1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

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 Abraham Whipple Collection

 Naval officer, of Providence, R.I.

 Collected papers, 1763-1786. Bulk, 1777-1780.

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 802

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, August 1999

 USE MICROFILM    CS71 W574 1779 POS, NEG (letterbook only)

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) became a captain of a merchant vessel early in life, and then served as captain of the privateer Gamecock, which captured twenty-three French ships in the French and Indian War. He was a leader in the burning of the Gaspee in 1772, and was appointed a commodore in the Revolution in 1775. In June of 1775, he claimed to have "fired the first shot on water in defiance of the British flag." In July of 1776, Whipple was summoned from the Columbus to Philadelphia to answer charges before a congressional committee, but was found guilty of nothing more than "a rough indelicate mode of behaviour to his marine officers" and was asked to "cultivate harmony with his officers." In 1779, he commanded a squadron defending Charlestown harbor from the flagship Providence, and was responsible for the capture of eight British merchant vessels. He was made a prisoner when Charlestown was captured in 1780, and was held through the end of the war. After the war, he farmed in Cranston, and then settled near Marietta, Ohio, where he spent the remainder of his life.


Concise Dictionary of American Biography (Scribner's, 1964)

Biographical Cyclopedia of Rhode Island (Providence, 1881)

Showman, Richard K., editor. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene, volume 1 (University of North Carolina Press, 1976), 259.

Whipple, Abraham. "Address to Congress, June 10, 1786," in Abraham Whipple Papers, folder 2.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists almost entirely of Whipple's copied correspondence (incoming and outgoing) from the Revolutionary War. It includes one contemporary letter book written in the hand of Whipple or a secretary; and one folder of letters copied in 1853 by an historian.

            In addition, there are several Whipple items in other collections at the society. Three Whipple items dated 1775 are part of the Stephen Hopkins Collection: the instructions of the Rhode Island Committee to Capt. Whipple of the sloop Katy, and two letters of marque and reprisal from Stephen Hopkins to Capt. Whipple. These items were all published in Rhode Island History in July of 1943.

            Orders to Capt. Whipple dated 11/12/1775 as commander of the sloop Katy can be found in the Nicholas Cooke Papers. An 1835 letter from George Field describing Whipple's funeral, along with a copy of his obituary, can be found in RIHSM, vol. 4, page 139.

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            The letter transcriptions were donated in 1853 by C.W. Parsons. The original letter book was donated by Frances W. Sibley in 1948. The provenance of the other items is unknown, but seems in most or all cases to date back before 1940.

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Folder 1. Letter book, 1779-1786. PLEASE USE MICROFILM COPY OF THIS VOLUME.

This volume contains both drafts of Whipple's outgoing letters and copies of letters he had received. Virtually all of the correspondence relates to official naval business, and the volume is really more of an orderly book than a letter book. It has been microfilmed, and is available in the reading room under catalog number CS71 W574 1779. The item sin this volume are listed below, in the order in which they appear.


            1779/10/10     To Jesse Cooke

            1779/10/10     To Gideon Manchester and Daniel Bucklin

            1779/10/10     To James Campbell

            1779/10/14     From Gideon Manchester

            1779/10/18     Orders aboard frigate Providence

            1779/9/19       From Francis Lewis

            1779/9/6         From Thomas Simpson

            1779/9/29       From William Jones

            1779/10/21     To John Bradford

            1779/10/20     From James Warren

            1779/10/22     To --- Paddleford of Taunton.

            1779/10/24     From J. Bradford

            1779/11/4       From William Vernon

            1779/1/31       From J.D. Schweighauser

            1779/11/19     Petition to Navy Board from Whipple, Rathburne, Tucker and Simpson

            1779/11/19     From William Vernon and J. Warren

            1779/9/20       Extract of minutes of Marine Committee by Charles Thomson

            1779/9/22       From William Whipple

            1779/11/20     From William Vernon and J. Warren

            1779/11/23     To Rathburn, Tucker and Simpson

            1779/12/5       To Thomas Bowen

            1779/12/5       From George Richards

            1779/12/18     To Governor of Fort Sullivan

            1779/12/19     To the Marine Committee

            1780/1/5         From Governor at Charlestown

            1780/1/3         From Francis Letiff, sailor (signed with mark)

            1780/1/6         To Benjamin Page

            1780/1/8         To the Marine Committee

            1780/1/11       From Thomas Simpson

            1780/1/12       To Thomas Simpson

            1780/1/12       To George House

            1780/1/16       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/17       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/19       To John Peck Rathburn

            1780/1/20       To Samuel Tucker

            1780/1/20       To John Peck Rathburn

            1780/1/20       To commanding officer of troops at Georgetown, listing deserters

            1780/1/23       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/24       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/26       To Samuel Godfrey

            1780/1/26       To Ezekiel Burket

            1780/1/27       To Benjamin Lincoln, listing prisoners captured

            1780/1/27       To W.(?) Livingston, continental agent

            1780/1/27       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/28       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/1/29       To John Rathburn and Samuel Tucker

            1780/1/30       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/1         From Hoysted Hacker et al

            1780/2/3         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/6         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/7         To Peter Douvil

            1780/2/8         To George House

            1780/2/9         General order to privateers

            1780/2/9         To John P. Rathburn

            1780/2/9         To George Richards

            1780/2/8         From John Rutledge

            1780/2/8         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/9         To Marshall Boetir (?)

            1780/2/9         To George Farragut

            1780/2/9         To Commodore Lockwood

            1780/2/9         To James Pyne

            1780/2/9         To William Sisk

            1780/2/11       To commander of frigate Providence

            1780/2/11       From Benjamin Page

            1780/2/12       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/12       To Samuel Tucker

            1780/2/12       To commander of frigate Providence

            1780/2/13       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/13       To John P. Rathburn

            1780/2/13       To John P. Rathburn

            1780/2/13       To John P. Rathburn

            1780/2/13       Order re securing boats in harbor

            1780/2/13       From John Rutledge

            1780/2/13       To Samuel Tucker and Thomas Simpson

            1780/2/13       To the Marine Board

            1780/2/15       To John Rutledge

            1780/2/15       To Samuel Tucker and Thomas Simpson

            1780/2/15       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/16       To David Lockwood

            1780/2/16       To Marshall Boetir

            1780/2/16       To George Farragut

            1780/2/18       To Nicholas E. Gardner

            1780/2/18       Order re apprehending seamen

            1780/2/18       From John Rutledge, with notation by Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/19       To Thomas Curling

            1780/2/20       To Samuel Tucker and Thomas Simpson

            1780/2/20       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/20       To Samuel Tucker

            1780/2/21       To David Lockwood

            1780/2/21       To William Sisk

            1780/2/21       To James Pyne

            1780/2/22       From John Rutledge

            1780/2/22       To John P. Rathburn

            1780/2/24       To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/2/26       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/27       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/27       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/27       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/28       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/28       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/28       To William Sisk

            1780/2/28       To Capt. Corinet

            1780/2/29       To Hoysted Hacker and Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/2/29       To William Sisk

            1780/2/29       To Messrs. Richards, Ash, and Gooch

            1780/3/3         To Marshall Boetir

            1780/3/4         To Samuel Tucker

            1780/3/5         From Samuel Tucker et al

            1780/3/5         From Thomas Simpson

            1780/3/5         To Marshall Boetir

            1780/3/6         To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/3/6         To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/7         To Samuel Tucker

            1780/3/9         To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/3/9         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/9         To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/10       To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/3/10       To Samuel Tucker

            1780/3/11       To Gov. Rutledge and Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/12       To Thomas Simpson

            1780/3/12       To Capt. Tufts

            1780/3/12       From Thomas Simpson

            1780/3/12       To Thomas Simpson

            1780/3/12       To George Richards

            1780/3/13       To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/3/8         From Adam W. Thaxter

            1780/3/11       To Adam W. Thaxter

            1780/3/15       To Nicholas E. Gardner

            1780/3/15       To David Lockwood

            1780/3/17       To J. Courannat

            1780/3/16       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/17       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/19       To Pearce Power

            1780/3/19       To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/3/20       Vote of captains re raid on enemy

            1780/3/20       To William Sisk

            1780/3/20       To Capt. McQueen

            1780/3/20       To Col. Pinckney

            1780/3/20       Minutes of meeting aboard frigate Providence

            1780/3/20       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/3/21       To Sisk, Crawley, Boetir and Farragut

            1780/2/10       Accounts of goods bought from Wells & Lithgow

            1780/3/25       To Hacker, Rathburn, Tucker and Simpson

            1780/3/28       From Matthew Clarkson

            1780/4/1         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/1         To Hezekiah Anthony

            1780/4/3         To Thomas Simpson

            1780/4/5         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/5         From John Rutledge

            1780/2/22       From John Brown as secretary of Board of Admiralty 

            1780/4/5         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/6         To Charles Crawley

            1780/4/6         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/6         From George Richards et al

            1780/4/6         To George Richards et al

            1780/4/6         To Benjamin Page

            1780/4/7         To Hoysted Hacker

            1780/4/[7?]     From N. Rice

            1780/4/9         To Benjamin Page

            1780/4/9         From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/9         To Thomas Simpson

            1780/4/9         To Capt. Maviel

            1780/4/12       To Charles Crawley

            1780/4/13       To Charles Crawley

            1780/4/18       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/15       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/18       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/18       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/18       Order re transporting troops

            1780/4/21       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/22       To George House

            1780/4/22       From Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/22       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/4/23       To J. Couronnat

            1780/5/15       To Mariot Arbuthnot, re prisoner exchange

            1780/5/15       To Benjamin Lincoln

            1780/7/10       From John Brown as secretary of Board of Admiralty, to Navy Board

            1786/10/6       From Charles Scott

            1780/2/22       Memorandum re letter carried to Livingston

            1780                Memorandum re phases of the moon

            1779/12/5       Memorandum re 'people sent on board the brig Dolphin"

Folder 2. Correspondence, 1763-1786. 1 volume and several loose items.

Transcripts by C.W. Parsons made in 1853 from originals then in possession of Dr. Comstock of Wrentham, Mass. Some or all of Dr. Comstock's originals were later sold to the University of Michigan's Clements Library.

            Documents transcribed (V=volume, L=loose):


L         1763/1/3         From Nicholas Brown & Co.

L         1764/2/28       From [Nicholas Brown & Co.?]

V,L     1773/1/5         From Esek Hopkins

V,L     1775/7/23       From Nicholas Cooke, John Smith and Daniel Tillinghast

V,L     1776/6/18       From Esek Hopkins

V,L     1776/07/21     From Nathaniel Greene

V,L     1777/1/23       From Daniel Tillinghast

V,L     1777/2/23       From Esek Hopkins

V,L     1777/9/11       From John Deshon

V,L     1777/10           From John Deshon

V,L     1777/10/15     From J. Spencer

V,L     1777/10/28     From John Deshon

V,L     1778/4/25       Oath of allegiance of Abraham Whipple before William Vernon

V,L     1778/5/2         From Jonathan Pitcher et al

V,L     1778/6/6         From John P. Jones

L         1778/6/24       From Thomas Simpson

L         1778/6/25       From William Jones

V,L     1778/7/1         From William Jones

V,L     1778/7/2         From William Jones

V,L     1778/7/2         To Thomas Simpson

V,L     1778/7/2         To the Commissioners in Paris (original at American Philosophical Society)

V,L     1778/7/3         From Samuel Tucker

V,L     1778/7/5         From Jonathan Pitcher

V,L     1778/7/10       From J.D. Schweighauser

V,L     1778/7/13       From Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee and John Adams

V,L     1778/7/13       From Samuel Tucker

V,L     1778/7/26       From Jonathan Pitcher et al

V,L     1778/7/26       From Gene (?) Guyot

L         1778/7/27       From Thomas Simpson

L         1778/7/30       From J.D. Schweighauser

L         1778/8/3         From J.D. Schweighauser

V,L     1778/8/16       From John P. Jones

V,L     1778/8/18       From John P. Jones

V,L     1778/11/25     From George Washington

L         1779/4/2         From John Avery

V,L     1779/4/12       From J. Warren and William Vernon

V,L     1779/9/19       From Francis Lewis

V,L     1779/9/22       From William Vernon and J. Warren

L         1779/11/19     From William Vernon and J. Warren

V,L     1779/11/20     From William Vernon and J. Warren

V,L     1780/1/11       From Thomas Simpson

V,L     1780/1/14       From Benjamin Lincoln

V,L     1780/1/24       From Benjamin Lincoln

V,L     1780/2/8         From John Rutledge

V,L     1780/2/13       From John Rutledge

V,L     1780/4/22       From Benjamin Lincoln

V,L     1782/4/23       From Robert Morris

L         1785/11/9       From John Murray

V,L     1786/6/10       Address from Abraham Whipple to Congress

V,L     1786/9/19       From William Wheaton

V,L     1786/9/21       From Daniel Tillinghast

Folder 3. Miscellaneous.

            Receipt to Jabez Whipple, 2/18/1766 (was RIHSM ?-62)

            Instructions from Nicholas Cooke as captain of sloop Katy, 1775 (was RIHSM ?-67)

            Instructions as captain of sloop Katy, 9/12/1775 (was RIHSM 13-1)

            Order as captain of ship Columbus, 1/6/1776 (photostat) (was RIHSM 8-11)

            Deed from Samuel Tompkins, 9/11/1779 (was "Misc. Mss. W-577")

            Deed from John Mathewson, 10/5/1779 (was in Deed Book, 1-39)

            Receipt from Peter Phillips, 2/26/1780

            Promissary note to John Tucker, 1786 (was RIHSM 14-85).

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Adams, John (1735-1826)

Brown, John (1736-1803)

Brown, Nicholas (1729-1791)

Clarkson, Matthew (1758-1825)

Columbus (ship)

Cooke, Nicholas (1717-1782)

Farragut, George (1755-1817)

Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790)

Greene, Nathanael (1742-1786)

Hopkins, Esek (1718-1802)

Jones, John Paul (1747-1792)

Jones, William (1760-1831)

Katy (sloop)

Lewis, Francis (1713-1802)

Lincoln, Benjamin (1733-1810)

Mathewson, John

Morris, Robert (1734-1806)

Naval history

Page, Benjamin

Phillips, Peter

Providence (frigate)

Rutledge, John (1739-1800)

Scott, Charles (1739-1813)

Spencer, Joseph (1714-1789)

Thaxter, Adam W.

Tillinghast, Daniel (b.1732)

Tompkins, Samuel

Tucker, John

Tucker, Samuel (1747-1833)

United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1783

Vernon, William (1719-1806) as member of Navy Board

Warren, James (1726-1808) as member of Navy Board in Boston

Washington, George (1732-1799)

Wheaton, William (d.1802)

Whipple, Jabez

Whipple, William (1730-1785)

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