Records of the Warren Insurance Company

Manuscripts Collection 183

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Warren Insurance Company
Title: Records of the Warren Insurance Company
Dates: 1801-1846
Extent: 188 items
Abstract: Business papers, ships’ papers, insurance policies, check stubs, correspondence, and other records. Vessels represented include schooners MAGNOLIA, ZEPHYR, and HARRIET, and ship JASON.
Identification: Coll. 183

History of the Warren Insurance Company

Marine Insurance began in this country in 1724 by individuals underwriting the insurance on cargoes and vessels belonging to their compatriots. But it was not until the 1790’s that stock companies like the Warren Insurance Company were formed. The Warren Insurance Company was chartered in 1800, and operated until 1844, paying an average dividend of fourteen percent annually. The period covered in this collection was one of turbulence and insecurity; the War of Independence had ended on paper, but it was an uneasy peace. War with England was to flare up again in 1812 and hostilities were to continue in the Caribbean and overseas. The owner and insurer of any merchant vessel ran considerable risk of loss not only form natural causes, but also from privateers and/or being impounded in hostile ports. Nevertheless, vessels continued to bring to New England harbors cargoes of sugar, molasses, salt and coffee from the West Indies; tea from Canton; wine from Spain; coal, bricks and copper from England; and cotton and lumber from the South, as well as exporting lumber, cotton and grain abroad. Insurance was underwritten on a named vessel for a specific length of time, on a named vessel and its cargo for a specific voyage, on the cargo of a specific vessel, or on a specific cargo carried by “any good vessel’ in cases where no more than a certain percent of the total insured cargo could be carried at any one time.

During the period covered by these papers, Warren was a busy port and one of the largest shipbuilding towns in Rhode Island. John R. , Nathaniel M. and Charles Wheaton, John T. and Sylvester Childs Jr., John Haile and Nathan Phillips, who were among the Directors of the Warren Insurance Company, were prominent Warren ship owners and business men. The majority of vessels and/or their cargoes in this collection, on which marine risk was taken by the Company, were ships, brigs, sloops and schooners that were built and owned by Warren or Bristol (Rhode Island) men.

Top →

Scope and Content

These records are shelved in one box with twenty-six folders and number approximately 200 pieces, perhaps the most important of which are numerous insurance policies for vessels and cargo underwritten by the Warren Insurance Co. These are filed chronologically by vessel name. Information on many other vessels can be found in folders throughout the records.

Top →


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

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

Top →

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 Entities:

Harriet (Schooner : 1810)
Jason (Ship)
Magnolia (Schooner)
Zephyr (Schooner)


Bristol (Rhode Island)
Warren (Rhode Island : Town)–History


Insurance companies–Rhode Island–Warren (Town)
Insurance, Marine–Rhode Island–Warren (Town)

Document Types:

Insurance policies
Insurance records
Ships’ papers

Top →

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 183, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

Top →

Detailed Description of the Collection

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

  Business papers; 1801-1846. Insurance policies; 1806-1841. Ships’ papers; 1801-1841. Miscellaneous; 1804-1841.

Box Folder
1 1 Business papers; 1801-1820.
2 Business papers; 1821-1829.
3 Business papers; 1830-1839.
4 Business papers; 1840-1846.
5 Insurance policies; 1806-1810.
6 Insurance policies; 1811-1819.
7 Insurance policies. Images
8 Insurance policies; 1840-1841.
9 Amazon (Ship); ca. 1815.
10 Edenton (Sloop); 1823.
11 Eudoxa (Sloop); 1819.
12 Fame (Schooner); 1817.
13 Harriet (Schooner); ca. 1817.
14 Hudson (Ship); 1810.
15 Jason (Ship); ca. 1820.
16 Lark (Schooner); 1820-1821.
17 Magnolia (Schooner); ca. 1822.
18 Mary (Schooner); ca. 1804.
19 Mount Vernon (Brig); 1804-1810.
20 Raynham (Sloop); 1818-1819.
21 Sally (Sloop); 1801-1804.
22 Warren (Brig); 1804-1809.
23 Wolcott (Schooner); 1839-1841.
24 Zephyr (Schooner); ca. 1822.
25 Check stubs; 1804-1815.
26 Unidentified material; undated.
27 Correspondence; 1801-1841.