Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


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.

Biographical Sketches

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.

Collection Description

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.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Carolyn S. Parlato, February 2014.

Custodial History

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

Arranged chronologically.

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.

Box 1Folder 1-14
Box 1Folder 15
Mass. property confiscated, 1782
Box 1Folder 16
Box 1Folder 17
Political conduct in wartime New York, 1784
Box 1Folder 18
Box 1Folder 19
Apthorp-Williamson marriage certificate, 1789
Box 1Folder 20
Suit for British payment, 1789-1791
Box 1Folder 21
Box 1Folder 22
Apthorp-Van den Heuvel marriage contract, 1794
Box 1Folder 23-25
Box 1Folder 26
Hamilton-Van den Heuvel marriage settlement, 1814
Box 1Folder 27
Box 1Folder 28
Apthorp-Richards marriage certificate, 1819

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

Box 1Folder 29
Abbot, Samuel, 1758-1759
Box 1Folder 30
Adams, Peter, 1753-1760
Box 1Folder 31
Amory, John & Jonathan, 1758-1759
Box 1Folder 32
Apthorp & Son (military, gold and silver shipments, postage), 1755-1768
Box 1Folder 33
Apthorp, Charles (division of estate), ca. 1759
Box 1Folder 34
Apthorp, Charles (miscellaneous estate), 1756-1767
Box 1Folder 35
Apthorp heirs, 1809
Box 1Folder 36
Apthorp, Robert, 1761-1770
Box 1Folder 37
Apthorp, Stephen, 1759-1765
Box 1Folder 38
Apthorp, Thomas, 1762-1770
Box 1Folder 39
Apthorp, William, 1766-1770
Box 2Folder 1
Barclay Street house, 1817-1819
Box 2Folder 2
Bayard, William, 1755-1756
Box 2Folder 3
Bayard, William (military litigation), 1759-1761
Box 2Folder 4
Belcher, Samuel, 1757-1758
Box 2Folder 5
Blackburn, Joseph, 1759
Box 2Folder 6
Box & Austin, 1756-1759
Box 2Folder 7
Boyd, James, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 8
Boylston, John, 1757-1758
Box 2Folder 9
Brinley, Francis, 1757
Box 2Folder 10
Bromfield, Henry, 1754-1759
Box 2Folder 11
Chamberlaine, Alexander, 1754-1759
Box 2Folder 12
Chandler, John, Jr., 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 13
Clarke, William (military), 1759
Box 2Folder 14
Copley, John Singleton, 1765
Box 2Folder 15
Deblois, Lewis (Apthorp family clothing, household goods), 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 16
Dowse, Joseph, 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 17
Drowne, Thomas, 1755-1758
Box 2Folder 18
Forsyth, John, 1755-1759
Box 2Folder 19
French, Robert, 1754-1759
Box 2Folder 20
Gardiner, Silvester (Apthorp family medical care and medicines), 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 21
Gardner, James, 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 22
Grant, Samuel, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 23
Hall, Robert, undated
Box 2Folder 24
Hall, Stephen, 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 25
Hancock, Thomas, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 26
Hodgdon, Benjamin, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 27-30
Holloway, Mary Ann and Moses, 1821-1831
Box 2Folder 31
Hooton, John, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 32
Hutchinson & Brinley, 1757-1759
Box 2Folder 33
Ivers, James & Thomas, 1755-1759
Box 2Folder 34
Jeffries, David, 1753-1759
Box 2Folder 35
Jenckes, Daniel, 1750-1759
Box 2Folder 36
Lamb, James (tailor to the Apthorp family), 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 37
Langdon, Edward & John, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 38
Laughton, Henry, 1756-1759
Box 2Folder 39
Lewis, Ezek, 1755-1759
Box 2Folder 40
Lloyd, Henry, 1758-1759
Box 2Folder 41
Lloyd, John, 1755-1762
Box 2Folder 42
Loring, Nathaniel, 1755-1759
Box 2Folder 43
Lowell, Michael, 1756-1762
Box 3Folder 1
Mann, Edward, 1759
Box 3Folder 2
Marriott, Powers, 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 3
Martyn, Richard, 1756-1759
Box 3Folder 4
McEvers, Charles, 1763-1775
Box 3Folder 5
McIntosh, William, 1767
Box 3Folder 6
McLaine, John, 1754-1759
Box 3Folder 7
McLary, John, 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 8
Mecom, Edward, 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 9
Miller, Eben S., Jr., 1752-1759
Box 3Folder 10
Miller, Stephen, 1752-1769
Box 3Folder 11
Morss, Moses, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 12
Noyes, Belcher, 1755-1759
Box 3Folder 13
Pattin, William, 1756-1759
Box 3Folder 14
Phillips & Apthorp, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 15
Pierpont, Robert, 1757-1758
Box 3Folder 16
Province of New Hampshire, 1756-1759
Box 3Folder 17
Rand, Thomas, 1757-1762
Box 3Folder 18
Rand, William, 1758-1765
Box 3Folder 19
Rivington, James, 1761-1763
Box 3Folder 20
Rotch, Joseph & William, 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 21
Russell, Joseph (photocopy), 1756-1759
Box 3Folder 22
Saul, Thomas, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 23
Sheaffe, Edward, 1753-1759
Box 3Folder 24
Smith, William (Halifax agent, military), 1758-1766
Box 3Folder 25
Stanbridge, Henry, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 26
Stedman, Leonard (house painting), 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 27
Storer, Ebenezer & and Son, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 28
Tate, George, 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 29
Temple, Robert, 1754-1764
Box 3Folder 30
Treat, Samuel, 1758-1763
Box 3Folder 31
Tucker, John, 1758
Box 3Folder 32-33
Union College, 1817-1819
Box 3Folder 34
Van den Heuvel, 1811
Box 3Folder 35
Vesey, William, 1757-1759
Box 3Folder 36
Wentworth, Mark H. J. (Portsmouth), 1758-1759
Box 3Folder 37
Wheelwright, Nathaniel, 1765
Box 3Folder 38
Wiggins, Stephen, 1789
Box 3Folder 39
Winslow, John, 1755-1763

Chronological accounts, 1747-1830

Box 4Folder 1-29

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).

Box 4Folder 30-37

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.

Grants, 1756-1815

Box 5Folder 1-5

Deeds, 1802-1832

Box 5Folder 6-17

Plats, undated, 1804-1818

Box 5Folder 18
Lot #7 (Bowdoinham), undated, 1805-1818
Box 5Folder 19
Lot #12 (Litchfield), undated, 1809
Box 5Folder 20
Lot #80 (Sidney), undated
Box 5Folder 21
Lot #D1 (Fairfield), undated, 1804-1818
Box 5Folder 22
Lots #7, 44, 80, undated
Box 5Folder 23
Rough draft for watercolor of plats, undated
Box 5Folder 23
Watercolor of plats, undated
Box 5Folder 24
Miscellaneous, undated

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.

Box 5Folder 25-47
1781-Mar. 1817
Box 6Folder 1-13
Apr. 1817-1832
Box 6Folder 14
Waterford, Me., 1803-1819

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.

Box 7Folder 1-7
James Hillhouse, agent, 1782-1796
Box 7Folder 8-12
Mansfield Farm, 1781-1821
Box 7Folder 13-14
Granby, 1804-1816
Box 7Folder 15
Waterbury, 1806-1818

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.

Box 7Folder 16-20

D. Vermont and New Hampshire lands, 1751-1813

This subseries contains letters from Asa Porter to Hugh Williamson, legal documents, inventories, and other papers.

Box 7Folder 21-24
Asa Porter, agent, 1799-1813
Box 7Folder 25
Woodstock, Vt., 1774-1792
Box 7Folder 26
Grantham, N.H., 1751-1787
Box 7Folder 27
Lancaster, N.H., 1793-1807

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

Box 8Folder 1
Accounts of the Apthorp family with Hugh Williamson and Robert Troup, 1793-1818
Box 8Folder 2
Accounts of the Apthorp family with Hugh Williamson and Robert Troup, 1793-1813 (duplicate of above up to 1813)
Box 8Folder 3
"Journal of Accounts with the Estate of the late Charles Ward Apthorp Esq. and with the Heirs of that Estate," 1797-1819
Box 8Folder 4
"Accounts with the Estate of Chas. Wd. Apthorp Esq.," "Accounts with Robert Troup Esq. Adm.," and "Accounts with Hugh Williamson," 1797-1819
Box 8Folder 5
"Receipts, cash paid for estate of Miss Rebecca & Miss Ann Apthorp," 1808-1812

B. Memoranda books, 1768-1802

Box 8Folder 6
Notes on Apthorp lands, 1768-1798 (6 pp.)
Box 8Folder 7
Notes on Apthorp lands, 1801-1802 (4 pp.)
Box 8Folder 8
"Memoriae Gratia: Political commercial and economical Information," undated

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.

Box 8Folder 9

VI. Oversize material

This series contains oversize material removed from other series in the collection.

Box OS

Preferred Citation

Charles Ward Apthorp papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

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.


Apthorp family.
Apthorp, Charles, 1698-1758.
Apthorp, East, 1733-1816.
Hamilton, John C. (John Church), 1792-1882.
Hillhouse, James, 1754-1832.
Vaughan, Charles, 1759-1839.
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819.


Charles Apthorp & Son.
Great Britain. Army--Colonial forces.


Account books--1793-1813.
Account books--1793-1818.
Account books--1797-1819.
American loyalists.
Decedents' estates.
Family history--1700-1749.
Family history--1750-1799.
Family history--1800-1849.
Merchants--New York (State)--New York.
Real property--Connecticut.
Real property--Maine.
Real property--New Hampshire.
Real property--New York (State).
Real property--Vermont.
Shipping--New York (State)--New York.
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Confiscations and contributions.