Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of papers of merchant and loyalist Charles Ward Apthorp and other Apthorp family members, as well as the firm of Charles Apthorp & Son, including correspondence, financial papers, land papers, and volumes.
Charles Apthorp (1698-1758)
Charles Apthorp was a prosperous British-born merchant and loyalist living in Boston, Mass. who served as paymaster and agent for the Royal Army and Navy, furnishing supplies and money to British forces in Nova Scotia and Boston. He was also a land speculator and one-time business partner of Thomas Hancock. His firm of Charles Apthorp & Son imported and sold many kinds of goods, including slaves. He married Grizzell Eastwick, and they had 18 children.
Charles Ward Apthorp (1729-1797)
Charles Ward Apthorp was the oldest son of Charles Apthorp and the administrator of his father's estate. Also a loyalist merchant, he continued his father's work for and support of the British forces in Canada. In 1755, he married Mary McEvers, and the couple settled in New York, where Apthorp served as a member of the Governor's Council of New York from 1763-1783. He owned lands in Maine and property in Boston, Brookline, and Roxbury, Mass., all of which was confiscated during the American Revolution.
Hugh Williamson (1735-1819)
Hugh Williamson was the son-in-law of Charles Ward Apthorp and general agent for the Apthorp family heirs. Originally from Pennsylvania, he studied the ministry and medicine and worked in many diverse fields. He was a teacher, a doctor, a merchant, the surgeon general of North Carolina during the Revolution, a member of the N.C. House of Commons and the U.S. Continental Congress (and signatory to the Constitution), and an author. In 1789, he married Charles Ward Apthorp's daughter Maria.
The Charles Ward Apthorp papers consist of correspondence, financial papers, land papers, volumes, and other papers of Charles Ward Apthorp and Apthorp family members, as well as the firm of Charles Apthorp & Son. Included are letters to Apthorp on financial, business, and shipping matters; family correspondence; correspondence of his son-in-law and family agent Hugh Williamson; papers related to Apthorp's support of British forces in Quebec and the confiscation of his property during the Revolution; accounts of Charles Apthorp & Son, the Charles Apthorp estate, and Charles Ward Apthorp, including military accounts; documents related to the case of Apthorp vs. Bayard, a suit brought by Apthorp to recover a debt; grants, deeds, plats, letters, and other papers related to Apthorp family land in Kennebec (Me.), New York, and New England; and account and memoranda books. Accounts, estate papers, and land papers were primarily kept by Hugh Williamson.
Gift of Carolyn S. Parlato, February 2014.
In January 1980, this collection was loaned to the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, N.C. by William H. Swan of New York. Carolyn S. Parlato, the residuary legatee of William H. Swan, transferred the papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society in February 2014.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Family and business correspondence, 1727-1819
This series consists primarily of letters to Charles Ward Apthorp in New York on financial, business, and shipping matters, and after his death, papers of his son-in-law and agent Hugh Williamson. The series also contains family correspondence, including letters from Apthorp's mother Grizzell (Eastwick) Apthorp; brothers East, Stephen, George, and Thomas Apthorp; son James Apthorp; and other members of the Apthorp and related families. Also among the correspondents are John Amiel (in French), Robert Bayard, William Bayard, Thomas Bulfinch, Isaac Hart, and many others. Included are letters about Apthorp's support of British forces in Quebec; papers related to the confiscation of his property during the Revolution; and a statement on his conduct and allegiance by Samuel B. Webb (1784). Papers of Hugh Williamson include two letters from Benjamin Rush about Apthorp's health (1796), correspondence with William Sullivan, and other documents related to Apthorp's estate.
II. Financial papers, 1747-1831
A. Personal and business accounts, 1747-1831
This subseries contains accounts of Charles Apthorp & Son, the Charles Apthorp estate, and Charles Ward Apthorp with various individuals and companies. The accounts are arranged in two sequences: alphabetical and chronological. Included are military accounts, receipts, agreements, and inventories.
Alphabetical accounts, 1750-1831
Chronological accounts, 1747-1830
B. Apthorp vs. Bayard papers, 1767-1770
This subseries consists of papers related to the case of Apthorp vs. Bayard, a suit brought by Charles Ward Apthorp against William Bayard, his wife's brother-in-law, to recover a debt. Papers include the affidavit and interrogatory of Charles Ward Apthorp, extracts of correspondence, and an opinion on the case by Whitehead Hicks (1767).
III. Land papers, 1751-1838
A. Kennebec lands, 1756-1832
This subseries contains papers related to Apthorp ownership of lands in Kennebec, Me., including grants to Charles Apthorp, Charles Ward Apthorp, and the heirs of Charles Ward Apthorp from the Proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase (printed documents filled out in manuscript); deeds to members of the Apthorp and related families; plats of various lots; and correspondence, legal papers, and financial papers, primarily of Hugh Williamson, agent for the Apthorp family.
Plats, undated, 1804-1818
Correspondence and other papers, 1781-1832
Included are letters, legal papers, accounts, receipts, deeds, memoranda, and other papers related to Kennebec lands owned by the Apthorp family, primarily papers of Hugh Williamson, agent for the Apthorps. Among the correspondents are Joseph E. Foxcroft, John C. Hamilton, Joseph Langdon, Dan Read, James Sullivan, William Sullivan, and Charles Vaughan. Also included is one folder of letters from Samuel Stewart to Hugh Williamson related to Waterford, Me. property.
B. Connecticut lands, 1781-1821
This subseries contains accounts, receipts, bonds, legal papers, letters to Charles Ward Apthorp from James and William Hillhouse, and correspondence of Hugh Williamson with James Lanman, William Perkins, Benjamin Reed, and others.
C. New York lands, 1762-1838
This subseries consists of papers related to Apthorp property in Kingsbury, N.Y., including indentures, deeds, bonds, and letters to Charles Ward Apthorp from Patrick Smyth and others.
D. Vermont and New Hampshire lands, 1751-1813
This subseries contains letters from Asa Porter to Hugh Williamson, legal documents, inventories, and other papers.
IV. Volumes, 1768-1819
This series consists of eight volumes kept by Hugh Williamson as agent for the Apthorp family, including four account books, one receipt book, and three memoranda books.
A. Account and receipt books, 1793-1819
B. Memoranda books, 1768-1802
Included are memoranda on demographics in various U.S. states and nations, public debt, currency, agriculture, exports, and many other subjects, as well as aphorisms and recipes.
V. Printed matter, 1796-1858
This series consists of two newspapers: The London Times, 9 Nov. 1796, with the first part of George Washington's resignation address; and the Boston Daily Courier, 30 Jan. 1858, containing a letter to the editor about John C. Hamilton's claim in his A History of the Republic that his father Alexander Hamilton wrote many of Washington's letters.
VI. Oversize material
This series contains oversize material removed from other series in the collection.
Charles Ward Apthorp papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.