Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

The Vaughan family papers are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of Benjamin Vaughan, physician, lawyer, diplomat, merchant, and agriculturist of Hallowell, Me., as well as the papers of his sons, merchants William O. Vaughan and Petty Vaughan, and many other Vaughan family members.

Biographical Sketches

Samuel Vaughan (1720-1802), a London merchant and Jamaican sugar plantation owner, married Sarah Hallowell (1727-1809) of Boston in 1747. The couple had ten children: Benjamin (1751-1835); William (1752-1850); Samuel (1754-1758); John (1756-1841); Ann (1757-1847); Charles (1759-1839); Sarah (1761-1818); Samuel (1762-1827); Barbara Eddy (1764-1820); Rebecca (1766-1851); and Hannah (1768-1770). Samuel Vaughan died in 1802. His wife Hannah died in England in 1809. Their properties in Jamaica and Hallowell, Me. were divided among their children.

Benjamin Vaughan (1751-1835), the son of Samuel and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan, was born in Jamaica. He held both law and medical degrees, but never formally practiced either profession. He worked as a banker for his brother-in-law in London, was a Parliamentary reformer and close friend of the Earl of Shelburne, helped negotiate for peace between England and the American colonies in 1782, left England for political reasons in 1794, and moved to Hallowell, Me. with his family in 1797. There he pursued his interest in science, philosophy, and agriculture. Benjamin Vaughan married in 1781 Sarah Manning (1754-1834), the daughter of a London merchant. The couple had seven children: Harriet (1782-1798); William Oliver (1783-1826); Sarah (1784-1847); Henry (1786-1806); Petty (1788-1854); Lucy (1790-1869); and Elizabeth Frances (1793-1855).

William Vaughan (1752-1850), the son of Samuel and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan, was a prosperous merchant in London, although he lost most of his money later in life.

Charles Vaughan (1759-1839), the son of Samuel and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan, was one of the earliest settlers of Hallowell, Me., arriving there around 1791. He became a merchant and had a great influence on the development of the town. He married in 1794 Frances Western Apthorp, whose brother-in-law was Charles Bulfinch. Their children where: John Apthorp (1795-1865); Charles (1804-1878); Hannah Frances (1812-1855); and Harriet (1801-1843).

Samuel Vaughan (1762-1827), the son of Samuel and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan, was a merchant and sugar plantation owner in Jamaica and never married. He probably died in 1827. Several published works have confused him with his father Samuel Vaughan, stating that he died in 1802.

Rebecca Vaughan (1766-1851), the daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan, married John Merrick (1766-1862), the tutor of Benjamin Vaughan's children who accompanied the family to America in 1795. He returned to England to marry Rebecca and then returned with her to Hallowell, where he became a prominent community leader. Their children were: Sarah Harriet (1799-1872); Samuel Vaughan (1801-1870); John (1804-1832); Mary Harrison (1805-1880); George (1807-1862); and Thomas Belsham (1813-1902).

William Oliver Vaughan (1783-1826), the son of Benjamin and Sarah (Manning) Vaughan, was a gentleman farmer, merchant, ship owner, and colonel in the Maine Militia, and he was active in town affairs. He married in 1806 Martha Agry (d. 1856). The couple had seven children: William Manning (1807-1891); Harriet Frances (1809-1846); Mary (1812-1814); Mary (1815-1816); Anna Maria (1817-1832); Henry (b. 1823); and Caroline (b. 1825).

Petty Vaughan (1788-1854), the son of Benjamin and Sarah (Manning), was a merchant and lieutenant in the Maine Militia. He went to London as a teenager to work with his uncle, William Vaughan, and returned later to spend most of his commercial career there.

Mary Harrison Merrick (1805-1880), the daughter of John and Rebecca (Vaughan) Merrick, married John P. Flagg, owner of an iron foundry in Hallowell. Mary (Merrick) Flagg was active in civic affairs in Hallowell.

William Manning Vaughan (1807-1891), the son of William Oliver and Martha (Agry) Vaughan, was a supercargo onboard several ships sailing for Calcutta in the 1820s and '30s. He later moved to Cambridge, Mass., where he set himself up in business and was active in civic and church affairs. He married in 1832 Ann Tryphena Warren (1810-1889), the daughter of Ebenezer T. and Abiah (Morse) Warren. They had three children: Emma Gardner (1835-1844); Benjamin (1837-1912); and William Warren (b. 1848).

Ebenezer Warren (1749-1824) was born in Newbury, Mass. and was a brother of General Joseph and Dr. John Warren. He was a member of the state convention that adopted the federal constitution and was frequently elected to the state legislature. In 1793, he was appointed Justice of the Common Pleas, where he served until 1811. He married Ann Tucker (d. 1816) of Boston. The couple had at least nine children, one of whom was Ebenezer T. Warren (1779-1830). Ebenezer Warren died in Foxborough, Mass.

Ebenezer Tucker Warren (1779-1830), the son of Ebenezer and Ann (Tucker) Warren, was born in Foxborough, Mass. He received his A.B. from Harvard in 1800 and his A.M. in 1803. He was an overseer of Bowdoin College from 1821 to 1830. He resided in Hallowell, Me., apparently from the time of his marriage to his death in 1830. He was a lawyer, federal county attorney for Kennebec County, a justice of the peace, and a Massachusetts senator in 1816. He was president of the Hallowell and the Kennebec Banks for a number of years and a charter member of the Jerusalem Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons in Hallowell. Warren married Abiah Morse and had two children: Ann Tryphena (1810-1889) and John (b. 1816). Warren died suddenly in Quincy, Ill. while inspecting soldiers' land claims.

Samuel Stevens Warren (b. 1793), the son of Ebenezer and Ann (Tucker) Warren, was born in Foxborough, Mass. He was an attorney in Maine, working sometimes with his brother Ebenezer T. Warren.


For more biographical information, see the following sources:

Marvin, Mary Vaughan. Benjamin Vaughan, 1751-1835. [Hallowell, Me.]: [s.n.], 1979.

Nason, Emma Huntington. Old Hallowell on the Kennebec. Augusta, Me.: [Press of Burleigh & Flint], 1909.

Collection Description

The Vaughan family papers fall into two large divisions: Vaughan Papers (Series I-V) and Warren Papers (Series VI-VIII). The Vaughan papers consist of correspondence; military, business, and miscellaneous papers; and bound volumes, primarily of Benjamin, William O., and Petty Vaughan of Hallowell, Me. The Warren papers consist of correspondence, business and legal papers, and bound volumes of Ebenezer T. Warren of Hallowell, Me., whose daughter Ann married William Manning Vaughan.

Restrictions on Access

The Vaughan family papers are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Vaughan family, 1986.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Vaughan correspondence, 1773-1893

This series consists of family and business correspondence. The early years (1773-1800) contain mostly family letters and include letters of Henry and Eliza Bird (sister and brother-in-law of Sarah Manning Vaughan), William Manning, William Vaughan, John Vaughan, Sarah (Manning) Vaughan, Charles Vaughan, Samuel Vaughan, and members of Benjamin Vaughan's family. Correspondence of 1800-1830 mainly concerns business affairs of Benjamin, William O., and Petty Vaughan with various merchants and agents in England and America. (See Vaughan bound volumes for Petty Vaughan's letterbooks.) There is a continuous correspondence between William O. Vaughan and Gideon Snow, his agent in Boston, from around 1802 until Vaughan's death in 1826. Robert Hallowell Gardiner (1782-1864), a cousin of the Vaughans, is also a frequent correspondent in this time period. Also included are letters of Charles and Samuel Vaughan (brothers of Benjamin). Many letters surrounding 1820 concern the financial difficulties of William O. Vaughan. Some letters have been individually catalogued in the MHS manuscript catalog, which is available in the Society's reading room.

Letters of the 1840s include drafts or retained copies of letters written by Sarah Vaughan (daughter of Benjamin); correspondence of John Merrick; and correspondence of John P. Flagg (beginning in 1845), husband of Mary (Merrick) Flagg and owner of an iron foundry in Hallowell. Letters of Charles Vaughan (1804-1878) begin in 1848; William M. Vaughan correspondence begins in 1855; William W. Vaughan begins in the 1870s; and Benjamin Vaughan (son of William M. Vaughan) appears in 1891.

Carton 1SH 116C M
Carton 2SH 116D N
Carton 3SH 116E O
Carton 4SH 116F P
Carton 5SH 116G Q
1818-Apr. 1819
Carton 6SH 116H R
May 1819-May 1820
Carton 7SH 116I S
June 1820-1822
Carton 8SH 116J T
Carton 9SH 116K U

II. Vaughan military papers, 1796-1825

This series contains military papers of William O. and Petty Vaughan, a colonel and lieutenant, respectively, in the Maine Militia in the years surrounding the War of 1812. Papers include: regimental, division, and brigade orders; appointments; accounts; returns; election reports; inspection rolls; company rolls; and some correspondence.

Carton 9SH 116K U
Carton 10SH 116L V

III. Vaughan business papers, 1770-1950

These papers consist of numerous shipping papers, notes, orders, accounts, bills, receipts, canceled checks, deeds, agreements, and bills of exchange having to do with the Vaughan family's vast business and property concerns. Benjamin, William O., and Petty Vaughan were active in shipping lumber to England and the West Indies and importing commodities for sale on the Kennebec River.

Carton 12 (1802) contains valuations of Samuel Vaughan's Jamaica plantations, including lists of enslaved people divided into men, women, and children. About 300 enslaved people worked on the Vaughan plantations in Jamaica.

Carton 21 contains papers of specific ships, the Adeline and the Caroline, both seized for illegal trade with Great Britain during the War of 1812 (correspondence concerning these ships is located in the Vaughan correspondence section); and papers of the schooner Hannah and ships Hoogley and Liverpool Packet to Calcutta, on which William Manning Vaughan served as supercargo, 1828-1831.

The later years (1830s-1850s) contain many papers dealing with land transactions in Harmony and Dover, Me. and papers of the ship John Merrick, launched in 1849. The 1850s also include papers of the Female Benevolent Society of Hallowell, of which Mary (Merrick) Flagg was treasurer. Some papers of the 1860s concern the estate of John Merrick (d. 1862).

The records of the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Mass., which were in the possession of William Manning Vaughan, are included in the papers of the 1870s and 1880s, along with some papers of the Cambridge Social Union, of which he was a member.

Carton 10SH 116L V
Carton 11SH 116M W
Carton 12SH 116N X

Included is a valuation of Vaughan estates with lists of enslaved people.

Carton 13SH 116P Z
Carton 14SH 116Q -
1813-July 1815
Carton 15SH 116R .
Aug. 1815-May 1817
Carton 16SH 116S
June-Dec. 1817
Carton 17SH 116T $
1818-May 1819
Carton 18SH 116U /
June 1819-1820
Carton 19SH 116V +
Carton 20SH 116W %
Carton 21SH 116X 0
Brig Adeline; Ship Caroline; Schooner Hannah; Ship Hoogley; Ship Liverpool Packet

IV. Vaughan miscellaneous papers

This series contains materials relating to the Maine Agricultural Society and other agricultural matters, as well as items such as poetry, inventories, miscellaneous notes of Benjamin and Sarah Vaughan (daughter of Benjamin), and medical notes of Benjamin Vaughan. Carton 22 also contains genealogical information on the Vaughan family, including several printed works; deeds and materials relating to lands in Hallowell; and some modern correspondence relating to the Vaughan family and their papers. Some items in carton 22 have been separately catalogued in the MHS manuscript catalog, which is available in the Society's reading room.

Carton 22SH 116Y 1
Maine Agricultural Society and miscellaneous agricultural materials
Carton 22SH 116Y 1
Miscellaneous papers
Carton 22SH 116Y 1
Genealogical materials

V. Vaughan bound volumes, 1768-1890

The bound volumes consist of Petty Vaughan's letterbooks, 1810-1814; account books, 1804-1858; business records; bank books; and miscellaneous volumes. These include: penmanship booklets, a child's poetry booklet, a pocket journal of Sarah Vaughan (1843), a scrapbook of William M. Vaughan, a book of riddles, the records of the "Composition Club" (1768), and a catalogue of books (1836), probably the library of Benjamin Vaughan. Some items in this series have been separately catalogued in the MHS manuscript catalog, which is available in the Society's reading room.

Carton 22SH 116Y 1
Petty Vaughan letterbooks, 1810-1814
Carton 23SH 116Z 2
Accounts, 1804-1825
Carton 24SH 1171 C
Accounts, 1817-1858
Carton 24SH 1171 C
Business records, 1770-1826
Carton 25SH 1172 D
Business records, 1829-1851
Carton 25SH 1172 D
Bank books, 1808-1890
Carton 25SH 1172 D
Miscellaneous bound volumes, 1768-ca. 1888

VI. Warren correspondence, 1808-1840

Ebenezer T. Warren's correspondence relates mostly to his legal and political concerns, especially Federalist politics and the statehood of Maine. Many items in the section have been individually catalogued in the MHS manuscript catalog, which is available in the Society's reading room. Also included are personal letters from Warren's father Ebenezer Warren (1749-1824); correspondence of his brother Samuel S. Warren; and correspondence with other family members and friends in Boston. Some of the later letters (1820s) are between Warren and his wife Abiah (Morse) Warren, when he was in Illinois inspecting real estate. Letters after Warren's death are mostly drafts by Abiah Warren concerning her late husband's affairs and land holdings in Illinois.

Carton 26SH 1173 E
Carton 27SH 1174 F
Carton 28SH 1175 G
Carton 29SH 1176 H
Carton 30SH 1177 I

VII. Warren legal and business papers, 1794-1833

This series contains writs and orders from hundreds of cases for which Warren and his brother Samuel S. Warren served as attorneys. Warren's private business papers are also included, such as accounts, bills, receipts, notes, and orders. The years 1803-1806 include papers from the partnership of Warren and Eleazer Wheelock Ripley (1782-1839).

Carton 32 contains scattered items concerning the Kennebec Bank, of which Warren was president. Cartons 36 and 37 contain scattered items concerning the First Baptist Meeting House (or Church) in Hallowell. Carton 39 contains the papers of John Chandler, sheriff of Kennebec County, 1808-1812, for whom Warren was attorney in many cases of default by Chandler's deputy sheriffs. Carton 39 also includes papers of the estate of Nathaniel Perley (1770-1824), a prominent lawyer in Hallowell and representative in the Massachusetts General Court, 1804 and 1816; estate papers of Benjamin Ring; and papers of Samuel Curtis.

Carton 31SH 1178 J
Carton 32SH 1179 K
Carton 33SH 117A L
Carton 34SH 117B M
1818-June 1820
Carton 35SH 117C N
July 1820-June 1822
Carton 36SH 117D O
July 1822-1823
Carton 37SH 117E P
Carton 38SH 117F Q
Carton 39SH 117G R
John Chandler papers
Carton 39SH 117G R
Nathaniel Perley estate papers
Carton 39SH 117G R
Benjamin Ring estate papers
Carton 39SH 117G R
Samuel Curtis papers

VIII. Warren bound volumes, 1799-1830

This series contains court dockets, 1799-1826, including those of the Kennebec Court of Common Pleas and Augusta Court of Common Pleas; Kennebec County officer appointments, 1817-1828; a diary kept by Abiah Warren (1829-1830); account books; and receipt books. There are also two volumes of the Massachusetts Register, 1810 and 1811, with Warren's court appointments noted in manuscript.

Carton 40SH 117H S
Dockets, 1799-1819
Carton 41SH 117I T
Dockets, 1820-1826
Carton 41SH 117I T
County officers appointments, 1817-1828
Carton 41SH 117I T
Miscellaneous bound volumes, 1803-1830
Carton 41SH 117I T
Massachusetts Register, 1810, 1811 (with E. T. Warren's court appointments)

IX. Oversize papers

Included are patent and accompanying papers of Oliver Evans for improvements in manufacturing flour and meal; a receipt book for bills of exchange, 1819-1824; William O. Vaughan's passport; the crew list of the ship Superior, 1820; Vaughan military papers (rolls and orders); an account book, possibly of W. O. Vaughan, 1822-1824; miscellaneous Vaughan and Warren correspondence; and 1802 lists of enslaved people at the Vaughan Jamaica estates.

OS Box
STORED ONSITE at Ms. N-83 (oversize)

Preferred Citation

Vaughan 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.


Chandler, John, 1762-1841.
Curtis, Samuel.
Flagg, John P.
Perley, Nathaniel, 1770-1824.
Ring, Benjamin.
Ripley, Eleazar Wheelock, 1782-1839.
Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835.
Vaughan, Petty, 1788-1854.
Vaughan, William Oliver, 1783-1826.
Warren, Ebenezer, 1749-1824.
Warren, Ebenezer Tucker, 1779-1830.
Warren, Samuel S., 1793-
Warren family.


Adeline (Ship).
Cambridge Social Union (Mass.).
Caroline (Ship).
Federal Party (Me.).
Female Benevolent Society (Hallowell, Me.).
First Baptist Church (Hallowell, Me.).
First Church (Cambridge, Mass.).
Hannah (Ship).
Hoogley (Ship).
Kennebec Bank (Augusta, Me.).
Liverpool Packet (Ship).
Maine Agricultural Society.


Account books--1804-1858.
Calcutta (India)--Commerce--Maine.
Hallowell (Me.)--History.
India trade.
Iron foundries--Maine.
Lumber trade--Maine.
Maine--Commerce--West Indies.
Maine--Politics and government.
Real property--Maine.
United States--History--War of 1812.
West Indies--Commerce--Maine.