Robert Gilmor and William Trippe Papers
The Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers bring together the men and places of Dorchester County, a heart-shaped area of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and provides a window on their lives for a seven month period from November 1776 to May 1777. The collection focuses on Captain William Trippe's (1725-1777) schooner "Hazzard" and trips made for Robert Gilmor and Co. for supplies during the Revolutionary War. It includes business accounts for goods received, goods delivered, and wages paid to sailors, as well as correspondence and intelligence reports concerning the British fleet in the Chesapeake Bay.
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This collection is open for research.
Robert Gilmor and William Trippe Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
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The Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers focus on the people and places of Dorchester County, a heart-shaped area of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Dorchester County is bounded on the three sides by water. In the eighteenth century, the people of Dorchester County depended on the rivers and bays for transportation of their products. The Choptank River, the city of Cambridge, the small town of New Market and Ennalls Ferry are on its northern border with Talbot County. Its western border is unbroken by the Chesapeake Bay. To the south is the Nanticoke River and Vienne. To the southeast beyond Somerset County are the Pocomoke River, Pitts Landing and Chincoteague, Virginia and finally the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1776 and 1777, the principal crops of Eastern Shore farmers were tobacco, corn and wheat. Area merchants bought the tobacco and other crops grown in the area and hired schooners to take it to the French West Indies for sale. The schooners returned with molasses, salt, coffee and rum and other commodities to be sold mainly in Baltimore. Many Eastern Shore men joined colonial militias to fight the British who had warships in the Chesapeake and along the Atlantic coastline.
This collection brings together the men and places of Dorchester County and provides a window on their lives for a seven month period from November 1776 to May 1777.
Robert Gilmor (1748-1822), born in Scotland, immigrated to America in 1766-1767. He settled in Oxford, Md., married Louisa Airey (1745-1827) of Dorchester County and became a merchant on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Around 1781, he and his family moved to Baltimore. Robert Gilmor & Co. was a successful business there for many years.
William Trippe (Tripp) (1725-1777) was probably born at Todd's Point, Dorchester County, Maryland. In 1776 and 1777, Trippe captained the schooner "Hazzard" ("Hazard") that traveled between Chincoteague, Va., and Cap Francois, Hispaniola. The vessel carried tobacco and other goods from Maryland and Virginia to Cap Francois and returned with salt, coffee, molasses, sugar and other items for the colonists.
Andrew Skinner Ennalls, James Murray, and John Smoot were among several farmers and merchants on Maryland's Eastern Shore who grew tobacco, flour, corn, and other items produced in the region to be sold in Hispaniola and bought the goods that were carried back from there. Stephen Byers was a Chesapeake Bay boat captain who delivered goods between the Eastern Shore and Baltimore.
Thomas Brereton, William Neill, Robert Purviance, and George Woolsey were Baltimore merchants eager to have the goods brought back from Hispaniola to sell in Baltimore.
Dr. Thomas Bourk captained "The Cambridge Blues", one of several Dorchester County militias in the American Revolution.
James Sulivan (1737-1807), a merchant in New Market, Md., organized "The New Market Blues," a local militia who fought in the American Revolution.
Thomas Brumfield, Daniel Darby, John Fraser, Scarborough Hill, Cornelius Hogan, John Kilby, Solomon Kimmey, and John Marrett were seamen, some of whom Robert Gilmor hired to work on the "Hazzard."
Cap Francois, Hispaniola is now known as Cap Haitien, Haiti and is located on the northern coast of that island. The island is one of several formerly referred to as the French West Indies.
Chincoteague Island, Va., was a safe haven on the Atlantic where the "Hazzard" docked to and from Cap Francois.
Ennals Ferry was on the Choptank River near New Market, Md., in Dorchester County.
New Market, Md., is today known as East New Market and is about 11 miles east of Cambridge, Md.
Pitts Landing in Accomack County, Va., was on the Pocomoke River, across from Maryland; it had a tobacco warehouse.
Vienne, now Vienna, Md., is located on the western bank of the Nanticoke River in Dorchester County. In 1776, it was a trading center with a tobacco warehouse.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Gilmor-Trippe papers consists of 31 items, including correspondence, receipts and account statements, dating from November 1776 to May 1777, between merchants, militia officers and seamen in residence on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Chincoteague Island, Va., and between merchants in Dorchester County and Baltimore.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The Gilmor-Trippe papers were purchased by the University of Maryland Archives from Chesapeake Galleries, Baltimore in 1982.
Processed by Mary Boccaccio in May 1982. Papers reprocessed by Terry Ann Sayler in March 2012.
The collection was processed in May 1982 by Mary Boccaccio. In 2012, Terry Ann Sayler reorganized the papers and create a new guide for the collection.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine.
Arrangement of Collection
The collection is organized into one series
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Documents, 1776-1777 (0.25 linear feet)
This series consists of receipts, account statements, and correspondence between and among men on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, mainly in Dorchester County, and merchants in Baltimore between November 1776 and May 1777. There are receipts for wages earned by Thomas Brumfield, John Kirby, and Cornelius Hogan. Some of the service was on the schooner "Hazzard", captained by William Trippe for voyages to Cap Francois in Hispaniola.
Many of the account statements and correspondence are to or from Robert Gilmor, a local merchant, who would eventually relocate to Baltimore and become very successful there. While he worked in Dorchester County, he managed shipments of local crops for Andrew S. Ennalls, James Sulivan, Stanley Byers, and others. In 1777, Gilmor shipped products on the "Hazzard" to the West Indies. In March 1777, William Trippe returned from Cap Francois to Chincoteague Island on the "Hazzard" with goods purchased for Robert Gilmor & Co. In April 1777, correspondence indicates that the goods bought on this voyage was sought by merchants in Baltimore. Another trip was planned on the "Hazzard" from Chincoteague Island to Cap Francois in May 1777.
In addition to the commerce, smallpox and its impact on some of the families of the merchants are mentioned in the March (William Neill) and May (Robert Harrison) correspondence. The danger of the "enemy" in the Chesapeake Bay concerns some merchants (April, James Murray). Robert Harrison warns against the May voyage to Cap Francois returning with sugar and coffee as they are prohibited from export by French Law and the ship may be seized if the cargo includes these.
The final letter in the collection is from William Trippe to Robert Gilmor. Trippe writes that Gilmor probably expected him to be half-way on his way to the West Indies but due to the late arrival of a seaman and then unfavorable winds the ship is finally underway in late May. Trippe also notes that he purchased rigging from a wrecked sloop on Assateague Island that "appeared to have been sunk by cannon."
Arrangement is chronological.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Account of purchases from John Smoot by various men including Daniel Darby and William Trippe (2 items), November 1776-January 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Account & Receipts for John Frazier, Scarborough Hill and Solomon Kimmey, December 1776 and February 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|Voyage to Hispaniola account with Robert Gilmor & Co. signed by William Trippe, March 1, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|Hazzard's Disbursements in Cap Francois, signed by William Trippe, March 1, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|Sail Maker's Bill in Cap Francois (in French), March 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|To Andrew Skinner Ennalls, Dorchester County, from William Neill, Baltimore, March 29, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
|To and from Robert Purviance and William Neill, Baltimore, March 29, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 7|
|To John Smoot, Vienne, from Thomas Brereton, Baltimore, March 29, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 8|
|To Andrew S. Ennalls, Dorchester County, from George Woolsey, Baltimore, March 29, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 9|
|To Robert Gilmor, Dorchester County, from James Murray, Cambridge, April 4, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 10|
|To Robert Gilmor, Chincoteague from James Sulivan, Ennall's Ferry, April 9, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 11|
|Invoice from Stanley Byers, Ennall's Ferry, April 9, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 12|
|Receipt signed by Stanley Byers, Ennall's Ferry, April 9, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 13|
|Receipt signed by Stanley Byers, Pitts Landing, April 22, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 14|
|Accounts of Robert Gilmor at McClean's Tavern, April 22, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 15|
|Account of William Burdett with Robert Gilmor & Co., April 22, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 16|
|Wage receipt for Thomas Brumfield, April 22, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 17|
|Wage receipt for John Kilby, April 23, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 18|
|To Robert Gilmor, Chincoteague, from Robert Harrison, "Appleby" near Cambridge, April 23, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 19|
|To Robert Gilmor from Thomas Bourk, Dorchester County, April 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 20|
|Receipt signed by Stanley Byers from John Sulivan, May 7, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 21|
|Wage receipt for John Marrett from Robert Gilmor & Co., May 8, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 22|
|Wage receipts from Robert Gilmor & Co. for Thomas Brumfield and Cornelius Hogan, May 12, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 23|
|To William Trippe from Robert Gilmor, May 13, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 24|
|Bill of Lading for Robert Gilmor & Co. signed by William Trippe, May 13, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 25|
|Invoice from James Murray, May 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 26|
|To Robert Gilmor, Dorchester County, from William Trippe, Chincoteague, May 22, 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 27|
|Account of Goods and services on the Schooner Hazzard, May 1777||series 1||box 1||folder 28|
|Invoice of Goods signed by William Trippe, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 29|
|List of carting of goods to and from Pitts Landing, VA, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 30|
The Bench and Bar of Maryland: a History 1634 to 1901 by Conway W. Sams and Elihu S. Riley. (Chicago: Lewis, 1901). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks KF354.M3 S35)
Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland by Robert William Barnes. (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1996). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F187.E2B37 v.16)
Maryland Historical Magazine, v. X, No. 1, March 1915, 376-384. Genealogies of Four Families of Dorchester County by Joseph S. Ames. (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F176 .M18)
New revised History of Dorchester County, Maryland by Elias Jones. (Cambridge, Md.: Tidewater Publishers, 1966). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Reference F187.D6 J7 1966)
Scots in Maryland & a History of the St. Andrews Society of Baltimore, 1806-2006 by Christopher T. George. (Timonium, Md.: St. Andrews Society of Baltimore, 2007). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F190.S3 G46 2007)
The following websites were accessed on March 12, 2012:
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Hazzard (Schooner) -- History -- Sources
- Trippe, William, 1725-1777 -- Archives
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Equipment and supplies -- Archival resources
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Sources
Names (Added Entries)
- Byers, Stanley
- Gilmore, Robert
- Purviance, Robert
- Robert Gilmore and Co
- Smoot, John