|Repository:||G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport|
|Creator:||Wilbur, Robert Palmer, 1839-1913|
|Title:||Robert Palmer Wilbur Collection|
|Abstract:||The collection consists of scattered papers and volumes including a diary (1863) containing information on shipbuilding. There are also account, bills, and receipts (1876-1881) concerning Wilbur’s command of the Ship M.P. GRACE and two survey record books (1896-1899)|
Robert Palmer Wilbur, was born in the village of Noank, Connecticut, October 28, 1839, the son of William Ashbey and Lucy Palmer Wilbur. He was educated in the district school in that village, Mystic Academy, and at a private school in East Winsted. He served as a private in Company E, 2nd Connecticut Volunteers during the first three months of the Civil War.
On May 10, 1864, he married Phebe Miner Fish, daughter of The Honorable Nathan G. Fish, former state senator, and at that time president of the Mystic River National Bank. They had six children: Albert M., born March 19,1865, died August 2, 1865; Helen F., born October 13, 1866; Gertrude born April 25, 1870, died May 26, 1877; Emeline M. born February 24, 1876; Roberta P., born February 28, 1886; and John P., born January 19, 1880.
Robert Palmer Wilbur followed the sea for a large part of his life. His first command was steamer ULYSSES, June 1863. He also commanded the bark CALEB HALEY, schooners ROBERT PALMER and ABBIE E. CAMPBELL, and clipper ships DAUNTLESS, M.P. GRACE and ST. FRANCES in the California and European trades. Two of the above voyages were around the world.
Capt. Wilbur was first selectman of Groton from October 1884 to October 1885, and was on the Board of Selectmen from 1885 to 1886. He was one of the incorporators of The Robert Palmer and Son Shipbuilding and Marine Railway Co. in Noank, and was vice-president of that company for several years. During that time the shipyard was the largest builder of wooden ships New England, employing over 300 men. He was also agent and surveyor for the state, as well as for the “Record of American and Foreign Shipping,” and was Commander of Williams Post No. 55 of the Connecticut G.A.R. He also served as a deacon of the Union Baptist church in Mystic.
Capt. Wilbur carried a gold watch and chain with the following inscription: ‘Presented by the British Government to Capt. R.P. Wilbur of the American ship ‘Dauntless’ of Mystic in testimony of his humanity and kindness to the crew of the British ship ‘Cornwallis’ of Liverpool during eighty-five days in 1875.” The Cornwallis was wrecked on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean and Capt. Wilbur transported the crew of twenty-six to New York. In addition to the watch and chain he received a silver service from Mr. Balfour, owner the CORNWALLIS. Captain Wilbur’s inflexible sense of honor and rectitude secured for him the implicit confidence of all.
Robert Palmer Wilbur died October 8, 1913 in Mystic, Connecticut.
Restrictions on Access
Available for use in the Manuscripts Division
Restrictions on Use
Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Morgan, Lucy A.–Estate
Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):
Robert Palmer & Son
Shipbuilding and Marine Railway Co. (Noank, Conn.)
San Francisco (Calif.)–Commerce
Banks and banking–Connecticut–Mystic
Shipbuilding–New York (State)–New York
Coll. 20, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
|1||Logbook, Ships DAUNTLESS, M.P. GRACE, ST. JOHN, and REPUBLIC; ca. 1872-1882|
|2||Survey Book, “Surveys made by R.P. Wilbur of Various Ships,”; 1896|
|3||Survey Book, “Surveys of Various Ships Made by R.P. Wilbur,”; 1898|
|4||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1885 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|5||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1887 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|6||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1890 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|7||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1897 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|8||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1899 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|9||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1900 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|10||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1901 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|11||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1902 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|12||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1903 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|13||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1904 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|14||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1905 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|15||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1906 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|16||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1907 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|17||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1908 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|18||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1910 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|19||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1911 Jan 1-Dec 31|
|20||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts; 1912 Jan 1-Mar 2|
|1||1||Letters re. Robert Palmer Wilbur; 1876-1890|
|2||Miscellaneous letters; 1859, 1861, 1899, 1902 & 1904|
|3||Ship’s Papers, Ship M.P. GRACE, Robert Palmer Wilbur, master; San Francisco; 1875 Oct – 1876 Mar|
|4||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Liverpool; 1876 Jul-Aug|
|5||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; San Francisco; 1879 Jun- Aug|
|6||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Liverpool; 1879 Dec|
|7||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Liverpool; 1880 Jan|
|8||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Liverpool; 1880 Feb|
|9||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Baltimore; 1880 Mar-Apr|
|10||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; San Francisco; 1880 Aug-Sep|
|11||Ship M.P. GRACE, Papers; Liverpool; 1881 Feb-Mar|
|12||Robert Palmer Wilbur, Misc. Papers; ca. 1881-1898|
|13||Fish/Morgan Family Papers; ca. 1875-1928|
|14||Estate Papers, Lucy A. Morgan; ca. 1868|
|15||Misc., Unidentified Items; undated|
|16||Diary of Robert Palmer Wilbur with accounts (copy of original at the Noank Historical Society); 1882|