Table of Contents
Inventory of the Akin Family Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Seth Kelley Akin was born in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 1803. Around 1827, Akin moved to New Bedford, Mass., working under Samuel Leonard at the Nonquitt Salt Company. Akin married Roby Taber (1801-1898), daughter of Francis Taber and Lydia Russell Taber, in October of 1833. They had three children, most notably Francis Taber Akin (1837-1917). Seth Kelley Akin served as surveyor of lumber for the city until his death in 1888.
The Akin family continued its involvement in New Bedford. Son Francis Taber Akin (1837-1917) owned F.T. Akin & Co. of New Bedford, one of the largest dealers of coal, wood and paint in the area. Francis married Mary Haynes Macomber (1836-1915), daughter of Captain John Arnold Macomber, and had three children - Thomas Bryant Akin (1866-1951), Mary Alice Akin (1867-1959) and Charles Gardner Akin (1870-1953). Francis’s two sons joined him at F.T. Akin & Company, later forming Akin-Denison Company in 1916.
Thomas Bryant Akin’s son, Francis Taber Akin (1909-1961) and Charles’s son, Charles Gardner Akin Jr. (1900-1983) were active members of New Bedford industries and community organizations. C. Gardner Akin Jr. graduated from New Bedford High School in February 1919, going on to attend Dartmouth College (graduating in 1923.) He served as a member of the Scout Council, New Bedford High School Alumni Association, New Bedford Auxiliary Firemen, partner at Akin-Denison Company (a paint and fuel business), member of the First Safe Deposit Bank, and vice president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.
Scope and Content Note
The Akin Family History Papers reflect the genealogy and activity of family members and relatives, spanning over 150 years. Types of records include but are not limited to correspondence, newspaper articles, business records and genealogical notes, and family trees. Records are organized according to which family they pertain to - namely, Akin, Macomber, Russell, or Taber.
The most extensive collection belongs to the Akin family, containing correspondence, business records, and newspaper articles detailing the family's involvement and success in New Bedford. Multiple bills, invoices, and receipts of Seth Kelley Akin are found here. There is also business and personal correspondence in this section. Papers of note would be the book of sale for the ship Isaac Howland, May 1832, bill of sale for the sloop Jamora. This section also includes a picture of the Akin home in Dartmouth, built shortly before 1720, as well as the historiography of the Akin coat of arms, obtained through Halpert’s Inc in 1971, explaining the ancestry of the Akin family.
Charles Gardner Akin Jr. (usually abbreviated to C. Gardner Akin Jr.) is the most noted individuals of the collection, and so all his documents are contained in a separate subseries. Newspaper clippings from 1939-1955 detail his participation in city activities. Several flyers and documents of his work as president of the New Bedford High School Alumni Association are included in this collection, as well as documentation of his work as the vice-president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. The folder devoted to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society contains the society's by-laws, committee information for 1961-1963, and reports on the Museum Collections. Of note here is: the 1914 edition of Henry Plummer’s The Boy, Me, and The Cat: Cruise of the Mascot; and the folder regarding the Apponegansett Hall, a historic Quaker meeting House in New Bedford, as a piece about its beginnings was written for the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.
The Macomber family papers, regarding the paternal family of C. Gardner Akin’s grandmother, primarily focuses on the life of John A. Macomber. Policies of insurance for the ship Minerva and a bill of sale from Henry Taber for the ship Empire are included in this section. There is also a photograph of the house of John A. Macomber, located at 51 Seventh Street. His ancestry and genealogy are part of this collection.
The Russell family papers include comprehensive information on William Russell, the father of Lydia Russell Taber. A photograph of William Russell can be found in the first folder of this subseries. These records appear to be kept by Helen B. Akin, who typed a five-page paper of William’s descendants and her relation as Lydia’s granddaughter. A copy of the last will and testament of Timothy Russell, brother of Lydia Russell Taber, is included. The tree of William Russell has been removed to Oversize Materials.
Notes on the Taber Family begin with Phillip Taber, who left Watertown, England to join the Plymouth Colony. His descendants are then detailed further, especially William Taber, Roby Taber Akin, and Francis Taber. These notes seem to have been collected by Helen B. Akin.
The subseries regarding the Nelson Family contains the correspondence of Maud M. Nelson, who did considerable research into Benjamin Akin, a delegate of the Provincial Congress in Massachusetts. Nelson’s documents also contain a copy of “My Recollections of 70 Years” by Phebe Hart Mendall, Nelson’s grandmother. The piece explains some relation to the Akin family - Nelson is a descendant of Benjamin and Eunice Akin as well as John Cooke, the first settler of Fairhaven.
An article featuring the story of Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker heroine and English prison reformer, is part of this collection. A note included with the New York Times book review describes her immediate family and mentions that her brother, Joseph John Gurney, came to the United States in 1834 to campaign against antislavery. It is unclear whether the Akin family has any specific relation to the Fry family, or if this is included simply as a reference to the family's Quaker heritage.
The series Additional Materials includes an 1899 calendar from F.T. Akin & Company, as well as several books of the Quaker Hill series, published by the Akin Free Library of New York. The library was founded by Albert J. Akin, a descendant of John Akin and a distant relative of the New Bedford Akin family.
Arrangement of Collection
Information for Researchers
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 140, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Mss 36: Taber Family Papers, 1712-1901
Mss 61: Akin Family Papers, 1818-1956
The Old Dartmouth Historical Society - New Bedford Whaling Museum aquired materials in this collection as part of Accession #00.260.
Processed by: Emily Esten, 2014
Encoded by: Emily Esten, 20 August 2014
Akin, Charles Gardner Jr., b.1900
Akin, Charles Gardner, 1870-1953
Akin, David Kelley, 1799-1887
Akin, Francis Taber, 1837-1917
Akin, Francis Taber, 1909-1961
Akin, Robert H., 1904-1975
Akin, Sarah Russell, b. 1795
Akin, Seth Kelley, 1803-1888
Akin, Timothy, 1790-1873
Akin-Denison Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Apponegansett Meeting House (Dartmouth, Mass.)
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Daniels, Helen G.
F.T. Akin & Co. (New Bedford Mass.)
Fall River (Mass.)
Fry, Elizabeth Gurney, 1780-1845 SEE: Ralston, William Chapman, Mrs. 1836 or 1837-1929
Genealogical & local history
General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Gosnold, Bartholomew, -1607
High school yearbooks
Little, Bertram K., 1899-1993
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875--Estate
Media Research Bureau
Nelson, Maud Mendall
New Bedford High School (New Bedford, Mass.)
New Bedford Whaling Museum
New Bedford Yacht Club (New Bedford, Mass.)
Old Dartmouth Historical Society (New Bedford, Mass.)
Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company
Ralston, William Chapman, Mrs., 1836 or 1837-1929
Seabury, A.H. (Alexander Hamilton), 1806-
Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
Stearns, Amanda Akin
Taber, Frederic H. (Frederic Howland), 1883-190
Wilson, Warren H. (Warren Hugh), 1867-1937