Portsmouth Fire Relief Papers, 1802-1803 – MS071

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).

Historical Note

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 List

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