Journal of Robert Capen

Biographical and Historical Notes

Robert Capen lived in Canton, Massachusetts, in the early 19th century.

Thompson and Gridley was a Boston, Massachusetts, shipping firm that operated in the mid- to late-18th century.


Biographical and historical information derived from the journal.

Scope and Content Note

This volume is a receipt book kept by the Boston, Massachusetts, shipping firm of Thompson and Gridley for the period 1758-1765 and is interspersed with the diary of Robert Capen. The diary was written in 1811 and 1812. The entries document the weather and wind direction as well as occurances in the town of Canton, Massachusetts. There is also a single account for Samuel Capen of Canton to Robert Capen, for the period 1810-1812.

The majority of the volume contains receipts of payments made to Thompson and Gridley for services rendered and goods sold, mainly to fisherman and coastal shippers, from 1758-1765. The goods sold by the firm include lime, lumber, oars, pitch, food stocks, and material used to repair vessels. Also recorded are the wages of Thompson and Gridley employees for services rendered onboard various ships.

Journal of Occurances and other events that may, occasionally, happen worthy of remarking in writing, whether experienced in reading, writing, meditation, or information from any other source The diary entries of Robert Capen of Canton, Massachusetts, are interspersed throughout the Thompson and Gridley financial transactions (which were recorded half a century earlier). Accompanying the entries are pages of inspirational sayings and biblical quotes. The diary entries become consecutive at the end of the volume. Capen began each entry with a description of the weather and wind direction, then briefly discussed occurances in his life such as visits by relatives, the activities of his family, and interactions with townspeople. He also includeded occasional recipies for products such as cider and ink. On one page there is a handwritten chart documenting the population of the United States in 1810, listing the population of each state and territory.

There is a single account and record of transations from Samuel Capen of Canton to Robert Capen for the period of 1810-1812. The transactions mainly involve hat repair and alterations. The last page of the volume contains a diagram and instructions for calculating the movement of the Earth and Sun.

The volume has a velum cover with sewn-on tape between board covers and features metal clasps meant to keep the volume closed. One of the clasps is missing and the binding is frayed and separating from the pages. The pages themseves are stained and several are torn.