|Marine Hall in March|
(complete with a pile of dirty snow)
Over the years many of my Salem ancestors were part of the East India Marine Society, the Essex Institute and the Peabody Essex Museum. Dr. Andrew Nichols (1785 – 1853) was the president of the Essex Institute from 1836 – 1848). His grandson, another Dr. Andrew Nichols (1862-1897) married Mary Ann Bill (1861-1910) sister to my great grandmother Isabella Lyons Bill. My Great great grandfather, Peter Hoogerzeil (1841 – 1908) sailed around the world collecting curiosities which were donated to the museum. The most famous family member, George Jacobs (1612-1692) who was hung as a witch, was an exhibit himself. His finger bones and canes were exhibited in the museum as curiosities when I was a child, but I haven’t seen them on display in many years. I guess it's not politically correct anymore to display something like that.
In 1992 the Essex and Peabody Institutes merged into the Peabody Essex Museum. There are more than 840,000 works of art and culture, from maritime and American art to Asian, Oceanic and African art and export art. Today it is more of an art museum, and the mummies, stuffed animals and curiosities I remember seeing as a child are only a small portion of the exhibits.
We visited the PEM again last weekend, and I saw more things related to our family’s long history in Salem. Some I remember from years ago, and others were new to me. I guess that with nearly a million items in storage, they are constantly showing new things, and changing the displays. Here are a sampling…
|Chest built by Symonds of Salem for|
Benjamin Putnam (1664-1715)
brother to my ancestor Elizabeth Putnam,
who married George Flint in 1679
|This is a logbook by Thorndike Proctor|
(a descendant of my ancestor John Proctor (1631-1692) hung as a witch)
from the brig Ocean on a voyage to Hispanola in 1783-84
M856 1783o / Log 1783o
|The salon of the yacht Cleopatra's Barge|
built by Retire Becket (1754 - 1831) my 2nd cousin many generations removed
see the story from January 2011 for the Becket family of Salem.
The yacht was sold to King Kamehameha II, and it sunk off the coast of Hawaii
|Chest by Symonds of Salem built for my 7 x great grandparents|
Joseph Pope and Bathsheba Folger married in 1679
(see the inscription with their initial and date)
see this link for more on the Pope Valuable Chest-
it's a long, interesting story!
If you have ancestors who lived in Salem or nearby, the PEM's Phillips Library should be on your list of places for research. The website contains schedules, which is important because it is only open two days a week. You can also check out the card catalog online. Their collections are superb for early colonial, maritime and trade history (especially Aisian export trade), containing manuscripts, newspapers and other rare documents. The museum also has photographs and nautical navigation charts.
Peabody Essex Museum http://www.pem.org/
East India Marine Hall http://www.salemweb.com/tales/eastindiamarinehall.shtml
A list of the original 1800 members of the East India Marine Society can be found at this link:
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo