Guide to the Charles Congdon Collection on Micajah Coffin and Sons, 1602-1893

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
MS36
Title:
Charles Congdon Collection on Micajah Coffin and Sons
Date(s):
1602-1893 (bulk 1770-1819)
Creator:
Congdon, Charles, 1872-1944.
Repository:
Nantucket Historical Association
Language:
Material is in English and French.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], in the Charles Congdon Collection on Micajah Coffin and Sons, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of the Estate of Charles Congdon in 1983. OP-36/1–2 gifts of Mrs. Elizabeth B. Moffett of Long Beach, Calif., in May 1983 (Acc. 1983.22).

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Coffin family.
    • Coffin, Gilbert, 1759-1843.
    • Coffin, Micajah, 1734-1827.
    • Coffin, Zenas, 1764-1828.
  • Corporate Name
    • Micajah Coffin and Sons (Nantucket, Mass.).
  • Topical Terms
    • American Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • Business Transactions.
    • Nantucket (Mass.) -- History -- 18th century.
    • Nantucket (Mass.) -- History -- 19th century.
    • Real property.
    • Whaling.
    • Wills.

Biographical Information

Micajah Coffin and Sons was a Nantucket, Mass., based whaling firm that operated during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Micajah Coffin (1734-1827) and two of his sons, Gilbert Coffin (1759-1843) and Zenas Coffin (1764-1828), conducted business in the West Indies, France, Nova Scotia, and eastern United States ports dealing in whale oil, candles, potash, and supplies to Nantucket.

In addition to his success as a whaling merchant, Micajah Coffin served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1791 until 1812, representing Nantucket.

Dr. Charles Everett Congdon (1872-1944) was born to Richard Edwin Congdon and Jeanette Whipple (Chapman) Congdon in East Greenwich, R.I., and moved to Nantucket, Mass., with his family as a child. After attending Harvard Medical School, Dr. Congdon became First Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon in the 1st New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry and served during the Spanish-American War and the First World War. After retiring from practicing medicine in Nashua, N.H., Dr. Congdon returned to Nantucket, where he served a number of years as chairman of the Finance Committee, president of the Nantucket Historical Association, and a member of the executive committee of the Nantucket Civic League.

Scope and Content

The collection is comprised of business and financial documents related to Micajah Coffin and Sons’ enterprises, including papers relating to vessels (invoices/bills, certificates of clearance, inspection papers, and an account book), legal documents (deeds, wills, and powers of attorney) and correspondence. Letters of financial papers deal with trading voyages to France, the West Indies, Nova Scotia and eastern U.S. ports. The Nantucket town papers include negotiations with the British during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to permit Nantucket ships to sail to the mainland for food and supplies. The Nathaniel Coleman memorandum books gives an account of daily events and many Nantucket inhabitants. Additional financial documents, meeting minutes, Chief Magistrate commission, copies of wills and family records of other Coffins are also included in the collection as well as documents pertaining to town business, including reports of committees, summons, a speech read to the House of Representatives, and records of land sales, exchanges, and gifts.

Contents

Series 1: Micajah Coffin and Sons, 1760-1893.
About 220 items.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by filename.

Series comprised of business and financial documents related to Micajah Coffin and Sons’ enterprises, including papers relating to vessels (invoices/bills, certificates of clearance, inspection papers, and an account book), and legal documents (deeds, wills, and powers of attorney), letters of financial papers deal with trading voyages to France, the West Indies, Nova Scotia and eastern U.S. ports., and other correspondence.

Box 1 Folder 1 Gilbert Coffin papers, 1786-1811
Box 1 Folder 2 Micajah Coffin financial papers, 1762-1807
Box 1 Folder 3 Micajah Coffin land transactions, 1760-1795, 1809
Box 1 Folder 4 Micajah Coffin letter books, 1788-1805
Box 1 Folder 5 Micajah Coffin letter books transcripts, 1789-1795
Box 1 Folder 6 Micajah Coffin letters in, 1772-1808
Box 1 Folder 7 Micajah Coffin letters out, 1773-1804
Box 2 Folder 8 Micajah Coffin waste book, 1789-1893
Box 2 Folder 9 Cape St. Nicholas Mole, 1784-1785, undated
Box 2 Folder 10 Vessels: Bedford: brig, 1784-1785
Box 2 Folder 11 Vessels: Fame: sloop, 1762-1786
Box 2 Folder 12 Vessels: Friendship: sloop, 1784-1785
Box 2 Folder 13 Vessels: Hepzibah: sloop, 1776
Box 2 Folder 14 Vessels: Lydia: brigantine, 1790, 1805
Box 2 Folder 15 Other vessels, 1784-1785, undated
Box 2 Folder 16 Zenas Coffin financial papers, 1806-1816
Box 2 Folder 17 Zenas Coffin land transactions, 1796-1808
OP-36/1 The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser, 1772
OP-36/2 The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, 1787
Box 3 Folder 18 Zenas Coffin letters in, 1806-1815
Box 3 Folder 19 Zenas Coffin letters out, 1807-1815
Box 3 Folder 20 Zenas Coffin waste book, 1791-1803

Series 2: Coffin family papers, 1602-1882.
About 85 items.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by filename.

Series comprised of financial documents, meeting minutes, a Chief Magistrate commission, copies of wills, and family records.

Box 3 Folder 21 Coffin family papers, 1671-1814
Box 3 Folder 22 Copies of Coffin family wills, 1602-1636, 1821, 1876-1882
Box 3 Folder 23 Coffin family coat of arms, undated
Box 3 Folder 24 Coffin family genealogy, 1881, undated
OP – 36/3 Tristam Coffin’s Chief Magistrate Commission, 1671

 

Series 3: Other Nantucket materials, 1667-1831.
About 55 items.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by filename.

Series comprised of documents pertaining to town business, including reports of committees, summons, a speech read to the State House of Representatives, and records of land sales, exchanges and gifts. The Nantucket town papers include negotiations with the British during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to permit Nantucket ships to sail to the mainland for food and supplies. The Nathaniel Coleman memorandum books gives an account of daily events and many Nantucket inhabitants.

Box 4 Folder 25 Friends monthly meeting document fragment, undated
Box 4 Folder 26 Nantucket Justice of the Peace papers, 1701-1831
Box 4 Folder 27 Nantucket land sale documents, 1667-1798
Box 4 Folder 28 Nantucket town records, 1775-1828
Box 4 Folder 29 Nathanial Coleman memorandum book, 1746-1804
Box 4 Folder 30 William and Phebe Stanton letter, 1773
OP-36/4 Report of the Board of Health, 1802

Items Separated

  • Oversize Paper Items (OP-36/1-4)

Processing Information

Processed by NHA staff.

Finding aid by Ashley Crosby Miller, Sara David, and Amelia Holmes in January 2019.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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