Guide to the Gardner–Riddell Family Papers, 1804–1951

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.

Summary

Charles Gardner (1769–1848) was a Nantucket ship’s captain and merchant. He lived in the residence at 6 Gull Island Lane with descendants who married into the Riddell family, including Eunice Sisson Riddell (1795–1880), Isaac Sisson Riddell (1815–1893), Ralph Riddell, and Augusta Brueck-Riddell. The Gardner–Riddell Family Papers consist of business and family correspondence, receipts, photographs, and other documents related to the property at 6 Gull Island Lane and the Gardner and Riddell families. Notable correspondents with Charles Gardner include Levi Starbuck, Thomas Macy, and Nathaniel Barney.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
MS572
Title:
Gardner–Riddell Family Papers
Date(s):
1804–1951
Creator:
Gardner, Charles (1769–1848); Riddell family.; Riddell, Eunice Sisson (1795-1848); Riddell, Isaac Sisson (1815-1893); Riddell, Ralph (1889-1970); Riddell, Augusta-Brueck (1891-1989)
Repository:
Nantucket Historical Association
Language:
Material is in English.

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.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Patricia Damm (Acc. RL2019.24).

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.

Related Collections

  • Related to Charles Gardner:
    MS87 Gardner Family Papers, Folders 23 and 24. Nantucket Historical Association.
    MS389 Jane H. Gay Collection, Folder 12. Nantucket Historical Association.
    MS220 Ships Logs 128 and 241. Nantucket Historical Association.
  • Related to the Riddell Family:
    MS174 Riddell Family Papers, Folder 4. Nantucket Historical Association.
    MS389 Jane H. Gay Collection, Folder 12. Nantucket Historical Association.
    Account Book AB 315, Isaac Riddell’s Savanah Shop. Nantucket Historical Association.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Barney, Nathaniel
      Brueck-Riddell, Augusta
      Gardner, Charles (1769-1848)
      Macy, Thomas
      Riddell family.
      Riddell, Eunice Sisson (1795-1880)
      Riddell, Isaac Sisson (1815-1893)
      Riddell, Ralph
      Starbuck,Levi
  • Geographical Name
    • 6 Gull Island Lane (Nantucket, Mass.)
  • Topical Term
    • Ships captains.
    • Land rental – Nantucket (Mass.) – Nineteenth century.

Biographical Information

Charles Gardner (1769–1848), son of Thomas Gardner Jr. and Anna (Worth) Gardner, was a ship’s captain, merchant, and whaler in Nantucket, Mass. Gardner resided in and renovated the house at 6 Gull Island Lane, originally built by his father, Thomas Jr., around 1730; his renovation added two additional cottages for the family on the property. Gardner lived with his wife Abiel Russell (1770–1826), whom he married around 1800. Gardner’s sister, Elizabeth Gardner Sisson (1763–1826), and her husband Isaac Sisson (1762–?), lived at one of the cottages, constructed around 1790. The second cottage was built around 1810.

Eunice Sisson Riddell (1795–1880), daughter of Elizabeth Gardner Sisson and Isaac Sisson, occupied the second cottage with her husband Josiah Riddell (1793–1835). In 1810, Elizabeth Gardner Sisson and Isaac Sisson moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Shortly after this, Eunice Sisson Riddell and Josiah Riddell moved to New York, where Josiah died of cholera. Eunice returned to Nantucket to live with Charles Gardner in 1835, referring to him as “Uncle Charles.” When Charles died in 1848, Eunice asked her son Isaac Sisson Riddell (1815–1893) to return to Nantucket to live with her. Isaac and his wife, Harriet Louisa Berry Riddell, lived between Nantucket and Charleston, S.C., until 1881, after his mother’s death, when he moved permanently into the Gull Island Lane property.

After Isaac’s death in 1893, the property passed to Harriet, until her death in 1925. The property then passed to their son John, his wife Elizabeth Bachman, and their son Ralph (1889–1970). In 1928, Ralph began to compile genealogies of the Riddell family, as well as histories of the houses on Gull Island Lane. He was aided in this project by his wife Augusta Brueck-Riddell (1891–1989), of Plattsburgh, N.Y., whom he married in 1913.

Scope and Content

The Gardner–Riddell Family Papers consist of an assemblage of materials found around the family property at 6 Gull Island Lane, including the personal and professional papers of Charles Gardner as well as the family papers and photographs of the Riddell family.

The collection consists of three series. Series 1 consists of Charles Gardner’s business and family correspondence relating to his merchant trade and sea travel, general goods receipts, tax receipts, bank deposit slips, a land deed, and an insurance policy for the ship Spartan. Series 2 includes Riddell family correspondence related to land rentals in Ohio and family visits to Nantucket, general store receipts, tax receipts, a will, datebooks from the late 1910s, genealogical research on the Riddell family, and an early-twentieth-century home cookbook. Series 2 also includes miscellaneous notes on Nantucket events and weather kept by Riddell family members. Series 3 includes Riddell family photographs and Nantucket buildings, including the cottages at 6 Gull Island Lane.

Contents

Series I: Charles Gardner Papers
Approximately 200 items.

Arrangement: Letters are arranged chronologically, and divided between letters received and sent. Receipts are arranged into files by type (i.e. business, tax, bank slips), without further chronological sorting. The remaining files are arranged chronologically.

Series 1 includes Charles Gardner business and family correspondence relating to his merchant trade and sea travel, general goods receipts, Nantucket country tax receipts, bank deposit slips, a land deed, and an insurance policy for the ship Spartan. Notable correspondents include Levi Starbuck, Thomas Macy, and Nathaniel Barney.

Box 1 Folders 1–5: Charles Gardner letters received, 1804–1843
Scope and Contents: Letters discuss business matters in merchant trade and whaling, accounts, debts, repayments, and taxes. Correspondents include: Charles Pease., William Lovering Jr., William Rotch Jr., Barber Hopkins (?), Uriah Coffin, Charles Coffin, Frederick Coffin, William Swain, Laban Russell, Levi Starbuck, Thomas Macy, Nathaniel Barney, and Edmund Gardner.

Box 1 Folders 6–7: Charles Gardner letters sent, 1804–1837
Scope and Contents: Letters to his wife Abiel Russell as well as other ships captains discussing merchant and whaling business, as well as accounts of travel at sea.
Correspondents include Gardner’s first wife Abiel Russell, Paul Pease, William Rotch Jr., Caleb Wheaton, Matthew Barker, and Robert Barnard.

Box 1-2 Folders 8–11: Charles Gardner business receipts, 1802–1839

Box 2 Folder 12: Charles Gardner tax receipts, 1801–1851

Box 2 Folder 13: Charles Gardner bank deposit slips, 1827–1840
Scope and Contents: Contains slips from Phoenix Bank and Pacific Bank

Box 2 Folder 14: Charles Gardner deed of land transfer, 1825
Scope and Contents: Land transferred from the Worth family.

Box 2 Folder 15: Ship Spartan insurance policy, 1835

Series II: Riddell Family Papers
Approximately 100 items.

Arrangement: Files are arranged chronologically. Within correspondence files, items are arranged chronologically by date received. Three files have been placed at the end (Folders 26, 27, and 28), which were present in the original accession, but not explicitly related to the Riddell family.

Series 2 includes Riddell family correspondence related to land rentals in Ohio and family visits to Nantucket, general store receipts, tax receipts, a will, datebooks from the late 1910s, genealogical research on the Riddell family, and an early-twentieth-century home cookbook. Series 2 also includes miscellaneous notes on Nantucket events and weather kept by Riddell family members.

Box 2 Folders 16–18: Riddell family correspondence, 1835–1893
Scope and Contents: Letters discuss family visits to Nantucket and land rental in Cincinnati, Ohio. Correspondence between family members: Eunice Riddell, Harriett Riddell, Isaac Riddell, and Sarah Riddell.

Box 2 Folder 19: Letters to Harriett Riddell, 1854–1884

Box 2 Folder 20: Documents concerning the deaths of Eunice and Harriett Riddell, 1862–1881

Box 2 Folder 21: Isaac Riddell general store receipts and tax receipts, 1888–1890

Box 2 Folder 22: Will of Isaac Riddell, 1888

Box 2 Folder 23: Augusta Brueck-Riddell papers, 1951
Scope and Contents: File consists of Brueck-Riddell’s genealogical research during 1951, and includes copy of census records for 1892 and 1900 concerning the Brueck family in New York and a certified copy of the marriage certificate between Augusta Brueck and Ralph Riddell, originally dated 1913.

Box 2 Folder 24: Ralph Riddell datebooks, 1916, 1919

Box 2 Folder 25: Correspondence related to Riddell genealogy, 1910–1951

Box 2 Folder 26: Recipe book, c. 1900

Box 2 Folder 27: Weather log, 1870

Box 2 Folder 28: List of persons burned at Quaise farm, 1844

Series III: Riddell Family Photographs
Approximately 50 items.

Arrangement: Files are arranged chronologically.

Series 3 consists of photographs depicting Riddell family members and Nantucket buildings, including the cottages at 6 Gull Island Lane.

PF-571/1-4: Cased photographs, c. 1860
Scope and Contents: 4 cased portraits, depicting Lucretia (Gardner) Barrett, Charles Augustus Leustre, and an unknown woman and child.

SV-572/1: Carte de Viste Album, 1867
Scope and Contents: 20 cards, inscribed: “Presented by Mrs. Charles B. Swain to Eunice G. Riddell, Feby 8th 1867.”

Box 2 Folder 29: Riddell family portraits, c. 1880

Box 2 Folder 30: 6 Gull Island Lane and other house photographs, c. 1900

Box 2 Folder 31: Photographs of gravestones and the Old Mill, c. 1900

Items Separated

  • Separated Volume (SV-572/1)
  • Separated cased photographs (PF-572/1-4)

Processing Information

Processed by Alex McGrath, June 2020.

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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