William Badger Papers – MS007

Provenance: Descended through William Badger’s daughter Hepzibah Badger Sherburne (wife of John Sherburne); stored in the Sherburne house at the Portsmouth Plains.

Citation: William Badger Papers, MS007, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 1.5 linear feet (3 ½ Hollinger boxes)

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Carolyn Eastman in 1991, revised by Susan Stowe Kindstedt in 2006


Correspondence, financial papers, contracts, agreements, legal papers, deeds, ships’ papers, shipping records, and other papers, chiefly relating to Badger’s shipbuilding and ship repair business, which was involved in the building of over 100 vessels, including those built for the U.S. Navy, merchant vessels, and privateers. Includes contracts and agreements (1790-1827) for ships to be built, including one with Josiah Fox of the U.S. Navy in 1796; pew deed issued to Elizabeth Rice Badger; records of the D.R.S.C. Society, a men’s group in Portsmouth, N.H.; sickness reports and other papers relating to Badger’s activities as a member of the local militia; and papers of the brig Fanny, of which he was part owner.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, financial papers, contracts and agreements, legal papers, deeds, shipbuilding and shipping records of William Badger.

The William Badger Papers (1768-1832), consists primarily of financial papers, the bulk of which date from about 1782-1824. It has been separated into four series: personal papers, shipbuilding records, shipping records, and miscellaneous.

The first series, personal papers (1768-1832) consists of correspondence, financial papers, and deeds for parcels of land and pews. These papers include all matters which would not fall specifically into Badger’s businesses as shipbuilder and shipper: bills and accounts for food, clothing, carriages and horses, insurance, taxes, scribes, and farm work, as well as doctors’ bills and bills for his children’s school tuition. Stores in the oversize folder is a plan of a lot of land.

The second series contains shipbuilding papers (1782-1831): correspondence, contracts to build ships, agreement to repair vessels, and financial records relating to the building of ships; many of these papers are concerned with the surveying, cutting and hauling of ship timber. They also include bills for wharfage, timber and surveying, ironwork, tools, workers’ pay, building a wharf, okum, and sheathing paper.

The third series of shipping records (1782-1829) contains correspondence with businessmen and ships’ captains, and financial records which include ships’ accounts while on trading voyages. The fourth series, Miscellaneous, includes items which are either indirectly related to Badger (including a deed for a pew given to his wife before their marriage) and some papers which seem to have no connection (dated after WB’s death). Prominent among these are the membership certificates, lyrics of songs or pledges, and bills and receipts (30 items) of the D.R.S.C. Society of Portsmouth, an unknown men’s organization (see appendix 2 for index of member’s names).

Biographical Notes

William Badger (5/26/1752-2/22/1830) was born in South Newmarket, NH (now Newfields), the first of six children of William Badger Sr. and Anstisa Emerson Badger, His father is listed as a barber and landowner and is recorded to have refused to sign the Association Test in South Newmarket. In about 1777-1780 William Jr. (hereafter WB) was appointed executor of the estate of Zachariah Beal, an army captain. Shortly thereafter on May 24, 1779, WB married Beal’s widow, Abigail Goodwin Beal (originally of South Berwick, Maine), a mother of two children. They had five children: Hepzibah (7/4/1779-11/13/1859) who married Joseph Sherburne, William Jr. (3/27/1781-12/23/1830) who married Abigail Plaisted, John (8/20/1782-7/20/1798), Aaron (3/6/1786-9/20/1786), and Abigail (8/8/1787-1/12/1788). After his wife Abigail’s death, WB married Elizabeth Rice of Kittery (1762-7/19/1801), daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Rice of Kittery on November 15, 1797. After Elizabeth’s death, WB married again in September 1787 to Elizabeth’s sister Mary (1763-11/11/1819), the widow of Edmund Furnald. WB belonged to the Newmarket Church and then to the Universalist Church in Portsmouth; his wife Elizabeth Rice owned a pew in the First Parish of Kittery before their marriage.

In 1775 WB served for 2 months and 7 days in Capt. Samuel Gilman’s company, Col. Poor’s regiment, in South Newmarket, leaving because of the Navy’s deferment for shipwrights. WB began building ships at least by 1775-1776, when he was listed as a shipwright on the Privateer Ranger at Langdon’s Island (now Badger’s Island) in Kittery for the master builder James Hackett. He also appears to have worked for William Shute of Newmarket. In 1782 he worked for Hackett again on the Ship America. After the Revolutionary War, WB continued to work for Hackett as a master carpenter, working on the US Frigates Congress and Crescent from 1794-1799. Part of his work appears to have been arranging the cutting and transport of wood to Portsmouth and Kittery.

WB also had his own shipbuilding business in South Newmarket, working with David Colcord and Stilmon Tarleton from at least 1788 (bills and receipts in this collection refer to Badger & Co., Colcord & Co., Tarleton & Colcord, Badger & Colcord, etc.). As a result of WB’s second marriage in 1797, he took possession of three acres of Badger’s Island (owned by the Rice family), moving from South Newmarket.

In 1800 WB was hired by Isaac Hull of the United States Navy to work as master shipbuilder on a 74-gun ship in Kittery, but Hull grew dissatisfied with the work and with WB’s nephew, Samuel Badger, and fired the Badgers at the end of November 1800. WB was hired again by Hull in 1814 to build the USS Wasp.

At Badger’s Island (1797-1830) WB built on the average more than two ships a year—ships for the Navy, merchant vessels, and privateers. He also repaired ships at his yard. In the shipping trade, he was sole owner of the Brig Fanny (1816-1822) and part owner of at least 17 other vessels, most of which he built. Working with him at the yard were his brother Robert and nephew Samuel (later a prominent shipbuilder who owned a yard in another part of Kittery). WB’s obituary in the New Hampshire Gazette (3/2/1830) states that he built more than one hundred vessels.

WB died in 1830 at the age of 78, leaving the land and estate on Badger’s Island in trust to his son William Jr., who died 10 months later. The land was sold at auction in 1832 purchase by Fernald and Petigrew, another shipbuilding business.

Biographical Summary

1752 William Badger born to William and Anstisa Badger in South Newmarket, NH.

1775 William Badger serves in Newmarket military regiment (Samuel Gilman’s company). Is deferred after 2 months to work as shipwright.

1775-1776 William Badger works on Privateer Ranger for James Hackett in Kittery.

1777-1780 William Badger appointed executor of estate of Captain Zachariah Beal.

1779 William Badger marries Mrs. Abigail Goodwin Beal, widow of Zachariah. Hepzibah Badger is born.

1781 William Badger Jr. is born.

1782 John Badger is born. William Badger works on Ship America for Hackett in Kittery.

1786 Aaron Badger is born, dies at age 6 months.

1787 Abigail Badger is born, dies at age 5 months.

1788 ca. William Badger has shipbuilding business, working with David Colcord and Stilmon Tarleton.

1794-1799 William Badger works on Frigates Congress and Crescent for James Hackett in Kittery.

1797 William Badger marries Elizabeth Rice of Kittery and moves to Badger’s Island.

1798 John Badger dies at age of 16 years.

1800 William Badger hired by Isaac Hull to build 74 gun ship for US Navy; fired in November.

1801 Elizabeth Rice Badger dies.

1809 William Badger marries Mary Rice Furnald, widow of Mark Furnald. Hepzibah Badger marries Joseph Sherburne.

1814 William Badger hired by Isaac Hull to build USS Wasp.

1819 Mary Rice Furnald Badger dies.

1830 William Badger dies in Kittery after a long sickness. Leaves estate to son William Jr. William Jr. dies in December.

1832 William Badger’s land and house sold at auction.

Separated Materials

Four printed pamphlets, now stored in Rare Pamphlet collection

37167 A Catalogue of Concord Literary Institution and Teachers’ Seminary. Concord, NH: Asa McFarland, 1836.

37166 Catalogue of the Officers, Instructors and Students of Pembroke Academy. Concord, NH: Aas McFarland, 1839.

37164 The Emerald. Boston: E.G. House, August 27, 1808.

37165 Hill, Isaac. An Address delivered before the Republicans of Portsmouth and Vicinity, July 4, 1828. Concord, NH: Horatio Hill and Co., 1828.

Series List

I. Personal Papers, 1768-1832

II. Shipbuilding Papers, 1782-1831

A. Correspondence, 1801-1829

B. Contracts and Agreements, 1790-1827

C. Financial Records, 1782-1831

D. Miscellaneous Records, 1799-1821

III. Shipping Records, 1782-1829

A. Correspondence, 1804-1829

B. Financial Records, 1782-1823

C. Miscellaneous Records, 1813

IV. Miscellaneous Records, 1792-1843

I. Personal Papers

Contains a small amount of correspondence, bills and receipts, cancelled checks and check stubs, a loan from 1817, a sheriff’s order, 11 deeds for land and two pew deeds at the Universalist Church in Portsmouth.

Box 1

Folder 1 General Correspondence, 1785-1827

Folder 2-14 Bills and receipts, 1768-1832

Folder 15 List of bills to be collected, nd

Folder 16 Check stubs, 1818-1819, 1826-1829

Folder 17 Cancelled checks, 1809-1826

Folder 18 Loan, 1817

Folder 19 Evaluation of property for tax abatement, 1814

Folder 20 Sheriff’s order, William Badger vs. Edward Drew, 1819

Folder 21 Deeds

1786 Zebulon Neal to WB, land in Parsonsfield

1786 Zebulon Neal to WB, land in Newmarket

1805 Walter Weeks to James Hackett, land in Brookfield

1807 Daniel Williams to Samuel Badger, land in Deerfield

1807 Walter Weeks to James Hackett, land in Brookfield, writ of possession

1808 Walter Weeks to William Badger, land in Brookfield, acquired through court from James Hackett, also bill for damages and taxes

1814 James Hackett to William Badger, land in Brookfield

1818 Joseph and Kezia Allen to William Badger, land in Epsom

1819 Robert Badger to William Badger, right to interest in legacy of their grandmother, Elizabeth Underwood

1820 Lease, William Badger to Job Sanders, Allen farm in Epsom

1821 Robert Badger, Joseph and Elizabeth Graves to William Badger, right to real estate of Elizabeth Underwood

Oversized Box 2 Folder 8 1819 Plan of Hackett’s farm in Brookfield?

Folder 22 Pew deeds, William Badger to William Dennett and Dennett to William Badger, Universalist Church, Portsmouth

II. Shipbuilding Papers

A. Shipbuilding Correspondence

Correspondence with Josiah Sanborn of Epsom, NH, Thomas Chase & C.S. Toppan of New York (regarding a ship to be built), and general correspondence on the acquisition of ship timber, etc.

Box 1

Folder 23 Josiah Fox, 1796

Folder 24 Josiah Sanborn, 1807-1823

Ship Caroline Augusta, 1829

Ship William Badger, 1829

Folder 25 Thomas Chase and C. S. Toppan, 1829

Ship Arethusa, 1821

Schooner Caravan, 1818

Box 2

Folder 1 General Correspondence, 1801-1829

B. Shipbuilding Contracts and Agreements

Contracts for ships to be built, including one with Josiah Fox of the US Navy in 1796; in two cases, William Badger contracts out for another builder to construct the ship. Also agreements for the repair of ships, dimensions, and notes on articles to be included in the contract.

Folder 2 Contract, John Boadge and Benjamin Leverett to William Badger and David Colcord for ship, 1790 (Brig Minerva?)

Folder 3 Contract, George McClane and Nathan B. Folsom to William Badger for brig, 1811 (Brig Ann?)

Folder 4 Contract, William Badger to William Dutton of Salisbury for schooner, 1827

Folder 5 Contract (torn piece), William Badger to Fernald and Pettigrew for schooner, 1824

Folder 6 Agreement, William Chase to William Badger to repair Brig Mary, 1807

Folder 7 Agreement, Winthrop B. Allen and Ambrose Allen to William Badger to repair Brig Triton, 1811

Folder 8 Agreement, to William Badger to copper Ship Fox, 1812

Ship Fox, 1812

Folder 9 Dimensions of new ship to be built, Addison Plumer to William Badger, 1813

Folder 10 Articles to be included in contract for a schooner to be built (for Charles Stimson), nd

C. Shipbuilding Financial Records

Bills and receipts for timber, wharfage, workmen’s pay, tools, supplies, etc.

Box 2

Folder 11 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Ship Hannah, 1788

Ship Mary Haley, 1787

Schooner Nancy, 1797

Ship Newmarket, 1788

Brig Rooksby, 1789

Folder 12 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 13 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 14 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 15 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 16 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 17 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 18 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Frigate Congress, 1799

Schooner Delight (Diligent?), 1798

Folder 19 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 20 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 21 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 22 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 23 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 24 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 25 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Folder 26 Bills and receipts, 1782-1801

Ship Bristol Packet, 1801

Schooner Diligent, 1798

Box 3

Folder 1 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Lewis, 1802

Brig Mary, 1804

Ship Resolution, 1805

Folder 2 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Grotius, 1809

Ship Tom, 1806

Brig Venus, 1807

Folder 3 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Brig Mariner?, 1811

Folder 4 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Brig Ann, 1811

Ship Fox, 1812

Ship Industry?, 1812

Brig John Langdon, 1812

Schooner Thrasher?, 1812

Schooner William and Henry, 1812

Folder 5 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Schooner Good Intent, 1814

Brig John Langdon, 1812

Schooner Joseph, 1814

Ship Orlando, 1813

Brig Orleans, 1813

Brig Rising States, 1811

Schooner Thrasher, 1812

Brig Triton, 1811

Schooner Zephyr, 1815

Folder 6 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Concordia, 1817

Brig Fanny, 1816

Ship Freedom, 1816

Schooner Grey Hound, 1817

Brig Hannah, 1816

Brig Wessawwerkug, 1812

Schooner William, 1817

Schooner Zephyr, 1816

Folder 7 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Brig Adeline, 1818

Schooner Cadmus, 1818

Schooner Minerva, 1818

Brig William and Thomas, 1818

Folder 8 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Arethusa, 1819?, 1820

Ship Badger, 1819

Brig Fanny, 1819

Schooner General Jackson, 1819

Ship Lewis, 1820?

Ship Mary Beach, 1820

Ship Resolution, 1820

Brig William and Thomas, 1819-1820

Folder 9 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Fame, 1822

Brig George, 1822

Schooner Hyderali?, 1822

Schooner Victor, 1822

Folder 10 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Ship Fame, 1823

Ship Samuel Wright, 1824

Folder 11 Bills and receipts, 1802-1831

Schooner Captain Coffin, nd

Ship Lewis, nd

Brig William and Thomas, nd

D. Miscellaneous Shipbuilding Records

Certification that William Badger built Ship Mary Beach, a 1799 timber book, payroll list of workmen and days worked, and notes on sundry jobs in finishing the vessel.

Box 3

Folder 12 Sundry jobs in finishing a vessel (notes), 1815

Folder 13 Payroll list of workmen and days works, nd

Folder 14 Certification that William Badger built Ship Mary Beach, 1821

Folder 15 Timber book, 1799

III. Shipping Records

A. Shipping Correspondence

Correspondence with merchants Catlett and Irwin of Alexandria, Virginia; William F. Salter of New York; Thomas Wilson and Co. of London; and others. Also correspondence with ship captains.

Box 3

Folder 16 Cartlett and Irwin (Alexandria, Virginia), 1817-1818

Brig Fanny, 1817

Ship Resolution, 1817, 1818

Brig Victory, 1817

Folder 17 Capt. Benning Dennett, 1820-1821

Folder 18 Capt. T. J. Harris, 1822-1824

Folder 19-20 Capt. Thomas Jewett, 1816-1826

Brig Fanny, 1816-1817

Folder 21 William F. Salter (New York), 1820-1822

Schooner Orb, 1820-1822

Folder 22 Thomas Wilson and Co. (London), 1812-1829

Folder 23 General Correspondence, 1804-1829

Brig George, 1822

Schooner Orb, 1820

Ship Resolution, 1818

B. Shipping Financial Records

Bills, receipts and accounts for ships while on voyages.

Box 3

Folder 24-25 Bills, receipts and accounts, 1782-1816

Schooner Diligent, 1797, 1799-1800, 1803

Brig Eagle, 1802-1803

Brig Fanny, 1816, 1817

Ship Lewis, 1803, 1804

Schooner Lively, 1797

Schooner Macedonian, 1814

Brig Mary, 1803, 1804, 1807

Schooner Penguin (?Pinguin), 1782

Ship Resolution, 1813-1814

Ship Thomas Wilson, 1811

Schooner Young Betsy, 1804

Box 4

Folder 1-3 Bills, receipts and accounts, 1817-1823

Schooner Diligent, nd

Schooner Dover, 1817

Brig Fanny, 1817

Brig George, 1822-1823, nd

Schooner Orb, 1820

Ship Resolution, 1817, 1818, 1822-1823

Schooner Victor, 1822

Brig William and Thomas, 1819

C. Miscellaneous Shipping Records

An appraisal of a cargo of timber aboard the Ship Banshaw, and provisions for the Brig Fanny.

Box 4

Folder 4 Appraisal of Ship Banshaw’s cargo, 1813

Folder 5 Provisions for Brig Fanny, nd

IV. Miscellaneous

Box 4

Folder 6 Pew deed, Sarah Parker to Elizabeth Rice and Sarah Adams, Kittery First Parish, 1792

Folder 7 Letter, Zacharias Neal to parents, 1800

Folder 8 D.R.S.C. Society certificates and bills and receipts, 1842-1843

Folder 9 Lease, Josiah Bartlett to Jethro Barber, land in Portsmouth Plains, 1819

Folder 10 Attendance sheets for Bible class (Joseph Sherburne, leader), 1819-1820

Folder 11 Resolutions for the financial support of preachers, nd

Folder 12 Sickness reports in Capt. Marsh’s Company, 1814, Certification of solder Carley

Folder 13 Poetry

Folder 14 S. George and George F. George Correspondence, 1836

Folder 15 Anonymous love letter, nd

Folder 16 Notes and newspaper clipping of Capt. Jonathan Chesley monument in Center Barnstead