59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Henry Pease Papers, 1818-1894, undated

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum, Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 331
Creator Pease, Henry, 1822-1892
TitleHenry Pease papers
Date1818-1894, undated
ExtentPhysical Description:1 1/2 box + 1 oversize folder (0.277 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English, with some Portuguese.
AbstractThe collection largely consists of papers related to the appointment and tenure, 1882-1892, of captain Henry Pease as United States Consul to Cape Verde.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to museum staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 331, Henry Pease Papers.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Harriet Hoar, April 17, 1992. (Accession no. 1992.017).

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Nancy Young in 2007 and revised by Joyce Cooper in January 2014 with assistance from Insley Julier. Machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick April 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Index Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States. Consulate (Santiago, Cape Verde)


  • Accounts
  • Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cape Verde-\-Description and travel

Personal Name(s)

  • Pease, Charles Wesley, 1827-1876


  • Diplomatic and consular service
  • Gold mines and mining
  • Marine accidents
  • Seafaring life
  • Ship captains
  • Ships
  • Voyages and travels
  • Whaling masters

Biography/Historical Note

Henry Pease was born on February 27, 1822 in Edgartown, Massachusetts. He was the second child of Henry Pease, 1789-1878, and Mary Fisher Pease, 1792-1836. There were seven Pease siblings, three girls and four boys: Mary Ann, 1821-1841; Henry, 1822-1892; Lois, 1823-; John, 1825-1893; Charles, 1827-1876; Sarah, 1830-; and Benjamin, 1834-. Henry Pease, 1822-1892, became a mariner. By 1849, Pease is listed as the treasurer of the Edgartown Mining Company and master of their ship Walter Scott. Under the auspices of this corporation, Pease sailed the Walter Scott to San Francisco, California, with a crew seeking their fortune in the gold rush. The ship returned to Edgartown within two years and was refitted as a whaling ship under another man's command.

In March of 1851, when Pease returned to Edgartown he married Phebe Ann Smith, 1828-1900. Henry Pease's first recorded voyage as a whaling master was aboard the Menkar (Ship) of New Bedford, Massachusetts which voyaged to the North Pacific, 1851-1854. The couple had their first child Henry Holmes Pease in 1852, who also became a mariner and died in 1933. On two subsequent voyages, Phebe accompanied Henry while he was master of the whaling vessel Cambria in 1854-1858 and 1858-1862. While Phebe was aboard, the ship Cambria travelled to the Pacific and visited ports including, Hong Kong and Hawaii. In the spring of 1861, Phebe A. Pease left the ship to head straight back to Edgartown, where the couple's daughter Grace S. Pease, 1861-1876, was born in July of that year. Henry Pease returned to New Bedford in March of 1862.

During the Civil War, Pease was appointed on December 4, 1863, as acting Ensign in the United States Navy, serving on the ships Galena and the St. Louis in the West Gulf. Two years later he became acting master of the ships Mary Sanford and the Geranium in the South Atlantic. He was discharged from the Navy in 1865. Henry Pease returned to whaling after his naval service and from May 1878 to September 1879 he was captain of the bark Mattapoisett on a whaling voyage. In 1882 Pease was appointed United States Consul to Santiago, Cape Verde, a position he occupied until 1892. Pease was troubled by illness while in Cape Verde and made at least one request for transfer. Henry Pease died in Edgartown, Massachusetts, October 12, 1892.

Charles Wesley Pease was born April 12, 1827 to Henry Pease, 1789-1878, and Mary Fisher Pease, 1792-1836. One of seven siblings, he was the younger brother of Henry Pease, 1822-1892. Charles W. Pease also became a mariner. In 1851, after being discharged from the United States revenue cutter Argus (Schooner) while in San Francisco, Charles Wesley Pease stayed for a short time to join the gold rush miners. He ultimately returned to Martha's Vineyard and in 1852, married Parnel Smith, 1833-1893, and had ten children; Mary, Parnell, Tisdale, Eliza, Charles, David, Benjamin, Sarah, Christine and Stewart. Charles W. Pease died in 1876.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Henry Pease papers largely consist of materials related to his tenure as United States Consul to Cape Verde, 1818-1892. The collection includes letters and government records concerning his appointment, as well as a Special Passport he was issued. Correspondence he received during his time as Consul gives a picture of the duties and activities of the position. During his time in Santiago, he oversaw a project to build a wall around the American Naval Cemetery. He was regularly called upon to inspect vessels and settle disputes. Incidents in the harbor included a collision between the Portuguese ship Julia and the American ship Annie Fairfax. Pease was also contacted by a crew concerned with the seaworthiness of their ship, the E.B. Conwell. Other letters illustrate day-to-day activities, such as; an inquiry from the Hydrographics department of the U.S. Navy, payment vouchers, a letter of introduction, thank-you notes, and visiting cards. There is an undated, detailed report of Cape Verde including descriptions of its geography, climate, supplies available, population and ship landing facility. A few of the papers are written in the local language, Portuguese. Personal letters of Henry Pease include a letter of recommendation from Nicholas Pike for his Naval Commission in 1867 and later correspondence concerning his pension rights.

In addition, the collection includes a few items created by Pease family members and some miscellaneous material. Henry Pease's wife, Phebe Ann Pease received a probate letter as his widow. Pease's brother Benjamin wrote an undated letter to their father having just been named captain after five years at sea. A small pocket notebook created by his brother, Charles Wesley Pease tracks his expenses during the California Gold Rush. There are several miscellaneous papers, seemingly unrelated to the Pease family, including; an 1818 letter to Zabdid Sampson for legal action on a mortgage, and his membership certificate from a society promoting Agriculture and Domestic Manufactures of Plymouth; an inventory of the property of Mary Jernegan of Williamsburgh, Hampshire County, when she was declared incompetent and Benjamin North became her guardian in 1850; a bond dated 1864 between Benjamin Worth, 1845-1864, and Charles Vincent, 1810-1895; and an undated letter to the editor concerning the Dukes County Commissioner.


The collection is arranged in loose chronological order, with miscellaneous materials filed at the end regardless of date.

Collection Contents


Letter of Introduction from Nicholas Pike, 1867 January 09 


Invitation to Farragut Square, 1881 April 25 


Letters Regarding Consul Appointment, 1882 August-September 


Form letters from Department of State, 1882 August-September 


Special Passport, 1882 September 11 

OS GEN 734

Letters Regarding American Naval Cemetery Wall, 1883-1884 


Letters Regarding Collision of the ships Julia and Annie Fairfax, 1884 


Letters Regarding Crew Complaint Aboard the E.B. Conwell, 1885 February 


Letters to Consulate, 1885 


Letters to Consulate, 1888-1889 


Letters to Consulate, 1890 


Letters to Consulate, 1892 


Letters to Consulate, undated 


Pension Letter, 1892 


Probate Letter to Pease Widow, 1894 


Letter to Father from Benjamin Pease, undated 

OS GEN 734

Pocket Notebook of Charles W. Pease, 1851, 1863 


Zabdid Sampson Papers, 1818-1820 


Jernegan Inventory, Worth Bond and County Commission Letter, 1850, 1864, undated 


Henry Pease deeds, 1840, 1859 


Letter of attorney, 1858