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Towne Family Papers, 1630-1928, undated

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 958

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Towne Family Papers contain the business, civic, and personal papers of seven generations of Towne family members, including Joseph Towne (1661-1717), Capt. Benjamin Towne (1691-1772), Ephraim Towne (1725-1793), Jacob Towne, Jr. (1768-1836), Jacob Perkins Towne (1803-1889), Daniel Towne, Jr. (1810-1891) and Sewall Lake Towne (1817-1899). This collection contains the accounting books of David Towne (1744-1815), David Towne (1815-1879) and Lorenzo Perkins Towne (1811-1877). It also contains two family scrapbooks and genealogy research notes. This collection contains papers of other family members, including those of the Perkins Family. It has been divided into eight series.

SERIES I. Joseph Towne (1661-1717) and Capt. Benjamin Towne (1691-1772) Papers contain municipal administrative papers associated with their roles as municipal administrators. Also included are the papers of William Perkins in his role as municipal administrator. These include financial records, estate taxes and receipts, and property inventories; town meeting notes, motions, and correspondence; land surveys and proclamations; correspondence; and militia information. Found here is the survey and proclamation of the boundary between Topsfield and Ipswich, and settlement surveys. Contains the Perkins Family Genealogy, 1572-1702.

SERIES II. Ephraim Towne (1725-1793) Papers contain personal financial papers, inventories, and contracts documenting his business transactions, property, and legal affairs. Included are land and livestock inventories, a small accounting book, and accounting sheets with figures documenting cider sales. Also included are financial and legal papers mentioning his brothers, Joseph Towne (1728-1789) and Jacob Towne (1728-1807), and his father, Capt. Benjamin Towne (1691-1772), including inheritance receipts from Capt. Benjamin Towne’s will.

SERIES III. Jacob Towne, Jr. (1768-1836) Papers contain the civic administrative papers associated with Jacob Towne, Jr.’s roles of proprietor’s clerk, town assessor, selectman, and parish clerk. This series has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Municipal contains: town meeting notes, motions, and correspondence; financial papers including taxation information, bills, and receipts paid; voting lists and rosters, poll tax, and election results; education and school committee correspondence, surveys and reports, including information about the creation of the Topsfield Academy; charity papers; juror lists; land surveys, boundary proclamations, and surveyor’s correspondence. Found here are land surveys and correspondence regarding the Newburyport Highway. Also included are correspondence between representatives of Salem and Topsfield regarding involvement in the War of 1812 and request of payment for militia. Subseries B. Congressional Church of Topsfield contains parish meeting records and votes; congressional pew appraisals and receipts; parish finances; and preacher recommendations. The papers document the debates and legal petitions surrounding the use of the Topsfield Congressional Church Meeting House for continued municipal purposes.

SERIES IV. Jacob Perkins Towne (1803-1889) Papers document the Towne’s continued involvement in Topsfield governance, including municipal financial records; town meetings notes, motions, and correspondence; land surveys and estate tax information; and militia and military records. Some of these papers were created by Jacob P. Towne when he was a Massachusetts State Representative. This series includes the personal and administrative records of Jacob P. Towne and Dudley Perkins, including miscellaneous bills, accounting books, and fire insurance policies. Included in this series is the probate records for the estate of Jacob Towne, Jr. These records document the estate settlement and sale of estate goods.

SERIES V. Daniel Towne, Jr. (1810-1891) and Sewall Lake Towne (1817-1899) Papers contain the personal financial records, inventories, and contracts of Daniel Towne, Jr. and Sewall Lake Towne. Included are accounting sheets documenting cider sales and paid receipts. This series contains the legal papers documenting the transference of their father’s, Daniel Towne’s (1781-1845), mortgage deed to his wife, Nancy (Wyatt) Towne, after his death. It also includes correspondence by Nancy Towne.

SERIES VI: David Towne (1744-1815), David Towne, Jr. (1815-1879) and Lorenzo Perkins Towne (1811-1877) Accounting Books and Papers contain five volumes that document their business finances. Volume 1 and Volume 2 contain general accounting notations; Volume 3 documents the accounting for leather and shoe-making; and Volume 4 and 5 document the David Towne and Lorenzo P. Towne Company, which dealt in cider and vinegar. This series also contains two booklets documenting the probate records and dispersal of goods for Daniel Bixby by David Towne.

SERIES VII: Family Scrapbooks contain two volumes sorted and arranged by Edward Stone Towne (1855-1939). They contain family papers, deeds, and legal papers. Volume 1 documents the “controversy between Rev. John Emerson and Lt. Benjamin Towne,” and contains a stamp and currency collection. Volume 2 contains Perkins and Capen Family information.

SERIES VIII: Genealogy Research contains the research notes on Towne family genealogy and correspondence of Abbie W. Towne, a family genealogical historian. Also included are correspondence and interview records of Mrs. Sophia Towne and Nancy Towne.

Dates

  • 1630-1928, undated

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

The Towne Family was a prominent family of farmers, businessmen, and statesmen from Topsfield, Massachusetts. William Towne (1599-1673) and Joanna Blessing (1595-1682) emigrated from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England and settled in Salem around 1630-1635. William Towne purchased land in Topsfield in 1651 and moved family the next year (Towne 14). William Towne and Joanna Blessing had eight children, Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692), John Towne (1622-1672), Susannah Towne (1625-1672), Sgt. Edmund Towne (1628-1678), Mary (Towne) Estey (1634-1692), Sarah (Towne) Cloyes (1637-1713), and Joseph Towne (1639-1713). Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah were wrongly accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Hysteria, 1692; two, Rebecca and Mary, were put to death.

The oldest son of William and Joanna, Sgt. Edmund Towne (1628-1678) was baptized on June 28, 1628 at St. Nicholas Parrish in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. There is some debate as to when he arrived in Salem. He either arrived with his parents sometime in 1630-1635 or as an apprentice to Henry Skerry, a cordwainer, in 1637 (Hoover 103). On March 25, 1652, Edmund married Mary Browning (1637-1717) in Salem Village. The couple settled in Topsfield where he was a farmer. They had twelve children, Mary (approximately 1653-1717), Thomas (1655-1720), Sarah (1657-1706), William (1659-1750), “daughter” (1661), Joseph (1661-1756), “son” (1662) Abigail (1664-1717), Benjamin (1666-died before 1678), Rebecca (1668-after 1711), Elizabeth (1669-1726), and Samuel (1673-1715). In 1666, Edmund was appointed Corporeal of the Topsfield military company. In 1675, he was part of a committee that petitioned the General Court for permission to form a military guard to protect the inhabitants from raids while they worked (Hubbard 21-22).

Joseph Towne (1661-1717) was the son of Sgt. Edmund Towne and Mary Browning. He was born in Topsfield on September 2, 1661. On March 13, 1687, he married Amy Smith 1668-1756). The couple had eight children, Benjamin (1691-1772), Nathan (1693-1765), Daniel (1695-[date unknown]), Jesse (1697-1754), Joseph (bapt. 1703-bef. 1717), Amy (1704-[date unknown]), and Amos (1709-1747). Joseph Towne died in 1756.

Captain Benjamin Towne (1691-1772) was the son of Joseph Towne and Ann Smith. He was born in Topsfield on May 10, 1691. He was married four times, but only had children with his second wife. He married Catherine Towne (1689-1722), daughter of Jacob Towne and Phebe Smith on April 1, 1713. He married Susannah Wildes (1697-1736) on April 12, 1722 and had nine children, Benjamin (1723-1784), Ephraim (1725-1793), a set of twins, Joseph (1728-1789) and Jacob (1728-1807), Eli (1731-1800), Susannah (1733-[date unknown]), and a set of triplets, Edmund (1736-1813), Elijah (1736-1814), Ezra (1736-1795) (Towne 37-38). He married Mary Perkins ([birth date unknown]-1760) on May 2, 1738. He married Mary (Howlett) Clark ([birth date unknown]-1782) on April 15, 1761. Benjamin Towne was a prominent member of the community and held a number of municipal offices, such as town clerk, selectman, and assessor (Towne 27). He also served in the Essex County militia and was granted the rank of Captain on March 24, 1751 by Governor Spencer Phips (“Towne Family Papers” 8).

Ephraim Towne (1725-1793) was the son of Capt. Benjamin Towne and Susannah Wildes. He was born on July 10, 1725 in Topsfield. He married Sarah Bragg (1728-1800) on February 19, 1749. The couple had two children, Mary (1751-[date unknown]) and Ephraim (1753-1804). Like his father, Ephraim was active in Topsfield governance, holding the office of constable (Town Records 398). In partnership with his brother, Joseph, he was the executor of his father’s will and estate. Ephraim died on September 10, 1793.

Joseph Towne (1728-1789) and Jacob Towne (1728-1809) were the twin sons of Capt. Benjamin Towne and Susannah Wildes, and brothers of Ephraim Towne. They were born on March 7, 1728. Joseph married twice, first to Elizabeth Rogers ([date unknown]-1781) and then to Martha Baker (n.d.) on March 11, 1784. Joseph and Elizabeth had three children, Deborah (bapt. 1755-[date unknown]), Elizabeth, (1761-1850), and Lydia (1773-1850. Joseph and Martha had two children, Sarah (1785, 2 months) and Joseph (1787-1795). Joseph died on August 28, 1789.

Jacob Towne married Elizabeth Perkins ([date unknown-1800]) on April 1, 1766. They had one child, Jacob (1768-1836). According to the Daughters of the American Revolution, Jacob Towne "responded to the call for troops at the Lexington Alarm (Lineage Book 226). Jacob died in September 1807.

Jacob Towne, Jr. (1768-1836) was the only son of Jacob Towne and Elizabeth Perkins. He was born on July 27, 1768 in Topsfield. He married Mary Perkins (1768-1845) on July 19, 1788. The couple had three children, Jacob Perkins (1803-1889), Mary (1806-1883), and Ezra (1807-1882). Jacob Towne held a number of offices in local and state government, including Topsfield town clerk for 26 years and state representative for 7 years. He was also a selectman, justice of the peace, and coroner of Topsfield. Jacob was active in the Congregational Church of Topsfield and was parish clerk for 12 years (Towne 57). He died on March 31, 1836.

Jacob Perkins Towne (1803-1889) was the oldest son of Jacob Towne, Jr. and Mary Perkins. He was born on October 6, 1803 in Topsfield. He married Rachel Cain Towne (1814-[date unknown]) on January 29, 1846. The couple had no children. Like his father, Jacob Perkins held both local and state office, including justice of the peace, selectman, town clerk, and state representative. He was the parish clerk for the Congregational Church of Topsfield for 52 years (Towne 99). Jacob Perkins died on March 16, 1889.

Daniel Towne (1781-1845) was the son of Ephraim Towne (1753-1804) and Ruth Bixby (1747-1824). His grandfather was Ephraim Towne, who was the son of Capt. Benjamin Towne. He was born on April 27, 1781 in Topsfield. He married twice, first to Abigail Lake (1787-1822) on April 21, 1806, with whom he had three children, Daniel (1810-1891), Ephraim (1814, 2 months), and Sewall Lake (1817-1899). He married his second wife, Nancy Wyatt (1799-[date unknown]) on March 22, 1828. Daniel was a farmer in Topsfield. He died on June 23, 1845.

Daniel Towne, Jr. (1810-1891) and Sewall Lake Towne (1817-1899) were the two surviving sons of Daniel Towne and Abigail Lake. Daniel was born on March 11, 1810 in Topsfield. He married Fanny Sewall (n.d.) on October 23, 1834. They had five children, Daniel Freeman (1833-[date unknown]), Frances Abbie (1839-1856), Charles Sewall (1844-1853), Lucy Ellen (1845-1860), and Lois Ann (1847-[date unknown]). He died on October 12, 1891.

Sewall Lake Towne was born on September 27, 1817 in Topsfield. He married Mary Ann Severance (n.d.) on December 24, 1846. They had seven children, Mary Abbie (1847-1852), Otis Warren (1853-1860), Elivira Lake (1856-[date unknown]), Frank Herbert (1859-[date unknown]), and Laura Anna )1862-1866). He died on July 9, 1899. The brothers were prominent farmers and cider makers.

David Towne (1744-1815) was the son of David Towne (1715-1778) and Mary Moore ([date unknown]-1801). He was born on March 17, 1744 in Topsfield. He married Susannah Averill (1746-1836) on March 31, 1772. The couple had seven children, Ebenezer Towne (1773-1856), Sarah Towne (1775-1778), Mary Towne (1777-[unknown date]), David Towne (1780-1862), Sarah Towne (1782-[date unknown]), Joseph Towne (1784-1860), and Luke Towne (1787-1863). David Towne served in the Revolutionary War as a sergeant in Capt. Joseph Gould’s company and in Col. John Baker’s Regiment. His father, David Towne, marched in the same company (Hoover 365).

David Towne, Jr. (1815-1879) and Lorenzo Perkins Towne (1811-1877) were the sons of Joseph Towne (1784-1860) and Hannah Perkins (1787-1835). Their father was the son of David Towne and Susannah Averill. David Towne was born on March 2, 1815 in Topsfield. He married Rebecca Pike (1819-1899) on February 4, 1838. The couple had three children, John (1839-1862), Abbie (1841-1864), and Cynthia (1838-1899). He died on September 15, 1879.

Lorenzo Perkins Towne was born on March 24, 1811 in Topsfield. He married Lois Perkins (1815-[date unknown]) on December 26, 1838 and had no children. He died in 1877. The brothers were business partners, David Towne and Lorenzo Perkins Towne Company, which dealt in cider and vinegar.

Extent

5.09 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Towne Family Papers contain the business, civic, and personal papers of seven generations of Towne family members, including Joseph Towne (1661-1717), Capt. Benjamin Towne (1691-1772), Ephraim Towne (1725-1793), Jacob Towne, Jr. (1768-1836), Jacob Perkins Towne (1803-1889), Daniel Towne, Jr. (1810-1891) and Sewall Lake Towne (1817-1899). This collection contains the accounting books of David Towne (1744-1815), David Towne (1815-1879) and Lorenzo Perkins Towne (1811-1877). It also contains two family scrapbooks and genealogy research notes. This collection contains papers of other family members, including those of the Perkins Family. It has been divided into eight series.

Series List

Series I. Joseph Towne (1661-1717) and Capt. Benjamin Towne (1691-1772) Papers

Series II. Ephraim Towne (1725-1793) Papers

III. Jacob Towne, Jr. (1768-1836) Papers

  1. Municipal
  2. Congressional Church of Topsfield

Series IV. Jacob Perkins Towne (1803-1889) Papers

Series V. Daniel Towne, Jr. (1810-1891) and Sewall Lake Towne (1817-1899) Papers

Series VI. David Towne (1744-1815), David Towne, Jr. (1815-1879) and Lorenzo Perkins Towne (1811-1877) Accounting Books and Papers

VII. Family Scrapbooks

VIII. Genealogy Research

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks

Provenance

The cider and vinegar acount book dated 1844-1851 was donated by Mrs. George W. Towne, on September 21, 1942. The rest of the material was found in the collection, and was previously cataloged as Fam. MSS. 1016 .

Bibliography and Related Collections

Hoover, Lois Payne. Towne Family: William Towne and Joanna Blessing, Salem, Massachusetts, 1635: Five Generations of Descendants. Salem, MA: Otter Bay Books, 2010.

Hubbard, Edwin. The Towne family memorial: compiled from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Towne manuscripts, public and family records; for A. N. Towne. Chicago, IL: Fergus Printing Company, 1880. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/townefamilymemor00hubb/mode/2up.

Lane, Evelyn C. Towne Family in Early Massachusetts: Including Town, Townes, Towns : Vital Records from Printed Sources. Gloucester, Mass: E.C. Lane, 1990.

Towne, William B. The Descendants of William Towne, Who Came to America on or about 1630 and Settled in Salem, Mass. Newtonville, MA: W. B. Towne, 1901.

The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, vol. 1. Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1895. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/historicalcollec01unse.

“The Towne Family Papers, 1670-1862.” The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, vol. 18. Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1913. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/historicalcollec18unse/mode/2up.

Processing Information

This material was placed in acid free folders.

Creator

Title
Towne Family Papers, 1630-1928, undated
Author
Mary Frances Zawadzki
Date
December 2021
Description rules
Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Contact:
Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA