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

 Peleg Wilbur Records

 Merchant and manufacturer, of Warwick, R.I.

 Records, 1801-1836. Bulk, 1809-1826.

 Size: 1.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 804

 Processed by: Nathaniel N. Shipton, 1976

 Updated by Rick Stattler, November 2001

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Peleg Wilbur (1764-1831) was the son of Thomas and Mary (Gorton) Wilbur of Swansea, Mass. He moved to Warwick, R.I. as a young adult, married Marcy Gooding and had five children. He established a general store in the Apponaug neighborhood of Warwick in the 1790s, and was later joined by his son Peleg Wilbur Jr. (1788-1873). Circa 1815, Peleg Jr. was replaced in the partnership by another son, Oliver Cromwell Wilbur (1794-1882). Peleg Sr. resided in Warwick for the rest of his life, but died in nearby Coventry on December 31, 1831.

            In 1810 Peleg Sr., like many Rhode Island merchants, branched out into the manufacture of cotton goods as a partner in the Washington Manufacturing Company. The firm was located in what became known as Washington Village in Coventry, R.I. Oliver C. Wilbur became a partner in 1826, and remained involved through the 1880s.


Providence Journal, January 2, 1832 (brief death notice of Peleg Wilbur).

Rogers, L.E., ed. Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Rhode Island (Providence, R.I.: National Biographical Publishing Co., 1881), 248.

Wilbour, John R. and Benjamin F. The Wildbores in America (Boston: Published by authors, 1933), 1:152 and 2:126.

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Scope and content:

            The records are almost entirely taken with the operation of Wilbur's general store, where most of the business was done in small amounts with individual customers. There are, nonetheless, a number of transactions with other firms, including some ships' supplies. The shifting partnerships among Peleg Wilbur and his sons make for confusing records. There appear to be four distinct sets of records here. It remains unclear whether they represent different stores, or different goods sold from the same facility. One volume of Washington Manufacturing Company records, plus scattered accounts in a store book, are all that survive of that enterprise.

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            Four volumes were donated by James A. Tyson in 1940, and the other three volumes were donated by John D. Spencer in 1981. The three deeds were donated by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg in 2001. She had acquired them in an Internet auction.

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Processing note:

            The four volumes donated by Tyson remained unidentified until 1976, when Nathaniel N. Shipton first processed the collection.

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Peleg Wilbur Sr.

Volume 1. Ledger, 1809-1816. Includes some accounts with Washington Mfg. Co.

Volume 2. Ledger, 1812-1821, with "worthless debts" dated 1801-1812 (index inserted)

Folder 1. Deeds, 1809-1816, from Job Briggs, John Remington and William Webb

Peleg Wilbur & Son (Peleg Sr. and Peleg Jr.)

Volume 3. Daybook, 1815-1818 and ledger, 1817 (index at beginning)

Identification very uncertain. Does not correlate with any of these other volumes except for a December 30 1815 entry on page 93, which matches up with a "Peleg Wilbur & Son" account in Peleg Wilbur's personal ledger, page 172. Does not match up with other Peleg Wilbur & Son records.

Peleg Wilbur & Son (Peleg Sr. and Oliver C.)

Folder 2. Inventory book, 1815-1818 and 1826, with cash account, 1817-1819

Volume 4. Ledger, 1817-1821 (index inserted)

Volume 5. Ledger, 1819-1826. See p.119 for identification.

Washington Manufacturing Company (Coventry, R.I.)

Folder 3. General store daybook, 1834-1836

Volume also includes a ledger dated 1812-1813 showing accounts with the Washington Manufacturing Company and with Peleg Wilbur; its keeper is unknown.

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Coventry, R.I. - Commerce

General stores - Rhode Island - Warwick

Merchants - Rhode Island - Warwick

Textile industry - Rhode Island - Coventry

Warwick, R.I. - Commerce

Washington Manufacturing Company (Coventry, R.I.)

Wilbur, Oliver C., 1794-1882

Wilbur, Peleg Jr., 1788-1873

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