Table of Contents
Inventory of the John H. Clifford Papers
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
John H. Clifford was an American politician and lawyer born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 16, 1809. Clifford is the great grandson of Gideon Howland. Clifford graduated from Brown University in 1827 and then studied law with attorneys in New Bedford and Dedham (Massachusetts) before opening a law practice in New Bedford. Clifford was a member of the Whig party, began his political career in 1835, and served in the Massachusetts legislature and senate before holding the offices of district attorney and then governor. He served as Massachusetts Attorney General from 1849-1953, and then served one term from 1853 to 1854 as Governor before returning to the office of Attorney General from 1854 to 1858). In his first term as Attorney General, Clifford prosecuted Prof. John W. Webster for the murder Dr. George Parkman. In 1859, the state hired Clifford to assist Attorney General Henry Philips in a case presented to the Supreme Court regarding disputed boundaries with Rhode Island. President Grant asked him to serve in Russia and Turkey, but Clifford declined. In 1867, Clifford retired from his legal career and became president of the Boston and Providence Railroad Corporation. Clifford died on January 2, 1876 in New Bedford.
Members of the Howland family were chiefly involved with mercantile activities and the whaling industries of New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1797-1890. Captain Philip Howland was born in 1819 in Dartmouth. Howland married his first wife Sarah Potter in 1849. Sarah died in 1853 and Philip married Patience Potter sometime after that. Howland died in 1866.
Members of the Hathaway family of New Bedford, Massachusetts, were chiefly involved in the China Trade as importers of tea, hemp, and silk and in various aspects of the whaling industry between 1816-1888.
Scope and Content Note
Papers in this collection date from 1809-1886, but consist primarily of John H. Clifford’s correspondence, legal, and financial papers. Clifford’s letters date primarily from 1862 when he was a Senator and deal with Massachusetts’ involvement with the Civil War, request for loans, introductions, invitations, and drafts of speeches to the senate. Legal and financial documents span the years 1832 to 1843 and include deeds, loan papers and shares for the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad Corporation and the New Bedford Social Library.
Howland papers consist primarily of account statements, tax receipts, insurance receipts and marriage licenses for the years to and relate to Captain Philip Howland and his second wife Patience Howland. Documents from George and Annie Howland Chase include their marriage license from 1866 along with account statements and tax receipts from 1866 to 1867. Papers for other Howland family members include an undated art project by Cynthia Howland, an undated receipt for a grave allocated to Isaac Howland, receipts for the Mutual Insurance Company for Warren Howland from 1849, and Ann H. Chase’s inheritance receipt from 1868.
Additional papers in this collection related to the Hathaway Family include Elizabeth Hathaway’s correspondence from 1808, Thomas Hathaway’s will from 1811, an 1809 marriage license of Howard Potter to Elisa Hathaway, and Sarah Potter’s reward of merit from 1830.
Arrangement of Collection
Information for Researchers
Access to Collections
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 186, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Materials in this collection were purchased by the New Bedford Whaling Museum on June 29, 1990 as part of accession B90-20.
Processed by: Cecelia Tavares, 2021
Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 2021
Chase, Annie H.
Chase, George E.
Dartmouth (Mass.)--History--19th century
Descendants' estates--Massachusetts--New Bedford
First Congregational Society (New Bedford, Mass.)
Massachusetts--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Massachusetts. Attorney General's Office
Massachusetts. General Court. Senate
Massachusetts. Governor (1853-1854: Clifford)
New Bedford (Mass.)--History--19th cantury
New Bedford Social Library (New Bedford, Mass.)
Old Colony Railroad Company
Summons--Massachusetts--Bristol County--19th century
Whig Party (Mass.)