Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus, 1793-1798

About this Collection

Harvard University , Corporation.
Bills of sale.Accounts.Legal instruments.
Collection Title
Records relating to Harvard's ownership of the sloop Cyrus, 1793-1798
.26 cubic feet (1 flat box)
Harvard University Archives
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Harvard University.
Harvard University--Finance
College costs--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Coastwise shipping--Massachusetts
Cambridge (Mass.)--History

Content Notes

This collection contains ownership and accounting records created and collected by the Harvard Corporation related to its ownership of the sloop Cyrus between 1793 and 1798. The documents include four bills of sale for the sloop; a handwritten copy of the vessel's federal enrollment certificate; financial account records compiled by Harvard College Treasurer Ebenezer Storer, Harvard Steward Caleb Gannett, and joint-owner of the sloop, William Winthrop, related to the transportation and dispersal of the sloop's wood freight; and two letters from Samuel P. Russell to Ebenezer Storer regarding the sale of the sloop by Harvard in 1798.

Biographical Notes

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, much of the fuel wood used in Boston was cut on farms in New Hampshire and Maine and transported to the city by coastal sloops (a type of smaller sailing vessel). Between 1793 and 1798, Harvard College maintained the sloop Cyrus to transport wood from the College's property in Maine, through Boston Harbor, and up the Charles River to Cambridge. The wood was both sold at market and used to supply the College. On February 2, 1793, Treasurer Ebenezer Storer, on behalf of the Harvard Corporation, purchased a wood sloop jointly with wealthy Cambridge resident William Winthrop. The vessel was captained by Captain Levi Drinkwater and managed by Treasurer Storer who maintained financial accounts related to the sloop's cargo and repairs, and Steward Caleb Gannett who managed the College's supply of wood and provided inventory figures for the Treasurer's accounts. The sloop offered Harvard a means to more effectively control their wood supply and potentially make a profit selling wood in the Boston area, and the Cyrus made regular trips until its sale on March 7, 1798.