Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod Correspondence
This series contains the correspondence of Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod (1723-1804) of Haverhill, Mass. with her Loyalist children during and after the Revolutionary War.
Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod was the daughter of Elisha Cooke, Jr., a wealthy Boston merchant from whom she inherited considerable property in Massachusetts. In 1744 at the age of twenty-one, she became the third wife of Judge Richard Saltonstall, a well-respected but financially troubled Haverhill (Mass.) magistrate. Saltonstall died in 1756, leaving Mary with three small children: Nathaniel, Mary, and Leverett. Their home was sold to pay the debts of the judge’s estate, and Mary and the children went to live in Boston with Mary’s unmarried brother, Middlecott Cooke. In December 1757 she married Haverhill widower Benjamin Harrod.
Mary's family of was one of many colonial families that were torn apart by the Revolutionary War, and the letters in this series sharply illustrate the family’s struggles and disappointments. Her daughter, Mary Cooke Saltonstall (1749-1791), married Rev. Moses Badger, the assistant minister at King’s Chapel and a Loyalist, and was forced to flee Boston with her two young sons. Rev. Badger left Boston for Halifax with the British fleet in March 1776. The couple reunited in New York in the summer of 1778 and eventually settled in Providence, Rhode Island where Moses became the rector of King’s Church.
Mary Harrod’s son Leverett Saltonstall (1754-1782), who had apprenticed to become a merchant in Boston, served in the British Army as a 2nd lieutenant in the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) under Sir William Howe in 1778 and later served under Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. He returned to New York as a parolee after the British surrender in 1781, joining his sister Mary Badger and her family. In October 1778, Mary Badger writes to their mother that "your Son Leverett is in good health & resides at present on long Island he has often visited us." Leverett's last letter in this presentation, written in May 1782, is to his mother; he died in New York City in December 1782 at his sister's home. His death was discussed in two January 1783 letters; one from Mary Bliss to Mary Harrod and the other from Moses Badger to Nathaniel Saltonstall.
In addition to her son Leverett and daughter Mary, Mary Harrod’s stepson Richard Saltonstall (1732-1785) was also a Loyalist. The son of Judge Richard Saltonstall and his first wife, Richard emigrated to London. Mary’s stepdaughter, Mary Harrod Bliss, the daughter of Benjamin Harrod and his first wife, emigrated to Halifax. Only Mary’s eldest son Nathaniel remained in Massachusetts. He became a doctor in Haverhill, where Mary went to live when Benjamin Harrod died in 1780. Nathaniel’s son Leverett (1783-1845), named for his Loyalist uncle, grew up to become a member of congress from Massachusetts, and Nathaniel's great-great grandson, Leverett Saltonstall (1892-1976), became a U.S. Senator.
Letter from Leverett Saltonstall to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, June 1775 ...
"as to this town, its dull and dismal to see most all the house inhabited either by soldiers or their officers"
Letter from Leverett Saltonstall to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, 24 November ...
"we all join in our loves to you, praying it may not be long before we shall be so happy as to see you again."
Letter from Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod to Mary Cooke Badger, 11 October 1778 ...
"pray dont mis anay opetuenty of righting to me if it is but ten Lines"
Letter from Mary Cooke Badger to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, 24 October 1778 ...
"your Son Leverett is in good health & resides at present on long Island he has often visited us"
Letter from Leverett Saltonstall to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, 12 May 1782 ...
"let it suffice that I am as happy as in any Situation & absence from you can make me"
Letter from Mary Bliss to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, 13 January 1783
"heaven has seen fitt to deprive you of a Beloved Son that Promised by his many good accomplishments to be an honor to his faimily"
Letter from Moses Badger to Nathaniel Saltonstall, 18 January 1783
"he was agreable to Persons of All Ranks. he was cautious in speaking, seldom uttering a word without Reflection."
Letter from Mary Cooke Badger to Mary Cooke Saltonstall Harrod, 15 March 1784 ...
"I shall always look upon the Unfortunate Accident of being Cast away on Prudense Island."