Larkin Papers – MS010

Larkin Papers – MS010

Provenance: The donor’s great-grandfather was Samuel Larkin, son-in-law of Joshua Wentworth. The papers were titled the Larkin Papers because the donor’s grandfather, Thomas O. Larkin is credited with having collected them. The collection was inventoried once before in 1983 by Charlyn Ellis.

Sources: Gift of Alice Larkin Toulmin, 1957

Citation: Larkin Papers, MS010, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 2 Hollinger Box (1 linear foot)

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Carolyn Eastman in 1990, revised by Susan Stowe Kindstedt in 2006

Related: The Peirce Papers, also a gift of Alice Larkin Toulmin.


Papers of Hugh Hall Wentworth and Joshua Wentworth: Correspondence, shipping papers (including protests and testimonies of lost cargo), deeds, legal agreements, bills and receipts, and military papers from the Revolutionary War.

Scope and Content

The Larkin Papers are divided into three subgroups: the Hugh Hall Wentworth Papers, the Joshua Wentworth Papers, and a group of miscellaneous papers whose relationship to the first two groups could not be determined.

The Hugh Hall Wentworth Papers consist almost entirely of business and personal correspondence between 1753 and 1768. These letters discuss family matters, such as the death of Hugh’s son Jack, but more often are on the subject of the shipping business. Also included are some shipping papers. Hugh Hall Wentworth was a partner in the firm of Davenport and Wentworth; the correspondence (1757-1760) addresses to this firm in contained in a subgroup. The correspondence of the firm Montgomery and Wentworth (1766-1768) and an agreement for the firm to have carpentry work done is also separated into its own subgroup. The letters in these two groups are concerned with the shipping business.

The Joshua Wentworth Papers, spanning the period 1770 to 1798, are divided into five series. The first is Joshua’s business correspondence, concerned with shipping and commissary work and later, with the New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolution. The most frequent correspondent is Samuel Breck, with whom Joshua conducted business with France during the Revolution. The second series contains shipping papers (agreements, a letter of introduction, etc); the third series contains the documents from 1778 to 1783 when Joshua acted as supplier to the New Hampshire Regiments, and reflect a business aspect of the military. The fourth series contains estate papers from Joshua’s dealings with David and John Jeffries, for whom he acted as estate lawyer. The last series includes miscellaneous legal documents and bills and receipts.

The third subgroup, Miscellaneous, contains items which do not appear to belong to either the Hugh Hall Wentworth Papers or the Joshua Wentworth Papers.

Biographical/Historical Note

Hugh Hall Wentworh (1740?-1774), son of John and Sarah Hall Wentworth, was a merchant in Portsmouth with interest in shipping. He was a partner in the firm of Davenport and Wentworth, trading with agents in Boston, New York, Antigua, London, Jamaica, and other port cities. The firm changed to Montgomery and Wentworth when Davenport sold his stock in 1766. Hugh’s sister Mary married Samuel Appleton, with whom Hugh corresponds in these papers. Hugh married Penelope Jepson, daughter of John Jepson of Newport, Rhode Island; they had three children, Richard, Elizabeth, and Ann Neveson Wentworth, who married Captain John Wardrobe. Hugh was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Grenada in about 1768 and left Portsmouth. His wife died in 1771, and Hugh died in 1774 in Grenada.

Joshua Wentworth (1742-1813), son of Daniel and Elizabeth Frost Wentworth, probably assumed the business of High Hall Wentworth in about 1770. Joshua was also commissary and a Naval agent for Portsmouth. He married Sarah Pierce and had fifteen children, only four of whom survived to adulthood. His daughter Ann Jaffrey Wentworth married Samuel Larkin. During the Revolution, Joshua acted as colonel of the First New Hampshire Regiment and supplied the regiments with clothing and other supplies. He and Samuel Breck worked with the French Consul, supplying lumber, bricks and other supplies. In 1779, Joshua became a delegate in the New Hampshire State Senate, where he served for four years. He also settled estates for individuals such as George Jaffrey and John Jeffries. He was appointed Supervisor of New Hampshire by George Washington in 1791.

Series List

I. Hugh Hall Wentworth Papers

A. Correspondence, 1753-1767

B. Shipping, 1759-1767

1. Davenport and Wentworth, 1757-1766

2. Montgomery and Wentworth, 1766-1768

II. Joshua Wentworth Papers, 1770-1798

A. Correspondence, 1770-1798

B. Shipping, 1773-1783

C. Military, 1778-1783

D. David and John Jeffries, 1778-1796

E. Miscellaneous, 1772-1798

III. Miscellaneous, 1745-1814


I. Hugh Hall Wentworth Papers

A. Correspondence, 1753-1767

Letter from relatives like Hugh Hall, Samuel Appleton, and John Jepson discuss both family and business matters. Correspondence with businessmen, including Benjamin Faneuil and Henry Lord of Boston, Devonshire and Reeves of Bristol, and other agents and ships’ captains. Letters discuss the shipping business, shipping dates, cargoes, and prices. Also included is a letter from Jenkins Hansford in the oversized folder.

Box 1

Folder 1 Samuel Appleton, 1760-1763

Folder 2 Samuel Appleton, 1760-1763

Folder 3 William Crowley, 1760-1765

Folder 4 Devonshire and Reeves, 1763

Folder 5 Benjamin Faneuil, 1755-1761

Folder 6 Hugh Hall, 1757-1763

Folder 7 James Ashley Hall, 1762-1763

Folder 8 John Jepson, 1758-1764

Folder 9 Henry Lloyd, 1761-1765

Folder 10 Thomas Martin, 1754

Folder 11 Ambrose Vincent, 1753-1754

Folder 12 Samuel Wentworth, 1753-1754

Folder 13 Joshua Winslow, 1756

Folder 14 General Correspondence, 1754-1767

B. Shipping, 1759-1767

Included are testimonies of loss of cargo while at sea; a 1767 Act Preventing Abuses of Sale of Lumber in Great Britain; and a sailor’s contract for Harold Ingraham to sail with Samuel Appleton.

Box 1

Folder 15 Act Preventing Abuses of Sale of Lumber to Great Britain, 1767

Folder 16 Testimonies of losses, 1759-1767

Folder 17 Sailor’s contract for Harold Ingraham to sail with Samuel Appleton, 1760

1. Davenport and Wentworth, 1757-1766

Business correspondence with captains and merchants, including Samuel Appleton, Nathaniel and George Bethune, and Robert Stokell. In addition to correspondence is a 1766 protest by Robert Thorell? And others charging Davenport with embezzlement.

Box 1

Folder 18 Samuel Appleton, 1760

Folder 19 Nathaniel and George Bethune, 1757-1758

Folder 20 Henry Lloyd, 1759

Folder 21 Robert Stokell, 1759

Folder 22 General Correspondence, 1757-1760

Folder 23 Protest by Robert Thorell?, 1766

2. Montgomery and Wentworth, 1766-1768

Shipping correspondence and an agreement for carpenter’s work.

Box 1

Folder 24 General Correspondence, 1766-1768

Folder 25 Agreement for carpenter’s work, 1766

II. Joshua Wentworth Papers, 1770-1798

A. Correspondence, 1770-1798

Wentworth corresponded with shipping merchants, ship’s captains, and others. Some correspondence deals with Joshua’s military involvement during the Revolution; other letters discuss his other financial and legal involvements. Also included is a letter from James Moore in the oversized folder.

Box 1

Folder 26 Joseph Allen, 1782

Folder 27 Thomas Appleton, 1783

Folder 28 Samuel Breck, 1782-1783

Folder 29 Samuel Breck, 1782-1783

Folder 30 Samuel Breck, 1782-1783

Folder 31 Abraham Burgess, 1776

Folder 32 Monsieur Bunbury [previously attributed to Monsieur Bunbury who died in 1772], 1777-1779

Folder 33 Barnabas Clarke, 1771

Folder 34 William Dennie, 1773-1777

Folder 35 Joseph Eckley, 1795-1797

Folder 36 William Gardner, 1773

Folder 37 Elbridge Gerry, 1773

Folder 38 Jonathan Homer, 1794-1797

Folder 39 David Jeffries, 1777

Folder 40 John Jeffries, 1790-1798

Folder 41 James Moore, 1771-1787

Folder 42 William Simpson, 1771-1778

Folder 43 Paschal Smith, 1776-1780

Folder 44 Richard Smith, 1774-1775

Folder 45 James Taylor, 1782

Folder 46 Thomas and Isaac Wharton, 1771-1775

Folder 47-52 General Correspondence, 1770-1791

B. Shipping, 1773-1783

Papers include an agreement between Joshua and Samuel Breck to supply lumber and bricks to the French Counsel; Joshua’s description of insurance problems on his ships; and a 1778 printed announcement of the sale of the Brig Lusanna.

Box 2

Folder 1 Notice of the missing ship Schooner Hannah, Captain Joseph Smith, 1773

Folder 2 Joshua Wentworth’s description of insurance problems on ships, 1774

Folder 3 Printed announcement of the sale of the Brig Lusanna, 1778

Folder 4 Letter of introduction for Joshua Wentworth to meet the French Consul, written by Samuel Breck, 1782

Folder 5 Agreement to do business with the French Consul, Joshua Wentworth and Samuel Breck, 1783

C. Military, 1778-1783

Notice to Joshua that he can equip his ships with weapons in 1782; an inventory of the ordnance stores at Fort Washington; correspondence, and bills and receipts. One group of bills and receipts are from Joshua’s interest in privateers; the second group is from his job as supplier to the New Hampshire Regiments.

Box 2

Folder 6 Military correspondence, 1778-1779

Folder 7 Inventory of ordnance stores at Fort Washington, 1779

Folder 8 Notice to Joshua Wentworth that he can equip his ships with weapons, from Samuel Penhallow, Justice, 1782

Folder 9 Privateer bills and receipts, 1778-1780

Folder 10 Military bills and receipts, 1778-1781

D. David and John Jeffries, 1778-1796

Correspondence of David Jeffries; sale of John Jeffries’ land in Portsmouth; David Jeffries’ legatees; and bills and receipts. Also included in the oversized folder is a map of the Jeffries’ land.

Box 2

Folder 11 Letters to David Jeffries from Andrew Hill, 1778

Folder 12 Sale of John Jeffries’ land, 1791

Folder 13 John Jeffries’ Power of Attorney to Joshua Wentworth, 1792

Folder 14 Legatees of David Jeffries’ estate, 1796

Folder 15 Jeffries bills and receipts, 1779

E. Miscellaneous, 1772-1798

Power of attorney from Thomas Cutts to Joshua Wentworth; the will of Hannah Bunbury; a contract for carpenters to build a house for Joshua Wentworth; and Joshua’s bills and receipts.

Box 2

Folder 16 Contract to build a house between Joshua Wentworth and Josiah Clarke and Aaron Hodgson, 1772

Folder 17 Estate of Monsieur Bunbury, Will of Hannah Bunbury, 1783

Folder 18 Thomas Cutts power of attorney to Joshua Wentworth, 1790

Folder 19 Joshua Wentworth bills and receipts.

III. Miscellaneous, 1745-1814

General correspondence, a 1745 deed, a share in the Brig Portsmouth, bills and receipts, and other items.

Box 2

Folder 20 Correspondence, 1778-1801

Folder 21 Deed for land in Barrington, George Jaffrey to Mark Hunking, 1745

Folder 22 Desertion of Charles Marin from the Barrois Company (written in French), 1783

Folder 23 Abraham Shaw’s share in the Brig Portsmouth

Folder 24 Empowerment to Jonathan Homer to sell real estate to his children

Folder 25 “Directions of Mr. Hugh Orr, Respecting Iron Hoops”

Folder 26 Excerpt from the New York Church Journal, “Bishop Polk”

Folder 27 Bills and Receipts, 1759-1789

Oversized Box 2

Folder 10

Letter from Jenkins Hansford to Hugh Hall Wentworth, 1754

Letter from James Moore to Joshua Wentworth, 1787

Plot of the Jeffries’ land in Portsmouth