Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the personal correspondence of the Seth Turner family of Randolph, Mass. and the Manahan family of New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. Also included are deeds, commissions, inventories, surveys and military papers of Seth Turner (1756-1842), as well as daybooks and cashbooks kept by his son Royal Turner.

Biographical Sketch

Seth Turner (1756-1842), revolutionary soldier, farmer of Randolph, Massachusetts, married Abigail Wales.

Royal Turner (1792-1862), son of Seth (1756-1842) and Abigail (Wales) Turner, Harvard College (1813), Randolph merchant, President of the Randolph Bank and Director of the Fall River Railroad Company, married in 1800 Maria White. Their children include:

Seth Turner (1821-1883), President of the Shoe and Leather National Bank, Vice-President of the Randolph National Bank, Treasurer of the Randolph Savings Bank, married Ellen Manahan (1834-1860), daughter of Joseph Manahan and Ellen D. Montgomery (1810-1839).

Royal White Turner (b. 1823), Randolph merchant, married Mary Maguire.

Ann Maria Turner (b. 1825), married Isaac Sweetser.

Abigail Wales Turner (b. 1830)

Collection Description

The Seth Turner Crawford papers contain the personal correspondence of the Turner family of Randolph, Mass. and the Manahan family of New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. The collection consists primarily of letters between Joseph Manahan, while a clerk in the U.S. Treasury Department, and his two daughters, Ellen M. Turner and Charlotte Turner, who were sent to live with an aunt, Nancy West, in Concord, N.H. following the death of their mother in 1839. The letters primarily focus on family news and events and to a lesser extent Washington social life.

Bound volumes include three daybooks kept by Royal Turner as a merchant in Randolph: with Bass and Turner, 1816; 1823; and with Turner and Tolman, 1824-1825. A cash book of the National Hide and Leather Bank of Boston, 1894-98, is also included.

The collection also includes deeds, commissions, inventories, surveys, and other papers concerning the military career of Seth Turner (1756-1842), the activities of Royal Turner (1792-1862) as a surveyor in Randolph, Mass., and other papers relating to the business and philanthropic activities of Seth Turner (1821-1883), including the founding in 1875 of the Turner Free Library.

Of additional note are letters of the Batchelder, Borden, Hill, Merrill, Packard, and Rollins families and two letters (November 13, 1839; June 26, 1845) of U.S. senator, and later president, Franklin Pierce, a friend of Joseph Manahan.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mrs. Seth Turner Crawford of Boston, Mass. in 1981; with later additions.

Summary Description of the Collection

I. Loose Papers

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
1849-September 1852
Box 4
October 1852-1854
Box 5
1855-February 1856
Box 6
March 1856-August 1857
Box 7
September 1857-1859
Box 8
Box 9
Deeds, Estates, legal papers, newspaper clippings
Box 10
Deeds and receipts
Box 11
Printed material
Box 12

II. Volumes

Vol. 1
National Hide and Leather Bank cash book, 1894-1898
Vol. 2
Ellen Manahan notebook
XT Vol. 3
Royal Turner daybooks: Bass and Turner, 1816, 1823; Turner and Tolman, 1824-1825.

Preferred Citation

Seth Turner Crawford 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.


Manahan, Joseph.
Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869.
Turner, Charlotte.
Turner, Ellen M.
Turner, Royal, 1792-1862.
Turner, Seth, 1756-1842.
Turner, Seth, 1821-1883.
Manahan family.
Turner family.


Turner Free Library (Randolph, Mass.)
National Hide and Leather Bank (Boston, Mass.)
Bass and Turner (Randolph, Mass.)
Turner and Tolman (Randolph, Mass.)


Libraries -- Massachusetts -- Randolph.
Merchants -- Massachusetts -- Randolph.
Philanthropists -- Massachusetts -- Randolph.
Real property -- Massachusetts -- Randolph.
Account books -- 1894-1898.
Account books -- 1816.
Account books -- 1823-1825.
Randolph (Mass.) -- History.
Washington (D.C.) -- Social life and customs.