Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Thomas Rutland Letterbook, 1787-1789

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, January 1997

Summary Information
Title: Thomas Rutland letterbook
Creator: Rutland, Thomas
Inclusive dates: 1787-1789
Extent: 139 pages
Abstract:
The Thomas Rutland letterbook consists of retained copies of Annapolis, Maryland merchant Thomas Rutland's outgoing correspondence.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1984. M-2179.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

No copyright restrictions.

Alternate Format:

The Rutland Letterbook has been microfilmed.

Preferred Citation:

Thomas Rutland letterbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

From his home in Annapolis, Md., Thomas Rutland carried on an extensive trade in produce and general merchandise with ports on the Atlantic seaboard, the West Indies and Britain. Disputatious with his neighbors and debtors, Rutland was under constant pressure in the late 1780s from aggressive creditors and delinquent debtors, and he often resorted to civil suits, or the threat of suits, to remain solvent.

Rutland was a relentless, even ruthless opponent. Typical of his belligerent manner was his retort to a neighbor, with whom he had been embroiled in a dispute over right of way across his property: "That I am the worst of Neighbours is difficult to prove; and on my Side, I can only say, that if there is a Degree, above the Superlative , you must be considered Superior" (p. 35). Not surprisingly, perhaps, Rutland suffered from the feeling that he was being besieged by his enemies, and he readily accepted the truth of the rumor that an order had been issued to take him, dead or alive.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Rutland letterbook consists of retained copies of Thomas Rutland's outgoing correspondence between May 10, 1787 and August 28, 1789. Although the letters are usually brief and "routine," they form an important resource for the study of the commercial activities and attitudes of a substantial Annapolis merchant.

A major theme that emerges in Rutland's correspondence is the extremely contentious nature of his relationships with creditor, debtor, and neighbor alike, particularly with James Williams, Charles Ridgely, and Charles Carroll of Carollton. The letters provide relatively little detail on Rutland's mercantile activities, either in scope or in terms of goods traded, but they do create an impression of the tenuous financial foundation, built on a bedrock of indebtedness, that underlay his mercantile empire. Though Rutland held considerable interests in land and slaves, the letterbook documents the time and energy that he necessarily devoted to fending off creditors, as well as the extensive efforts he made to collect from his many debtors.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Debtor and creditor--Maryland.
    • Merchants--Maryland--Annapolis--History--18th century.
    • Ridgely, Charles.
    • Roads--Maryland.
    • Slaves--Maryland.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letter books.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Volume   1  
    Thomas Rutland letterbook,  1787-1789 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data

    List of Recipients

    • ?; 1789 August 7
    • Bagues, James; 1787 May 29
    • Bagues, James; 1788 January 4
    • Bagues, James; 1788 June 6
    • Bagues, James; 1788 July 16
    • Bagues, James; 1788 September 9
    • Bagues, James; 1788 September 9
    • Barnes, William; 1786 March 20
    • Bayson, Andrew; 1786 March 29
    • Bayson, Andrew; 1786 April 1
    • Bayson, Andrew; 1786 April 17
    • Bellio, John; 1787 June 4
    • Blacklock, Nicholas; 1788 September 17
    • Brown, Gustavus R.; 1788 September 13
    • Brown, William; 1788 February 8
    • Bullen, John
    • 1788 June 4
    • Burgess, John; 1787 May 18
    • Byrne, James; 1788 March 28
    • Calbraith, James; 1788 August 5
    • Carroll, Charles, 1737-1832; 1787 June 19
    • Carroll, Charles; 1787 June 26
    • Carroll, Charles; 1789 February 12
    • Carroll, James; 1787 December 29
    • Carroll, Nicholas; 1787 June 17
    • Cary, William; 1788 January 29
    • Charleton, Francis; 1788 April 23
    • Chase, Jeremiah T.; 1787 May 1
    • Chase, Jeremiah T.; 1787 May 10
    • Chase, Jeremiah T.; 1788 May 29
    • Chase, Jeremiah T.; 1788 July 2
    • Chase, Jeremiah T.; 1788 September 20
    • Church & Co.; 1789 May 21
    • Church & Co.; 1789 July 7
    • Church, Samuel & Co.; 1789 January 31
    • Church, Sheperd & Co.; 1789 April 16
    • Clark, Joseph; 1787 May 16
    • Clark, Joseph; 1788 September 15
    • Clark, Neale; 1787 May 18
    • Clarke, James; 1789 June 24
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 March 28
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 April 7
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 April 23
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 May 2
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 May 10
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 May 28
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 May 29
    • Contee, Thomas; 1788 May 30
    • Cooke, William; 1788 April 25
    • Cooke, William; 1788 May 9
    • Corner, Solomon; 1789 July 24
    • Corner, Solomon, Jr.; 1788 February 26
    • Cox, Daniel Powell; 1789 April 20
    • Cox, Daniel Powell; 1789 May 15
    • Cox, Daniel Powell; 1789 July 21
    • Cracroft, Francis; 1788 September 23
    • Daniel of St. Thoms.; 1788 April 13
    • Davey, Alexander W.; 1789 July 8
    • Dorsey, William; 1789 April 23
    • Dugan, Cumberland; 1787 May 31
    • Dugan, Cumberland; 1789 June 24
    • Dugan, Cumberland; 1789 July 7
    • Duvall, Gabriel; 1786 March 27
    • Duvall, Gabriel; 1787 May 10
    • Duvall, Gabriel; 1789 August 8
    • Dyson, Thomas Ap.; 1788 September 13
    • Forrest & Stoddert; 1788 August 19
    • Gaither, Henry; 1787 May 18
    • Gaither, Henry; 1787 December 22
    • Gaither, Henry; 1788 May 20
    • Gaither, Henry; 1788 August 4
    • Gaither, Henry; 1788 August 15
    • Geddes, David; 1788 December 4
    • Geddes, David; 1789 June 8
    • Goldsborough, Nicholas; 1788 January 4
    • Goldsborough, Nicholas; 1788 February 26
    • Goldsborough, Nicholas; 1788 April 19
    • Goldsmith, William; 1786 April 17
    • Goldsmith, William; 1788 January 29
    • Goldsmith, William; 1788 August 27
    • Goldsmith, William; 1788 September 14
    • Goldsmith, William; 1789 April 19
    • Goldsmith, William; 1789 June 6
    • Gough, Harry Dorsey; 1787 May 31
    • Graham, Mrs. Mary; 1787 May 15
    • Graham, Mrs. Mary; 1788 March 28
    • Graham, William; 1787 May 31
    • Graham, William; 1788 March 28
    • Graybell, Philip; 1787 December 29
    • Graybell, Philip; 1788 September 11
    • Hammond, William; 1788 January 7
    • Hanson, Alexander C.; 1786 March 16
    • Hanson, Alexander C.; 1786 March 27
    • Hanson, Alexander C.; 1786 March 28
    • Hanson, Duvall, Campbell; 1786 March 27
    • Hanson, Duvall, Campbell; 1786 March 31
    • Hanson, Duvall, Campbell; 1786 April 1
    • Hanson, Duvall, Campbell; 1786 October 9
    • Harison, Robert; 1788 May 29
    • Harris, Isaac; 1787 June 6
    • Harvey, Mr.; 1788 March 28
    • Harwood, Benjamin; 1788 April 13
    • Harwood, Risdon; 1787 May 10
    • Harwood, Risdon; 1787 May 16
    • Harwood, Risdon; 1787 May 18
    • Harwood, Thomas; 1788 April 25
    • Harwood, Thomas; 1788 May 10
    • Harwood, Thomas; 1788 June 1
    • Haynes, John; 1787 December 29
    • Heath, Daniel Charles; 1789 June 1
    • Heathcote & Dall; 1788 October 15
    • Henry, Daniel; 1787 May 15
    • Henry, Daniel; 1787 December 22
    • Henry, Daniel; 1787 December 29
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 January 3
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 May 2
    • Henry, Daniel
    • 1788 May 2
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 May 4
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 August 18
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 August 30
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 September 10
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 October 15
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 October 23
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 December 6
    • Henry, Daniel; 1788 December 10
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 January 5
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 January 31
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 April 16
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 May 21
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 July 7
    • Henry, Daniel; 1789 June 24
    • Heron, James G.; 1787 June 6
    • Hindman, James; 1788 October 13
    • Hodgkin, Thomas; 1788 December 4
    • Hollingsworth, Zebulon
    • 1788 March 22
    • Hollingsworth, Zebulon; 1788 August 30
    • Hollingsworth, Zebulon; 1789 June 24
    • Hollingsworth, Zebulon; 1789 July 7
    • Howard, Benjamin; 1789 May 8
    • Howard, Benjamin; 1789 May 27
    • Howard, Mary; 1788 January 12
    • Howard, Mary; 1788 August 7
    • Howard, Mary; 1789 April 6
    • Huchings, James; 1789 May 22
    • Huchings, James; 1789 July 22
    • Hughes, James; 1789 May 15
    • Hughes, James; 1789 May 29
    • Hughes, John; 1789 May 21
    • Hurst, William; 1789 May 15
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 May 4
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 May 16
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 May 18
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 May 22
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 May 26
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 June 6
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1787 December 31
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1788 May 6
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1788 May 20
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1789 June 1
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1788 July 29
    • Jenings, Thomas; 1788 November 20
    • Johns, Richard; 1789 April 20
    • Johns, Richard; 1789 May 15
    • Johns, Richard; 1789 July 22
    • Johnson, Ranaldo; 1788 August 5
    • Johnson, Ranaldo; 1788 September 20
    • Johnson, Ranaldo; 1789 April 23
    • Keene, Andrew; 1788 September 10
    • Kendall, James; 1788 January 29
    • Kenner, Andrew Jr.; 1788 October 15
    • Kerr, David; 1789 May 15
    • Ketland, Thomas; 1789 June 3
    • Ketland, Thomas Jr.; 1788 February 4
    • Ketland, Thomas Jr.; 1788 March 22
    • Ketland, Thomas Jr.; 1788 October 15
    • Ketland, Thomas Jr.; 1789 February 9
    • Ketland, Thomas Jr.; 1789 July 28
    • Kilty, William; 1789 April 23
    • Kindall, James; 1789 July 24
    • King, James; 1789 April 20
    • King, James; 1789 May 15
    • King, James; 1789 July 21
    • Knapp, John; 1789 February 9
    • Latimer, Randolph B.; 1788 April 10
    • Latimer, Randolph B.; 1788 April 19
    • Latimer, Randolph B.; 1788 April 25
    • Lee, Richard; 1788 March 22
    • Lee, Richard Henry; 1788 January 12
    • Leigh, William; 1788 February 23
    • Leigh, William; 1788 August 13
    • Letherbury, Peregrine; 1789 May 15
    • Letherbury, Peregrine; 1789 May 29
    • Little, James; 1787 June 19
    • Little, James; 1788 February 7
    • Love, John; 1788 March 22
    • Love, John; 1788 September 20
    • Lovett, _____ Jr.; 1788 September 20
    • Lux, Darby; 1789 July 7
    • Mackubin, John C.; 1788 January 29
    • Mackubin, John C.; 1788 April 3
    • Mackubin, John C.; 1788 June 5
    • Mackubin, John C.; 1789 February 9
    • Macmahan, Patrick; 1788 December 4
    • Magraith, William; 1788 August 18
    • Marbury, Joseph; 1787 May 21
    • Marbury, Joseph; 1787 June 9
    • Marbury, Joseph; 1788 February 20
    • Marbury, William; 1788 December 7
    • Marshall, John; 1788 March 28
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 May 20
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 August 20
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 August 30
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 September 11
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 October 14
    • Martin, Luther; 1788 November 11
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 January 5
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 January 31
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 April 20
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 May 27
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 June 3
    • Martin, Luther; 1789 July 7
    • Mason, George; 1787 June 12
    • Mason, George; 1788 March 17
    • Mason, George; 1788 March 22
    • Mason, George; 1788 September 22
    • McColloch, Thomas; 1789 June 24
    • McCraw, Samuel; 1788 September 6
    • McFadon, James; 1787 May 31
    • McFadon, James; 1787 June 29
    • McFadon, James; 1787 July 3
    • McFadon, James; 1787 December 22
    • McFadon, James; 1788 May 2
    • McGill, Patrick; 1788 January 29
    • McLaughlin, William; 1789 July 7
    • McPherson, Elizabeth; 1788 February 22
    • McPherson, William H.; 1788 January 22
    • McPherson, William H.; 1788 January 31
    • McPherson, William H.; 1788 February 22
    • McPherson, William H.; 1787 June 9
    • McWilliams, Col.; 1788 March 28
    • Mecmecken, David; 1787 May 16
    • Mercer, John F.; 1788 April 8
    • Mercer, John F.; 1788 June 12
    • Mercer, John F.; 1788 July 2
    • Mercer, John F.; 1788 July 28
    • Middleton, Bazil; 1788 January 12
    • Middleton, Bazil; 1788 March 28
    • Middleton, Bazil; 1788 July 28
    • Miller, James; 1789 December 15
    • Miller, John; 1788 May 9
    • Miller, John; 1788 September 5
    • Miller, John; 1788 November 16
    • Moore, Robert; Howard, Burgess; 1788 February 19
    • Moore, Thomas; 1787 December 29
    • Newbigging, John; 1789 June 8
    • Newbigging, John; 1789 June 30
    • Nicholson, Thomas; 1789 January 31
    • O'Bryan, James; 1789 May 15
    • Ogden, Amos; 1787 May 31
    • Ogden, Amos; 1787 December 29
    • Owens, Ann; 1789 April 26
    • Paca, Aquilla; 1788 January 29
    • Petty, John; 1788 July 16
    • Petty, John; Barnes, William; 1786 April 17
    • Pickering, Timothy; 1787 June 12
    • Poole, Edward; 1789 May 21
    • Poole, Edward; 1789 June 1
    • Potts, Richard; 1788 August 15
    • Potts, Richard; 1788 September 6
    • Potts, Richard; 1789 July 21
    • Price, Benjamin; 1787 May 15
    • Price, Benjamin; 1788 January 29
    • Quynn, Allen; 1787 June 12
    • Quynn, Allen; 1787 December 31
    • Quynn, Allen; 1789 August 8
    • Reeder, Thomas; 1788 January 26
    • Reeder, Thomas; 1788 March 28
    • Reeder, Thomas; 1788 October 13
    • Richmond, Maj.; White, Capt. Jno.; Callaham, Jno.; McPherson, Wm. H.; 1788 January 24
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1787 May 16
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1787 May 23
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1787 May 29
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1787 June 12
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1788 April 24
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1788 August 7
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1788 August 30
    • Ridgely, Charles; 1789 February 5
    • Ridgely, Richard; 1788 April 26
    • Ridgely, Richard; 1788 August 30
    • Ridgely, Richard; 1789 June 8
    • Ridgley, Richard; 1789 July 7
    • Robinson, William; 1788 September 17
    • Roorback, Dr.; 1788 August 5
    • Roper, James; 1788 February 24
    • Ruter, Thomas; 1789 May 18
    • Rutland, Thomas, Jr.; 1788 January 21
    • Rutland, Thomas, Jr.; 1788 April 15
    • Rutter, Thomas; 1789 April 16
    • Sadler, Thomas; 1789 June 24
    • Sadler, Thomas; 1789 July 7
    • Sappington, John; Sappington, Richard; 1788 September 13
    • Shaaft, John; 1788 January 30
    • Shuttleworth, John; n.d.
    • Solomon, Elkin; 1789 May 21
    • Solomon, Elkin; 1789 July 8
    • Spedden, Leven; 1788 February 24
    • Staines, Thomas; 1789 June 3
    • Staines, Thomas; 1789 July 28
    • Steel, John; 1789 July 7
    • Steuart, David; 1788 February 19
    • Steuart, David; 1788 April 3
    • Steuart, David; 1788 April 6
    • Steuart, David; 1788 May 31
    • Stewart, David; 1788 September 10
    • Stewart, David; 1788 September 17
    • Stewart, John; 1788 September 7
    • Stewart, John; 1788 September 10
    • Stewart, John; 1788 September 20
    • Stewart, John; 1788 October 15
    • Stewart, John; 1788 October 20
    • Stone, John; 1787 May 23
    • Stone, Michael; 1787 June 9
    • Swan, John; 1788 May 6
    • Thomas, James; 1789 April 20
    • Thomas, James; 1789 May 16
    • Thomas, James; 1789 July 20
    • Valck, Adrian; 1788 March 22
    • Waddington, John; 1788 August 5
    • Waddington, John; 1788 October 15
    • Waddington, John; 1788 December 7
    • Waddington, John; 1789 July 28
    • Ware, Francis Jr.; 1787 May 15
    • Wayman, Charles; 1788 April 3
    • Wayman, Edmund; 1788 January 29
    • Wayman, Edmund; 1788 March 22
    • Wells, Richard; 1787 December 31
    • Wells, Richard; 1789 August 8
    • Whetcroft, William; 1789 March 30
    • White, Joseph; 1787 December 22
    • Whiteler [?], Jacob; 1788 March 28
    • Williams, James; 1787 May 10
    • Williams, James; 1787 May 11
    • Williams, James; 1787 May 12
    • Williams, James; 1787 May 16
    • Williams, James; 1787 May 18
    • Williams, Joseph; 1788 October 23
    • Willson, Robert; 1788 December 10
    • Willson, Stephen; 1789 January 31
    • Windham, Thomas; 1788 December 8
    • Wise, John; 1788 March 17
    • Wright, John; 1788 August 4
    • Wright, John; 1788 August 21
    • Wright, Maj.; 1788 February 26
    • Wright, Robert; 1787 May 21
    • Wright, Samuel S.; 1789 July 20
    • Wright, Samuel T.; 1789 May 15
    • Wyndham, Thos.; 1789 August 28
    Related Materials

    The collections of the Maryland Historical Society (MS 71-278) include a letterbook of Thomas Rutland covering the years 1784-1787, immediately prior to those covered in the Clements' letterbook.

    Partial Subject Index
    African Americans--Maryland
    • 9, 13
    Carroll, Charles, of Carrollton
    • 43, 47, 52
    Debtor and creditor--Maryland
    • passim
    Denham, Thomas
    • 9, 13
    Harpsichords
    • 29
    House construction--Maryland
    • 11
    Iron trade--Maryland
    • 137
    King, James
    • 28-29
    Little, James
    • 25-26
    Marriage--Maryland
    • 28-29
    Merchants--Maryland--Annapolis--18th century
    • passim
    Moore, Robert
    • 15-17
    Pensions, Military--Revolution, 1775-1783
    • 136-137
    Petty, John
    • 21-25
    Plantations--Maryland
    • 18, 19, 24
    Real property--Maryland
    • 7
    Ridgely, Charles
    • 13, 18, 27-29, 108, 130
    Roads--Maryland
    • 9, 13, 35, 38-39
    Rum
    • 2, 3, 6, 11
    Samuel (slave)
    • 41, 43-44, 106
    Shipping
    • 21
    Shuttleworth, Dr.
    • 9, 13
    Slaves--Maryland
    • 41, 43-44, 60, 103, 104, 106, 110
    Tobacco
    • 33-34
    Trespass
    • 35, 64
    Welsh, Benjamin
    • 14
    Widows--Maryland
    • 28-29, 110