Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of loose papers and volumes relating to Naushon Island and some other islands in the Elizabeth Islands, part of the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts.
The Naushon papers consist of loose papers and volumes relating to Naushon Island and some other islands in the Elizabeth Islands, part of the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts. The collection contains deeds and other documents tracing the ownership of Naushon and other islands from 1641 through 1867 (including some items relating to Native Americans); papers of General Salem Town of Charlton, Mass., agent for the owners of Naushon, in charge of timber operations on the island (1811-1826); papers of James S. Russell, agent for J. M. Forbes in charge of commercial farming and timber operations on the island (1894-1899); and four bound volumes of records including timber accounts (1824-1826), farm records (1833-1885), sheep records (1899-1947), and a surveyor's notebook of the Elizabeth Islands (1837-1838).
Gift of Naushon Trust, Inc., Dec. 2009. Additions and audiovisual material, Feb. 2020.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Deeds, etc., 1641-1867
Deeds, agreements, mortgages, and other papers (some copies) tracing the ownership of Naushon Island through the original Native American occupants to John Murray Forbes. Owners and/or part-owners of the island include Peter Oliver, Thomas and Matthew Mayhew, Wait Winthrop, John Winthrop, James Bowdoin I, James Bowdoin II, James Bowdoin III, William Bowdoin, James Temple Bowdoin, William W. Swain, and John Murray Forbes. This series includes John Winthrop's "Instructions to Indian tenants," 1719-1720, and a 1723 item also related to Native Americans.
II. Salem Town papers, 1811-1826
Correspondence of Gen. Salem Town, the Charlton, Mass. agent for Thomas L. Winthrop and Richard Sullivan, in charge of timber operations on Naushon Island. The papers include letters written by Walter Woodard, a tenant on Naushon, to Salem Town, as well as letters from Town to his wife Sally when he was in residence on the island.
III. James S. Russell papers, 1894-1899
Papers of James S. Russell, agent for John Murray Forbes in charge of commercial farming and timber operations on Naushon Island. Papers include correspondence, bills, receipts, accounts, leases, agreements, memoranda, inventories, and notes concerning tenants, sheep and other livestock, farming, timber, coal, employees, and other miscellaneous farm matters on Naushon.
IV. Volumes, 1824-1947
Four volumes of material relating to Naushon Island, including an account book, a farm record book, a sheep record book, and a surveyor's notebook.
Wastebook entries for sales of timber, 28 Apr. 1824-15 Dec. 1826. Account entries for sales to various individuals, 1825-1826. Unknown writer.
Records of farming on Naushon. Includes clearing and reclamation of farm land; experiments and records of soil treatments, fertilizers, and manures; woodlands; crops, seeds, fruit trees, and yields; construction of buildings, roads, wharves, and drainage ditches; record of workers and costs; livestock and wool sales; fish; memoranda and agreements with tenants; work on houses and wharves; and weather. Records kept by William W. Swain and John Murray Forbes.
Surveyor's notes with memoranda of expenses, 1837-1838. Includes survey figures and drawings for Uncatena, Naushon, Goat Neck, West Buck, East Buck, Narramassett, and Pasque Islands. There are some loose items (1884, 1910) of William W. Crapo, the son of Henry H. Crapo.
Records of numbers, tagging, purchases, sales, deaths, expenses, wool shearing, and wool yields. Unknown writer.
V. Additions, 1817-1896
Titled "Sketches of the Elizabeth Islands in 1817 & some extracts from Plymouth Records relating to the Indian names of those Islands & their ownership by the Indians by Judge Davis of Boston furnished by Isaac P. Davis." Includes two manuscripts (removed from frames) containing historical notes, Native American names, and extracts from published records, as well as one oversize sheet containing seven watercolor-and-ink views of the Elizabeth Islands and Martha's Vineyard from various vantage points, a chart (map) of part of the Elizabeth Islands, and a sketch of a fish.
Typed script for a play performed by members of the Forbes family, presumably at Naushon. Inscribed: "Waldo Forbes from his grandmother S. S. Forbes Feb. 8th 1896."
VI. Audiovisual material
Note: This series is CLOSED to researchers.
Naushon papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
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.