John Moulton business papers, 1779-1835 (inclusive)

About this Collection

Moulton, John , 1762-1824
Receipts (financial records)Correspondence.Daybooks.Invoices.Legal instruments.Logs (records)Ships' manifests.Ships' papers.
Collection Title
John Moulton business papers, 1779-1835 (inclusive)
1.75 linear feet (1 legal document box, 1 flat box)
Baker Library, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

Content Notes

The John Moulton business papers consist of correspondence, shipping records, and personal papers, dated from 1778 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, shipping articles, 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; letters 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.

Biographical Notes

John Moulton was born in Wenham, Massachusetts, in 1762. Moulton was underage at the start of the 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. 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. John Moulton died of dysentery in 1824.