John Turner Collection

Manuscripts Collection 31

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Turner, John. b. ca.1775
Title: John Turner collection
Dates: 1797-1804
Extent: 40 items
Abstract: The John Turner Collection contains nine letters, five of which Turner wrote to his wife, Polly, and four of which concern business matters. Included also are bills of lading, insurance policies, cargo manifests, orders, personal accounts, convoy instructions, and customs documentation including enrollments, receipts, and clearance papers.
Identification: Coll. 31

Biography of John Turner

John Turner was a shipmaster and shipowner from New London, Connecticut. During the period covered by these papers Turner commanded the sloop FAIR AMERICAN, and the schooners FANNY, POLLY, and SALLY. These vessels carried livestock and provisions from New London to West Indies ports such as Martinique; Guadeloupe; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Turks Island; Antigua; New Providence Island; Bermuda; and Surinam. From ports like these Turner’s vessels exported molasses, port, and rum.

Because of the difficulties existing between the United States and France during the period 1793-1800, United States naval vessels provided protection for American merchant vessels in certain areas of the West Indies. Turner probably sailed under the protection of one of the naval vessels in 1800; therefore, he had the printed instructions or signals for the convoy.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

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.


Turner, Polly–Correspondence

Corporate Entities:

Fair American (Sloop)
Fanny (Schooner)
Polly (Schooner)
Sally (Schooner)


New London (Conn.)–Commerce–West Indies
West Indies–Commerce–Connecticut–New London


International trade
Molasses industry
Shipping–Connecticut–New London
Sugar trade

Document Types:

Ships’ papers


Shipmasters–Connecticut–New London
Shipowners–Connecticut–New London

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 31, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Papers; 1797-1804. Top →

Box Folder
1 1 Papers regarding the Fair American (Sloop). Images
2 Papers regarding the Fanny (Schooner). Images
3 Papers regarding the Polly (Schooner). Images
4 Papers regarding the Sally (Schooner). Images
5 Miscellaneous Papers. Images