1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 John Barnet Chace Papers

 Merchant, Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1802 - 1892. Bulk dates 1802 - 1863.

 Size: .5 linear ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 339

 Processed by: Processed by Robin Flynn, March 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

John Barnet Chace was born in Providence on April 13, 1782. He was the son of Dr. John Chace, an apothecary, and Prudence (Jenkins) Chace. At the age of twelve, Chace began work as a clerk at Providence Bank, where he remained until he was 21. From the years 1803 to 1808, Chace served as supercargo for several ships owned by the Providence firm Brown & Ives, sailing to and conducting business in several trading ports around the world. In 1809, Chace opened a grocery business on North Main Street in Providence. His store became a well-established business in the city, and Chace remained in the grocery trade for the rest of his life. He was active in the Providence community, serving as a volunteer for his church; as an officer in a local military company; and as a fireman. He died at the age of 81 on August 23, 1863.

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Scope and content:

The collection contains Chace's personal papers, including: letter books and loose correspondence; journals; accounts, logs, and miscellaneous shipping documents from his shipping years; poetry written by Chace and others; and memoranda. Most of the papers date between 1802 and 1862.

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The letter books (folders 1 and 2), memorandum book (folder 6), account book of brig Abeona (folder 7), and the poetry book (folder 9) were gifts of Frances L. Chace, 1932. The two scrapbooks of advertisements for the grocery business (folder 10) were gifts of Mrs. Lewis J. Chace, 1906. The provenance of the contents of folders 3 - 5, 8, and 11 (loose correspondence; journal 1806-1807; letter/memoranda book 1802-1807; miscellaneous shipping records; and miscellaneous papers, respectively) is unknown, but these items seem to have first been cataloged circa 1969.

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Processing note:

Logbooks for the brigs Juno and Isis are in a separate logbook collection in the Manuscripts Division. Also, an original drawing found among Chace's papers, a copy of an engraving, drawn by Penelope Thurston, 1809, was transferred to the Graphics Department.

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Folder 1. Personal memoranda book, 1802-1862

The contents of the book include copies of : condolence letters sent and received among John Barnet Chace, his family, and friends concerning the death of his wife, Harriet F. (Jones) Chace (d. 1823); miscellaneous poems and quotations; letters of introduction / recommendation from former employers, and other miscellaneous correspondence; a Providence Journal newspaper article dated June 9, 1862 recognizing the 53rd anniversary of Barnet's Providence grocery business; and a letter from Samuel Chace (JBC's paternal grandfather) to George Washington.

Folder 2. Personal memoranda book, 1805-1806.

            Letters concerning Chace's business as supercargo for Brown & Ives shipping vessels.

Folder 3. Loose correspondence, 1802-1892. The folder contains the following:

            - 7/23/1802, to John B. Murray from Olney Winsor, letter of introduction for JBC

            - 7/23/1802, letter of introduction for JBC from Nicholas Brown

            - 7/23/1802, to John B. Murray from Olney Winsor, letter of intro. for JBC (2nd copy)

            - 10/25/1803, letter of introduction for JBC from Olney Winsor

            - Ship Isis, 12/28/1804, to JBC from John Ormsbee

            - Gibraltar Bay, 1/22/1805, to captain or supercargo of any Brown & Ives vessel, from              A.T. Jenckes

            - May 7, 1805, to JBC from A.T. Jenckes

            - Leghorn, 5/10/1805, to Brown & Ives from Webb, Holmes, & Co.

            - Leghorn, March 1806, to Brown & Ives from Webb, Holmes, & Co.

            - Providence, 10/6/1806, to JBC from his sister Elizabeth Chace

            - Maldonado, 12/26/1806, to Captain Boucher from JBC

            - Cape Town, 10/29/1807, to Mr. Hamilton Ross from JBC

            - undated, to Brown & Ives, William Holroyd, and Samuel Ames, from JBC

            - Cape of Good Hope, 8/29/1809, to JBC from Hamilton Ross

            - Providence, 10/6/1814 from JBC, unknown recipient

            - Providence, 10/20/1820, to M.B. Murray & Son from William Blodget; also to

               Lebbeus Loomis, Esqr. from Brown & Ives

            - Hudson, 8/15/1834, to JBC from Milo B. Root

            - Bristol College, Pa., 9/4/1834 to JBC from Edward C. Thurston

            - 10/6/1836, letter of introduction for JBC from Brown & Ives

            - New York, 7/5/1838, to JBC from his son John Barnet Chace, Jr.

            - Providence, 3/27/1839, to JBC from Daniel C. Easton

            - Providence, 4/11/1848, to JBC from Elisha Dyer, Jr.

            - Alexandria, Va., 1862, to JBC from Samuel Thurber

            - Providence, 7/9/1862, to JBC from Samuel W. Brown

            - Kingston, 12/19/1892 to Mr. John B. Chase & son from William A. Potter

Folder 4. Personal journal, 12/26/1806 - 10/18/1807.

Folder 5. Book: letters, log, and memoranda, 1802 - 1807.

Folder 6. Memorandum book, 1804 - 1808.

            Contains, among other entries, instructions to JBC from Brown & Ives concerning his

            conduct as supercargo of brigantine Abeona.

Folder 7. Account book of brig Abeona, 1805.

Folder 8. Miscellaneous shipping documents, receipts, and invoices, 1807 - 1813.

Folder 9. Book of poetry, 1807 - 1809.

Folder 10. Scrapbooks, advertisements for JBC's grocery business, 1809 - circa 1858.

Folder 11. Miscellaneous papers. The folder contains the following:

            1. Autobiographical sketch of JBC's professional life from 1794 - 1809.

            2. Statement by JBC concerning the brig Hiram, 1808; also statement of Wheeler

                Martin, witness, concerning same, 1808.

            3. JBC's commission as major in Providence Independent Company of Cadets, 1812.

            4. Copy of obituary of Mrs. Elizabeth Thurston, 1831.

            5. Poem written by JBC, 1844.

            6. Order to JBC from Providence Train of Artillery Old Guard, 8/17/1863.

            7. Prayer, April 1861.

            8. Printed pamphlet, obituaries for JBC.

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Abeona (brigantine)

Brown & Ives  

Clark, Joseph (master, Abeona; dates unknown)


Commerce-South America

Diaries, 1806-1807

Eliza (brigantine)

Grocery trade-R.I.-Providence

Isis (brigantine)

Juno (brigantine)




Providence, R.I. - commerce

Washington, George (1732-1799)

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