Charles Lewis Richards Papers (Coll. 120)

An Inventory of The Papers at the G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport

Collection register prepared by the Manuscripts Division

Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc
Mystic, Connecticut

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Richards, Charles Lewis, 1830-1883
Title: Charles Lewis Richards Papers
Dates: 1873-1888
Abstract: Correspondence, depositions, newspapers and clippings, petitions, court orders, memoranda; and printed testimony, bills, and acts, relating to claims filed before the Alabama Claims Court by Richards for losses suffered during the Civil War. Chief parties were the whaling bark PEARL, of New London, Connecticut, destroyed by the C.S.S. SHENANDOAH at Ascension Island, 1865; the whaling bark RICHMOND, of New Bedford, Mass., which was compelled to return crew to Honolulu from vessels taken by the SHENANDOAH; and Wilcox & Richards Co. Richards' wife Ada Louise continued the case after his death.
Quantity: ca. 90 items
Identification: Coll.120

Biography of Charles Lewis Richards

Richards was whaleship owner from Norwich, Connecticut.

In 1855 Richards had a shipping business in Honolulu. According to his own testimony, he owned several small schooners engaged in the coastal trade among the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He was also agent for a line of packets sailing between Honolulu and San Francisco, and owned or managed the whaling barks RICHMOND, ZOE (later named KAMEHAMEHA V), and PEARL. Richards left the Islands and returned to Norwich in the late 1860's.

The PERL was purchased by Richards (3/8ths) and Thomas Dougherty (5/8th) in October 1854 when her Captain, James M. Green brought her into Honolulu as a wreck, taking bill of sale from her original owners, Williams and Haven of New London. Captain Green and her new Master, Edwin P. Thompson refitted the bark, and she sailed uninsured, from Honolulu 28 December 1864 bound on a whaling voyage to the Okhotsk Sea. While provisioning at the much used whaling ship stop of Ascension (now Ponape in the Caroline Islands), she, the Ship HECTOR of New Bedford, the Ship EDWARD CAREY of San Francisco, and the bark HARVEST of Honolulu were surprised by the SHENANDOAH (SEA STAR, as she was known on the English Registry) on 1 April 1865. All four ships were burned and the crews stranded or taken prisoner.

Between 1874 and 1875 Richards filed claims which were handled by the law firm of William W. Crapo of New Bedford. These claims on the PEARL totaled $110,240.50 for the loss of the vessel, her provisions and outfit, and the prospective catch. The Captain, the First Mate, and the Cooper (Leander Getchell and Nathan Gardiner, both of New London) also filed claims for loss of gear, clothing and wages. Richards apparently did receive at least partial payment on these claims.

Richards filed another claim later on, during the 2nd convention of the court. Here he was seeking compensation for loss of income that resulted when his bark RICHMOND was compelled to return crews from vessels taken by the SHENANDOAH, to Honolulu in 1865. Unfortunately Richards did not live to see the settlement of his claim, and his wife, Ada Louise Richards continued with the case.

Index Terms

Richards, Ada Louise
Corporate Entities:
Pearl (Bark)
Richmond (Bark)
Shenandoah (Cruiser)
Wilcox & Richards Co.
Ascension Island (Atlantic Ocean)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations
Alabama claims
Whalers (Persons)--Hawaii--Honolulu
Whaling--Connecticut--New London
Whaling--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Whaling ships--Connecticut--New London
Whaling ships--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Document Types:
Court records

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Papers; 1873-1888
Box Folder
1 1 Court order (New Bedford); 1883
2 Letters of Aiken & Swift; 1874-1883
3 Letters of N.O. Bradley; 1887
4 Letters of Wendell H. Cobb; 1884-1888
5 Law Firm form letters; 1882, 1888
6 Letters of J. Halsey; 1888
7 Newspaper articles; ca. 1875
8 Letters of Marston & Crapo; 1874-1884
9 Letters of William Phillips & Sons; 1877-1888
10 Letters of A. L. Richards; 1887-1888
11 Letters of C. L. Richards; 1864-1888
12 Letters of E. Stetson; 1887
13 Letters of S. Stevens; 1887-1888
14 Letters, Wells to Richards; 1883
15 Power of Attorney, Wilcox to C. L. Richards; 1883
16 Court testimony; ca. 1875
17 Depositions; 1883-1884
18 Geneva Award, report and record; 1879
19 Power of Attorney, J.T.T. Dougherty to C. L. Richards; 1873
20 Petitions to the Court of Commissioners of ALABAMA Claims; 1883
21 Misc. memos and material; undated