William Thomas collection  1771-1882 (bulk 1802-1882)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, financial records, appointments, and other items related to William Thomas, a lawyer from Plymouth, Massachusetts, and to his family. The collection includes letters that Thomas wrote to his father, Joshua Thomas, about his experiences at Harvard University in the early 1800s, and documents appointing Thomas to prominent public positions in Plymouth.

Early items include letters and financial documents related to members of the Thomas and Stevenson families, including a letter to Dr. John Thomas of Poughkeepsie, New York, about the death of his father (September 28, 1802). Between 1803 and 1807, William Thomas wrote around 8 letters to his father, and 1 to his brother John, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, about his experiences at Harvard University. Among other subjects, he discussed student life, the Federalist Party, elections, and conflicts between local residents and Harvard students. Also included are William Thomas's appointment as quartermaster of the Massachusetts Militia's 1st Regiment, 1st Brigade, 5th Division (April 12, 1810) and his discharge (April 20, 1815). Between 1826 and 1867, Thomas received 12 partially printed documents appointing him justice of the peace, master of chancery, and sheriff for Plymouth County, often for successive terms.

Later items are predominantly personal letters from acquaintances and cousins to William Thomas and his wife Sarah, as well as a copy of a letter that Thomas co-signed about the class of 1807's financial gift to Harvard (May 26, 1864). Other financial documents, such as those regarding the sale of land in Plymouth County and Isabella Thomas's will, are interspersed throughout the collection. The undated material includes a clipping with a biography of England native John Lloyd Thomas, additional correspondence, and copies of William Thomas's autograph.

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