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Samuel Hodges, Jr. (1792-1827) Papers

Samuel Hodges, Jr. (1792-1827) Papers

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SAMUEL HODGES, JR. (1792-1827) PAPERS, 1813-1853


Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).

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:Hodges Jr., Samuel, 1792-1827
Title:Samuel Hodges, Jr. (1792-1827) Papers
Quantity:4.5 linear feet (7 boxes)
Abstract:The collection contains the personal records of Samuel Hodges, Jr. including financial accounts, ledger books, military records, correspondence, and ephemera. It also contains a significant number of records related to the trading vessels that Hodges Jr. had contact with in his position as American Consulate.
Identification:MH 125

Series List

SERIES I. Ships' Records
A. Ironsides (Brig)
B. John (Brig)
C. Oswego (Brig)
D. Robert Patten (Brig)
E. Romp (Brig)
F. Ruby (Brig)
G. Union (Brig)
H. Other Vessels' Records
I. Account Books
SERIES II. Financial Records
A. Personal Accounts
B. Accounts with Individuals
C. Ledger Books
SERIES III. Personal Papers
A. Military Service Records
B. Correspondence
C. Other Records
SERIES IV. American Consulate Records
A. Record Books
B. Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the personal and business records of Samuel Hodges, Jr. including financial accounts, ledger books, military records, correspondence, and ephemera. It also contains a significant number of records related to the trading vessels that Hodges Jr. had contact with in his position as American Consulate, along with record books created by Hodges while in this position. The collection is arranged into four series.

Series I. Ships' Records contains records documenting the trading activities of vessels from America and Europe to points in West Africa. Many different types of vessels are represented in this collection and their ports of origin range from Salem and Portsmouth to Portugal, Brazil, and England. Hodges Jr. had contact with all of these ships as American Consulate, and frequently engaged in commission business that required the use of such vessels to conduct his personal trade. Several ships, including the schooner First Attempt and the brig Janet Maria, were owned in part by Hodges Jr.

Series I is divided into nine subseries. The first seven subseries, Ironsides (Brig), John (Brig), Oswego (Brig), Robert Patten (Brig), Romp (Brig), Ruby (Brig), and Union (Brig) are individually designated due to the richness of their holdings. Records include those of financial transactions, including bills, disbursements, receipts, sales, and invoices, as well as manifests, cargo records, accounts current, correspondence, and various customs records. The eighth subseries, Other Vessels' Records, contains records of varying quantity for almost 100 different ships that either traded in or travelled through West Africa during Hodges Jr.'s tenure as American Consulate. These records are organized alphabetically by ship's name; the amount of records for each ship varies considerably. Records for these vessels typically include bills, invoices, cargo records, customs forms, and correspondence. The ninth subseries, Account Books, contains bound volumes of sales, disbursements, invoices and accounts current for multiple ships Hodges Jr. dealt with while in Cape Verde.

Series II. Financial Records documents the personal financial history of Samuel Hodges Jr. during his time in Cape Verde. It is divided into three subseries. The first subseries, Personal Accounts, contains a chronological record of Hodges Jr.'s bills, orders, and receipts. These records are of Hodges Jr.'s personal purchases and business, and are not directly related to specific vessels, which is why they have been separated. The second subseries, Accounts with Individuals, documents Hodges Jr.'s transactions with numerous individuals, typically other traders. Accounts are arranged alphabetically by the individual's name, and may include accounts current, bills, and receipts. Finally the third subseries, Ledger Books, contains two personal Ledger Books belonging to Hodges Jr., one recording cash transactions, the other charting various bills and expenses primarily related to a home improvement project.

Series III. Personal Papers, contains records related to the personal life of Samuel Hodges Jr. This series is divided into three subseries. The first, Military Service Records, consists of a folder documenting Hodges Jr.'s time as a member of the 40th Regiment of Infantry, recruiting in Stoughton and Boston during the War of 1812. Correspondence related to military service is included in this subseries. The second subseries, Correspondence, contains letters written to Hodges Jr. throughout the course of his lifetime, arranged chronologically. Many are letters of introduction given to Hodges Jr. by travelers hoping to establish themselves in West Africa. Finally, the third subseries, Other Records, contains a folder of various notes, memos, and deeds accumulated by or written by Hodges over the years, as well as a small hand-illustrated book containing copied verse, presumably the possession of a descendent.

Series IV. American Consulate Records includes record books and correspondence created by Hodges Jr. while serving as American Consulate in Cape Verde. The first subseries, Record Books, includes record books documenting protests, entrances, clearances and accounts of vessels and merchants who met with Hodges Jr. The second subseries, Correspondence, includes formal business correspondence written by Hodges Jr. in a bound letter book.

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Hodges, Jr. (1792-1827) was an Army officer, a businessman, and most notably the American Consulate to the Cape Verde Islands off the Western coast of Africa. He was born on January 27, 1792 to Samuel and Lucinda Hodges of Taunton, and later Stoughton, Massachusetts. Samuel Hodges Sr. had several occupations during his lifetime including postmaster and inn-keeper, as well as running a grist-mill. He was deeply involved in local politics, earning him the respect of his neighbors. Hodges Jr. was educated from an early age and worked with his father, but began his own career in the United States military after the outbreak of the War of 1812. In late 1813 he became a First Lieutenant in the 40th Regiment of Infantry of the United States Army and acted as a recruitment officer in Taunton and Boston, Massachusetts through 1814. When ill health compelled him to leave the Army, he briefly went into business with his brother Leonard as one of the incorporators of the Gay Cotton Manufacturing Company in Stoughton, Massachusetts.

In October of 1817, Hodges Jr. wrote a letter to then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, noting the vacancy left by the death of his friend, former Consulate Captain Fish. After submitting several letters of character from esteemed friends and noting his experience in the mercantile industry, he was offered the position of American Consulate to the Cape Verde islands in 1818 and took up residence at St. Jago. Hodges Jr. would thrive as a businessman during his tenure in Cape Verde. In addition to his duties as Consulate, he became involved in the commission business, exporting primarily goods like skins, hides, and salt. Eventually his success allowed him to buy part ownership in several trading vessels, including the schooner First Attempt and the brig Janet Maria. He has been noted by at least one scholar of African American history for his attempts to encourage and participate in legitimate trade with Africa in an era before widespread abolition.

Hodges Jr. travelled several times between the United States and Cape Verde, and in 1821 he returned to Massachusetts to be married to Marion "Polly" Wales (1795-1881). After their marriage, Polly moved to St. Jago with her husband and bore four sons, three of whom died in infancy. One surviving son, Samuel Wales Hodges (1824-1889) was sent on a ship to America when he was 2 years of age, to prevent another untimely death. The African climate did not only affect his children, however; on October 26, 1827, at only 35 years of age, Samuel Hodges Jr. died of malarial fever. He is buried in a family plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, MA.

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, James
Clough, Simeon
Gardner, Ferdinand
Hodges, George W.
Hodges, Samuel, 1792-1827
Honey, William
Leger, Antonio
Lovett, Emily F.
Martins, M. A.
Doris (Brig)
Ironsides (Brig)
John (Brig)
Margaret (Brig)
Military history
Oswego (Brig)
Pharos (Brig)
Robert Patten (Brig)
Romp (Brig)
Ruby (Brig)
Shamrock (Ship)
Susan (Brig)
Swift (Schooner)
Union (Brig)
Washington (Brig)
Cape Verde Islands
Praia (Cape Verde)
Santiago (Cape Verde)
Stoughton (Mass.)
Taunton (Mass.)
Account books
Ships' papers


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request 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

Samuel Hodges Jr. Papers, MH 125, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was purchased from W. Floyd Tremblay in 1938 (acc. #10275)

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Jaimie Fritz, October 2011. Updated by Halley Grogan, June 2012.

Related Material

Brooks, George E "Samuel Hodges, Jr., and the Symbiosis of Slave and 'Legitimate' Trades, 1810s-1820s". International Journal of African Historical Studies, The. 11 Oct. 2011.

Hodges Jr., Almon D., comp. Genealogical Record of the Hodges Family of New England, Ending December 31st, 1894. 3rd ed. Boston: Frank D. Hodges, 1896.

"Letter of Introduction from Samuel Hodges Jr. to John Quincy Adams." Stoughton Massachusetts History and Genealogy Resource Website. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.

"Obituary and Last Will and Testament of Marion "Polly" Wales Hodges." Stoughton Massachusetts History and Genealogy Resource Website. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.

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