Portsmouth Fire Relief Papers, 1802-1803 – MS071
Provenance: Gift of Massachusetts Historical Society in July 1995.
Citation: Portsmouth Fire Relief Papers (MS071), Manuscript Collections, Portsmouth Athenaeum
Size: 1/2 Hollinger Box (3 linear inches)
Access: No restrictions
Scope and Content
The seven folders of papers consist primarily of letters that accompanied donations for the relief of the victims of the fire (December 30, 1802 to June 21, 1803). A record book from 1803 lists amounts paid and to whom, an undated alphabetic list gives the names of victims, the amount claimed as loss, the amount paid and the dates paid (1803-1809).
In the early morning hours of December 26, 1802, a fire broke out in the New Hampshire Bank building in Portsmouth, NH. A large portion of the town burned, with 114 buildings lost to the flames and damages estimated at $200,000. Five men, Nathaniel Adams, John Goddard, Daniel Humphreys, John Langdon and James Sheafe, were appointed a committee to receive and distribute donations for relief. Funds were appropriated in Washington, DC and donations were sent from many parts of the country, including Philadelphia, Trenton, NJ, and Savannah, Ga. Altogether, the committee received and distributed more than $45,000.
Folder 1 Letters December 30, 1802 to January 16, 1802
Folder 2 Letters January 17 to 21, 1803
Folder 3 Letters January 22 to 31, 1803
Folder 4 Letters February 1803
Folder 5 Letters March to April 1803
Folder 6 Letters May to June 1803
Folder 7 “List of Sufferers” ca. 1803
Folder 8 Committee Record Book 1803