Skip to main content

Andrew Merriam Putnam Papers, 1835-1852, 1947

Identifier: MH 193

Scope and Content Note

The Andrew Merriam Putnam papers document the life of this Danvers, Massachusetts, ship captain. The collection contains ships' papers, correspondence, accounts and receipts and a few papers of his first wife, Sarah Fowler Putnam. Papers for the Caroline Augusta (Ship), Cynthia (Bark), Eclipse (Ship), and Eliza (Ship) are included. Folder 7 contains both personal and business correspondence. Receipts and accounts are both business and personal.


  • Creation: 1835-1852, 1947


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketch

Andrew Merriam Putnam was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, on February 13, 1807, the son of Jesse Putnam (1778-1861) and Elizabeth Merriam (1784-1887). He was educated in the district school of Danvers, Bradford Academy, and The Nautical Academy in Portland, Maine, where he studied navigation.

Putnam sailed as mate with Captain Wilkins on the ship Lotos and with Captain Charles Wilkins, his brother, on the ship Francis. The latter Wilkins was murdered on the ship Eclipse in 1838. In 1831 he took part in the recapture of the ship Friendship from the Malays. In 1840, Putnam sailed as master and supercargo of the ship Caroline Augusta, of which David Pingree of Salem was the owner. After several voyages to Sumatra and the East Indies in this vessel for Pingree, he sailed in the bark Cynthia, also for David Pingree, who sold him 3/20 interest in her. He made his last voyage in her, returning from the sea in February 1847.

In 1850, he and others bought the brig Mary Helen and filled it with a cargo of goods to sell in California. They sent it around Cape Horn while Putnam went by steamer route via the Isthmus of Darien [Panama], meeting the Mary Helen on her arrival in San Francisco Bay. There were so many goods going to that port that the cargo was sold at a loss. Putnam later became interested in real estate and bought large farms in Danvers, subdividing them into smaller lots, building houses and selling them with mortgages to the Irish immigrants who were coming to Danvers in large numbers.

In 1836 Andrew Putnam married Sarah Putnam Fowler (1811-1843) of Danvers and they had four children: Sarah Elizabeth (1837-1906), Eugene Andrew (1840-1909), Harriet Adeline Pope (1841-1880), and Louisa Lancaster (1843-1861). His wife, Sarah, died while he was at sea in 1843. In 1844, he married Elizabeth P. Pope (1816-1906) of Danvers, by whom he had two sons: Jasper Merriam (1846-1846) and Charles Augustus (1854-1856).

Putnam died on May 6, 1881. The family received a letter from a group of Irish citizens, who thought so highly of Putnam, that they requested permission to march behind the funeral procession to the grave. Twenty-eight of them did so.


0.25 linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Andrew Merriam Putnam papers document the life of this Danvers, Massachusetts, ship captain.

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was donated by Mrs. Edward B. Clarke on July 1, 1957 (acc #14,190).

Bibliography and Related Collections

Clarke, Elizabeth Putnam. Andrew Merriam Putnam. Unpublished, 1947.

Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Essex County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Vol. I. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis, 1888.

Putnam, Eben. A History of the Putnam Family in England and America Recording the Ancestry and Descendants of John Putnam of Danvers, Mass., Jan Poutman of Albany, N.Y., Thomas Putnam of Hartford, Conn. Vol. II. Salem, MA: Salem Pub. and Print., 1908.

Log 1360 Caroline Augusta (Ship), 1840-1844

Log 1360 Cynthia (Bark), 1845-1846

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, August 2016.

Processed by: Tamara Gaydos; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA