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Mss:766 1779-1835 M926

Moulton, John, 1762-1824. John Moulton Business Papers, 1779-1835 (inclusive): A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

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.


Purchase, 2014.
Accession no. M-14-007

Processing Information:

Processed: September 2016
By: Brooke McManus
Preservation and description were supported by the Arcadia-funded Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.
Materials stored onsite. Please contact histcollref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: John Moulton business papers. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

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 his death.
Later in his life, Moulton was also a farmer in Wenham and a member of the town board of selectmen.
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 Augustus (1809-1886).
John Moulton died of dysentery in 1824.

Scope and Content Note:

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 near Malta.
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.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Coastwise shipping -- 18th century.
Commerce -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Export marketing -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Foreign marketing -- 18th century.
Imports -- 18th century.
Lumber trade.
Merchant marine.
Merchant ships.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Beverly.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Newburyport.
Privateering -- 18th century.
Privateering -- 19th century.
Rum industry.
Ship captains.
Shipping -- Massachusetts -- 18th century.
Tobacco industry.
Legal instruments.
Logs (records)
Receipts (financial records).
Ship's manifests.
Ship's papers.
Beverly (Mass.).
Bristol (England).
Charleston (S.C.).
Havana (Cuba).
Liverpool (England).
Newburyport (Mass.).
Wenham (Mass.).
Boardman, Benjamin.
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.
Mary (Brig).
Nancy (Brig).
Rambler (Ship).
Reward (Brig).