Mss:766 1779-1835 M926
Moulton, John, 1762-1824. John Moulton Business Papers, 1779-1835 (inclusive): A Finding
Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: Mss:766 1779-1835 M926
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: John Moulton
Title: John Moulton business papers
Date(s): 1779-1835 (inclusive)
Quantity: 1.75 linear feet (1 legal document box, 1 flat box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection contains the correspondence, ship records, and personal papers of
Wehnam, Massachusetts, captain John Moulton (1762-1824), dated from 1778 to 1823,
and some papers of his son, Augustus Moulton (1809-1886), dated from 1832 to 1835.
Accession no. M-14-007
Processed: September 2016
By: Brooke McManus
Preservation and description were supported by the Arcadia-funded Colonial North
American Project at Harvard University.
This collection is open for research.
Cite as: John Moulton business papers. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
John Moulton was born in Wenham, Massachusetts, in 1762. Moulton was underage at the
start of the American Revolutionary War, but around 1776 he was permitted to join
the Continental Army as a substitute for his father. After the war, he became a shipmaster,
commanding voyages to the West Indies and European ports, and trading goods including
lumber, tobacco, and rum for Beverly and Newburyport, Massachusetts, merchants. Moulton
sometimes held a stake in the ship or its cargo. Two of the vessels he captained,
the Nancy and the Reward, were separately captured by privateers in 1798 and 1806,
respectively. Moulton owned a stake in the Nancy and her cargo, which were confiscated
in Havana, Cuba, and he attempted to recover his losses until several years before
Later in his life, Moulton was also a farmer in Wenham and a member of the town board
Moulton married his first wife in 1782, and they had one son, John, Jr., born in
Beverly in 1788. She died three months later. John Moulton, Jr., died in Kingston,
Jamaica, in 1801, while he was acting as a cabin boy for his father. Two subsequent
marriages, to Sally Springer and Mary Bailey, produced eight more children, including
John Moulton died of dysentery in 1824.
This collection contains the correspondence, ship records, and personal papers of
Wenham, Massachusetts, mariner John Moulton (1762-1824), dated from 1779 to 1823,
and some papers of his son, Augustus Moulton (1809-1886), dated from 1832 to 1835.
The records include correspondence with merchants and agents in the United States
and Europe, invoices, customs documents, crew lists and seamen's protection certificates,
manifests, and protests related to voyages on vessels John Moulton captained, including
the brigantines Mary and Nancy, and ship Reward. Carrying the cargo of Massachusetts
merchants Moses Brown (1742-1827), Israel Thorndike (1755-1832), and Edmund Kimball
(1762-1847), Moulton sailed to South Carolina, the West Indies, and Europe, trading
rum, lumber, sugar, tobacco, and other dry goods. There are also letters from Moulton
to Exeter, New Hampshire, merchant Benjamin Boardman, and legal documents related
to the capture of the brig Nancy, which the two men co-owned, by privateers off Cape
San Antonio, Cuba, in 1798, and records related to the capture of the Reward in 1806
Additionally, there are personal receipts of John Moulton for payments for clothing,
travel expenses, and day labor; deeds and legal records, some of which were possibly
related to his term on the Wenham Board of Selectmen; correspondence from Moulton
to his second wife, Sally, dated 1803-1805; and a few receipts for taxes and goods,
and accounts of Moulton's son, Augustus.
- Box 1, Folder 1, Mary (Brig) correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence mainly from Moses Brown, owner of the brigantine Mary, to
John Moulton conveying captain's orders for voyages to ports including Charleston,
South Carolina, London, and Amsterdam, dated 1793-1795. The ship carried cargo like
rum, potatoes, and lumber, and returned with salt and other dry goods. Brown further
suggested destinations including British colonies Barbados or Granada, but advised
Moulton to "take particular care to inform yourself about their laws." There is also
correspondence with Brown's London-based agent, Thomas Dickason & Co., warning Moulton
about piracy stemming from the conflict between Algiers and Portugal in 1794.
- Box 1, Folder 2, Mary (Brig) correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence from Moses Brown, owner of the brigantine Mary, to John Moulton,
conveying captain's orders for voyages to Hamburg, Germany, carrying rum, sugar, and
coffee, and letters with European agents, dated 1796-1802. There are also letters
from the Mary's co-owner Israel Thorndike, and from Edmund Kimball, who subsequently
owned the ship in 1802, containing captain's orders.
- Box 1, Folder 3, Mary (Brig) logbook entries
Scope and Contents: Contains daily transactions and observations recorded by John Moulton on the brigantine
Mary in 1799-1800, when she was bound from Beverly, Massachusetts, for Bilbao, Spain.
- Box 1, Folder 4, Mary (Brig) records
Scope and Contents: Contains ship's papers, including manifests, clearances to enter ports, notarized
protection documents, and invoices and receipts related to voyages of the brigantine
Mary to Charleston, South Carolina, and the West Indies, in 1794.
- Box 2, Folder 1, Mary (Brig) records
Date: circa 1795
Scope and Contents: Contains a cargo manifest for New England rum, pine, boards, Irish potatoes, beef,
and furniture shipped on the brigantine Mary from Newburyport, Massachusetts, to Charleston,
South Carolina, circa 1795.
- Box 1, Folder 5, Mary (Brig) records
Date: 1795 March 3-July 24
Scope and Contents: Contains inspection documents, receipts, disbursements, and freight bills for return
cargo from South Carolina aboard the brigantine Mary, including rice and cotton, dated
March 3-July 24, 1795.
- Box 1, Folder 6, Mary (Brig) records
Date: 1795 July 29-November 3
Scope and Contents: Contains shipping invoices, receipts, clearing bills, and accounts, relating to the
voyage of the brigantine Mary from Charleston, South Carolina, to Newburyport, dated
July 29-November 3, 1795.
- Box 1, Folder 7, Mary (Brig) records
Date: 1795 November 12-1796
Scope and Contents: Contains bills, receipts, accounts, notarized crew list, and manifest of the brigantine
Mary, dated November 12, 1795 to 1796. Captain John Moulton traded sugar, coffee,
rum, tobacco, and rice in South Carolina, and brought back to Newburyport, Massachusetts,
linen and hemp from Hamburg, Germany.
- Box 1, Folder 8, Mary (Brig) records
Date: 1800-1802 April
Scope and Contents: Contains shipping invoices, collections documents, including a document in Spanish
dated in 1800, receipts, accounts current, and disbursements related to the voyages
of the brigantine Mary to Kingston, Jamaica, and Liverpool, England, dated from 1801
to April 1802. The ship carried cargo including lumber and cotton. One document is
- Box 1, Folder 9, Mary (Brig) records
Date: 1802 July-1803
Scope and Contents: Contains shipping invoices, customs documents, receipts, and bills related to a voyage
by the brigantine Mary from Newburyport, Massachusetts, to the West Indies, and between
Le Havre, France, and New York, from July 1802 to 1803. The ship's cargo included
lumber bound for the West Indies, and wine imported from Le Havre. Some material is
in French, and there is an undated customs document in Dutch.
- Box 1, Folder 10, Nancy (Brig) correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence related to the boarding and subsequent capture of the brigantine
Nancy by French privateers off Cape San Antonio, Cuba, dated from 1797 to 1821. In
a draft letter written from Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1797, Captain John Moulton, who
had a one-quarter stake in the ship, informs the ship's majority owner, merchant Benjamin
Boardman, that the Nancy had been boarded by two privateers, but was allowed to continue
on her voyage to Jamaica, where Moulton sold his cargo of codfish, rum, shingles,
and staves. According to a draft letter from Moulton to Boardman in 1798, the ship
was seized on June 29 west of Cape San Antonio by the French privateer schooner Revenge,
and condemnation papers were expected. There is also draft correspondence by Moulton
to an unknown individual regarding further efforts to recover the value of his property,
which had been confiscated in Havana, Cuba, and a letter possibly in response, dated
- Box 2, Folder 2, Nancy (Brig) records
Scope and Contents: Contains a seamen's protection certificate for the crew of the brigantine Nancy, bound
for the West Indies, a charter from South Carolina to Europe, and notarized customs
documents, manifest, passport and roll of equipage, in English, and papers signed
by the Spanish consul in Boston, Juan Stoughton (1734-1820), dated in 1797. There
is also a copy of a notice of protest filed by Captain John Moulton related to a cargo
of rice that sustained damaged during a voyage from Charleston, South Carolina, to
Cowes in the Isle of Wight.
- Box 1, Folder 11, Nancy (Brig) records
Date: 1797 January 8-October 19
Scope and Contents: Contains a bill of sale from Benjamin Boardman to John Moulton, granting him one-quarter
ownership in the brigantine Nancy; and shipping invoices and receipts for codfish,
some of which Moulton sold on behalf of Moses Brown in the West Indies. Several documents
are in German.
- Box 1, Folder 12, Nancy (Brig) records
Date: 1797 October 22-1798
Scope and Contents: Contains invoices, receipts, bonds, clearances, and other customs documents related
to a voyage of the brigantine Nancy to Montego Bay, Jamaica, dated from October 22,
1797 to 1798.
- Box 1, Folder 13, Rambler (Brig) correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains captain's orders addressed to John Moulton from Moses Brown, dated in 1799,
providing instructions for selling in Europe a cargo of sugar and cocoa Brown was
shipping on the brigantine Rambler.
- Box 1, Folder 14, Rambler (Brig) records
Date: 1799 January 14-April 10
Scope and Contents: Contains receipts, freight lists, and invoices for cargo shipped by Beverly, Massachusetts,
merchants Israel Thorndike and Moses Brown on the brigantine Rambler, bound for Cadiz
and other ports in Spain, dated January 14-April 10, 1799. There are also a list of
stores on the ship, notes of sales, and customs documents. Several receipts are for
work done by men on the ship.
- Box 1, Folder 15, Rambler (Brig) records
Date: 1799 July 9-November 25
Scope and Contents: Contains shipping invoices and customs documents, and inventories of stores for a
voyage from Havana, Cuba, to Beverly, Massachusetts, on the brigantine Rambler, dated
July 9-November 25, 1799, and undated. The ship carried four hundred boxes of sugar
for merchant Israel Thorndike. There is also a seamen's protection certificate for
Captain John Moulton's son, John, Jr., age twelve, who was a cabin boy on the ship.
- Box 1, Folder 16, Reward (Ship) correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence with captain's orders for John Moulton from merchant Edmund
Kimball for a voyage of the ship Reward to Norfolk, Virginia, and to Europe, where
Kimball instructed him to acquire salt, and correspondence with London agents Thomas
Dickason & Co., dated 1804-1806
- Box 1, Folder 17, Reward (Ship) logbook entry
Scope and Contents: Contains an excerpt from a logbook of transactions and observations recorded by John
Moulton in 1806 for the ship Reward, which was en route to Palermo, Italy, when she
was captured by English privateers.
- Box 1, Folder 18, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains shipping invoices, a crew list, ship's manifest, receipts, and customs documents
for the ship Reward, which sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, with a cargo of Edmund Kimball's
tobacco, to Liverpool, England, in 1804.
- Box 1, Folder 19, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains accounts current, receipts, invoices, disbursements, and testimony from officials
in Bristol, England, regarding worm damage to the ship Reward, dated 1805. The ship
was carrying cargo including sugar.
- Box 1, Folder 20, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains an interlocutory decree of the Vice Admiralty Court in Malta related to the
capture of the ship Reward and its cargo by British privateers in 1806, and copies
in English and Italian of the protest filed by Captain John Moulton. There are also
receipts and invoices in French, accounts of expenses and port charges, and customs
documents for the Reward, which also voyaged to Santander, Spain, and Bristol, England.
- Box 1, Folder 21, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains daybook entries recording payments for food and beer for Moulton's crew,
for services by ship chandlers and other day laborers, portage fees, and other costs
associated with outfitting the Reward, dated 1806-1807. There is also an inventory
of Moulton's goods, possibly carried on the ship Reward, and also some personal daybook
entries of Moulton, dated 1807-1808.
- Box 1, Folder 22, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains receipts, invoices, bills, port documents, accounts current, and expenses
for the ship Reward, which returned to Boston from Bristol, England, with a cargo
of glass in 1807.
- Box 2, Folder 3, Reward (Ship) records
Scope and Contents: Contains rolls of equipage, a memorandum of charter, certificate of protest, custom
house document, and certificate of discharge of a sailor, for the ship Reward, which
returned to Boston from Santander, Spain, and Bristol, England, dated in 1807.
- Box 1, Folder 23, Blank customs form
Date: circa 1790
Scope and Contents: Contains a blank customs clearance document for ships, issued from Newburyport, Massachusetts,
in the 1790s, bearing the names of Captain Edward Wigglesworth (1742-1826; Harvard
AB 1761) and naval officer Jonathan Trumb.
- Box 1, Folder 24, Logbook entries
Scope and Contents: Contains daily transactions and observations probably recorded by John Moulton for
two unidentified ships, dated 1815 and 1818. The latter includes John Moulton's signature,
dated September 22, 1822, in Wenham, Massachusetts.
- Box 1, Folder 25, Legal records
Scope and Contents: Contains several land deeds for John Moulton and another Wenham resident, a document
granting John Moulton power of attorney, and an assessment order to a highway surveyor
in Wenham, dated 1793-1814. Some of the documents may relate to Moulton's position
on the Wenham Board of Selectmen.
- Box 1, Folder 26, Receipts
Scope and Contents: Contains receipts for John Moulton and others for various goods and services, dated
1779-1802. The earliest receipt is addressed to Captain William Springer, possibly
the first husband of Moulton's second wife, Sally Springer, for building a schooner.
There are also receipts for medical attendance to Moulton by Joshua Fisher, for Moulton's
payment to day laborers for work on ships and on his farm, and promissory notes. A
receipt by innkeeper Mary Bowie, of Liverpool, England, shows Moulton resided at her
tavern for over four weeks in 1802, and that he paid her for washing and sewing him
seven shirts and six handkerchiefs.
- Box 1, Folder 27, Receipts
Date: 1805-1814, undated
Scope and Contents: Contains receipts for John Moulton for various goods and services, 1805-1814, and
undated. Included are a receipt for a subscription to the Salem Gazette, receipts
for room and board, clothing, and shoes, while Moulton was in Bristol, England, and
receipts for food and day labor.
- Box 1, Folder 28, Correspondence to Sally Moulton
Scope and Contents: Correspondence from John Moulton to his second wife, Sally Moulton, dated 1803-1805,
while he was docked at ports including New York, Norfolk, Virginia, and Cadiz, Spain.
Topics include family matters and his thoughts on their children's education, and
updates on trade, his crew and travels, and his health.
- Box 1, Folder 29, Augustus Moulton papers
Date: 1832-1835, undated
Scope and Contents: Contains accounts, receipts for tax payments and other goods and services, and a muster
notice for the Beverly, Massachusetts, light infantry for Augustus Moulton (1809-1886),
dated 1832-1835. There are also some undated writings.
Coastwise shipping -- 18th century.
Commerce -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Export marketing -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Foreign marketing -- 18th century.
Imports -- 18th century.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Beverly.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Newburyport.
Privateering -- 18th century.
Privateering -- 19th century.
Shipping -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Receipts (financial records).
Brown, Moses, 1742-1827.
Kimball, Edmund, 1762-1847.
Moulton, Augustus, 1809-1886.
Moulton, John, 1762-1824.
Moulton, Sally Springer.
Stoughton, Juan, 1734-1820.
Thorndike, Israel, 1755-1889.