Gurdon S. Allyn Collection

Manuscripts Collection 169

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Allyn, Gurdon S. (Gurdon Spicer), 1816-1876
Title: Gurdon S. Allyn Collection
Dates: 1838-1885
Extent: 650 pieces
Abstract: The papers contain bills, receipts, and accounts relative to Gurdon S. Allyn’s shipowning, ice house, and fish processing interests, as well as other general business and domestic matters. Included are bills of sale for various vessels, property deeds, enrollment certificates for Schooners GAMECOCK and E. C. SCRANTON, and Articles of Agreement for Brig UXOR.
Identification: Coll. 169

Biography of Gurdon Spicer Allyn, 1816-1876

Gurdon Spicer Allyn (1816-1876) was born in Ledyard, Connecticut, and spent his early years on the farm and at sea with his father, Capt. Rufus Allyn, Jr. (1767-1847). By the 1840’s Allyn was a carpenter, building houses and other structures in the area. In 1853 he built and operated a successful ice house, and soon after set up a fish processing business on Mason’s Island (Mystic, Connecticut) that became known as G. S. Allyn & Co. The company processed Manhaden, or “bony-fish,” to extract the oil and produce fertilizer from the remaining fish pumice. Much of Allyn’s business life was spent in the Menhaden fishery, and he received a number of patents for improvements on various aspects of this operation. For nearly 30 years, G. S. Allyn & Co. was one of Mystic’s major businesses. Gurdon S. Allyn died in 1876, but the company continued under the direction of his son, Louis P. Allyn, until 1883 when a fire destroyed the Allyn Co. factory. Gurdon Allyn’s other business ventures included the Mystic River Water Works, and lumbering investments in Juneau County, Wisconsin. He married Hannah Avery Rathbun (1819-1858) in 1838, and Martha Champion in 1859. Two sons, Louis P. Allyn and Gurdon Champion Allyn survived to adulthood.

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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.

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

I.G.S. Allyn & Co. (Mystic, Conn.)


Fish trade–Connecticut–Mystic
Menhaden fisheries
Real property–Connecticut–Mystic

Document Types:

Bills of sale–Connecticut–Mystic



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 169, 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 related to ice house, shipowning, fish processing, and general business and domestic matters; 1840-1885
Box Folder
1 1 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1840-1844
2 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1845-1849
3 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1850-1854
4 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1855-1859
5 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1860-1864
6 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1865-1866
7 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1867-1868
8 Bills, receipts, accounts, etc.; 1869-1875
9 Correspondence, checks, etc. relating to Wisconsin timber with E. D. Wightman & Co.; 1865-1866
10 Papers relating to Gurdon S. Allyn estate, Louis P. Allyn, Admin.; 1876-1885
Documents and papers; 1838-1875
Box Folder
2 1 Bills of Sale (various vessels); 1846-1874
2 Enrollment certificates, Sch. GAMECOCK and Sch. E. C. SCRANTON; 1862-1863
3 Articles of Agreement, Brig UXOR; 1840
4 Property deeds, indentures, etc.; 1838-1875
5 Circular “Analysis of Fish Guano Manufactured by Allyn Patent Dryer”; 1875
6 Miscellaneous related material; undated

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