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Emmerton Family Papers

Emmerton Family Papers

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Processing for this collection was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:Emmerton family
Title:Emmerton Family Papers
Quantity:0.75 linear feet (2 boxes, 1 volume)
Abstract:The Emmerton Family Papers contain personal and business papers of shipping merchants Ephraim (1748-1824), Ephraim (1791-1877), E. Augustus (1827-1901), George R. (1836-1888), physician James A. Emmerton, and Jeremiah Emmerton. There are also papers from Ephraim Emmerton’s (1791-1877) father in-law, Daniel Sage.
Collection Number:MSS 24

Series List

SERIES I. Ephraim Emmerton (1791-1877) Papers
SERIES II. E. Augustus Emmerton (1827-1901) Papers
SERIES III. Other Family Members

Scope and Content Note

The Emmerton Family Papers contain personal and business papers of shipping merchants Ephraim (1748-1824), Ephraim (1791-1877), E. Augustus (1827-1901), George R. (1836-1888), physician James A. Emmerton, and Jeremiah Emmerton. There are also papers from Ephraim Emmerton's (1791-1877) father in-law, Daniel Sage. This collection is divided into three series.

Series I. Ephraim Emmerton (1791-1877) Papers contains personal and business correspondence, civic, legal, and shipping related papers of Ephraim Emmerton (1791-1877). Ephraim's civic papers include correspondence from his directorship for both the Salem-Danvers Aquaduct and Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company, and letters discussing the First Congregational Society's conflict with their minister, Thomas T. Stone. Ephraim's legal papers include estates of Elizabeth (Ives) Emmerton, James Emmerton, and William and John Sage. Included in this series are account books relating to Ephraim's shipping business, and related correspondence. Also included in this series are the papers of Daniel Sage, Ephraim's father-in-law.

Series II. E. Augustus Emmerton (1827-1901) Papers contains E. Augustus' letter book and shipping papers. The shipping papers include a lunar book and a letter book.

Series III. Other Family Members contains personal papers of Ephraim Emmerton (1748-1824), and James A. Emmerton's correspondence, memo book, and legal papers. James's memo book contains notes on the Roman and Holy Roman Empires. The series also includes George R. Emmerton's letter book, Jeremiah Emmerton's legal papers, and miscellaneous papers.

Biographical Sketch

Ephraim Emmerton was born on December 4, 1748, to John and Mary Emmerton of Salem, Massachusetts, one of twelve children. John Emmerton was a farmer who cultivated the lands of Judge Lynde on Castle Hill in South Salem. Ephraim married Remember Cloutman, the daughter of John and Sarah Cloutman on November 19, 1772. They had no children.

Ephraim was commissioned as a lieutenant in the army, as part of Col. John Mansfield's regiment in 1775. He was a mariner, and according to the family genealogy, appears to have been a privateer during the Revolutionary War, working on the schooner Congress, brig Concord, and brig Saratoga. Ephraim died on August 24, 1824.

Jeremiah Emmerton was born on January 23, 1753, to John and Mary Emmerton of Salem. Jeremiah was a mariner, but also served as a sergeant in army, in Colonel John Mansfield's regiment. He was married twice. His first wife was Rebecca Murray, whom he married in 1776; they had two children together. His second wife was Elizabeth (Newhall), a widow, and they had seven children. Jeremiah died on August 18, 1826.

Ephraim Emmerton was born on July 6, 1791, to Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Newhall) Emmerton. He worked in the counting room of Clifford Crowninshield for a few years, and then worked as a clerk to Robert Stone, Jr. Ephraim also clerked for Captain Timothy Wellman on a voyage to Russia in 1811. During the War of 1812, he was a sergeant in the Essex Guards, a company that was made up of young seafarers. He was also ensign in the Washington Rangers, a company made up of men who were too young to serve in the militia.

After the War of 1812, Ephraim worked in shipping, trading along the Calcutta channels, and was one of the first to engage in the Zanzibar trade. He owned the brig Richmond and the barque Sophronia, in addition to having interest in several other vessels. On June 8, 1826, he married Mary Ann Sage, the daughter of Daniel and Deborah (Silsbee) Sage. They had ten children. Ephraim died on March 22, 1877.

Ephraim Augustus Emmerton (also known as E. Augustus Emmerton) was born on March 9, 1827, to Ephraim and Mary Ann (Sage) Emmerton. He was a sailor for about twenty years, and after 1849, he became a ship master. In 1855, he became an agent for Silsbee, Stone and Pickman. After an unsuccessful business venture in Boston, he became a resident agent for John Bertram in 1869 until 1878.

Ephraim was married twice. His first wife was Caroline Elizabeth Osgood, whom he married on November 24, 1851; they had two children together. His second wife was his former sister in-law, Lucy Derby Osgood, whom he married on June 22, 1876. He died in 1901.

George Robinson Emmerton was born on February 9, 1836, to Ephraim and Mary Ann (Sage) Emmerton. As a young man, George went from school to the counting room of Glidden and Williams in Boston. In 1860, he became associated with Edward Chamberlin in the manufacture of chemicals. When the Civil War broke out he joined up, and became a lieutenant in the Union Drill Club, which went to the front as Company F, of the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. In the summer of 1862, he was sent home injured, and later resigned. He married Mary J. Bertram on October 7, 1863; they had two children.

At this same time, business was not doing well. George dissolved his partnership with Chamberlin and went into business with his brother E. Augustus, which lasted several years. In 1869, he joined his father in-law, Captain John Bertram, in Bertram's extensive East Indian commerce. George was elected Trustee of the Savings Bank in 1870, and was made its Director in 1873. In 1880, he became President of the Merchants Bank, and from the years 1877 until 1880, he was Alderman of the city of Salem, and President of the Board. George died in 1888.

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.

Emmerton, E. Augustus (Ephraim Augustus), 1827-1901
Emmerton, Elizabeth (Ives)
Emmerton, Ephraim, 1748-1824
Emmerton, Ephraim, 1791-1877
Emmerton, George R., 1836-1888
Emmerton, James A. (James Arthur), 1834-1888
Emmerton, Jeremiah, 1753-1826
Sage, Daniel
Sage, John
Sage, William
Stone, Thomas T. (Thomas Treadwell), 1801-1895
Alert (Sloop)
Lucia Maria (Barque)
Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company
Richmond (Brig)
Ropes, Emmerton & Co.
Sophronia (Barque)
Tom Corwin (Barque)
Account books
First Congregational Society (Salem, Mass.)
Merchants--Salem (Mass.)
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

Emmerton Family Papers, MSS 24, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection is an integration of various donations. The bulk of the manuscripts, the Lucia Maria Lunar book, and the Sophronia letter book were donated in 1910 by the estate of Lucy D. Waters. The Richmond, Tom Corwin, and shipping account books were donated in 1925 by Atkins Bates.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, May 1983. Updated by Hilary Streifer, September 2014 and March 2019.

Related Material

Emmerton, James A. Materials Toward a Genealogy of the Emmerton Family. Salem: Salem Press, 1881.

Putnam, George Granville. Salem Vessels and Their Voyages: A History of the "Astrea," "Mindoro,""Sooloo," "Panay," "Dragon," "Highlander," "Shirley," and "Formosa," With Some Account of Their Masters, and Other Reminiscences of Salem Shipmasters. Salem: Essex Institute, 1924.

Emmerton, E. Augustus. Ephraim Augustus Emmerton Autobiography, 1859-1860. Log 999

Emmerton, E. Augustus. Ephraim Augustus Emmerton Diary, 1858, 1860-1861. Log 999

Emmerton, E. Augustus. Sophronia (Bark) Supercargo's Journal, 1848-1849. Log 999

Ropes Emmerton and Company Records, 1873-1902. MSS 103

Collection of architectural drawings by William H. Emmerton, Joseph C. Foster (1829-1906), and Charles Appleton Putnam (1828-1899). E E 54.3 1847+

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