A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 4

From Sally Cobb Paine
Paine, Sally Cobb RTP
Taunton Juany. 24 1781 My Dear,

Joe Set out for Boston in morning with Load of potatoes which I hope go Safe. I Should have wrote befor now but I have expected you home every day this week past. Stupid and unfeeling as I am yet I am not with out my wants. I am in want of a peace of apron tape their not any to be had here & paper pins I can buy pins for 2/6 hard money paper but I Suppos they are Cheaper in Boston. When Joe Comes home I wish you would Send Some fresh fish Long it would not be a miss to buy Something fresh we cant get any thing here. You wrote me the Butter was Come if you have open’d it I should be Glad of Sum of it to Last till we get to Boston if you think best. Is the vessel got in that you expected Some thing in dont Say She is taken. Joe Leads horse down for you to Come home which I hope you will this week. Give my kind Love to Mr. Greenleafs family I want much to know how Eunice1 does & when Katy is to be married2 I hope it will be before I go to Boston.3 Our Sweet Little Polly almost goes alone. Our family are pretty well though you have never enquire after them.

I am your affectinate Stupid affectinate S Paine

RC ; addressed: “To the honble. Robert T. Paine Esqr. Boston”; endorsed.


Eunice Greenleaf (1762–1803), RTP’s youngest niece. She married the merchant William Prentiss in 1790.


Katharine Greenleaf married Dr. Joseph Wanton Rhodes. The exact date is uncertain, as the First Church records in Boston give Nov. 28, 1780, for the marriage, but Boston vital records give Dec. 13, 1780, for the intentions. Dr. Rhodes died in Dec. 1793, and on Jan. 8, 1794, Greenleaf’s New York Journal and Patriotic Register, the newspaper edited by his brother-in-law Thomas Greenleaf, reported that “he justly sustained the character of an affectionate husband, a tender parent, a skillful physician, a good neighbour, a true patriot, and an honest man.”

142 3.

On Jan. 1, 1781, RTP noted in his diary that “this morning at 5 oClock Porter set out with my Waggon laden wth. books & household goods for Boston.” RTP himself left on Jan. 9 to attend court, while Joseph Porter shuttled the wagon back and forth several times during this month and the next. Finally, on Mar. 26, RTP recorded that the family was “preparing to move to Boston” and the next day, “we Mrs. Paine & family set out & rode to Keith there put up.” They got into Boston the next day, spending the night at “Brother Greenleafs” and then finally on Mar. 29 spent the day “getting things into House.”

Appointment of Substitutes in Confiscation Cases
January 1781

I RTP Esqr. A.G. for the Cmnwth. of Massats. by virtue of the Law of the Law for Confiscating the Estates of certain Persons commonly called Absentees do hereby Substitute & appoint J.P: J.H: & S.T:1 or either of them in my place and stead and to the use and behoof of the said Cmnwlth. to recieve Seizure & Possession from the Shff. of sd. County to all & singular the Estates late of Certain Absentees lying in the County of Middlesex in the said State lately belonging to Certain Persons called absentees upon which Judgment was rendered at the Inf. Ct. of Cmn. Pleas holden at Cambridge in sd. county on Decr. last past the last Ss. of Novr. last past on behalf of sd. Cmnwlth. to have seized Possessions thereof Wit. my hand & Seal, this blank day of Jany. 1781.

Absentees in Co: Cumb. whose Estates are returned

Francis Waldo

Thos. Oxnard

Jeremh. Pote mov. to Hal.

Thos. Wyer mov. to Hal

Jona. Sewal

John Martin mov: N.York

Arthur Savage

Timo. Prout

Thos. Colson. merch. after Lex:

James Wildridge

Thos. Ross. mov.

John Wiswal

Wm. Brown.

Wm. Tyng


Francis Skinner

Saml. Waterhouse

Isaac Royal



The governor appointed James Prescott, Joseph Hosmer, and Samuel Thatcher as the local substitutes in Middlesex County. For the full list of committees in the various counties, see the Massachusetts Spy, Mar. 29, 1781.