Whittemore-Low family papers  1729-1955 (bulk 1840-1939)
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Biography

Whittemore Line

Thomas Whittemore married Anna Cutter around 1753, and they had eleven children, including Amos (1759-1828), William (b. 1761), and Samuel (b. 1774). In 1798, the three aforementioned brothers formed William Whittemore & Co. in Boston and sold wool and cotton cards, which they manufactured with a machine patented by Amos Whittemore in 1797.

William Whittemore had nine children, including James Madison Whittemore (1796-1866), who married Sarah Lancaster. Their son, James Madison Whittemore, Jr., married Joanna Peck, daughter of Captain Elisha Peck and Grace Bonticou, in 1862. Another grandson of William Whittemore was William Whittemore Low, Sr.

Low Line

William Whittemore Low was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1823, the son of Henry Sowers Low and Mary Ann Whittemore of West Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grandson of William Whittemore. Low joined the navy around 1840 and studied at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1847-1848. During the Civil War, he served as lieutenant commander on the side-wheel steamer USS Octorara from 1863-1865. The ship was part of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and participated in the blockade of Mobile, Alabama. After the war, Low served on the USS Mohican and participated in the capture of the pirate ship Forward in August 1870.

In 1857, Low married Evelina Peck, the daughter of Elisha Peck and Grace Bonticou. They had three children: Grace (b. ca. 1865), William, Jr. (1869-1916), Theodore (1870-1939), and Geraldine. William and Theodore both served as Marines during the 1890s and 1900s, and around 1908, William married Mary Parmelee (d. 1940), with whom he had two children: Charlotte (b. 1910) and William (b. 1912). After fighting in the Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion, and participating in the invasion of several Caribbean countries, William was killed by revolutionaries in Santo Domingo in 1916. Theodore also served in China, the Philippines, and the Caribbean, and although his correspondence spans a much greater period of time, his military career was somewhat shorter than his brother's. Theodore was court martialed in 1907, apparently for embezzling from the post exchange in Puerto Rico, and was granted a medical discharge the following year.

Peck Line

Elisha Peck was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 5, 1790, the son of Henry Peck and Hannah Lewis. Peck first went to sea around 1803 as a cabin-boy on the brig Argus . He worked as a merchant until his arrest by the British in London in 1812, at which time he was pressed into British naval service. After his exchange in July 1813, he began his career with the United States Navy, acting as master's mate on Gunboat 93. During his time with the U.S. Navy, which spanned over 40 years, Peck rose up its ranks, eventually reaching the rank of captain. He served on numerous ships, including the United States , Macedonian , Franklin , Brandywine , Java , Delaware , Falmouth , Dolphin , Natchez , and Grampus . In 1849, he commanded the USS Portsmouth in an effort to intercept ships involved in the illegal slave trade with West Africa. In 1855, he was put on the reserve list at the rank of captain. He died on June 11, 1866.

Peck married Grace Bonticou (b. 1805), daughter of James Bonticou and Joanna Clark, on June 14, 1831. The couple had three children: Evelina (b. 1836) who married William W. Low; Henry (b. 1839); and Joanna (b. ca. 1841), who married James Madison Whittemore, Jr.