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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Thaddeus Pickens, born in 1774, was a New Bedford, Massachusetts, shipmaster and commercial agent who sailed merchant vessels out of New York City, New York, and Boston, Mass. between 1798-1811. He sailed to such European ports as Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, as well as to the East Indies for Murray & Mumford, New York merchants. Thaddeus Pickens' brother, John Pickens Jr. (1779-1825), was a Boston, Mass., merchant who occasionally sold goods for his brother, although he never had Thaddeus in his own employ. In 1797, Thaddeus Pickens married Peace Bennett (1775-1812), of New Bedford, Mass. He was lost at sea in 1811.
Materials in this collection concentrate on the business activities of Thaddeus Pickens between 1796-1811. His business and personal correspondence, 1799-1811, includes letters to his wife, Peace Bennett Pickens, and brother John Pickens Jr., as well as numerous letters to and from his employer, Murray & Mumford and various ship brokers and shipmasters. Many of these letters concern the Tripolitan War, 1801-1805, and the trade acts passed by Great Britain and France during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, 1803-1815. Also included are several letters referring to the United States Embargo Acts of 1807-1809.
Complementing Pickens' rich correspondence are financial records, 1796-1811, consisting of a day book, ship's papers for vessels of which he was master or agent, insurance records, accounts current, and bills and receipts; legal documents, 1800-1806, including a ship's protest and power of attorney certificates; and a merchant signal sheet, ca. 1805.
Other family members represented in the collection are Thaddeus Pickens' wife and brother. Peace Bennett Pickens' papers, ca. 1803-1811, consist of incoming and outgoing personal correspondence, including a letter to her husband, and bills and receipts. The papers of John Pickens Jr. are comprised of business and personal correspondence to Thaddeus and Peace Bennett Pickens, 1800-1811.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 24 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Materials in this collection were given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Mrs. Elizabeth Taber Price on 4 October 1935 and by Mildred C. Teeling, 11 December 1965.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, with assistance from Helen Frasier, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 27 July 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 10 January 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1803-1811
Barbary Pirates SEE United States--History--Tripolitan War, 1801-1805
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial agents--Mass.--New Bedford
Europe--Politics and government--1789-1815
France--History--Consulate and Empire, 1799-7815
Great Britain--Commerce--United States
Great Britain--Commercial policy
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant ships--New York--New York City
Murray & Mumford, New York City, New York
Napoleonic Wars SEE France--History--Consulate and Empire, 1799-1815
New York (City)--Commerce
Pickens, John Jr., 1779-1825
Pickens, Peace Bennett, 1775-1812
Pickens, Thaddeus, 1774-ca. 1811
Shipping--New York--New York City
United States--Commerce--Great Britain
United States--Commercial policy
United States--History--Tripolitan War, 1801-1805
Samuel Elam (Ship)