1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Tillinghast Papers

 Merchant family, Newport and Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1738-1824. Bulk, 1790-1806.

 Size: 1.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 757

 Processed by: Sandford B. Smith, 1888. Finding aid by Rick Stattler, 1996.

 USE MICROFILM    E445 .R4, part 2, reels 28-29

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The person most prominently featured in this collection is Jonathan Tillinghast (1760-1806) of Providence. He was a sea captain, and owner of several ships active in the Caribbean trade.

            Joseph Tillinghast (1728-1789) was the father of Jonathan, and was a sea captain as well. He spent most of his life in Newport, but eventually settled in Providence. He was oddly enough one of three sea captains named Joseph Tillinghast active in Providence during the late eighteenth century. His wife Lydia Harris (1738-1822) survived him by many years.

            Jonathan Tillinghast (1698-1774) was grandfather of the Captain Jonathan mentioned above, and father of Joseph.

            John Tillinghast (1696-1775) was brother of the senior Jonathan, and thus great-uncle of Captain Jonathan Tillinghast. John was a prominent citizen of Newport, a founder of the Redwood Library and an original trustee of what became Brown University. John never married, and left his considerable estate to his numerous siblings, nieces and nephews.



Tillinghast, Rose C. The Tillinghast Family 1560-1971 Published by the author, 1972.

            See pages 15-17, 132-133

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Scope and content:

            The large majority of this collection consists of mercantile correspondence and accounts of Jonathan Tillinghast (1760-1806), including almost all of pages 13 to 223. Much of the correspondence is addressed to or from St. Croix (now in the British Virgin Islands) and Cape Francois, Haiti. One item, a Mediterranean passport for the snow Susan dated 1799 on page 81, bears the signature of president John Adams.

            Other important items are the will and estate papers of John Tillinghast, much of pages 1-13; the will of Jonathan Tillinghast (1698-1774), p.7; accounts for Lydia (Harris) Tillinghast scattered throughout the collection, but especially in pages 224-233; miscellaneous papers of Joseph Tillinghast (1728-1789) scattered through pages 4 to 17. The chronological order is lost from pages 233 through 253, which are mostly undated papers relating to all of the above.

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            The provenance of this collection is unknown; it does not seem to appear in the accession books. It appears to be a unified family collection, and probably arrived in one gift. It definitely arrived before 1888, when it was first organized.

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Processing note:

            In 1888, this collection was mounted into "four thick folio volumes chronologically arranged" by assistant librarian Sandford B. Smith. A list of items was prepared, and most items were indexed by name in the card catalog. Though the collection was dismounted ca. 1975 and placed in flat folders, the original arrangement and page numbers have been retained. each page can contain several items.

            In 1889, two documents relating to Stephen Tillinghast of Exeter were donated and then added to this collection, though he was only a distant cousin. These documents were transferred to the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection in 1996.

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Box 1. Index and pages 1-26.         1738-1793.

Box 2. Pages 27-75                           1793-1798.

Box 3. Pages 76-115                         1798-1801.

Box 4. Pages 116-164                       1801-1803.

Box 5. Pages 165-200                       1803-1806.

Box 6. Pages 201-253                       1804-1824.

For those researchers with early citations to this collection, the original volumes were set up as follows:

Volume 1. Pages 1-64

Volume 2. Pages 65-124

Volume 3. Pages 125-188

Volume 4. Pages 189-253

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Caribbean Area - History - To 1810

Merchants - Rhode Island - Providence

Tillinghast, John (1696-17750

Tillinghast, Jonathan (1698-1774)

Tillinghast, Jonathan (1760-1806)

Tillinghast, Joseph (1728-1789)

Tillinghast, Lydia (1738-1822)

A name index to the collection is interfiled in the card catalog at the repository.

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