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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
John Hawes (1768-1824) of New Bedford and Fairhaven, Massachusetts, was involved in many occupations during his lifetime. He began his active business career in 1787 as a master and part owner of small coasting vessels and by 1793 was trading with European merchants. He later had charge of a shipping agency in Dunkirk, France in company with William Rotch Jr. of New Bedford, Thomas Macy of Nantucket, and Jeremiah Winslow of Portland. Due to the French Revolution operations ceased; John Hawes returned to New Bedford and commenced ship building in 1803. In 1808, he became a justice of the peace for Bristol County, Mass. He served in this capacity until 1814 when he was appointed Collector of the port for the United States Custom House in New Bedford. At this time he sold his interest in shipping to his son John Alexander Hawes (1795-1827). John Hawes Sr. served as Collector until his death in 1824.
John Hawes married his first wife Mercy Taber Hawes (1766-1803) in 1792 and his second wife Mary Tallman Willis Read Hawes (1769-1858) in 1804. He had a total of seven children. Hawes was a Methodist who donated the land and timber for the first Methodist church in Acushnet, Mass., in 1805.
Papers in this collection reflect the activities of the Hawes family of New Bedford and Fairhaven, Mass. between 1789-1910. The material concentrates on John Hawes and his various occupations. His personal correspondence, 1809-1818, consists of letters to his son, John Alexander Hawes, and various friends. Hawes’ business records, 1789-1824, concern the period when he was involved as a master and merchant in shipping and shipbuilding. These materials include correspondence, 1803-1824; financial records, 1797-1813; ship building records, 1803-1815; ship's papers, 1797-1815; and bills and receipts, 1789-1822. His papers also contain some personal legal documents, 1810-1825, including leases, jury of inquest report and a notice of his own estate. Hawes' duties as a justice of the peace are reflected by court-dockets and marriage records, 1808-1813; case files, 1811-1819; estate records, 1796-1817; power of attorney certificates and agreements, 1810-1822. His Custom House records, 1808-1824, include correspondence, 1808-1824; search permits and other legal documents, 1813-1822; records for establishment, provisions and repairs of Bird Island and Gay Head Lighthouses, 1816-1823; checks and bills and receipts,1813-1824.
Also included among his papers are genealogical notes tracing the family's English origins, compiled for William T. Wardwell and James Anderson Hawes in 1909 and 1910.
Hawes' papers and records in this collection are supplemented by business and personal correspondence and ship's papers of his son, John Alexander Hawes, dating from 1818-1827. Also represented by personal and similar papers in the collection are Mercy Taber Hawes, Mary Hawes Wardwell (b.1799), one of John Hawes' daughters, and Thomas Taber (fl. 1816), a nephew.
Materials in the Hawes Collection have been organized into sub-groups representing the various individuals. The sub-groups have been listed in the inventory chronologically by the person's date of birth. Correspondence is arranged within each year by the name of the writer. Other papers, organized into series by the type of document, are arranged in chronological order except for the ship's papers, which are grouped alphabetically by name of vessel. A published work which may serve as a guide to the persons represented in this collection is Old Dartmouth Historical Sketch #22 -- John Hawes, by Rebecca William Hawes, 1908.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 11 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
Removed to Photographs Collection
- Hathaway residence, Elm and Purchase St., New Bedford. Stereopticon view, n.d.
- Parker's wharf and Fish Island. Stereopticon, n.d.
Removed to Objects Collection
- Post card of Gay Head Lighthouse.
The major part of this collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Rebecca William Hawes on 27 Oct. 1919. Other materials in this collection were donated to the Society on 20 Sept. 1978 by Clarissa Wardwell Pell.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 19 June 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 03 January 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1809-1813
Bird Island Lighthouse, Mass.
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
County courts--Mass.--Bristol County
Court calendars--Mass.--Bristol County
Court records--Mass.--Bristol County
Courts, County SEE County courts
Customs administration--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Gay Head Lighthouse, Mass.
Hawes, John Alexander, 1795-1827
Hawes, John, 1768-1824
Hawes, Mercy Taber, 1766-1803
Insurance, Marine--Mass.--New Bedford
Inventories of decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Justices of the peace--Mass.--Bristol County
Massachusetts. County Court. (Bristol County)
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Public records--Mass.--New Bedford
Registers of births, etc.--Mass.--Bristol County
Ship-building industry SEE Shipyards
Taber, Thomas, fl. 1816
United States. Custom House, New Bedford, Mass.
Wardwell, Mary Hawes, b. 1799
Reuben & Eliza (Brig)