Jacob and Edward Taylor papers  1759-1828 (bulk 1759-1798)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 32 documents regarding the nautical careers of merchant ship captains Jacob and Edward Taylor of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Sailing orders, bills of lading, wage agreements, and other financial and legal records relate to their voyages to Gibraltar, the Caribbean, and Virginia, in the late 18th century. Included are 12 items associated with Jacob Taylor (1759-1786), 17 items about Edward Taylor (1794-1798), and 3 additional documents (1828 and undated).

Personal receipts, accounts, and bills of lading (dated in the mid- to late 18th century) relate to Jacob Taylor's career as captain of several merchant schooners and sloops. Taylor frequently traveled to the Caribbean on ships laden with goods such as sugar, beef, and other foodstuffs. Two documents, a bill of lading and a record for the court of the Vice Admiralty at Halifax, concern the Little Betsey 's intended voyage from Boston to Gibraltar in early 1759. The court record attests that the ship became leaky soon after leaving shore, and that an inquest formally acknowledged that the ship was not fit to sail. The document also lists the cargo onboard the ship. Other items include partially printed documents concerning pay for Taylor and other crewmembers on the Plymouth and Polly.

The second group of documents concerns Edward Taylor's career in the 1790s. These records primarily relate to his activities as captain of the Swallow , which traveled to Martinique, Guadalupe, and other Caribbean ports at the behest of Boston merchants William Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Jr., and Barnabas Hedge, Jr. Four sets of orders from the merchants direct Taylor to take command of the Swallow and Caroline, and list the goods he should procure while abroad, such as molasses. These instructions and a signed affidavit from Guadalupe also concern a French embargo against English goods and encourage Taylor to behave in a civil manner toward "belligerent" ships. Payment agreements are also included, as are a small, partially filled account book and an invoice for cod shipped on the Swallow .

The remaining items are a partially printed, signed insurance agreement for Philadelphia Merchant William Dowell (October 19, 1759); a partially printed document dated 1828, showing the value of cargo aboard the Mary and Hero ; and an undated page of financial accounts.

Ships related to:

  • Joseph Taylor

    • Lemuel (Schooner)
    • Little Betsey (Sloop)
    • Mars (Ship)
    • Plymouth (Sloop)
    • Polly (Schooner)
    • Salley (Schooner)
    • Willingmind (Schooner)
  • Edward Taylor

    • Betsy (Schooner)
    • Caroline (Schooner)
    • Swallow (Schooner)
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