Table of Contents
Edward Coffin Jones was born on Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1805. As a young boy he moved to New Bedford, Mass., and in 1824 became a clerk for Capt. Elisha Dunbar (1785-1839). By 1827, Jones had become a partner in the ship chandlery and whaling industry, remaining in business after Dunbar's death in 1839. Jones was part owner and agent for numerous whaling vessels including the ships Congress, Emma C. Jones, Governor Troup, andMilo, along with the bark Elisha Dunbar, etc. Thomas Bennett Jr. (1820-1898) became clerk for Jones prior to becoming a successful businessman with the Wamsutta Mills.
Jones first married Louisa Gibbs in 1835, but died shortly thereafter in 1839. He then married Emma Chamber Nye (1823-1852) in 1844 and fathered four children. Emma was born and raised on the island of St. Michael in the Azores and moved to the United States upon her mother's marriage to Thomas Nye Jr. (1804-1882). She resided in Fairhaven with her parents and attended school in Boston. Three of the children from Emma's marriage survived to maturity. Emma Chambers Jones (1847-1920) was physically frail and spent most of her life under doctor's care in Litchfield, Connecticut, and New York City, N.Y. Amelia Hickling Jones (1849-1935) remained in New Bedford and was involved in civic concerns. She eventually sponsored a camp and hospital for tubercular children at Sol-E-Mar, her property in South Dartmouth, Mass. Sarah Coffin Jones (1852-1891) married John Malcolm Forbes (1847-1904) of Milton, Mass., and the two had seven children: Margaret (1876-1899), J. Malcolm Jr. (1877-1878), Gerrit (1880-1964), Henry Stone (1882-1968), Stephen Hathaway (d. 1885), Ellen (1886-1954), and Amelia (1888-1979). Edward Coffin Jones married a third time in 1872, to Mary Coffin Luce (1840-1917) before he died in 1880.
Dominating this collection are personal papers and business records of Edward Coffin Jones from the years 1824-1880. His papers consist of correspondence, financial records, ship’s papers, plans, plats, and miscellaneous papers. His correspondence, spanning the years 1824 to 1870, is primarily business related and discusses prices and availability of oil, sales of vessels, reports from various whaling vessels, reports of activities of his vessels, banking activities in New Bedford, and activities during the Civil War of a New Bedford military company. Correspondents include Elisha Dunbar, Thomas Bennett Jr., captains of whaling vessels, and C. F. Winslow, a United States consul at Paita.
This collection also contains personal correspondence from Jones' aunt, Susan Gelston (1781-1866), regarding family and household matters. Aunt Susan ran Jones' household during the two periods when he was a widower.
The financial records, 1825-1871, contain accounts, bills, receipts, and lists of stock certificates. The accounts include real estate transactions, general merchandise, and household accounts especially for domestic help and their wages.
Ship’s papers date from 1831 to 1866 and include outfitting books, a bill of sale, correspondence, and a bond for caring for a foreigner for the ships Congress, Europa, Governor Troup, and Iris. There are also plans for the Jones house on County Street, New Bedford, 1851 and 1856, and a plat for land at Sol-E-Mar in South Dartmouth, ca.1845.
The miscellaneous papers, ca.1842-1880, include accounts for furnishing house, addresses of friends and relatives, a pew plan, dog licenses, lists of ships owned, list of bequests, and estate records.
The remainder of the collection is dominated by diaries and correspondence of women members of the Jones family written between 1843 and 1935. Papers for Jones' second wife, Emma Chambers Nye Jones, consist of personal correspondence and an account book concerning domestic help and their wages, 1843-1854.
Diaries of Emma Chambers Jones span the years 1876 to 1909, contain information about her health, living arrangements and companions at Litchfield, Conn., and at New York City, N.Y., where she lived in an apartment house; friendship with New Bedford, Mass., artist, Robert Swain Gifford (1840-1905) and his family; social and cultural activities in New York City; and her travels to a summer residence in Dublin, N.H. and to Europe. Her correspondence consists of letters from family members, ca. 1857-1858. Also included in her papers are charades, 1856-1875, which she and her sister, Amelia, performed for friends and a presentation volume of verses, 1871.
Diaries for Amelia Hickling Jones date from 1872 to 1935 and describe family activities; visits to Milton and Naushon, Mass., and to her summer residence in Dublin, N.H.; and meetings at and visits to Sol-E-Mar in South Dartmouth. Her correspondence, 1859-1928, consists of letters from a cousin and a friend. Also included in her papers are a memoir of Edward Coffin Jones, her father, written by Amelia in 1899; a play entitled Hope & Horror, ca.1870; and a memoranda volume of household inventories and expenses, 1911-1929.
Papers for Sarah Coffin Jones Forbes consist of correspondence, 1872-1891, mainly addressed to her sister-in-law, Alice Hathaway Forbes Cary (1838-1917). These letters describe family events at New Bedford and Milton; travel by railroad to Florida and the West; regattas and summer events at Naushon, Mass.; and travel to England, Scotland, and France.
Also represented by materials in this collection are various Jones family relatives by marriage. Papers for Reuben Jones (1776-1818), Edward's father, consist of correspondence, a deed and an estate record, 1811-1823. The correspondence is dated 1812 and consists of a letter to his brother, Daniel, regarding the death of their father.
Papers for Amelia Clementina Hickling Chambers Nye (1796-1872), mother of Emma Chambers Nye Jones, consist of personal correspondence and legal documents, 1822-ca.1885. Her correspondence, 1822-1848, includes letters to her stepdaughter, Virginia Chambers, and her husband, Thomas Nye Jr., written while she was in St. Michael, Azores. Also included are letters to her brother Thomas Hickling Jr. in the Azores and her daughter Emma at school in Cambridge, Mass. Papers for her husband, Thomas Nye Jr., (1804-1882), are personal correspondence from the years 1830 and 1831 written to his wife and family from foreign ports.
Papers for Mary Ann Hickling Ivens (1800-1888), sister to Amelia, consist of a memoranda volume concerning birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, and events of 1870 that were compiled between 1867 and 1870, as well as correspondence written in 1827 to her sister-in-law, Miss Nye.
Papers for Eliza Williams Nye Hathaway Dana (1830-1923), daughter of Thomas and Amelia Nye Jr., contain a journal regarding her trip to the Azores, 1847, correspondence, 1906, and a marriage certificate, 1854. Papers for her daughter, Grace Dana (1866-1956), consist of correspondence from the years 1906, 1935, and 1938. The Amelia Forbes Emerson (1888-1979), papers consist of correspondence, 1935, regarding the death of Amelia Hickling Jones.
This collection concludes with transcripts of original family documents, 1744-1937, compiled between ca.1950-1960 and genealogical material compiled in ca. 1897, ca. 1920-1960. Several of the former items relate to Thomas Hickling (1745-1834) and concern his business transactions at the Azores, 1774-1820, along with his trip to England and France in 1796. His son, Thomas Hickling Jr. (1782-1875), is represented by a letter, 1848, describing his business ventures. There is also a transcript of a travel journal by Caroline Pomeroy (b. 1794), relating to her trip to St. Michael, Azores in 1824.
The genealogical materials concern members of the interrelated Coffin, Cook, Forbes, Hathaway, Hickling, Jones, Nye, Starbuck, and Swain families who lived between 1577-1927, chiefly at Nantucket and New Bedford.
The miscellaneous papers include a will for Thaddeus Swain, 1835; a poem, ca. 1835; a copy of the "records of Friends Academy" between 1817 and 1820 copied in ca. 1870 and newspaper clippings, 1867-1950 relating to whaling.
A published work which may serve as a guide to the persons represented in this collection is Letter of Sarah Jones Forbes edited by Henry S. and Hildegarde B. Forbes (1960).
Arrangement of Collection
Sub-group 4: Amelia Hickling Jones Papers, 1859, ca.1870, 1872, 1874-1876, 1885, 1899-ca.1900, 1906-1908, 1911-1929, 1934-1935
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 72, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Removed to Photographs Collection
Carte de visites:
Edward C. Jones
Eliza W. Nye
Susan Jones Gelston
Tintype of costume party
Cabinet card: Annie R. Anthony, 1893
Photograph of church and cemetery, n.d., 2 copies.
Photograph of portrait of Thomas Hickling. 2 copies.
Postcard of Purchase St. in 1807 - Wall painting.
Removed to Printed Collection
Billhead of Edmund W. Miller, Boston, Mass., ca.1890.
Collins, Wilkie and Dickens, Charles. No Thoroughfare (Boston, Mass.), 1867.
Comiskey, Kathleen Ryan. Secrets of Old Dartmouth, 1963.
Dickens, Charles. American Notes, (New York, N.Y.), 1842.
Dickens, Charles. Somebody's Luggage, (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1863.
Disraeli, Benjamin. Contarina Fleming, (Philadelphia, Pa.), ca.1855.
Forbes, A. and Greene, J. W. The Rich Men of Massachusetts, (Boston, Mass.), 1851.
Friend's Academy. Historical Sketches. . .Prepared for the Centennial Year, 1876.
Kugler, Richard C. William Allen Wall, 1978.
New Bedford Lyceum. Constitution and By-laws, 1829.
New Bedford Monthly Meeting. Centennial Exercises, 1892.
Rodman, Benjamin. A Voice from the Prison, 1840.
Taber, Mary J. Just a Few "Friends", 1907.
Thackery, William M. The History of Henry Esmond, (New York, N.Y.), 1852.
Worcester, Samuel. The Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of Rev. Isaac Watts, (Boston, Mass.), 1832.
Removed to Objects Collection
Signal flag of Edward C. Jones.
Materials in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by the Henry S. Forbes family on 27 March 1982 and by Mrs. Weston Howland on 2 May 1984 and on 29 October 1985.
Processed by: Judith M. Downey, 1983, with later accessions processed in Jan. 1989.
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 17 July 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.--1825-1865
Amusements--N.Y.--New York City
Anthony, Anna Russell, b.1852
Apartment houses--N.Y.--New York City
Architecture, Domestic--Mass.--New Bedford--Designs and plans
Art--New York City, N,Y.--Exhibitions
Bennett, Thomas Jr., 1820-1898
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Cary, Alice Hathaway Forbes, 1838-1917
Cary, Edward M., 1828-1888
Cost and standard of living--Mass.--New Bedford
Dana, Eliza Williams Nye Hathaway, 1830-1923
Dana, Grace, 1866-1956
Diaries--New Bedford, Mass.--1872-1935
Diaries--New York City, N.Y.--1901-1909
Domestic relations--Mass.--New Bedford
Dunbar, Elisha, 1785-1839
Elisha Dunbar & Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Emerson, Amelia Forbes, 1888-1979
England--Description and travel--1801-1900
England--Description and travel--1901-1945
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918
Florida--Description and travel--1865-1950
Forbes, John Malcom, 1847-1904
Forbes, Sarah Coffin Jones, 1852-1891
France--Description and travel
Gelston, Susan Jones, 1781-1886
Gifford, Robert Swain, 1840-1905
Great Britain--Description and travel--1801-1900
Great Britain--Description and travel--1901-1945
Health resorts, watering places, etc.--Florida--St. Augustine
Health resorts, watering places, etc.--Portugal--St. Michael
Hickling, Thomas Jr., 1782-1875
Hickling, Thomas, 1745-1834
Hot springs--Portugal--St. Michael
Ivens, Mary Ann Hickling, 1800-1888
Jones, Amelia Hickling, 1849-1935
Jones, Edward Coffin, 1805-1880
Jones, Emma Chambers Nye, 1823-1852
Jones, Emma Chambers, 1847-1920
Jones, Mary Coffin Luce, 1840-1917
Jones, Reuben, 1776-1818
Massachusetts--Description and travel
Medical care--N.Y.--New York City
Medical services SEE Medical care
Naudain, Harriet D., fl.1900-1909
Naushon, Mass.--Recreational activities
New Bedford, Mass--Amusements
New Bedford, Mass.--Genealogy
New Bedford, Mass.--Recreational activities
New York (City)--Amusements
New York (City)--Description
New York (City)--Dwellings
New York (City)--Recreational activities
Nye, Amelia Clementina Hickling Chambers, 1796-1872
Nye, Thomas Jr., 1804-1882
Pomeroy, Caroline, b.1795
Portugal--Description and travel
Railroad travel--United States
Recreation--N.Y.--New York City
Scotland--Description and travel--1801-1900
Servants--N.Y.--New York City
Ship chandlers--Mass.--New Bedford
Ships--Equipment and supplies
Single women--Mass.--New Bedford
Single women--N.Y.--New York City
Sol-E-Mar, South Dartmouth, Mass.
St. Michael, Portugal--Description
Stewart, Sarah Malcolm Klebs, 1899-1957
The West--Description and travel--1880-1950
Travelers, Women--Mass.--New Bedford
Travelers, Women--N.Y.--New York City
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondents
Women--Health and hygiene--Conn.--Litchfield
Women--Health and hygiene--Mass.--New Bedford
Women--Health and hygiene--N.Y.--New York City
Women--Mass.--New Bedford--Social conditions
Women--N.Y.--New York City--Social conditions
Governor Troup (Ship)
Robert Edwards (Ship)
- A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama
- Performance: To Catch a Whale
- The Local History Guild
- Lecture: Exploring the Indian Mariners Project
- Manhattan Short Film Festival
- Lecture/Book Signing – Spying on Whales
- Echoes of the Panorama
- Lecture & Book Signing: White Fox and Icy Seas
- Great War and Azores Lecture
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast