Table of Contents
Inventory of the Stetson Family Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
The artist Edward Stetson was born in New Bedford, MA in 1872 and died in 1953. He was educated at Friends University and also attended Harvard University. He was associated with many people in the area through selling his work, and the New Bedford area was often the subject of his work. Many of his relatives were active residents of the New Bedford area as well, such as Eliot Stetson and Dr. Edward Stetson, a dentist.
Many members of the Almy family were also residents of the New Bedford area. Job and William Almy were associated with Horse Neck, while Charles E. Almy was involved with the New Bedford and California Mining Association. Meanwhile, the Cummings family had several members, such as William H. Cummings and C.H. Cummings, who were involved in the businesses of the area.
Several other important residents are also represented in the collection, such as Oliver Prescott and Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks. Oliver Prescott was involved with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society/New Beford Whaling Museum, while Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks’ family was involved with the whaling business and her mother, Hetty Green, was considered the richest woman in the world.
Scope and Content Note
The materials associated with Edward Stetson include a notebook that contains handwritten notes regarding sales of his artwork. Shown are the price the picture sold for, the buyer’s name, the size and name of the picture, as well as the date of the sale. Many names of the pictures given in this notebook are the names of parts of the New Bedford area. Edward had connections to others in the area as well as some further away, such as the photographer A. Marshall of Boston, from whom Edward received photographs as shown by the back of the photograph present in the collection. Also in the collection is the First and Final Account of the executors of his last will and testament, Oliver Prescott and Eliot D. Stetson, Jr. created in 1953, along with a Schedule of Property. Both of these documents show what happened to Edward Stetson’s property after his death. Edward’s relative Eliot Stetson was also an active resident of the New Bedford area, as he was involved with hosting the Thanksgiving Assembly that took place at Odd Fellows’ Hall in 1910. A biographical note from 1910 concerning Edward’s other relative Dr. Edward Stetson gives a brief overview of his life.
Many of the materials in the collection associated with the Almy family can give insight into the land of Newport and Bristol counties during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Richard, William, and Job Almy materials include numerous deeds showing the passing of the ownership of certain areas of land over time. Also included in the Almy materials are several land plans showing Almy property as well as surrounding properties in the counties of Bristol and Newport as they were in the 18th and 19th centuries. The passage of some of the Almy’s property is shown by a copy of Tillinghast Almy’s will from 1825. Richard Almy was made the administrator of Benjamin Wilcox’s estate in 1816 and received a highway bill in 1818. Job and William Almy can both be associated with Horse Neck, as Job’s name appears on a copy of the “Act of Incorporate Horse Neck” from 1802 while William’s appears on several surveys of Horse Neck from 1710 to 1715.
Charles E. Almy was involved in the mining business of the area, as his name appears on a set of New Bedford and California Mining Association By-Laws and on financial records from the Mining Association from 1849. Several family members had bonds established between each other, such as William and Humphrey Almy did with Richard Almy in 1838. A genealogy of Richard Almy is also present in the collection, showing how some family members were related to one another, though it is undated.
Several members of the Cummings family had numerous business interactions with other people in the area. The majority of materials in the collection associated with William H. Cummings are receipts from purchases made from others in the area. William also had a subscription to Harper’s Weekly from 1874 to 1875. Also within the Cummings family materials are a deed from Frederick Slocum to Charles S. Cummings from 1867 as well as a schedule of property from 1852, both of which show what occurred to some of the Cummings’ property over time.
The materials associated with the Willcox family include two pieces of correspondence between Jeremiah Willcox and Capt. Richard Almy, one piece from 1811 and the other from 1816.The piece from 1816 concerns Jeremiah’s mother, giving a personal touch to the relationship between Jeremiah and Captain Richard. Jeremiah is shown to be associated with Horse Neck through the inclusion of his name on a copy of the "Proceedings of Owners and Proprietors of a General Field Known by the Name of Horse Neck and Meadows Adjoining" from 1802. A deed between Samuel Willcox, Jr. and Wanton Brightman from 1805 can also be found in the collection.
The collection also contained materials related to the Prescott family. Oliver Prescott was involved with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society/New Bedford Whaling Museum. Prescott presided over the dedication of the museum in the Bourne building in 1916, the details of which were discussed in a Morning Mercury article. How the possessions of Ida C. Prescott were distributed after her death is shown by Estate and Partial Distribution documents.
Several important events and people in the history of New Bedford are represented by the notebook in the collection that contains vital records from 1698 to 1925, as well as newspaper articles. Two such articles from 1938 and 1982 are concerned with hurricanes that hit New Bedford in those years. The 1982 article contains pictures taken by native Lulmira Handy. A newspaper article concerning the death of Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks gives some details on her family, such as her mother Hetty Green who was known as the richest woman in the world, as well as on what occurred to the fortune her mother left behind after her death in 1916. Also found in the collection is a group of signatures of residents of New Bedford, such as former mayors Morgan Rotch and I.C. Taber. The type of business transactions taking place in the area are represented by the receipt for work done by James Reed created by H. Sanford in 1866. A letter from 1876 to C.W. Potter concerning the status of his store while he was away also gives some insight into the business-side of the area, while the letter from C. Howland to the New Bedford Administration written in 1865 gives insight into the relationship that the leadership of the area had with the residents of the area. A note written in 1849 certifies that Abraham Brown gives financial independence to his young son, Samuel. Furthermore, Mrs. Elwyn C. Campbell presented “Artists of This Vicinity,” which gives information on the local art scene of the time, at the Roundabout Club in 1921 and the Fairhaven Colonial Club in 1922. Another deed also present in the collection is one between Matthew Wing and Daniel Wing that is from 1775.
Arrangement of Collection
Information for Researchers
Access to Collections
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 164, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Removed to Photographs Collection
Materials in this collection were donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum on March 7, 2016 by Margaret K. Rodgers as part of Accession 2016.9.
Processed by: Courtney McCue and Melanie Fernandes, 2017/2018
Encoded by: Melanie Fernandes, 10 May 2018
Almy, Charles E.
Campbell, Elwyn G.
Cummings, Charles S.
Cummings, William H.
Decedents' estates--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Famly recreation--New England
New Bedford (Mass.)
New Bedford and California Joint Stock Company
Prescott, Ida C.
Robinson, Harriet Green
Stetson, Edward M.
Willcox, Samuel, Jr.