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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Members of the Gifford family of Westport, Massachusetts, were active in town politics and in mercantile activities from about 1802-1857. Adam Gifford, the oldest son of William Gifford, was born in 1782. He owned and operated a general store, sold goods at public auction, and also served as a selectman for the town from about 1815-1821. His brother, Abner B. Gifford, born in 1784, served as a justice of the peace for Bristol County and as a trial justice, transacted much of the local probate business, and was a member of the "Prudential Committee" for School District No. 19 in Westport, as well as owning partial interest in several whaling vessels. Abner died in 1847. Jonathan Peckham Gifford, Abner's son, was born in 1807. He owned partial interest in at least one merchant vessel and by 1843 had purchased his uncle's store. Jonathan died in 1882.
Materials in this collection reflect the political and mercantile activities of three members of the Gifford family of Westport, Mass., between 1802-1857. Adam Gifford's papers consist of incoming business and personal correspondence, 1821- 1854; selectmen's records, 1816-1821, encompassing a receipt for muskets, application for ammunition, and correspondence; legal documents, 1802-1838, including a deed from Paul Cuffe's heirs and the wills of Benjamin Devol and Susannah Russell, relatives by marriage; and financial records, 1815-1843. The papers of Abner B. Gifford encompass incoming business correspondence, 1809-1822; justice of the peace records, 1818-1833, including a volume of court case records and depositions relating to an assault on William R. Rotch; school district records consisting of an application and warrant for a school district meeting, a list of students in School District No. 5, and a list of "Prudential Committee" members and teachers by district, 1838-1839; legal documents, 1824-1845; and financial records, 1817-1840. Jonathan Peckham Gifford's papers consist of a bill of sale, 1849, and financial records, 1843-1857.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 43 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 98: Gifford Family Papers
Existing records reveal neither the source nor the accession date of this collection.
Processed by: Barbara B. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 28 November 2011; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 27 December 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
County courts--Mass.--Bristol County
Court records--Mass. --Bristol County
Cuffe, Paul, 1759-1817
Gifford, Abner B., 1784-1847
Gifford, Adam, b. 1782
Gifford, Jonathan Peckham, 1807-1882
Justices of the peace--Mass.--Bristol County
Massachusetts. County Court. (Bristol County)