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James Wingate Sewall Business Records, 1835-1916, undated

Identifier: MSS 921

Scope and Content Note

James Wingate Sewall acted as an agent for the Coe and Pingree lands in Maine and New Hampshire. The business records in this collection consist of correspondence, financial records, and legal documents dealing with the management of the lands.

SERIES I. Correspondence is comprised of letters received by Sewall regarding taxes, leases and permits, squatters, stumpage bills, legal matters, insurance, and matters regarding the estate of E. S. Coe (1814-1899). Frequent correspondents include R. C. Pingree & Company, the International Paper Company, Elwyn W. Lovejoy, David Pingree, and Thomas Upham Coe. Most letters contain a note with the date responded, or that a letter was not answered. There are two volumes of letters sent dated September 1904 to August 1905. The majority of these letters were written by or on behalf of James Sewall. Those dated after his death were written by Hosea Buck and David Pingree (1841-1932). There are a few letters of a personal nature, mainly relating to genealogy. This series is arranged chronologically.

SERIES II. Financial Records is organized into four subseries, each arranged chronologically. Subseries A. Checkbooks and Returned Checks include those checkbooks kept by Sewall, as well as checks that were returned as receipts after being cashed. Subseries B. Accounts, Bills, and Receipts are the financial records of the day to day business. Some of the receipts have been separated out by payee for those that did a larger volume business. Subseries C. Taxes are taxes on land in Maine and New Hampshire. Subseries D. East Branch Dam Company includes checkbooks and returned checks for the company.

SERIES III. Land Management is separated into three subseries. Subseries A. Scale Accounts includes the returns of scalers reporting on the board feet cut on various properties. Subseries B. “C Surplus” Land Dispute Records is comprised of papers relating to a dispute relative to the title of “C Surplus,” an extension of Township C in Oxford County, Maine. Edwin A. Jones filed a petition against David Pingree et al. in 1900. The papers include deeds (both originals and copies made while researching title history), depositions, correspondence, and family trees for the Peck and Coggswell families. Subseries C. Miscellaneous Land Management includes an oversized map showing townships in which David Pingree held interest, a memo book of applications for permits, and a general office memo book.

Books removed from this collection and cataloged separately are listed in Appendix I.


  • Creation: 1835-1916, undated


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketch

James Wingate Sewall was born to George Popham Sewall (1811-1881) and Sydney Ellen Wingate (1815-1887) on November 11, 1852 in Old Town, Maine. Sewall graduated from Bowdoin College in the class of 1877 with a degree in civil engineering. He was involved in multiple projects for planning and constructing sewerage works on the east coast. He taught sanitary engineering at M.I.T. In 1880, James and his brother Joseph established the James W. Sewall Company, an engineering firm specializing in the surveying, appraisal, and mapping of forestlands. He surveyed townships for David Pingree and Eben S. Coe for many years. Upon Coe’s death in 1899, Sewall took charge of vast tracts of timber lands belonging to various estates, including Coe’s.

Sewall married Harriet Sterling on March 27, 1883. Together they had four children: James Wingate, Jr. (1884-1946); Katherine Moor (1887-); Virginia H. (1888-1919); and Harriet Sydney (1896-1974). He died from complications of malaria on May 25, 1905.


11.5 linear feet (16 boxes; 2 oversized folders)

Language of Materials



James Wingate Sewall acted as an agent for the Coe and Pingree lands in Maine and New Hampshire. The business records in this collection consist of correspondence, financial records, and legal documents dealing with the management of the lands.

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence

SERIES II. Financial Records

  • A. Check Registers and Returned Checks
  • B. Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
  • C. Taxes
  • D. East Branch Dam Company
SERIES III. Land Management
  • A. Scale Accounts
  • B. "C Surplus” Land Dispute Records
  • C. Miscellaneous Land Management

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was donated by Pingree family heirs.

Bibliography and Related Material

Bowdoin College Library. Obituary record of the graduates of Bowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine, for the decade ending 1 June 1909. Lewiston, ME: Journal Printshop, 1911.

David Pingree (1841-1932) Papers, MSS 905

E.S. Coe (1814-1899) Papers, MSS 920

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Hornsby, May 2015.

JAMES WINGATE SEWALL BUSINESS RECORDS, 1835-1916, bulk 1891-1905, undated
Processed by: Jennifer Hornsby; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jennifer Hornsby.
Language of description
Script of description
The processing of this collection was funded by a gift from the Pingree heirs.

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA