Table of Contents
Seth Kelley Akin was born in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 1803. He moved to Syracuse, New York, in 1824 to work in the Syracuse Salt Company in association with Henry Gifford (1801-1872). In about 1827, Akin moved to New Bedford, Mass. There, he started the Nonquitt Salt Company in South Dartmouth, Mass., and was employed by Samuel Leonard, a New Bedford lumbar merchant. Akin also became surveyor of lumber for the city until shortly before his death in 1888.
Seth Kelley Akin's son, Francis Taber Akin (1837-1917), grandsons: Thomas Bryant Akin (1866-1951) and Charles Gardner Akin (1870-1953), and great-grandsons: Francis Taber Akin (1909-1961) and Charles Gardner Akin Jr. (b. 1900) were active in the firewood, coal, and painting/paint supply business in New Bedford from 1860 until about 1956. These individuals were either the successors of or partners in the following organizations:
- 1850-1855: J. H. Perry & Company. John Howland Perry (1818-1883) and George Wilson (1813-1899). Engaged in the coal and trucking business and owned a paint mill.
- 1855-1864: Perry, Kirby & Company. Perry, Wilson and George Kirby Jr. (1836-1919). Engaged in coal and paint business.
- 1865-1874: J.H. Perry & Company. Perry and Samuel Cook Hart (1834-1894). Engaged in coal, firewood, and paint business.
- 1874-1894: Hart & Akin. Hart and Francis Taber Akin. Engaged in the coal, firewood, paint and paint supply business.
- 1894-1916: F. T. Akin & Company. Akin and sons, Thomas Bryant Akin and Charles Gardner Akin. Acted as house and industrial painters while continuing to sell firewood, coal and paint supplies.
- 1916-ca.1956: Akin-Denison Company. Francis Taber Akin, Thomas Bryant Akin, Charles Garner Akin, Francis Taber Akin, and Charles Gardner Akin Jr. Formed by the merger of F. T. Akin & Company with the Denison Company, which was established by John H. (1834-1899) and Henry Clay Denison (1841-1920) in 1850, and included George Wilson, former partner of John Howland Perry, as an eventual partner. The company owned two flour mills until 1896 at New Bedford and was also involved in the coal business. Akin-Denison expanded the activities of F. T. Akin & Company to include the sale of fuel oil and oil burners.
The Akin papers reflect activities of family members and their relatives by marriage during the years 1818 to 1956. Many of the materials relate to the six New Bedford business organizations that various Akins were associated with, either as successors or partners, between 1854 and ca. 1956. These business records encompass day books, sales accounts, orders, bills and receipts, and similar financial records; time books and other labor records; legal documents, such as agreements, leases, and deeds; incoming correspondence; price lists; clippings; advertisements, product catalogs, and business cards; and memoranda. Of particular note among these documents are a volume of formulae for paints manufactured by Perry, Kirby & Company in 1862; labor books reflecting the painting of many local houses and buildings by Hart & Akin and F. T. Akin & Company from 1877-1901; and clippings concerning strikes by coal miners and teamsters between 1898-1914. Records are most numerous for the firms of Hart & Akin, 1874-1901, and Akin-Denison Company, 1870-1956.
Another major portion of this collection consists of the papers of John Arnold Macomber (1812-1875), father-in-law of both Francis Taber Akin and Thomas Akin (1838-1920). Macomber was involved in the whaling industry as part owner and captain of several vessels from about 1845 until 1865. He then shifted his attention to the petroleum business and established the firm of Macomber, Tabor & Company, with interests in oil fields at Parkersburg, Virginia, and Parker City, Pennsylvania. His papers chiefly consist of correspondence, insurance policies, and other ship's papers for years 1845-1876 for several whalers, particularly the ship Hillman, and documents concerning the settlement of his estate by several individuals, including a son-in-law, William Henry Mathews (1841-1909), and Macomber's business partners at the time of his death, Edmund Taber (1819-1911) and Charles Henry Bourne (b.1847). These estate records date from 1875 to 1895 and include correspondence; account books, accounts current, bills and receipts, and other financial records; legal documents, including probate records; and memoranda concerning Macomber's property. Many of these materials concern expenses of his family at New Bedford and settlement of his business affairs in Pennsylvania.
Rounding out the collection are papers of Akin family members and their other relatives by marriage, 1818-1953. Seth Kelley Akin is represented by correspondence; account books, bills, and receipts; and legal documents, including several deeds and leases. Much of this material concerns his interests in the Syracuse and Nonquitt saltworks along with his other business affairs from the years 1818 to 1880. Papers for his son, Francis Taber Akin, date from 1858-1900 and consist of correspondence, checks, bills, receipts, legal documents, and a record of hours worked on painting jobs and his income from 1858-1864. Papers for other family members principally consist of personal correspondence. A final group of documents contains deeds, calling cards, a letter, and a clipping concerning various Akins and their friends, 1830-1870, 1953. Published works which may serve as a guide to the persons represented in this collection include The History of New Bedford and Its' Vicinity, 1602-1892 by Leonard Bolles Ellis (1892) and Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts (1912). There is also an Akin Family Genealogical Chart compiled in 1981 in the possession of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 61, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:
- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution
If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.
Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 140: Akin Family Papers
Removed to Photographs Collection
- Framed tintype of Henry Gifford, ca. 1835.
- Photographs of Akin family members, their friends and famous personages of era, 1874-1905, 1910, 1936. 29 items.
- Postcard of wagons, ca.1875. 2 items.
- Stereopticon view of Walnut St. Wharf, ca.1868.
Removed to Printed Collection
- Ackerman, John. "Better Than Walking,"Yankee, (Nov. 1966) pp.180-186.
- Acushnet, Mass. 75th Anniversary of the Town of Acushnet, 1860-1935, 1935.
- Briggs, James Franklin. An Obscure Fragment of New Bedford's History, 1935.
- Bristol County, Mass. Supreme Judicial Court - Cases: Bernard Cogan vs. Commercial Mutual Marine Insurance Company and E. B. Macy et al. vs. China Mutual Insurance Company, 1882.
- Charles R. Miles & Company, New York City, N. Y. The New Tariff Bill. . . , 1861.
- Dartmouth, Mass. Tercentenary Souvenir Booklet/Program, 1964.
- Denison Brothers Company, New Bedford, Mass. Bill heads and letter head, ca.1890, ca.1902. 6 items.
- Eastman, Ralph M. Some Famous Privateers of New England, 1928.
- Emery, William M. Colonel George Claghorn, Builder of Constitution, 4th ed., 1935.
- F. T. Akin & Company, New Bedford, Mass. Letter head, 1902 and calendars, 1895, 1900. 3 items.
- First Unitarian Church, New Bedford, Mass. Programs, 1958-1965. 3 items.
- Forbes, Allan. Some Indian Events of New England. . .,1934; Vol. II, 1941.
- Forbes, Allan and Eastman, Ralph M. Other Yankee Ship Sailing Cards, 1949.
- Forbes, Allan and Eastman, Ralph M. Town and City Seals of Massachusetts, 1950.
- Funeral program: "In Memoriam - Rachel Lloyd, Ph.D," 1900.
- Gartland, Emma L. Story of New Bedford, A Brief History, ca.1925.
- Gifford, Pardon B. and Williams, William F. Famous Fleets in New Bedford's History, n.d.
- H. S. Hutchinson & Company, New Bedford, Mass. Calendar, 1898.
- Hart, Francis Russell. The New England Whale -Fisheries, 1924.
Hegarty, Reginald B. List of Log Books. . .in the Collection of the Melville Whaling Room. . ., 1963.
- Hirschson, G. Warren. The Whale Ship Charles W. Morgan, 1926, 4th ed., 1938.
- J. H. Perry & Company, New Bedford, Mass. Bill head, ca.1860.
- Merchants National Bank, New Bedford, Mass. Ninety Odd Years of Banking, 1916.
- National Geographic Magazine, "Our Flag Number," (Oct. 1917).
- "New Bedford Harbor Signal Book," 1843.
- New Bedford High School, New Bedford, Mass. "Order of exercises," 1862.
- New Bedford Lyceum, New Bedford, Mass. Programs, 1864-1865, 1871. 2 items.
- New Bedford, Mass. Centennial program and souvenir book, 1947.
- New Bedford, Mass. List of local schools, teachers, etc., 1863.
- New Bedford Port Society, New Bedford, Mass., Program for Capt. George Fred Tilton Tablet Dedication, 1933.
- New Bedford Tow Boat Company, New Bedford, Mass. Bill heads and calling card, ca.1890. 3 items.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Mass. Bulletin from Johnny Cake Hill, Autumn, 1964; Winter, 1965; Summer, 1965; Winter, 1965-1966.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Mass. Historical Sketches, No. 14, 1906; No. 19, 1908; No. 36, 1912, reprint 1934; No. 51, 1921; No. 53, 1924 (3 copies); No. 55, 1931; No. 56; 1931; No. 64, 1934; No. 70, 1940; reprint of Nos. 15 & 23, 1963.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Mass. List of officers and committee members, 1931-1932.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Mass. Program for opening of the addition to the Museum, 1935.
- Pease, Zephaniah W., ed. Life in New Bedford a Hundred Years Ago, 1922, 1940 ed.
- Reynolds Printing, New Bedford, Mass. Down to the Sea for Fish/New Bedford Fishing Fleet, 1939.
- Sanford & Kelley, New Bedford, Mass. Interesting Statistics. . ., 1893.
- Stackpole, Edouard A. Captain Prescott and the Opium Smuggler, 1954.
- State Street Trust Company, Boston, Mass. Other Industries of New England. . ., 1924.
- State Street Trust Company, Boston, Mass. Whale Fishery of New England. . ., 1915.
- Whaling Film Corp., New Bedford, Mass. Program for World Premiere of Elmer Clifton's "Down to the Sea in Ships", 1922.
Removed to Broadside Collection
- J. H. Perry & Company, New Bedford, Mass. Advertisement and notice, ca.1865, 1869.
- Notice of Trustees Sale of producing oil wells and land in Pennsylvania, 1885.
Materials in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Charles Gardner Akin Jr. between September 1977 and March 1981. Additional material was given by Barbara Groves on 21 November 1986.
Processed by: Judith Downey, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 8 June 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1827-1895
Account books--South Dartmouth, Mass.--1830-1831
Account books--Syracuse, N. Y.--1824-1827
Akin -Denison Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Akin, Annie Thornton Macomber, 1840-1928
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, Helen B., 1834-1927
Akin, Mary H. Macomber, 1836-1915
Akin, Peleg Peckham, 1832-1903
Akin, Rebecca B. Howes, fl.1873-1887
Akin, Seth Kelley, 1803-1888
Akin, Thomas Bryant, 1866-1951
Akin, Thomas III, 1797-1844
Akin, Thomas, 1838-1920
Anthracite Coal Strike, 1897
Anthracite Coal Strike, 1902
Anthracite Coal Strike, 1922
Anthracite Coal Strike, 1925-1926
Bourne, Charles Henry, b.1847
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Business records--Pa.--Parker City
Coal trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Commission merchants--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' family maintenance--Mass.--New Bedford
Denison, Henry Clay, 1841-1920
Denison, John H., 1834-1899
Distribution of decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Enamel Paints SEE Painting, Industrial
Executors and administrators--Mass.--New Bedford
F. T. Akin & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Food prices--Mass.-New Bedford
Fuel trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Gifford, Henry, 1801-1872
Hart & Akin, New Bedford, Mass.
Hart, Samuel Cook, 1834-1894
Insurance, Marine--Mass.--New Bedford--Policies
J. H. Perry & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Kelley, Hannah Peckham Akin, 1828-1872
Kirby, George Jr., 1836-1919
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875
Macomber, John Arnold, 1812-1875--Estate
Macomber, Taber & Company, Parker City, Pa.
Mathews, William Henry, 1841-1909
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New Bedford, Mass.--Officials and employees
Nonquitt Salt Company, South Dartmouth, Mass.
Oil and gas leases--Pa.--Parker City
Oil fields--Pa.--Equipment and supplies
Oil storage tanks
Paint industry and trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Painters, Industrial--Mass.--New Bedford
Painting, Industrial--Mass.--New Bedford
Parker City, Pa.
Parker City, Pa.--Industries
Parker's Landing, Pa. SEE Parker City, Pa.
Perry, John Howland, 1818-1883
Perry, Kirby & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Petroleum industry and trade--Pa.--Parker City
Petroleum industry and trade--Pa.--Parker City--Equipment and supplies
Petroleum products--Prices--Pa.--Parker City
Probate records--Mass.--New Bedford
Salt industry and trade--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Salt industry and trade--Mass.--South Yarmouth
Salt industry and trade--N.Y.--Syracuse
Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining--Pa.
Strikes and lockouts--Transport workers--Mass.--New Bedford
Syracuse Salt Company, Syracuse, N. Y.
Syracuse, N. Y.--Industries
Taber, Edmund, 1819-1911
Transport workers--Mass.--New Bedford
Wilson, George, 1813-1899
Wood as fuel--Mass.--New Bedford
Alexander Coffin (Ship)
Mechanics Own (Ship)
Morning Star (Bark)
Two Brothers (Bark)
- Lectures: 28th Annual Sailors’ Series
- The Second Half Daytime Lecture Series
- The Local History Guild
- Lecture: Where the Land Meets the Sea
- Nautical Antiques Show
- Scrimshaw Weekend
- Lecture: We Account the Whale Immortal
- A Conversation with Gloria Steinem
- New Bedford Tourism Summit
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Historic Women of the South Coast