Family, of Providence, R.I.
Family papers, 1793-1914
Size: 1.75 linear feet
Catalog number: MSS 259
Processed by: Rick Stattler, August 2001
©Rhode Island Historical Society
Samuel Ames (1766-1830) was born in Groton, Mass. He married Anne Checkley (1785-1868) and became a Providence merchant. they had at least five children, including Anne C. (1802-1860), Samuel II (1806-1865), John C. (1808-1854), Francis (1811-1861), and William S. (1818-1840).
Samuel Ames II (1806-1865) graduated from Brown University in 1823 and practiced law in Providence. He was selected as Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 1856, resigned in 1865, and died later that year. He married Mary T. Dorr (1811-1869), daughter of Sullivan Dorr, and sister of Thomas W. Dorr. They had five children: Sullivan D. (1840-1880), William (1842-1914), Edward C. (1845-1886), Mary B. (1852-1873), and Samuel III (1849-1900).
Samuel Ames III (1849-1900) graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1868, served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1875, and then became a Providence lawyer. his speciality seemed to be defending companies against work-related injury suits by their employees. After the death of his uncle Sullivan Dorr, Ames resided in the Dorr Mansion. He was a founder of the Municipal League. He married Abby G. Harris (1851-1914), and had no children before his death from typhoid fever in 1900.
Sullivan Dorr Ames (1840-1880) was a naval officer. He married Mary T. Bullock in 1870.
Biographical Cyclopedia of Rhode Island, 342
Cutter, William R. New England Families, genealogical and Memorial (Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield, 1996), III-1288.
Rhode Island Cemetery Database
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Scope and content:
This collection begins with the mercantile letter book of Samuel Ames I, and also includes miscellaneous papers of Samuel Ames II and his wife Mary. Samuel Ames II's unpublished novel "Arthur Ledgeley" may contain interesting semi-autobiographical material. The collection also includes an account book / diary by Sullivan D. Ames which begins in 1879.
The bulk of the papers are from Samuel Ames III. Particularly interesting Samuel Ames III correspondence includes a 6/5/1880 letter from "Jacoby" that mentions attending a Providence Grays game; a letter from George William Curtis dated 10/11/1885; and a letter from Henry T. Root of Providence, 3/16/1886; twelve letters from Anne B. (Francis) Woods, 1887-1895; and six personal letters from H.B. Torrey dated 1899. Ames' legal files are also interesting, as they document work-related injuries and their settlements. The case of Raia vs. Builders Iron Foundry, in which Giovanni St. Angelo was crushed by falling blocks on the job, was a particular test of Ames's talents, but the insurance company manager wrote told Ames that "I have confidence that if it comes to a hearing you will prevail as usual." He added with unusual frankness, "This company has no bowels of compassion." Ames settled out of court with St. Angelo's heirs for only $100.
Related papers at the R.I.H.S. include:
Letter, Samuel Ames I to Bennett Wheeler re high postal rates, 1827 (MSS 9001-W)
Letters between Samuel Ames II and Samuel King re Dorr Rebellion (MSS 9001-K)
Correspondence between Samuel Ames II and Elisha R. Potter Jr., 1840s-1860s (MSS 629, sg 3)
Folder on removal of Samuel Ames II as judge (MSS 144, box 28, folder 9)
Letters from Samuel Ames II to Herreshoff family, 1845, 1847 (MSS 487, sg 4 and 7)
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The bulk of these papers were purchased at auction from Associated Appraisers in 1970, as part of the papers of Nathan Truman (Samuel Ames III's executor). The fictional day book was donated by Jeannie Arnold in 1915. The Samuel Ames II letter to Andrew Foote was purchased as part of the Shepley Collection in 1938. The Samuel Ames I letter book and Sullivan Ames account book were gifts from Mrs. Paul C. Nicholson in 1947, and the "Arthur Ledgeley" manuscript was a gift from Paul C. Nicholson in 1956. The provenance of the three folders of Samuel Ames II papers is uncertain, although they were apparently cataloged at the same time as the bulk of the papers. The provenance of the Sullivan Ames passport is unknown, but was apparently cataloged before 1950 or so. The provenance of the 1883 Mrs. Ames receipt is unknown, but probably shares no common provenance with the other papers. It was found in 2001 filed with the passport, but might very well relate to an entirely different Ames family.
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Portions of this collection were processed by Nathaniel Shipton in the 1970s. In 2001, the papers were reprocessed as a family collection, and this finding aid was compiled. The four boxes of legal papers were left in their old boxes and folders. The unpublished novel, which had been tightly rolled, was unrolled and flattened at this time.
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Samuel Ames I (1766-1830)
Box 1, folder 1. Letter book, 1793-1804. Mostly regarding the exchange and discount of notes, mostly with Boston and New York merchants. Some letters deal with shipments of goods.
Samuel Ames II (1806-1865)
Box 1, folder 2. Correspondence, 1814-1861
1814/07/12 Letter to aunt Mary Checkley, written in Andover
1819/11/25 Letter to aunt Mary Checkley, written in Andover
1837/01/24 Letter to aunt Mary Checkley, written in Providence
1839/08/31 Letter to aunt Mary Checkley and mother Ann Ames, written in Pittsburgh
1856/05/08 Letter of appreciation from Providence Children's Friends Society
1856/12/25 Letter to daughter Sally
1861/04/24 Letter to Capt. Andrew H. Foote of the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Box 1, folder 3. Commissions and certificates, 1826-1861
1826 Certificate of admission to the Rhode Island Bar
1846 Certificate to practice before the United States Supreme Court
1854 Appointment to committee to revise public laws of Rhode Island
1856 Commission as Chief Justice of Rhode Island Supreme Court
1857 Commission as reporter of the Rhode Island Supreme Court
1861 Commission as R.I. delegate to national convention in Washington
Box 1, folder 4. Miscellaneous, 1839-1865
1839 Marriage certificate
1839 Marriage contracts
1846 Last will and testament
1853 Deed between Samuel Ames, Mary (Dorr) Ames and Sullivan Dorr
1858 Quitclaim deed from Samuel Ames to Sullivan Dorr, trustee for Mary (Dorr) Ames
1861 Membership card in Volunteer Relief Association
1865 Memorial from Rhode Island Bar
Box 1, rear of box. "Arthur Ledgeley; Or, Some Passages in the Life of a Lawyer," an unpublished manuscript novel. 23 folders, 16 chapters.
Mary T. (Dorr) Ames (1811-1869)
Box 1, folder 5. Miscellaneous, 1866-1871.
1866 Letter to Mrs. Ames from William S. Patten re death of Samuel Ames, enclosing memorial resolution of the Social Club.
1867 Quitclaim deed, Dorr family to Mary T. (Dorr) Ames
1869 List of stock values for Mary T. Ames
1871 Financial memorandum
Samuel Ames III (1849-1900)
Box 1, folder 6. Letters received, 1880-1887
Box 1, folder 7. Letters received, 1888-1894
Box 1, folder 8. Letters received, 1895-1896
Box 1, folder 9. Letters received, 1897-1900
Box 1, folder 10. Letters received, undated
Box 1, folders 11-12. Two letter copy books, 1895-1900
Box 1, folder 13. Account book of Samuel Ames III estate, 1901-1914
Box 1, folder 14. Estate papers, 1900, 1913
Box 2. Legal Papers - Cases:
American Box Machine Co. vs. Fletcher Mfg. Co., 1893-1894
Ames, Samuel vs. Union Eyelet Co., 1897
Besecolo vs. Providence Worsted Mills, 1893-1897
Clark vs. Wixon, 1899
Davis vs. Burges, 1885
Durand vs. Social Manufacturing Company, 1898-1899
Goglio vs. Builders Iron Foundry, 1893
Hayden vs. Oriental Mills, 1881-1885
Box 3. Legal Papers - Cases:
Kelley vs. Silver Spring Bleaching, 1874-1875
Larson vs. Crampton Company, 1893
DiMarcho vs. Builders Iron Foundry, 1892-1894
Raia vs. Builders Iron Foundry, 1893-1896
Robinson vs. Providence Worsted Mills, 1890
Box 4. Legal Cases - Estates:
Abby Harris, 1889
Caleb F. Harris, 1878-1892
Box 5. Legal Cases - Estates:
Eliza Harris, 1884-1907
George Jackson, 1892-1893
Benjamin C. Simmons, 1889-1896
Sullivan D. Ames (1840-1880)
Box 1, folder 15. Account book, 1879-1883 (kept by widow after 1880).
Includes very brief diary entries by Sullivan D. Ames, 12/1/1879 - 11/19/1880.
Also notes on household servants by Mary T. (Bullock) Ames, 1880-1883.
Box 1, folder 16. Diplomatic naval passport, 1873, signed by Hamilton Fish;
and manicure receipt to Mrs. J.D. or S.D. Ames from Mrs. Pray, New York, 1883
Box 1, folder 17. Student daybook, 1842-1843.
Thought to be entirely fictional. A note explaining why is filed with the volume.
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American Box Machine Co. *
Ames, Mary T. (Dorr) (1811-1869)
Ames, Samuel (1766-1830)
Ames, Samuel (1806-1865)
Ames, Samuel (1849-1900)
Ames, Sullivan D. (1840-1880)
"Arthur Ledgeley; Or, Some Passages in the Life of a Lawyer"
Besecolo, Frank *
Builders Iron Foundry *
Burges, Walter S. *
Checkley, Mary (1783-1847)
Clark, Edward P. *
Crampton Company *
Curtis, George William (1824-1892)
Davis, William D. *
Diaries - 1879-1880
DiMarcho, Carmeno *
Durand, Onesime *
Fletcher Mfg. Co. *
Foote, Andrew H. (1806-1863)
Goglio, Luigi *
Harris, Abby *
Harris, Caleb F. *
Harris, Eliza *
Hayden, Isaac *
Industrial accidents - Rhode Island - Providence
Italian Americans - Rhode Island - Providence
Jackson, George *
Kelley , Thomas *
Larson, Jacob *
Lawyers - Rhode Island - Providence
Manicuring - New York
Merchants - Rhode Island - Providence
Oriental Mills *
Providence Base Ball Association
Providence, R.I. - Commerce
Providence Worsted Mills *
Raia, Frank A. *
Robinson, Charles H. *
Root, Henry T. (1830-1914)
Silver Spring Bleaching *
Simmons, Benjamin C. *
Social Manufacturing Company *
St. Angelo, Giovanni (ca.1852-1892)
Truman, Nathan H. (1852-1914)
Union Eyelet Co. *
Wixon, Albert E. *
Woods, Anne B. (Francis) (1828-1896)
* indexing done circa 1970
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