Skip to main content

Business and personal papers of Benjamin Walker and his family and business associates

Call Number: MS P651


The business and personal papers in the Benjamin Walker collection primarily record the business and social activities of Benjamin Walker in connection with relatives, business associates, and acquaintances, all residing in the towns of Taunton and Dighton in Bristol County, Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1793-1877 (bulk 1808-1824)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of the Walker family

Benjamin, Deborah, George, James, John, Sally, and William J. Walker, whose names appear in this collection, were presumably members (or their wives) of the Walker family long established in Taunton, Massachusetts. Identifying their family relationships is complicated by the repetition of first names in successive generations. The names of several Walkers also appear as influential members and financial supporters of the West Congregational Society in documents dating from 1808-1824.

As the documents show, Benjamin and Sally Walker each played a part in the appointment of Samuel Wood Colburn (1751-1854) as the first minister of the West Congregational Society in 1809. Benjamin Walker also supported the appointment in 1815 of its second permanent minister, Alvan Cobb (1787-1861), who also operated a school that trained numerous young men in theology.

George Washington, Guilford and Abraham Briggs, who collaborated with various Walkers and others to build the ship James Lloyd, came from neighboring Dighton and were apparently brothers. The ship was presumably named after James Lloyd (1769-1831), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1808 to 1814.

John West, mentioned in several documents, was a Boston merchant who came to Taunton, built a paper mill in 1809 and a cotton mill in 1823-1824, and continued to run the mills until his death in December 1827. The cotton mill was located in an area of Taunton named Westville after him.


2 folders (56 items in 2 folders + 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

A group of eight agreements and statements of accounts, 1811-1813, records building the ship James Lloyd (presumably named for the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, 1808-1814), by collaborative investment of money, labor and goods. Gamaliel Church, owner of a neighboring shipyard, also became a shareholder.

Evidence of the Walker family's influential involvement in the West Congregational Society of West Taunton, from its 1809 founding through the 1824 building of a new meeting-house, is recorded in 5 documents and letters.

More miscellaneous in nature, a group of 13 letters and documents deals with transactions in land, building materials, domestic goods, etc., as well as collecting of debts and assessing of local taxes. Although some of these items were carefully preserved, the backs of others are covered with accounting notes and calculations indicating re-use as waste paper. Even stronger evidence of the latter thrifty practice is provided by a group of 30 scraps of paper, some torn from documents or letters, used for accounting notes and calculations of various transactions.

Physical Location

MS P651

Physical Location

MS Q35

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Ten Pound Island Book Company, Gloucester, Massachusetts, March 24, 2007.


  • Hurd, D. Hamilton, ed. History of Bristol County, Massachusetts. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis, 1883.
Guide to the Benjamin Walker Collection
Business and personal papers of Benjamin Walker and his family and business associates
Finding aid prepared by ksc, 2007; revised by cl, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mab, 2007.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Business and personal papers of Benjamin Walker and his family and business associates, Department of Special Collections, MS P651, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States