Portsmouth Customs House Office Records, 1797-1890 – MS016

Portsmouth Customs House Office Records, 1797-1890 – MS016

Provenance: Loan from the Portsmouth Public Library early in 1991 with a second group of papers added in October 1991

Citation: Portsmouth Customs House Office Records, MS016, on deposit at the Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 1 Hollinger Box, Oversize materials

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Carolyn Eastman in May 1991


Chiefly correspondence of customs collectors, Zenas Clement (1853-1856), John H. Bailey (1869), and J.B. Upham (1866-1869), and of deputy collector, J.M. Edmonds (1869); and other records. Correspondents include J.H. Hartley, of the U.S. Treasury Dept., and Nathan Sargent, commissioner, U.S. Division of Customs.

Scope and Content

The Portsmouth Customs Office Records, contained in ½ archival box and two oversize folders, consist primarily of the correspondence of three collectors of customs in Portsmouth: Zenus Clement (1853-1856), John H. Bailey (1869), and J. B. Upham (1866-1869), and of deputy collector J. M. Edmonds (1869). The bulk of this material if from Upham’s term as collector; correspondents include J. H. Hartley (U.S. Commissioner of Customs), and the U.S. Treasury Statistics Department.

The records are arranged in chronological order; there are no subgroups or series. The oldest piece is the certification of the Brig Betsey of Wilmington, North Carolina in 1794. Also included are copies of 1809 letters confessing to illegal importation of goods from Canada; an 1815 writ of habeas corpus to Sylvanus Andrews, an underage soldier at Fort Constitution who joined without parental consent; a description of the location of Portsmouth, possibly by Wibird Penhallow; supplies and services request sheets (1898-1913); and the 1885 correspondence and letters of recommendation of Joseph B. Quaid of Dover, regarding his application to the position of Deputy Collector of Customs in Dover.

From folder 13 to the end are papers added to the collection by the Public Library in October 1991. These contain certificates relating to merchandise and other customs office paperwork (1873-1890), and legal documents (1797-1840) including executions and bonds to recover customs duties, and a list of bonds held by Samuel Cushman, U.S. Attorney for the district of New Hampshire (1830).

Folder List

Box 1

Folder 1 Legal documents regarding military service of Sylvanus Andres, a minor, at Fort Constitution, 1815 (3 items)

Folder 2 Zenas Clement (Collector) correspondence, 1853-1856 (16 items)

Folder 3 John H. Bailey (Collector) correspondence, 1869 (6 items)

Folder 4 J. M. Edmonds (Dept. Collector) correspondence, 1869 (5 items)

Folder 5 J. B. Upham (Collector) correspondence from J. H. Hartley (Asst. Secretary of Treasury), 1869 (8 items)

Folder 6 J. B. Upham correspondence from N. Sargent (Commissioner of Customs), 1869 (20 items)

Folder 7 J. B. Upham, general correspondence, 1866-1869 (42 items)

Folder 8 Letters confessing to illegal importation to Portsmouth from Canada, 1869 (3 items)

Folder 9 Collector of customs correspondence from U.S. Treasury Statistics Department, 1869-1874

Folder 10 Collector of Customs general correspondence, 1874-1880 (6 items)

Folder 11 Joseph B. Quaid correspondence, 1885 (8 items)

Folder 12 Description of location of Portsmouth (fragment from Wibird Penhallow?) (1 page)

Additions in October 1991:

Folder 13 Merchandise certificates, 1877-1880 (25 items)

Folder 14 Certificate of crew list, 1877-1890 (6 items)

Folder 15 Certificates of issue of temporary document, 1873-1889 (34 items)

Folder 16 Warrants to sell cargo captured by privateers, 1798-1817 (13 items)

Folder 17 Bonds to recover customs duties, 1797-1802 (3 items)

Folder 18 Court executions to recover customs duties, 1798-1822 (19 items)

Folder 19 John C. Wilson, appointment to serve as deputy marshal, 1840

Oversize Box 2

Folder 12

Certificate of Brig Betsey of Wilmington, North Carolina, 1794

List of customs office bonds in the hands of Samuel Cushman, 1830 (added October 1993)

Supplies and services request sheets, 1898-1913 (10 items)