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King Family Papers, 1811-1896

Identifier: MSS 315

Scope and Content Note

The King Family Papers consist of the correspondence of various members of the King family, mostly of Eben Upton King, as well as some account books, diaries, visiting cards, and invitations.

Correspondence includes letters to Eben from his parents, Samuel and Hannah King,while Eben was at school in Lee, New Hampshire, and Eben's letters to them during that time. There are also letters to Eben from siblings, relatives, and friends, and letters from Eben to his affianced bride, Mary Louise Trow (Louise). Also included is a letter from Warren King to his mother (folder 12) with a comprehensive description of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

In addition to correspondence, Box 1 contains three diaries kept by Eben's wife, Louise Trow King, for the years 1875, 1892, and 1893, six account books, and one notebook containing a list of names and religious or literary topics apparently assigned to each. Two of the account books belonged to Mary Louise Trow for the years 1856 and 1860. Of the four remaining account books, three are from an earlier period, with entries dated from 1811 to 1824. One has the initials "W. K." inscribed on the inside cover, and also the name "Mary King, Danvers," However, there is no real indication as to the ownership of the books. The remaining account book probably belonged to Perley King, and is dated 1867.

The contents of Box 2 consist primarily of visiting cards and invitations, presumably received over the years by various members of the King and Trow families, but also include one folder containing many letters (1895-1896) congratulating Sue King, Warren King's wife, on the birth of their daughter.


  • Creation: 1811-1896


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketches

Samuel King and Hannah Goodale were married in Danvers, Massachusetts, on September 30, 1811. The vital records of Danvers, Massachusetts, record the birth of six children: Perley Goodale (1812); Henry Augustus (1813); Samuel Warren (1815); James Putnam (1817); Eben Upton (1828); and a daughter (1831) who died shortly after birth. The family was a wealthy one, and apparently had been so in previous generations. Samuel King is listed in the Danvers section of the publication, Rich Men of Massachusetts as being worth $50,000, "[p]artly [i]nherited." He is described as "a shrewd, money-making farmer." Ebenezer King of Danvers, (probably Samuel's brother) is also included in this list as having a fortune "mostly inherited," of $50,000.

Eben Upton King, the fifth son of Samuel and Hannah King, is the primary correspondent of the collection. Eben was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, on June 26, 1828. Born eleven years after his next oldest sibling, Eben apparently suffered from a variety of ailments, and his correspondence with his parents documents his and their concern over his "ill turns." In 1848, he was a student at Walnut Grove, a school in Lee, New Hampshire, owned and conducted by a Quaker, Moses Cortland. He attended this school until at least 1852, with frequent breaks because of poor health. Eben became a prosperous farmer and in September of 1864, married Mary Louise Trow (called Louise in her correspondence and her own diaries). Entries in Louise's diaries mention three children and indicated their respective birthdays: Hannah, born September 7, 1866, died in 1875; Warren, born August 1, 1870; and a third child, Alice, born March 13, 1875. (There is some question as to whether Alice is Louise's child, as she doesn't mention her birth in her diary entries from the time.)

King died on February 15, 1892, leaving a widow, a son, and a daughter.

Warren King, Eben's and Louise's only son, was born August 1, 1870. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1893, with a degree in electrical engineering. He became a manager of the Peabody Municipal Electrical Plant. He married Susie Baker in the early 1890s. Their first child, a daughter, was born in 1895.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



The King Family Papers consist of the correspondence of various members of the King family, mostly of Eben Upton King, as well as some account books, diaries, visiting cards, and invitations.

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


Six account books and the King family letters were purchased in January 1989 (acc. #88032). A letter describing the Chicago World's Fair was separately purchased in January 1989 (acc. #88031). Three diaries of Mary Louise Trow King were purchased in in February 1989 (acc. #88034).

Bibliography and Related Collections

Wells, John, H., The Peabody Story; Events in Peabody's History, 1626-1972, Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., 1972.

Forbes, Abner, Our First Men, or A Catalogue of the Richest Men of Massachusetts, containing a list of those persons taxed in the State of Massachusetts, credibly reported to be worth One Hundred Thousand Dollars, and upwards, Boston, 1851. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Accessed on May 21, 2015.

Papers of Ebenezer King, 1735-1860, MSS 0.630

Processing Information

Collection processed by Frances Malamy, October 2001. Updated by Nicholas Long, May 2015.

Processed by: Frances Malamy; Updated by: Nicholas Long; 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