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Charles Vaughan family papers

Identifier: M180

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Scope and Contents

Correspondence (1781-1848); documents, including deeds and land records; essays; and other material (1683-1908) relating to Charles Vaughan and the Vaughan family, including his parents Samuel and Sarah, his wife Frances Western Apthorp, brothers Benjamin Vaughan, John A. Vaughan, William Vaughan, and Samuel, Jr., and in-laws from the Abbott, Apthorp, Merrick, and Hallowell families. The collection documents the relationships of the Vaughan family and its businesses, especially the Jamaica slave-holding plantation and England and West Indies trade, and business ventures in Boston, Massachusetts, and Hallowell, Maine. Although most of the letters are among family members, the correspondents also include Joseph Priestly, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, and George Washington.

The collection also includes genealogical information and transcriptions of selected letters prepared by the donor (see M180 Volume 1), as well as an atlas assembled by Samuel Vaughan with late 18th century maps of England, the United States, and manuscript plates of Vaughan Jamaican slave-holding properties.


  • Creation: 1683-1908, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1743 - 1869


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Vaughan (1759-1839) was the sixth child of English merchant Samuel Fuer Vaughan and Sarah (Hallowell) Vaughan. The Vaughans were a prosperous merchant family with slave-holding estates in Jamaica and land along the Kennebec River in Maine. Charles was born in England, grew up on his father's Jamaican plantation, and moved to New England in 1785. An heir to his maternal grandfather, Benjamin Hallowell, Charles and his brother Benjamin (1751-1835) founded and built much of the town of Hallowell, Maine, on land acquired by their maternal grandfather as part of the Kennebec Purchase. Charles also tried, but failed, to establish a new Kennebec River seaport called Jones Eddy to rival the existing port at Wiscasset, Maine.

Vaughan moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1791, where he became a merchant trading with England and, with his brother-in-law Charles Bulfinch, promoter of Boston's first block of brick homes. Failure of the brick block, of Jones Eddy, and other ventures led to bankruptcy in 1798. He retired to Hallowell where he was agent for non-resident proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase and worked to develop Maine agriculture and animal husbandry. He served as a Bowdoin College overseer from 1811 until his death in 1839.

In 1791, Charles Vaughan married Frances Western Apthorp (1759-1836), daughter of Bostonian John Apthorp. Together they had six children; four survived into adulthood, John Apthorp (1795-1865), Harriet (1802-1843), Charles, Jr. (1804-1878), and Hannah Frances (1812-1855).

In 1831, Charles Vaughan, Jr. (1804 - 1879) married Mary Susan Abbot. Together they had six children including Francis "Frank" Wales (1833-1908) and Charles Everett (1835-1904). Charles Everett would eventually go on to work on the floating hospitals of the U.S. Navy; his letters home to family during the Civil War (1863-1865) are included in this collection.


4.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence (1781-1848); documents, including deeds and land records; essays; and other material (1683-1908) relating to Charles Vaughan and the Vaughan family of Hallowell, Maine.


Organized into six series: Correspondence and Documents, 1756-1875, n.d.; Frances Western (Apthorp) Vaughan Papers, 1787-1832, n.d.; Charles Vaughan, Jr., Documents, 1715-1908, n.d.; Deeds, Titles, and Accounts, 1683-1839, n.d.; Vaughan-Thompson Correspondence, 1817-1819; Charles Vaughan, Jr. Family Correspondence, 1830-1866, n.d..

Other Finding Aids

Selected letters were listed and summarized by the donor of the collection, see: "Donor Guide: Charles Vaughan".

Related Materials

Other material relating to the Vaughan family is in the Abbott Memorial Collection.

Guide to the Charles Vaughan Family Papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288