William Pote family papers  1769-1997 (bulk 1788-1900)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, documents, and genealogical information related to Captain William Pote, Jr., of Marblehead, Massachusetts; his sons Greenfield and Samuel; his grandson William; and other descendants. Many items reflect the Pote's involvement in shipping, and one series of items concerns the family's claim for compensation after French privateers seized a ship and its cargo. Later material pertains to efforts of the Dennison and King families to trace their ancestors, who included the Pote family.

The Pote Family Correspondence and Documents series (59 items) contains material related to the descendants of William Pote, dated between 1769 and 1853. Two early letters, including one between Samuel Pote and John Poat, the latter an English sea captain (November 11, 1769), and another copied from Jos. Poat about a family marriage in the year 1334 (March 1776), reveal the family's early interest in their genealogy. The series also holds business correspondence, such as 6 letters between Samuel Pote and Jedediah Pebble related to a payment dispute over the sale of the Nero (October 1781-March 1783). The financial documents are records concerning Greenfield Pote, his son William, and Samuel Pote, including agreements, a deed, receipts, and estate papers.

The Dennison Family Correspondence and Documents series (25 items) is comprised of correspondence and documents related to several generations of the Dennison and King families (1747-1997). Among the items are letters exchanged by Samuel and Horatio Dennison, wills for George and Samuel Dennison, and a document granting Samuel Dennison United States citizenship (January 27, 1839).

The French Spoliation Documents series (57 items) consists of 43 letters, 1 postcard, 2 petitions, 4 pages of hand copied records, 2 pages from an account book, 3 newspaper clippings, and 2 government publications, all related to a financial claims resulting from French capture of American merchant ships in the late 18th century. William Pote (1766-1847) owned the Freeport , a ship seized by a French privateer in 1796. The series traces the Pote family's attempts to gain financial compensation from the United States government. Many letters were exchanged between family members and lawyers.

Two printed volumes are in the series:

  • French Spoliations. Report of the Secretary of State... Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1886 (324 pages)
  • Statement Showing the Payments of Awards of the Commissioners Appointed Under the Conventions Between the United States and France, Concluded April 30, 1803, and July 4, 1831, and Between the United States and Spain, Concluded February 22, 1819... Washington: Government Printing Office, 1886.

The Account Books and Daybook series contains 4 items.

William Pote's daybook and account book consists of 196 pages of ledger entries kept between 1788 and 1844, as well as the following loose items: 19 letters (1793-1835), 4 pages from an account book (1776), and 5 additional documents. The financial records concern agricultural products, manufactured goods, labor, personal notes, and seamen's wages, as well as different goods produced and sold by the Pote family, such as fish, eels, clams, corn, potatoes, butter, meat, rum, sugar, molasses, tea, and salt. Roughly 225 people, 19 ships' captains, 10-15 seamen, and 17 unique vessels are covered. In addition to family finances, the daybook documents several trips William Pote made to the West Indies between 1789 and 1790, and to Europe in 1792 and in unidentified years. A group of records dated between March and July 1802 pertain to the Portland Mineral Company's expenses.

William Pote, Jr., kept an account book (145 pages) between 1825 and 1830. The volume also contains laundry records (1849) and Bessie F. H. Jackson's school notes (1889). Pote's records pertain to the sale of food and supplies to 9 schooners ( Adeline , Desiah , Galens , Julia Ann , Leopard , Lincoln , Pelican , William H. Crawford , and William ), repairs made to the Leopard (p. 48), and cargo carried onboard the Lincoln during an 1830 trip to Honduras and on the Adeline during an journey to Belize and Honduras (p. 140). Pote also noted the names and earnings of 13 men who participated in mackerel fishing expeditions.

A smaller blue volume (38 pages) contains three main sections: William Gardiner's expenses of the Leopard 's mackerel fishing voyages (1833-1834); William Pote's farm accounts between 1835 and 1836; and Pote's 2 accounts concerning payments made to his married daughters Eliza and Sophia (undated). Receipts are also laid into the volume.

An anonymous author also maintained an account book and log book for the Allegator (212 pages), which contains records of the ship's mackerel fishing expeditions between May 1828 and November 1831. Log entries record the weather, daily catch size, the ship's location, and other information. The volume also holds additional accounts William Pote (1766-1847) kept between 1831 and 1847, documenting the fishing voyages of the Allegator and Leopard .

The Ephemera series (13 items) is comprised of the following items: 2 negatives of silhouettes of William (1766-1847) and Dorcus Pote (1772-1842); 2 prints made from those negatives; 8 poems composed by Eliza Pote Dennison; and a pamphlet entitled "The Home Formulary: The Latest and Most Valuable Toilet and Miscellaneous Formulas for Home Use," by William Hobury.

Eliza Dennison King, William Pote's granddaughter, compiled the material within the Genealogy series (96 items) while researching the history of the Pote, Dennison, and allied families. The series includes King's correspondence with distant cousins and drafts of family trees.

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