COLLECTION GUIDES

1655-1953; bulk: 1700-1900

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Barker, Edes, and Noyes families. Materials in the collection include family and business/military correspondence, diaries, financial records, ships' logs and genealogical information on the Alden, Barker, Burnham, Edes, Fuller, Hatch, Loring, and Noyes families. Members of the families were shipbuilders, sea captains, and landowners, and served in the U.S. Navy and Army during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Biographical Sketch

Below are brief biographical sketches of the Barker, Edes, and Noyes families, highlighting the individual members represented most prominently within the collection. The sketches are arranged by family and then by date of birth, and illustrate the marital connections between them.

The Barker Family

Josiah Barker (1763-1847) was born in Marshfield, Mass. and served in the United States Army and Navy during the Revolutionary War. He was a shipbuilder and resident of Charlestown, Mass. where he established several naval yards and supervised the rebuilding of the USS Constitution from 1833 to 1835. In 1787 he married Penelope Hatch (1759-1841), and they had five children: Sarah, later Mrs. Robert Ball Edes (1788-1845); Josiah Hatch (1789-1856); Mary, later the wife of Capt. Francis A. Burnham (1794-1874); Ebenezer (1796-1868); and Seth (1799-1866).

Ebenezer Barker (1796-1868) was a surveyor, civil engineer, Middlesex Bridge commissioner, and an agent of the Charles River and Warren Bridges. He married Sally Fuller (1801-1890), daughter of Dr. Jabez Fuller, in 1827 and they had five children: Caroline Tufts, later Mrs. Justin Winsor (1830-1911); Ebenezer (“Eben”) F. (1833-1908); Lucy Loring (1835-1920); Edward Tobey (1840-1913); and Frederick Alden (1845-1880).

Ebenezer (“Eben”) F. (1833-1908), Edward Tobey (1840-1913), and Frederick Alden (1845-1880) Barker were brothers. Eben F. and Edward Tobey Barker served in the US Civil War. Eben served as a 1st lieutenant and then a captain in the 75th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. Edward served as paymaster on the U.S. gunboat Huron, the steamer Mercedita, and the USS Kennebec, and was a participant in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Their brother, Frederick, too young to fight in the war, served in the Charlestown Cadets, lived in Charlestown and worked in Boston.

Caroline Tufts Barker (1830-1911) married Justin Winsor (1831-1897) in 1854. Winsor was one of the leading cartographers in the United States, a historian, and librarian at Harvard. They had one child: Constance, later Mrs. James Atkins Noyes (1860-1895).

The Edes Family

Robert Ball Edes (1789-1862) was a ship captain. He married Sarah Barker in 1818, and they had three children: Mary Ball, later Mrs. James Sullivan Noyes (1818-1880); Sophia Briggs, later Mrs. Charles F. Waldo (1820-1892); and Henry Augustus (1824-1851). Following his first wife’s death, Robert Ball Edes married Priscilla Sprague.

The Noyes Family

James Sullivan Noyes (1816-1883) married Mary Ball Edes in 1851. They had two children: Henry Frothingham (b.1854); and James Atkins Noyes (1857-1945).

James Atkins Noyes (1857-1945) was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended both Harvard College and Columbia University’s School of Mines. In 1890, he married Constance Winsor and they had one child: Penelope Barker Noyes (1891-1977).

Collection Description

The Barker-Edes-Noyes family papers consist of 10 document boxes, 1 narrow box, 8 pamphlet boxes, 1 oversize box, and 35 cased volumes spanning the years 1655-1953, with the bulk dating from 1700 to 1900. The collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Barker, Edes, and Noyes families, and has been divided into three series: Personal and family papers; Business and military papers; and Printed material and ephemera. Materials in the collection include family and business/military correspondence, diaries, financial records, ships' logs and genealogical information on the Alden, Barker, Burnham, Edes, Fuller, Hatch, Loring, and Noyes families. Members of the families were shipbuilders, sea captains, landowners, and served in the Navy and Army during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

The personal and family papers make up the bulk of the collection and include legal documents (numerous deeds and land surveys, summons, wills and estates, testimonials, appointments, powers of attorney, and guardianship papers), correspondence, diaries and day books, financial records, genealogical information, and drawings, poems, and writings. Of particular interest are the papers of Edward Tobey Barker, consisting of diaries and correspondence produced while serving as paymaster aboard a number of naval vessels during the Civil War from 1862 to1864. A group of letters written to his mother, Sally (Fuller) Barker, gives an account of his activities and includes first-hand accounts of the blockade of Charleston, S.C. and the events preceding the Battle of Mobile Bay. Barker writes of speaking with Admiral Farragut and Fleet Captain Percival Drayton aboard the Hartford on June 7, 1864, and writes on August 5, as the battle is being fought. In an August 6 letter, Barker gives a first-hand recap, with hand-drawn illustrations, of the fighting from aboard the USS Kennebec, which was lashed to the larger Monongahela.

Other items of interest are the diaries of Sophia and (Sarah) Ellen Waldo, mother and daughter, whose writings span 1850 to 1893, and illustrate the everyday life of women during this period. Entries in Sophia Waldo’s four diaries chronicle her day-to-day occurrences, weather conditions, and household expenses as well as the significant milestones in life including births, marriages, deaths, illnesses, and household moves. Her daughter (Sarah) Ellen writes extensively from 1872 to mid-1890 (completely filling 10 volumes) and then very sporadically until 1893, chronicling her daily life in New York City, and a move to Salem, Ore., after her mother’s death in 1892.

Another significant portion of the collection relates to the extensive genealogical research conducted by James Atkins Noyes, including correspondence with the Norroy King of Arms at the Herald’s College in London regarding the pedigree and coat of arms of the Noyes family. Also included are historical papers relating to Harrison Gray Otis (transcribed letters from 1791 to 1848), and Alfred (photostats of an 1833 journal of a whaling voyage on the schooner Columbia) and Dennis Townsend (photostats of letters from 1833 to1853).

The remainder of the collection consists of business and military papers – correspondence and papers relating to business issues and military service (including Judah Alden and Josiah Barker’s involvement with the Society of the Cincinnati and Revolutionary War claims), ships' logs, financial records and account books. Finally, the printed material and ephemera series contains whole newspapers (dated 1775, 1790, and 1791), clippings of military and genealogical articles, brochures, pamphlets, programs, and advertisements from the 1860s and 1870s.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Penelope Barker Noyes, 1966.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Personal and family papers, 1655-1951

A. Legal papers, 1655-1877

Arranged by type and chronologically

This subseries contains a variety of legal documents. The bulk consists of deeds and land surveys for parcels in “Pembrook” (Pembroke), “Duxborough” (Duxbury), Lynn, Barnstable, North Yarmouth, Kingston, Charlestown and Boston, purchased primarily by Briggs Alden, Judah Alden, Jabez Fuller and Josiah Barker. Also included are copies of the wills of Isaac Hatch, Jabez Fuller, Samuel Alden, Robert and Margaret Pateshall, Benjamin Wadsworth, Briggs Alden, James Potter, and Job and Mary Burnham. Agreements and contracts, summons appointments, testimonials, powers of attorney, and guardianship papers (for Mary Bennett) make up the rest of the subseries.

Box 1Folders 1-6
Deeds and land surveys, 1655-1875
Box 1Folders 7-8
Wills and estates, 1753-1877
Box 1Folders 9-14
Miscellaneous agreements and contracts, summons, appointments, testimonials, powers of attorney, and guardianship papers, 1699-1875

B. Correspondence, 1715-1951

Arranged chronologically

Loose correspondence, undated and fragments, 1715-1951

This subseries contains personal letters of various family members relating to life in Boston, Charlestown, Pembroke, and Kingston. The bulk is from the Alden, Barker, and Fuller families, and correspondents include Samuel, Briggs, Judah and Amherst Alden; Prince, Isaac, Frederick, and Edward Tobey Barker; sisters Sally (Fuller) Barker, Sophia Fuller, Lucy (Fuller) Davis and Betsy (Fuller) Sprague, discussing the care of their elderly mother, Lucy (Loring) Fuller and the division of her estate following her death.

Box 2
1715-1835
Box 3
1836-1951, undated and fragments
Box 4
Letters written by Edward Tobey Barker to his mother, Sally Fuller Barker, 1862-1864 (disbound)

This subseries contains letters written by Edward Tobey Barker while serving as paymaster on the U.S. gunboat Huron, the steamer Mercedita, and the USS Kennebec during the Civil War. Letters written while serving on the USS Kennebeck include accounts of the events preceding the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Vol. 1
Condolence book-Constance Winsor Noyes, 1895

C. Diaries, 1827-1893

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically

Edward Tobey Barker, 1858-1865 (with gaps)

This subseries contains one personal (1858) and two naval (U.S. gunboat Huron, 1862 and USS Kennebec, 1864-1865) pocket diaries recording daily occurrences and weather conditions while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

Box 5Folder 1
1858, personal
Box 5Folder 2
1862, U.S. gunboat Huron
Box 5Folder 3
1854-1865, USS Kennebec

Frederick Alden Barker, 1864-1865

This subseries contains two personal pocket diaries (1864 and 1865) recording daily occurrences, activities, and weather conditions in Boston and Charlestown. The 1864 diary includes many hand-drawn illustrations.

Box 5Folder 4
1864
Box 5Folder 5
1865
Box 5Folder 6
Lucy Fuller Davis, 1827-1847

This subseries consists of one personal diary spanning twenty years containing prayers, religious thoughts, and quotations.

Box 5Folder 7
Sophia Fuller, 1865

This subseries contains one line-a-day diary/almanac recording daily occurrences, activities, and expenses.

Sophie Briggs Edes Waldo, 1850-1855

This subseries contains four personal pocket diaries recording day-to-day existence as well as significant milestones in her life: the second marriage of her widowed father; the birth of her children and subsequent difficulty with breastfeeding requiring the services of a wet nurse; the death of her brother Henry and the following period of mourning for his wife and small child; a painful illness – dental treatments that include the extraction of eighteen teeth (without anesthesia) and being fitted for dentures; a household move to Brooklyn, N.Y.; and periods of long separation from her husband.

Box 5Folder 10
1850
Box 5Folder 11
1851
Box 5Folder 12
1852
Box 5Folder 13
1853-1855

(Sarah) Ellen Waldo, 1871-1893 (with gaps)

This subseries contains fourteen diaries in which the author writes extensively from 1871 to mid-1890 (completely filling 10 volumes) and then very sporadically until 1893. The entries chronicle daily life in New York City, and a move to Salem, Ore., after the author’s mother’s death in 1892.

Box 5Folder 8
1871
Box 5Folder 9
1872
Vol. 2
1872-1874
Vol. 3
1876-1877
Vol. 4
1877-1878
Vol. 5
1879-1881
Vol. 6
1882
Vol. 7
1883-1884
Vol. 8
1884-1885
Vol. 9
1885-1886
Vol. 10
1886-1888
Vol. 11
1888-1890
Vol. 12
1890-1893

Unidentified, 1829-1850 (with gaps)

This subseries contains ten line-a-day diary/almanacs recording daily occurrences, activities and expenses.

Box 6Folder 1
1829
Box 6Folder 2
1834
Box 6Folder 3
1844
Box 6Folder 4
1845
Box 6Folder 5
1846
Box 6Folder 6
1847
Box 6Folder 7
1848
Box 6Folder 8
1848
Box 6Folder 9
1850
Box 6Folder 10
1850

D. Genealogical and historic papers, 1791-1951

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically

Loose, 1791-1951

This subseries contains genealogical research notes and correspondence relating to the Alden, Barker, Burnham, Edes, Fuller, Hatch, Loring, and Noyes families. The bulk consists of James Atkins Noyes’s research and includes his correspondence with the Norroy King of Arms at the Herald’s College in London regarding the pedigree and coat of arms of the Noyes family. Also included are historical papers relating to Harrison Gray Otis and Alfred and Dennis Townsend.

Box 7Folder 1
Alden, undated
Box 7Folder 2
Barker, 1875, undated
Box 7Folder 3
Burnham, 1831, undated
Box 7Folders 4-15
Edes, 1854-1873, undated
Box 7Folders 16-17
Fuller, 1791-1875, undated
Box 7Folder 18
Hatch, undated
Box 7Folder 19
Loring, 1832, undated
Box 8Folders 1-17
Noyes, 1886-1913
Box 9Folders, 1-9
Noyes, 1913-1919, undated
Box 9Folder 10-17
Miscellaneous genealogical papers, undated
Box 10Folders 1-8
Harrison Gray Otis, transcribed letters from 1791 to 1848
Box 10Folder 9
Alfred Townsend, photostats of 1833 journal of a whaling voyage on the schooner Columbia
Box 10Folder 10
Dennis Townsend, photostats of letters from 1833 to 1853

Bound, 1863-1887

This subseries consists of notebooks containing hand-written genealogical research about the Edes, Barker, and Fuller families.

Vol. 13
Barker, 1867
Vol. 14
Barker, 1872
Vol. 15
Barker and Fuller, 1887
Vol. 16
Edes, 1863
Vol. 17
Edes, 1865
Vol. 18
Edes, 1866
Vol. 19
Edes, 1870
Vol. 20
Edes, undated

E. Financial records, 1742-1855

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains itemized inventories of household items, bills and receipts for household goods and services, tax receipts, and Samuel Alden’s Harvard College tuition bills.

Box 10Folders 11-14

F. Poems, writings, and drawings, 1788-1864

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains drawings by Frederick Alden Barker depicting military figures and a political satire cartoon; hand written copies of poems; school essays by Edward Tobey Barker; recipes', and calligraphic exercises done by Robert Ball Edes.

Box 10Folder 15
Poems, 1788-1842
Box 10Folders 16-18
Writings by Edward Tobey Barker and Robert Ball Edes, and miscellaneous, 1803-1856
Box 10Folder 19
Drawings by Frederick Alden Barker, 1862-1864

II. Business and military papers, 1715-1942

A. Loose papers, 1727-1942

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains correspondence and papers relating to business issues and naval service, and are primarily focused on Josiah Barker’s shipbuilding business, including repairs to the USS Constitution; Society of the Cincinnati and Revolutionary War claims letters and pamphlets concerning Josiah Barker and Judah Alden; letters written to Seth Barker, captain of the ship Volunteer; and Department of the Navy correspondence to Edward Tobey Barker. Also included are a hand written pamphlet copy of the Regulations for the Master Ship Wright, signed by Isaac Hull; an Army prayer book; a naval flag pamphlet printed in color; naval muster rolls; Harvard College correspondence; and Charlestown Cadets certificates and materials.

See also Civil War correspondence and diaries of Edward Tobey Barker.

Box 11

B. Ships' logs, 1815-1822, 1862

Arranged chronologically.

Vol. 21
Francis A. Burnham, 1815-1822

Logbook containing entries from voyages on a number of ships, including: the Laurel, the Acastus, the O’Cain, the Three Sisters, and the Fenwick.

Vol. 22 (XT)
Edward Tobey Barker, 1862

Copy of the log of U.S. gunboat Huron

C. Financial records, 1715-1868

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically.

Box 12
Loose, 1715-1868

This subseries contains financial papers relating to shipping business and military service, and is primarily focused on Josiah Barker’s shipbuilding business; Judah Alden’s involvement with the Society of the Cincinnati and his Revolutionary War claims; and Edward Tobey Barker’s U.S. Navy Department accounts. Items include bills and receipts, insurance policies, customs forms, and loose account sheets.

Bound account books, 1763-1866

This subseries consists of the account books of Ebenezer Barker and Dr. Jabez Fuller, relating to Barker’s work as surveyor, engineer, and agent of the Warren and Charles River Bridges, and Fuller’s medical practice in Kingston, Mass.

Box 13
Ebenezer Barker, 1817-1842
Box 14
Ebenezer Barker, 1841-1843
Box 15
Ebenezer Barker, 1847-1849
Box 16
Ebenezer Barker, 1849-1851
Box 17
Ebenezer Barker, 1852-1854
Box 18
Ebenezer Barker, 1855-1866
Vol. 23
Ebenezer Barker, 1849-1850
Vol. 24
Jabez Fuller, 1778
Vol. 25
Jabez Fuller, 1791
Vol. 26
Jabez Fuller, 1793-1801
Vol. 27
Jabez Fuller, 1802
Vol. 28
Jabez Fuller, 1802-1811
Vol. 29
Labor Done on the Warren and Charles River Bridges, 1854-1855
Box 19Folders 1-4
Warren and Charles River Bridges, 1841-1854 (with gaps)
Vol. 30
Warren Bridge, 1842-1843
Vol. 31
Warren Bridge, 1842-1844
Vol. 32
Unidentified, 1763-1789
Vol. 33
Unidentified, 1813-1822

D. Scrapbook, 1840s-1890s

Compiled by Edward Tobey Barker, this volume contains military-related newspaper clippings, correspondence, calling cards, ticket stubs and other personal mementos. A photo card of the ship Tahoma is adhered to the front page.

Vol. 34

III. Printed material and ephemera, 1775-1953

A. Personal and family, 1788-1953

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains assorted items including invitations, advertisements, certificates, business cards, genealogical and heraldic brochures, and insurance policies.

Box OSFolder 1
Loose, 1815-1887
Vol. 35
Bound, undated

Walker’s Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, undated

Box 19Folders 5-8
Loose, 1788-1953

B. Newspapers/clippings, 1775-1922

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains whole newspapers (1775, 1790, and 1791) and clippings of military and genealogical articles, concert programs, and advertisements from the 1860s and 1870s.

Box 19Folder 9
1860s-1922
Box OSFolder 2
1775-1791
Box OSFolders 3-7
1856-1889, undated

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs and engravings from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives.

Artifacts from this collection have been removed to the MHS Artifacts Collection.

Preferred Citation

Barker-Edes-Noyes family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Alden, Judah.
Barker, Ebenezer, 1796-1868.
Barker, Edward Tobey, 1840-1913.
Barker, Frederick A., 1845-1880.
Barker, Josiah, 1763-1847.
Barker, Sarah Fuller, 1801-1890.
Barker, Seth, b. 1799.
Barker family--Genealogy.
Burnham, Francis A.
Edes, Robert Ball, 1789-1862.
Edes family--Genealogy.
Fuller, Jabez
Noyes, James Atkins.
Noyes family--Genealogy.
Townsend, Alfred.
Townsend, Dennis.
Waldo, Ellen, b. 1845.
Waldo, Sophie Briggs Edes, 1820-1892.

Organizations:

Charlestown Cadets.
Charlestown Navy Yard (Mass.).
Constitution (Frigate).
Huron (Gunboat).
Kennebec (Gunboat).
Mercedita (Steamer).
Proprietors of the Warren Bridge.
United States. Navy--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Volunteer (Ship).

Subjects:

Account books.
Bridges--Massachusetts--Boston.
Condolence notes.
Engineers--Massachusetts--Boston.
Family history, 1750-1799.
Family history, 1800-1849.
Family history, 1850-1899.
Family history, 1900-1949.
Family history, 1950-1999.
Logbooks.
Mobile Bay, Battle of, Ala., 1864.
Medical fees--Massachusetts--Kingston.
Physicians--Massachusetts--Kingston.
Poetry.
Real property--Massachusetts--Boston.
Real property--Massachusetts--Pembroke.
Scrapbooks, 1840-1890.
Shipbuilding--Massachusetts--Charlestown.
Surveyors--Massachusetts--Boston.
Warren Bridge (Mass.).
Charles River Bridge (Mass.).
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations--Perosnal narratives.