1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Jonathan Peck Papers

 Farmers of Bristol, R.I.

 Papers, 1728-1783

 Size: .5 ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 610

 Processed by: Elizabeth Delmage

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Pecks of Bristol, R.I. had lived in the town since Jonathan Peck (1666-1729) settled upon a large estate, known as Peck's Hill, in the early eighteenth century. The land comprised of many valuable farms and remained in the family until 1838. His son, Jonathan (1698-1757) became a wealthy farmer on the family lands along with the next generation, Jonathan (c.1725-1797). Jonathan (1698-1757) married twice, first to Hannah Wood (1701-1730) of Little Compton, R.I. and then to Hannah Lain (1706-1756), and had fourteen children. His son Jonathan (c.1725-1797) married Mary Throop (1737-1803) of Bristol in 1757 and the couple had twelve children, one of them being the wealthy merchant, Nicholas Peck (1762-1847). Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797) was referred to as Captain Peck in some of his documents and with further research it is evident that Jonathan was a part owner of the sloop Adventure. The sloop was based in Bristol, R.I. and was involved in coastal trade during the 1790s.


Munro, Wilfred H. The History of Bristol, R.I. Providence: J.A. & R.A. Reid Printers and

            Publishers, 1880.

Peck, Ira B. A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck. Boston: Alfred Mudge

            & Son, 1868.

Survey of Federal Archives, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Projects

            Administration, ed. Ship Registers and Enrollments of Newport, R.I. 1790-1939, Volume

            1. Providence, R.I.: The National Archives Project, 1938-1941.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains account books from Jonathan Peck (1698-1757) as well as later accounts from his son, Jonathan (c.1725-1797). These account books record their business transactions on their farm in Bristol, R.I. from 1728 through 1783.

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            The account books (#1966. 46. 1-3) were a part of a larger donation by Dr. Louis F. Peck in 1966.

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Processing note:

            Upon inspection of the account books within this collection, it is apparent that they did not belong to just one Jonathan Peck. Given the years that are covered, it is evident that the account books belonged to Jonathan Peck (1698-1757) and his son Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797). The account books for 1728-1745 and 1747-1755 belonged to Jonathan Peck (1698-1757) and the remaining two for 1757-1763 and 1769-1783 belonged to his son, Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797).

            In August 1996, materials from this collection were transferred to Mss 16: Nicholas Peck Papers and vice versa. In this collection there had been two account books, a waste book dated 1795-1796 and "Ledger B" dated 1793-1796 for Smith & Peck, whose original owners are unclear. There was enough evidence to conclude that these account books belonged with the Nicholas Peck Papers since:

            1. The ledger is clearly for a firm styled Smith & Peck. This name is used whenever

             signing off on accounts. Nowhere in the ledger are we told who Smith or Peck are, but in

             the Nicholas Peck Papers are several loose receipts for the Smith & Peck partnership,

             including a 1791 receipt for tea purchased by "Stephen Smith & N. Peck." A loose

             receipt tucked into the ledger does refer to Stephen Smith.

            2. In the Nicholas Peck Papers there is a "Ledger E" dated 1803-1812, which is about

             right with continuing the series from series B, even though the partnership had dissolved.

            3. There are a scant few accounts in the "Ledger B" that are settled after 1797; these are

             usually signed off by Nicholas Peck. Actually, this could be either settling his father's

             affairs or settling the affairs of a dissolved partnership.

            4. The waste book clearly matches up with the ledger, with some of the same entries

             (person, price, date and purchase) being transferred to the ledger without change.

            5. Both volumes are listed as Nicholas Peck ledgers in the accession book.

Therefore, these two account books have been transferred to Mss 16: Nicholas Peck Papers.

            In the Nicholas Peck Papers there were four leaves of accounts dated 1735-1786. They clearly have nothing to do with Nicholas Peck (1762-1847). These are the items in question:

            1. 4 pages detached from a day book (1 leaf), dated 1735-1751. No name, but certainly

             consistent with the contents of the papers of Nicholas' grandfather, Jonathan Peck (1698-


            2. 1 page in the same hand, that looks like it came from a slightly smaller book, dated

            1752-1760, marked on the reverse "Madame Pain's a/c & c."

            3. 2 pages of account, Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797) due on behalf of his father to Nathan

             Fales, 1761-1773.

            4. Note from Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797) to Capt. Isaac Gorham, 1786. Mentions

             Nicholas in note.

These four items are of unknown provenance, but probably from a 1966 Tyson's Book Shop purchase. This was the only accession of specifically Nicholas Peck Papers, which would explain why his father's papers were kept with them. These items were transferred to the Jonathan Peck Papers.

            In January 2006, the account books were rehoused into archival storage boxes.

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Box 1, Folder 1.          Miscellaneous Accounts.                                            1735-1786

Box 1.                         Account Book. Jonathan Peck (1698-1757)               1728-1745

Box 1.                         Account Book. Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797)            1757-1763

Box 2.                         Account Book. Jonathan Peck (1698-1757)               1747-1755

Box 2.                         Account Book. Jonathan Peck (c.1725-1797)            1769-1783

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Account books, 1728-1783.

Bristol, R.I. - Commerce.

Farmers - Rhode Island - Bristol.

Peck, Jonathan, 1698-1757.

Peck, Jonathan, c.1725-1797.

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