Isaac Hinckley Papers

Manuscripts Collection 184

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Hinckley, Isaac, 1783-1818
Title: Isaac Hinckley Papers
Dates: 1809-1818
Extent: ca. 50 items
Abstract: Correspondence, journals, account books, and miscellaneous notebook, kept by Hinckley, concerning his activities as master of brig REAPER and ships TARTER and CANTON, from Boston to ports in the Middle East, India and China.
Identification: Coll. 184

Biography of Isaac Hinckley

Isaac Hinckley was born in 1783 was a shipmaster from Hingham, Massachusetts who had gone to sea as a young boy, and acquired his first command at an early age. These papers indicate that during the years 1809-1810 he was master of the brig REAPER for a trading voyage from Boston to Aden and Calcutta. He was then master of the ship TARTER, 1812-1813, for another voyage to Calcutta, and then commanded the ship CANTON for three voyages from Boston to Canton, China between 1815-1818. It was during the homeward passage of this last voyage that Issac Hinckley died (58 days out of Macao), leaving a widow in Hingham and six children, 2 to 11 years of age.

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The journal of the REAPER (1809-1810) is especially graphic. It contains a full page watercolor illustration entitled, “An attempt to show the Brig REAPER as she appeared on the stock at Medford” in 1808. There are also detailed drawings and dimensions of REAPER’s sails, masts and yards; lists for crew, stores, chandlery, carpenter’s tools, water casks, arms (cannons, pistols, etc.), and other information. Other volumes note vessels spoke, identify American ships in foreign ports, an list cargo acquired at places like Calcutta and Canton.

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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):

Canton (Ship)
Reaper (Brig)
Tarter (Ship)


China–Description and travel
India–Description and travel
Middle East–Description and travel


International trade
Voyages and travels

Document Types:

Account books



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 184, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Index to Personal and Vessel Names

NOTE: The fraction(s) indicate the Box and Folder numbers where that particular reference can be found. For example, the researcher will find information about Capt. Barker in Box 1, Folder 1 of the collection.
Barker, ? (Capt.) 1/1
Hinckley, Elizabeth K. 1/1
Hinckley, Isaac 1/1
Hinckley, Thomas D. 1/1
Lincoln, Elizabeth 1/1
Lincoln, Martin 1/1
Montague, Caroline Augusta 1/1
Sprague, ? (Miss.) 1/1
Sturgis, William (Jr.) 1/1

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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


Papers; ca. 1816-1888
Box Folder
1 1 Miscellaneous manuscripts, primarily correspondence and accounts, involving Hannah Hinckly, Thomas D. Hinckley, Elizabeth K. Hinckley, and Capt. Wm. Struges, includes information on Bryant & Sturges’ California hide trade; ca. 1816-1888
2 Miscellaneous pieces; including extracts and illustrations reproduced from volumes in this collection, plus Hinckley genealogical information;
Volumes; 1809-1818
1 Journal, Brig REAPER, Isaac Hinckley, Master; 1809 Jun 28-1810 Jun 8
2 Account book, Brig REAPER; 1809-1810
3 Letterbook, Isaac Hinckley (re. 1st voyage of Brig REAPER); 1809 Jul-1810 Jan
4 Journal, Ship TARTER, Isaac Hinckley, Master; 1812 Feb 16-1813 Jun 20
5 Volume of accounts and letters by Isaac Hinckley, relative to the ship CANTON; 1815
6 Journal, Ship CANTON, Isaac Hinckley, Master; 1816 May 24-1817 Mar 4
7 Journal Ship CANTON, Issac Hinckley, Master; 1817 Apr 10-1818 Jan 24

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