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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Members of several branches of the Taber family were active as merchants and businessmen at New Bedford, Mass., between 1839-1887. Henry Taber (1795-1892) went to sea in 1809 and later became a master and part owner of several vessels. In 1832, he went into business as a ship chandler and a grocer, first with David Sherman as a partner, then with his son, William Gordon Taber (1821-1896) and son-in-law, John Hunt (d. ca. 1866). Henry Taber & Company established a packet ship line between New Bedford and New York and owned vessels which took part in whaling and freighting ventures. In addition, the firm acted as whaling agents. When Henry Taber retired in 1866, William G. Taber and William Gordon Jr. (1825-1902) continued the business as commission merchants and whaling agents under the name of Taber, Gordon & Company.
Two of Henry Taber's cousins, Francis Taber (1803-1887) and George Russell Taber (1821-1913), and Francis' son, Robert Holloway Taber (1834-1914), were coal dealers, merchants, and also served as agents to several whaling vessels at New Bedford in the 1850s and 1860s.
Records in this collection reflect the business activities of Henry Taber & Company; Taber, Gordon & Company; and Francis Taber, George Russell Taber, and Robert Holloway Taber between 1839-1887. Henry Taber & Company records include financial records consisting of a journal, 1857-1860, which contains accounts for Henry Taber's new house, payments to New Bedford Port Society subscriptions, and for such vessels as Ocean Wave (Bark), William and Eliza (Ship), and Henry Taber (Bark) as well as those vessels represented in the ship's papers series. Ship's papers, 1839-1861, contain agent/owner accounts, crew accounts, and Sea Letters for such ships as Good Return, Hillman, James Arnold, and Milton. Taber, Gordon & Company records consist of ship's papers, 1868-1887, containing agent/owner accounts, crew accounts, and outfitting books for such vessels as Callao (Bark), Eliza Adams (Ship), Horatio (Ship), James Arnold (Ship), and Niger (Ship). There are also protests and accounts of a court case for damages due to the collision of the ships Eliza Adams and Glenochil.
Francis and George Russell Taber records include financial records and ship's papers. The financial records, 1852-1862, consist of a ledger and a journal which contain accounts for their coal business and for their whalers Afton (Bark), Betsy Williams (Ship), Laetitia (Bark), and Rambler (Ship). The ship's papers consist of a Sea Letter for the Laetitia (Bark). Records for George Russell and Robert Holloway Taber contain financial records, 1856-1862, consisting of a ledger, journals, and a cash book for their coal and mercantile affairs.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 15 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 36: Taber Family Papers
Mss 127: Deborah Smith Taber Family Papers
A portion of this collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by the estate of Andrew Snow Jr., in 1919 and by Shirley Stanley on 15 February 1965. Existing records reveal neither the source nor the accession date for the rest of the collection.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 23 June 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 7 February 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1828-1887
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Coal trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Collisions at sea
Commercial agents--Mass.--New Bedford
Commission merchants--Mass.--New Bedford
F. & G. R. Taber (Francis and George Russell Taber), New Bedford, Mass.
G. & R. H. Taber (George Russell and Robert Holloway Taber), New Bedford, Mass.
Gordon, William Jr., 1825-1902
Grocery trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Henry Taber & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Hunt, John, d. ca.1866
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Merchant seamen--Missions and charities--Mass.--New Bedford
New Bedford Port Society, New Bedford, Mass.
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New Bedford, Mass.--Dwellings
Ship chandlers--Mass.--New Bedford
Ships--Equipment and supplies
Taber, Francis, 1803-1887
Taber, George Russell, 1821-1913
Taber, Gordon & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Taber, Henry, 1795-1892
Taber, Robert Holloway, 1834-1914
Taber, William Gordon, 1821-1896
Betsy Williams (Ship)
Eliza Adams (Ship)
Good Return (Ship)
Henry Taber (Bark)
James Arnold (Ship)
Ocean Wave (Bark)
William and Eliza (Ship)