The Orne-Cushing-Baldwin-Tappan Family Collection

Manuscripts Collection 246

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Title: Orne-Cushing-Baldwin-Tappan Family Collection
Dates: 1723-1889
Extent: ca. 3000 items
Abstract: Business and personal papers of four related families, of Salem, Duxbury, Roxbury, and other locations in the Boston, Mass., area, principally engaged in the maritime trades, although members of the Orne and Cushing families operated a brick works in Salem in the early 1800’s.
Identification: Coll. 246

Biography of the Orne Family

The family history begins in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1720 Captain Timothy Orne prospered as a merchant and landowner. His son, Timothy Orne, also a merchant, insured several vessels. (See List of Salem Vessels Insured By Timothy Orne, John Nutting, Jr. and John Higginson; Dec. 1757 to Dec. 1758 ) His son, the third Timothy Orne, also followed a maritime career. Indentured, by Mary and Nathan Goodale (his father having previously died), to Peter Frye, and Jonathan Giles, Timothy Orne began his maritime employment as a fisherman. He later operated as a Salem merchant dealing with coastal and Transatlantic trade.

Around 1770 Timothy Orne married Elizabeth Sewall Pynchon, the daughter of William Pynchon, a Salem attorney and son of William Pynchon, settler of Springfield, Ma. The Pynchon-Orne connection was very close. During the early years of the revolution, Pynchon, a suspected loyalist supporter, lived with the Orne’s for several months while his own home was besieged by a mob of patriots. The winter of 1788/89 must have been a difficult one; William Pynchon, John Orne and Timothy Orne all died.

Fatherless and a widow, Elizabeth Orne continued to live in Salem and raise her family. The mother of three daughters, Elizabeth Orne managed her own domestic affairs. From 1790 to 1804 the Widow attended St. Peter’s Church, oversaw her farm in Raymondtown, attended parties, and visited with friends and relatives. Her daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Orne, also visited extensively, sometimes staying away from her mother for several months. The two, however, kept in touch by writing frequent letters.

The advent of widowhood forced Elizabeth Orne to manage not only her domestic affairs but also her financial situation. From 1790 to 1804 the widow would allow debts to accrue for a couple of years at a time Then she would sell one or two pieces of property and use the proceeds to pay off creditors. In 1804, however, her method of support changed; the Widow Orne embarked on the brickyard business. Beginning with a larger than usual sale of land, $1800.00, to John Sherry she subsequently purchased “l shop situated in Marlborough Street on land of William Hunt,” and had the building moved to Orne’s Point in January. She also bought oxen and several shovels. She then contracted with Pickering Dodge for 300,000 bricks. Several other brick sales, some of them quite large, soon followed. Her son-in-law, Colonel Thomas Cushing became involved in the brickyard. Married to Elizabeth Orne’s daughter, Catherine, in 1802, Thomas Cushing and Elizabeth Orne continued to co-operate the brickyard until his death in 1806. While managing the sale, supply and distribution of the bricks, had been Orne and Cushing’s jobs, the actual clay digging and brick molding was subcontracted to Elihu Eggleston. Beginning in 1806, the year of Thomas Cushing’s death, Elizabeth Orne leased the entire operation to Elihu Eggleston for $500.00 per year, and apparently distanced herself from day to day operations.

The remainder of Elizabeth Orne’s life, from 1806-182 1, returned to the domestic realm. Catherine Cushing remarries, this time to Elisha Mack and the couple moves into Elizabeth’s home. Legally bound as guardian to her three Cushing grandchildren; Timothy Orne Cushing, Elizabeth Orne Cushing and Catherine Brewer Cushing, Elizabeth Orne concentrated much of her time and resources on their education and support. Some of the last of Elizabeth Orne’s documents; 1821, are receipts for Timothy Orne Cushing’s instruction in navigation

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Biography of the Cushing Family

At the time Colonel Thomas Cushing married Catherine Orne, 1802, he was still involved in the settling his father’s, the Honorable Thomas Cushing’s, 1789 estate, and his widow’s 1792 estate. In addition to managing his inheritance and legal responsibilities, The Colonel appears to have been very prominent figure in the social and political life of Salem as editor and publisher of the Salem Gazette.

The Cushing and Orne family connection predated the marriage by several years. Prior to Thomas and Catherine’s marriage, Margaret (Peggy) Orne often visited at the Cushing’s home for extended periods of time. Shortly after his marriage to Catherine, Cushing joins Elizabeth Orne in the operation of a brick yard at Orne’s Point. The brick yard appears to have been quite successful and it is probable that bricks from that yard were used to construct some of Salem’s finer homes. Sometime around 1805-1806 Thomas Cushing died leaving his wife, Catherine, with three children, Timothy Orne Cushing, Elizabeth Orne Cushing, and Catherine Orne Cushing. Catherine Cushing and her mother, Elizabeth Orne were appointed guardians of the children. In 1813 Catherine Cushing marries Elisha Mack and Elizabeth Orne assumes the majority of expenses for the upkeep and education of the Cushing children.

The Colonel’s son from a previous marriage, Thomas Cushing, followed his fathers footsteps into professional life and attended Harvard in 1803. Billed for sleeping during lecture, and failing to attend church, the youngest Thomas eventually becomes a doctor, and also aids in the Upbringing of his younger half brother and sisters.

Timothy Orne Cushing, the Colonel’s son by Catherine Orne, followed in the Orne family tradition and entered into the maritime trades. Becoming Captain Timothy Cushing with help and guidance from his grandmother Elizabeth, who paid for his instruction in Navigation, Cushing embarked on the coastal and Transatlantic merchant trade. Often working with his brother-in-law, Luke Baldwin, and stepfather, Elisha Mack, Captain Cushing commanded the Brig CHARLESTOWN PACKET from New Bedford, CHOCTAW, and SHAWMUT of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It appears that Timothy Cushing never married.

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Biography of the Baldwin Family

Sometime around 1826 Catherine Orne Cushing, Captain Timothy Cushing’s sister, and Elizabeth Orne’s granddaughter, married Luke Baldwin.

Luke Baldwin was a merchant. In one venture he was apparently joint owner of the Brig SHAWMUT with Captain Cushing for a trading voyage to Smyrna.

Luke Baldwin Jr. followed in his fathers footsteps. Conducting a merchant business from Boston, Luke Baldwin Jr. traded goods in San Francisco, Manila and Hong Kong with Morgan Hathaway & Co. Baldwin also conducted business with Fred Baker & Co., Parsons & Petit, John Chandler, all primarily of New York. Trade items were generally indigo, hemp, and paper. Baldwin also unsuccessfully speculated in pearl shell.

The Baldwin family; Catherine Orne and Luke Baldwin, lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts and had three children in addition to Luke, Jr.; Parkman, Marion, and Catherine Orne. Catherine Orne Baldwin married John Tappan, corresponded profusely and appears to be the person responsible for collecting the family’s historical documents.

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Biography of the Tappan Family

Catherine Orne Baldwin, the great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Orne, married John Tappan sometime around 1854.

John Tappan descended from either John P. or Thomas Tappan who, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, lived in Newburyport. Both were engaged in coastal and Transatlantic maritime trade. John P. Tappan commanded the Brig UNITY, and the Schooner UNITY. He was lost at sea aboard the Ship PILGRIM in 1819. His brother Thomas continued to engage in maritime trades as a shipper.

There are no records of the Tappan family from 1832 to 1858.

The Tappan history resumes, at about the time of John Tappan’s marriage to Catherine Orne Baldwin in 1854. Mr. Tappan worked in Boston and often wrote notes to his, “Dear Kate,” while at work. The notes generally requested that she send something or other back with the bearer, or reply to a question concerning the children’s or her health. The family often vacationed away from the city for the summer. One summer, the children; Harry, Elizabeth, Mattie, and Fannie vacation in North Conway, N.H. mailing several letters to “Mama and Papa” The Tappan Family papers end around 1889.

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Scope and Contents

The Orne Family Papers are unique in several aspects. The most obvious distinction is that the papers span a 166 year, six generation period. Another important aspect of these papers is that they are matrilineal; they were collected by, and passed along the female lines. While the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons weave in and out of the papers, it is the women who maintain the thread, and the collection focuses on the interplay between the business and domestic aspects of eighteenth and nineteenth century life.

The personal papers reflect domestic life and include letters from Elizabeth Orne to her daughter “Peg” (Margaret “Peggy” Orne) detailing social life and customs in 18th century Salem. Persons represented include Capt. Timothy Orne (1683-1752), merchant and landowner; his son, Timothy Orne (1717-1767), merchant; and grandson, Timothy (d. 1789), Salem merchant involved in coastal and international trade, and his wife, Elizabeth Sewall (Pynchon) Orne (1752-1822), daughter of Salem attorney William Pynchon (d. 1789), who after the death of her husband and father, continued to live in Salem, managing both business and domestic affairs, operating a brickyard with her son-in-law Col. Thomas Cushing (d. 1808), son of Hon. Thomas Cushing (1725-1788) and husband of Catherine Orne. Other family members represented include Catherine (Orne) Cushing, who married Elisha Mack after Thomas Cushing’s death; the children of Catherine and Thomas Cushing: Capt. Timothy Orne Cushing (merchant who often worked with stepfather Elisha Mack and brother-in-law Luke Baldwin), and Catherine Orne (Cushing) Baldwin; Luke Baldwin, Jr., also a Boston merchant; and Catherine Orne (Baldwin) Tappan and her husband John Tappan.

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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.


Baldwin family
Cushing family
Mack, Elisha Orne family
Orne, Elizabeth (1745-1836)
Orne, Margaret–Correspondence
Orne, Timothy (1683-1753)
Orne, Timothy (1717-1767)
Orne, Timothy (d. 1789)
Tappan family


Boston (Mass.)–Social life and customs
Duxbury (Mass.)–History
Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)–Social life and customs


Brick trade–Massachusetts–Salem
Coastwise shipping–Atlantic Coast (U.S.)
Insurance, Marine
International trade

Document Types:

Family papers–Massachusetts
Insurance policies



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 246, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Index to Personal 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 Amory, Abigail in Box 3, Folder 4 of the collection.
Amory, Abigail 3/4
Amory, John 3/4
Appleton, Peggy 1/6
Baker, Fred 5/3, 5/4, 5/7
Baldwin, Catherine Orne 5/10, 5/11
Baldwin, Eliza 6/6
Baldwin, L. P. 5/8
Baldwin, Luke, Jr. 4/4, 5/1, 5/2, 5/3, 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 5/7, 5/8, 5/11, 5/13, 6/9
Baldwin, Parkman 5/8, 5/10, 5/11, 6/6
Baldwin, Thomas 5/9
Baldwin, William 5/8
Black, Nathaniel 6/2
Boughton, W. J. 4/3, 4/4
Bradford, (Col.) 1/6
Buffinton, Zadock 1/9
Burrill, Alden 1/9
Burrill, Eben 1/9
Cabot, Joseph 1/2
Cahill, Thomas 3/6
Chandler, John K. 5/3, 5/4
Cottman, Deb 1/2, 1/5
Cushing, 5/8, 5/11
Cushing, (Mr. & Mrs.) 1/6
Cushing, Catherine Brewer 3/11
Cushing, Catherine O. 6/6
Cushing, Catherine S.P. 3/4, 3/11, 4/4
Cushing, Deborah 3/2, 3/3
Cushing, Edward 3/2
Cushing, Elizabeth (Betsey) Orne 3/10, 3/11
Cushing, H. (Dr.) 2/2
Cushing, Margaret 3/2
Cushing, Thomas 3/4
Cushing, Thomas (Col.) 1/13, 1/14, 3/2, 3/4, 3/5, 3/6, 3/7, 3/8, 3/9, 3/10, 3/11
Cushing, Thomas (Dr.) 3/10
Cushing, Thomas (Hon.) 3/1, 3/2
Cushing, Thomas H. 4/4
Cushing, Timothy 2/4
Cushing, Timothy Orne 3/10, 3/11
Cushing, Timothy Orne (Captain) 4/1, 4/2, 4/3, 4/4
Davis, D. H. 5/4
Davis, David N. 5/5
DeGrasses, 1/6
Dodge, William Pickering 1/14
Dodo, William 3/7
Donahue, Mary E. 6/9
Eggleston, Elihu 2/1, 3/6, 3/8, 3/10
Eggleston, Jedidiah 3/5, 3/6
Eggleston, John 3/5
Gardiner, (Dr.) 1/5
Gerrish, (Captain) 1/2
Gilman, A. H. 3/8, 3/9
Goodale, 1/6
Goodale, Nathan 1/1, 1/2
Green, Rufus 3/4
Greenleaf, Joseph (Captain) 6/1
Hawthorne, Benjamin H. 3/7
Jenkins, Robert (Captain) 6/1
Jordan, (Mr.) 1/6
Lambert, Samuel 2/4
Landon, Peggy 1/6
Lechmere, (Mr.) 1/2
Low, David 6/3
Luscomb, Samuel 1/3
Mack, Elisha 2/3, 3/11
Mack, Ester E. 6/6
Mann, Obediah 1/12
Manning, (Mr.) 1/13
Manning, Richard 1/9, 1/10, 2/1
Maynard, 5/5
Mitchell, (Captain) 5/3
Mitchell, R. Jr. (Captain) 5/7
Mittemore, Andrew W. (Captain) 6/2
Munroe, Andrew 2/3
Murray, (Col.) 1/2
Newhall, Ezra 1/9
Orne, Bridget 1/3
Orne, Catherine (Katie) 1/6
Orne, Elizabeth 1/3, 1/6, 1/7, 1/8, 1/9, 1/10, 1/11, 1/12, 1/13, 1/14, 2/1, 2/2, 2/3, 2/4, 2/5, 3/5, 3/6, 3/7, 3/8, 3/10, 3/11
Orne, John 1/3
Orne, Margaret (Peggy) 1/6
Orne, Samuel 1/4
Orne, Timothy 1/1, 1/2
Paine, William 1/2
Parker, Benjamin 1/2
Perkins, Joseph 1/11, 1/12
Pratt, Eben 5/1
Prescott, Caroline 6/9
Pynchon, William 1/4, 1/5
Robie, Thomas 2/1
Sanders, Michael (Captain) 6/1
Sewall, Peggy 1/5
Sherry, John 1/14
Spence, Balfour 4/1
Sprague, John (Dr.) 3/2
Swassey, (Captain) 1/2
Tappan, Amos 6/2
Tappan, Aus. 6/4
Tappan, Catherine O. Baldwin 6/6, 6/7, 6/8
Tappan, Harry 6/8
Tappan, John H.A. 6/5, 6/6, 6/7, 6/8
Tappan, John P. 6/1, 6/2
Tappan, Joseph 6/2
Tappan, Lizzie 6/5
Tappan, Martha 6/2
Tappan, Mattie 6/5
Tappan, Thomas 6/5
Tappan, Thomas P. 6/2, 6/3
Titcomb, John H. 6/1
Waterman, Nathaniel 5/7
Wetmore, Wm. 3/4
White, (Captain) 5/3, 5/4
White, (Mr.) 1/5
Wood, Alner 6/1

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Index to Corporate 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 Chas H. Seymour & Co. in Box 5, Folder 3 of the collection.
Chas H. Seymour & Co. 5/3
Church & Pike 5/3, 5/4
Coleman & Co. 5/3
Duncan Sherman & Co. 5/5, 5/7
F. B. Chandler 5/3
Fred Baker & Co. 5/5, 5/6
Henry Payson & Co. 6/2
J. Gardoqui & Sons 1/2
Lane, Son & Fraser 1/2
Luke Baldwin & Co. 4/1
Morgan Hathaway & Co. 5/2, 5/4
Parsons & Petit 5/4, 5/5, 5/6
St. Peters Church 1/8
W.F. Weld & Co. 5/3

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Index to 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 ACASTA (?) in Box 4, Folder 3 of the collection.
ACASTA (?) 4/3
ALBERT (Schooner) 6/3
ARGENT (Ship) 4/1
BONITO (Brig) 5/2
BOSTON (?) 5/4
C. C. DOW (Ship) 5/4
CAROLINE (?) 5/4
CHOCTAW (Brig) 4/1
CHUSAN (Bark) 4/3
CORNET (Bark) 5/5
CRUSOE (Ship) 4/4
CYGNET (Ship) 5/2, 5/4, 5/7
EIGHT SONS (Brig) 6/3
ELIZABETH (Brig) 6/3
ERA (?) 5/3
FEARLESS (?) 5/3, 5/5
FLORIDA (Brig) 4/4
FLORIDA (Ship) 6/3
FLYING FISH (Clipper Ship) 5/5
GALATEA (?) 5/5
GOLDEN AGE (?) 5/2
GOLDEN GATE (?) 5/2, 5/3
HELEN (Schooner) 6/3
HERCULES (Ship) 6/3
HUMBOLDT (?) 5/4
HYDRA (Ship) 5/7
LEONIDAS (Brig) 6/3
MARY & JENNY (Brig) 5/4
MASSASOIT (Ship) 6/3
MATILDA (Ship) 5/4
METEOR (Ship) 5/5
NOONDAY (?) 5/2
ORPHEUS (?) 5/3, 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 5/7
PATAPSEO (Brig) 4/2
PILGRIM (Ship) 6/2
RAJAH (Steamer) 5/4
REPORTER (?) 5/3, 5/4
ROCKET (?) 5/3
SAN MIGUEL (?) 5/3
SHAWMUT (Brig) 4/1, 4/2, 4/3, 4/4, 5/1
SOUTHWIND (Schooner) 5/4
SUFFOLK (Brig) 6/2
SWORDFISH (Ship) 5/4
THORN (Brig) 4/4
UNION (Schooner) 6/1
UNITY (Brig) 6/1

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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

  Orne Family papers; 1720-1821. Cushing Family papers; 1788-1840. Baldwin Family papers; 1826-1870. Tappan Family papers; 1811-1874. Miscellaneous material; undated.

Box Folder
1 1 Orne; Deeds and legal documents; 1720-1768.
2 Timothy Orne; Correspondence; 1770-1774.
3 John Orne; Estate papers; 1790-1796.
4 Samuel Orne; Estate papers; 1785-1790.
5 Deb Cottman and William Pynchon; Correspondence; 1773.
6 Elizabeth Orne to Margaret (Peggy) Orne; correspondence. Images
7 Elizabeth Orne; Tax receipts; 1796-1812.
8 Elizabeth Orne; Pew tax receipts – St. Peter’s Church; 1798-1821.
9 Elizabeth Orne; Transportation receipts; 1790-1798.
10 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1790-1798.
11 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1799.
12 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1800.
13 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1802-1804.
14 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1805.
Box Folder
2 1 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1806-1809.
2 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1810-1812.
3 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1813-1819.
4 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; 1820-1821.
5 Elizabeth Orne; Bills and receipts; undated.
Box Folder
3 1 Mary Cushing; Estate papers; 1750.
2 Honorable Thomas Cushing; Estate papers; 1788-1792.
3 Deborah Cushing; Estate papers; 1790.
4 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1796-1804.
5 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1804 Dec-1805 Jun.
6 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1805 Jul-Dec.
7 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1806 Jan-Jun.
8 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1806 Jul-Dec.
9 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1806.
10 Colonel Thomas Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1807-1808.
11 Catherine Orne Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1809-1813.
12 Cushing family; undated.
Box Folder
4 1 Captain Timothy Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1823-1838.
2 Captain Timothy Cushing; Bills and receipts; 1840-1845.
3 Captain Timothy Cushing; Bills and receipts; undated.
4 Captain Timothy Cushing; Correspondence; 1814-1840.
5 Ships’ logs; unknown; undated.
Box Folder
5 1 Luke Baldwin; Business papers; 1825-1851.
2 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Correspondence; 1854.
3 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Correspondence; 1856.
4 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Correspondence; 1857.
5 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Correspondence; 1858.
6 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Correspondence; 1859.
7 Luke Baldwin Jr.; Business papers; 1855-1859.
8 William Baldwin; Correspondence; 1847-1857.
9 Thomas Baldwin; Papers; 1863.
10 Parkman Baldwin to Catherine O. Baldwin; Correspondence; 1851.
11 Luke Baldwin to Catherine Baldwin Tappan (daughter); Correspondence; 1856-1870.
12 Catherine O. Baldwin; Correspondence from various people; 1847-1854.
13 Catherine O. Baldwin (?); Correspondence; undated.
Box Folder
6 1 John P. Tappan; General papers and correspondence; 1811-1816.
2 Thomas P. Tappan; General papers and correspondence; 1817-1826.
3 Thomas P. Tappan; marine insurance policies; 1822-1823.
4 Tappan; Account book; 1832.
5 John H.A. Tappan; Papers and correspondence; 1858-1874.
6 Catherine Tappan to various people; Correspondence; 1854-1889.
7 Catherine Tappan from John Tappan (husband); Correspondence; 1854-1872.
8 Catherine Tappan, John Tappan and children; Correspondence; undated.
9 Unknown; Correspondence; undated.
10 Tappan; Envelopes; undated.
Box Folder
7 1 Miscellaneous/Unidentified Manuscripts; undated.
2 Miscellaneous printed items; undated.