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2024 Summer Fine Art & Antiques (Day 1)

Sat, Jul 6, 2024 09:00AM EDT
Lot 586

Thomas Lewis Family Letter Archive; Boston, Massachusetts

Estimate: $400 - $500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Archive of 30 letters and documents pertaining to the early Boston, Massachusetts family of Thomas Lewis (1750–1813) and his descendants. Thomas Lewis founded Lewis Wharf in Boston, having obtained the property from John Hancock in 1793. With his son Thomas III (1771–1824), he operated the merchant firm of Thomas Lewis & Son, sending Thomas III abroad to conduct business and ensure safe transport and sale of goods. 1st-20th Items:  Handwritten, signed letters from Thomas Lewis III, detailing a European voyage to Le Havre, France and Cadiz, Spain in early 1808, addressed to his father, brother John, and family, pertaining to the sale of goods and ships, relocation of crew, etc. Three additional letters of Thomas' date 1803-1805. 

21st Item: Letter of November 27, 1845 from Abiel Lewis (1814-1895) (son of Thomas Lewis III and Polly (Clapp) Lewis) to his mother, regarding his decision to leave Polly all his properties in his will, as she was "the only one that has done much for me; you trusted me with all your property and had I been unfortunate in my business you would have lost much if not all..." Abiel Smith Lewis continued in his father's merchant business until the late 19th Century. 

22nd Item: Typewritten letter dated August 28, 1914 from Archibald Hopkins (Chief Clerk, US Court of Claims) to Georgina L. Weis regarding the final dismissal of the petition filed to reclaim money owed to the Lewis family by the French Government for commandeering one of the Lewis' ships and cargo. In a letter (not included) to President James Madison in 1805, Thomas Lewis sought help from the US Government. "On 21 Dec. 1800, the Hope, Josiah Bacon master, sailing from Barbados to Boston, was seized by the privateer Le Patriote and taken into Guadeloupe, where the ship and cargo were condemned on 28 Dec. 1800. The Lewises claimed restitution of $23,736.37 for the ship, the cargo, and legal expenses incurred." (two United States Court of Claims, Claimant’s Petitions, 5 Nov. 1886, [MWebaC: Lewis Family Collection]; Theodore J. Pickett to Gustavus Clapp, 18 Sept. 1900 [ibid.]).

23rd Item: Typewritten document containing a short genealogy of Thomas Lewis III, along with transcripts of letters written by Thomas. Likely compiled by Robert Lewis Weis, 1945.

24th Item: CDV of a sketch portrait of Thomas Lewis III, referenced in the accompanying genealogy as having been done in France in 1802.

25th-26th Items: Two (2) typewritten copies of "Recollections of the Lewis Family of Framingham, Mass, 1850-1922, A paper read before the Framingham Historical Society, April 25, 1939 by the Reverend Frederick Lewis Weis". A note at the rear reads "typed and mimeographed by Robert Lewis Weis" 1945. 

27th Item: Hand-written document recording the Eulogy given by Rev. Samuel D. Robbins at Mary (Polly) (Clapp) Lewis' funeral at First Parish Framington, December 24th, 1865.

28th Item: "Journal of occurrences on a Journey from Dorchester to Warwick in Massachusetts" by James Pierce, May 1808. A detailed account of routes taken, house locations, farm owners as well as impressions of early 19th Century Massachusetts towns including: Roxbury, Brookline, Brighton, Waltham, Weston, Sudbury, Lancaster, etc. James Pierce (1754-1826) married Lydia Clap (1770-1814), relative of Polly (Clapp) Lewis.

29th Item: Document recording the approval of William B. Trask to the Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society, Dorchester, Mass, January 30, 1852; the meeting held at the home of Ebenezer Clapp, Jr. 

30th Item: January 19th 1838, document pertaining to a $500 land transaction between David Kellogg (1755-1843) of Framingham, Mass. and Sarah Hooper (widow of Nathaniel Hooper) of Beverly, Mass; signed by each. Reverend David Kellogg attended Dartmouth and Yale, before accepting a position with First Parish (Unitarian) of Framingham, which he held for 50 years. His daughters Nancy and Martha are named in the document as well.


All very good, age-appropriate condition, with staining, chips, toning etc. Document pertaining to Reverend David Kellogg is torn neatly along horizontal fold.

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