics, worsteds, sail cloth, rum, molasses, and food as well as the use of his boat. Page 262 lists some creditors of his uncle’s (Richard Hacket) estate; page 258 lists payments to the heirs. One folder contains loose papers that were removed from this account book; the papers are arranged in the sequential order in which they were found in the volume. The page of the volume from which the documents were removed has been noted on the back of each document.

The folder of Hackett family miscellaneous paper consists of papers relating to other members of the Hackett family.

Series III. Captain John Bagley (1765-1826) Papers contains some legal and business letters relating to his shipping accounts; however the majority of the series consists of letters written to his wife, Sally (Hackett) Bagley (1766-1845). These letters were sent from ports all over the world to Mr. Bagley at home in Salisbury. The letters describe the progress of the voyage(s), the condition of the ship and crew, and information on the sale of cargo. Ports visited by Bagley include Havana, Russian, Cayenne (French Guiana), and Bordeaux. The John Bagley miscellaneous papers consist of letters, receipts, etc. of other Bagley family members, primarily merchant Lowell Bagley (1765-1726, probably a nephew of Capt. John Bagley), or letters addressed to correspondents staying with the Bagley family.

Series IV. Miscellaneous Papers consists of a folder of papers spanning the years 1718 to 1816, along with undated material. This series contains bids on ships, bills, and dimensions for the construction of ships, written by correspondents not directly represented in the Hackett family.

Biographical Sketches

Richard Hacket was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, on February 12, 1716, the son of William and Hannah (Young) Hacket. Richard married Eleanor Flanders (1716-1778) in Salisbury on December 20, 1737. They had five children. He may have been a boat builder; many members of the Hacket family were mariners or involved in shipbuilding. He served as a selectman in Salisbury in 1760. His nephew was Captain William Hackett (1739-1808), whose settlement of his uncle’s estate is found in the Richard Hacket account book. Richard Hacket died in Salisbury on April 18, 1767.

Captain William Hackett, shipwright, was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1739, the son of William, Jr. and Elizabeth (Stevens) Hackett. He was married in Salisbury on April 10, 1760 to Nanny (or Anna) Osgood, daughter of William and Sarah (Jones) Osgood. They had eight children, including William Osgood Hackett (1760-1782) and Andrew Hackett (1776-1838).

William Hackett, along with his cousin and master shipwright John Hackett (1738-1802), ran a highly regarded shipbuilding business in Salisbury/Amesbury. They constructed ships including the Tyrannicide, Massachusetts, and Alliance. William later built the frigate Essex in Salem, Massachusetts.

William Hackett served from May 7 to December 16, 1759 with the rank of lieutenant in the French and Indian Wars, Crown Point Expedition, in the company of Captain William Bayley. During the Revolutionary War, Hackett was responsible for the design of a number of government-commissioned ships.

At the time of his death, Hackett was listed in the town’s vital records as “deacon,” although it is not known what position he played in the town to acquire this title or when. William died in Salisbury on November 20, 1808 at the age of 69 years.

Captain John Bagley was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, on January 31, 1765. He may possibly have been the son of Timothy and Mary Bagley. He married Sally Hackett (1766-1845), who was the daughter of Captain William and Nanny Hackett on July 7, 1791. Bagley apparently went around the world as a shipmaster, trading cargo from his ships. He died in Salisbury on April 19, 1826 at the age of 61 years.

See Appendix I for full family tree.

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.

Bagley, John, 1765-1826
Bagley, Lowell, 1784-1863
Bagley, Sally Hacket, 1766-1845
Derby, Elias Hasket, 1739-1799
Derby, Richard, 1736-1781
Gardner, Samuel, 1713-1769
Gardner, Weld, 1745-1801
Hacket, Richard, 1716-1767
Hacket, William, 1739-1808
Morrill, Elijah, 1719-1767
Morrill, Ezra, 1742-1797
Rogers, Timothy, [1721]-1766
General stores
Ship captains
Shipping--France--Bordeaux (Aquitaine)
Amesbury (Mass.)
Salisbury (Mass.)
Account books


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

Hackett Family Papers, MSS 228, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection is from an unknown source. Thirteen of John Bagley's letters were removed from Family Manuscripts and placed here. A letter from William Hackett to his wife dated 1793 was purchased in June 2017 (acc #2017.018).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Daniel S. Curtis, February 1992. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, June 2017.

Related Material

Fairburn, William Armstrong, and Ethel M. Ritchie. Merchant Sail. Center Lovell, ME: Fairburn Marine Educational Foundation, 1945.

Hoyt, David Webster. The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich and Hampton. Providence, RI: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1897.

Longyear, Mary Beecher. The History of a House (built by Squire Bagley, in Amesbury, Massachusetts) Its Founder, Family and Guests. Brookline, MA: Longyear Foundation, 1947.

Osgood, Ira, and Eben Putnam. A Genealogy of the Descendants of John, Christopher and William Osgood: Who Came from England and Settled in New England Early in the Seventeenth Century. Salem, MA: Printed at the Salem, 1894.

Tagney, Ronald N. The World Turned Upside Down: Essex County during America's Turbulent Years, 1763-1790. West Newbury, MA: Essex County History, 1989.

Vital Records of Amesbury, Mass.

Vital Records of Salisbury, Mass.

Voye, Nancy S. Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian Wars, 1748-1763. Boston: Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1975.

Morrill Family Papers, 1738-1833, MSS 227

Alliance (Frigate) Papers, 1776-1777, undated, Ship. Mss. 127+

Leonard (Brig) Papers, 1778-1797, undated, Ship. Mss. 128

James Hackett Family Genealogy, 2013, Acc 2013.010

Appendix I

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