1645-1948; bulk: 1798-1888
Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of papers, including family letters, of the Ayer, Channing, Eustis, Farwell, Spaulding, and Whittemore families, collected through their connections from inter-marriages.
Nathaniel Whittemore (1756-1839) of Peterborough, N.H. was married to Phebe Waite Whittemore (1757-1834), and their children included Lucy Whittemore (1795-1818), Phebe Reed Whittemore (1797-1870), and Eliza Waite Whittemore (1799-1871). In 1813, Lucy Whittemore married William Farwell (1783-1860), son of Zaccheus Farwell (1753-1811), and moved to Richfield and later Plymouth, New York. Their daughter, Lucy Whittemore Farwell (1816-1878), married Daniel Spaulding (1803-1877) of Hancock, New Hampshire. They had sons John. W. Farwell (1813-1835) and Nathaniel W. Farwell (1818-1886).
A daughter of Nathaniel W. Farwell, Mary Eliza Farwell (1845-1915), married James Bourne Ayer (1849-1910). His grandfather was James Ayer (1781-1834), his father was James Ayer (1815-1891), and he had an uncle Joseph Cullen Ayer (1811-1846).
Frederic Augustus Eustis (1816-1871) married Mary Ruth Channing (1818-1891), daughter of Rev. William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) and Ruth Gibbs Channing (1778-1870). Following graduation from Harvard College in 1835 and Harvard Divinity School in 1839, Eustis accepted a ministry in Philadelphia. He soon after returned to Milton, Mass. to open a boarding school, which he operated until 1862, when he purchased his deceased stepmother's plantation in South Carolina.
The Pemberton collection includes letters, deeds, diaries, account books, and other miscellaneous documents of the interrelated Ayer, Channing, Eustis, Farwell, Spaulding, and Whittemore families. The Whittemore and Spaulding family papers consist primarily of legal records such as the wills of Bezaleel and Daniel Spaulding and papers related to the estates of Zaccheus Farwell and Daniel Spaulding, as well as surveys, deeds, and indentures concerning land in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. Also included are family letters to and from Daniel and Lucy Spaulding, Lucy Farwell, Nathaniel Whittemore, Phebe R. Whittemore, Eliza Simmons, and Phebe Simmons. The Spaulding papers also contain letters written to Alphonso Spaulding from James A. Darling, who served with General Hooker's Division in the Civil War, and Edward Cudworth, who served with the 16th Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers, both describing camp life and military actions from 1862 to 1864.
Farwell family papers include letters exchanged by John W. Farwell, Lucy W. Farwell, and Nathaniel W. Farwell. The few letters written by John Farwell describe his life as a seaman and his foreign travels. The many letters written between Nathaniel and Lucy detail his activities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, her life at the Lawrence Corporation in Lowell, and other general family matters. Nathaniel Farwell's subsequent real estate ventures are reflected in numerous deeds, especially his interests in Lewiston, Maine.
Ayer family papers begin with letters of James Ayer and Joseph Cullen Ayer, sons of Dr. James Ayer and Thirza Mason Ayer. Both James and Joseph attended Bowdoin College and opened medical practices in Massachusetts, James in Monument Beach and Sandwich and Joseph in Boston. Their papers include medical notes, account books, lists of medicines prescribed and fees charged, and inventories of drugs purchased, as well as a diary kept by James for 1880 to 1886. Additional Ayer papers consist of letters and amateur writings of James B. Ayer and James B. Ayer, Jr., a scrapbook of Mary F. Ayer, and two scrapbooks related to Nathaniel Ayer.
Among the Eustis papers is an account book for 1846 to 1854 containing the financial record of the boarding school kept by Frederic Augustus Eustis in Milton, Mass.; a pocket diary for 1857; family letters; and the plantation records during his ownership and supervision of Ladies Island in Beaufort Harbor, South Carolina. These records include surveys of the property; orders issued by Eustis; lists of enslaved people with their names, ages, and duties; numbers of acres planted; and, following the Emancipation Proclamation, wages paid to the freemen.
Also included among the Eustis papers are cookbooks and medical remedy books kept by Mary Channing Eustis and a large collection of amateur watercolors by her daughter, Emily Augusta Eustis, who married John Amory Jeffries.
The Channing family papers contain a notebook describing 135 sermons delivered by Joseph S. Buckminster (1784-1812) between 1803 and 1811, including time, place, and sermon subjects, as well as an account book, both belonging to Rev. William Ellery Channing. Papers of his wife, Ruth Gibbs Channing, include a trigonometry notebook and several account books. The Channing papers also contain a book of manuscript extracts on astronomy and astrology compiled by the Channings' friend, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, educator, author, and friend of Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau.
Other items of note include four pages of scriptural notes compiled by Richard Mather (1596-1669), a record book of the Suffolk Bank for 1827 and 1828, a letter describing the Lewiston, Maine mills in 1865, and a collection of genealogical notes on the Whittemore family.
Due to severe mildew, some originals have been photocopied and discarded.
Gift of N. Brigham Pemberton, July 1977.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Ayer family papers, 1828-1948
James Ayer (1815-1891)
James B. Ayer
II. Eustis family papers, 1846-1930
Frederic A. Eustis
Mary Channing Eustis
Emily A. Eustis Jeffries
John A. Jeffries
III. Channing family papers, 1800-1881
Ruth Gibbs Channing
IV. Farwell-Whittemore papers, 1811-1910
V. Spaulding papers, 1798-1864
VI. Miscellaneous papers, 1645-1895
VII. Oversize papers
This series contains oversize papers removed from the other series in the collection.
Pemberton collection, 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.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Photographs from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives. A daguerreotype of an unidentified child has been removed and cataloged separately (Photo. 1.257).