Scope and Contents
The collection is composed of correspondence related to the families of David Sands Shearman and his wife, Hepsa Hathaway Howland Shearman of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Poughkeepsie, New York. The Shearman and Howlands were prominent New England Quaker merchant and whaling families, intertwined by business and marriage. Most of the correspondence is directed to Hepsa, largely from her children who pursued a range of careers. Some of the early correspondence is with her husband Captain David Sands Shearman while he was at sea. They contain business and family information as well as mention of Quaker meetings. Letters from his cousin Abraham Shearman mention whaling. Hepsa corresponded regularly with her family in New Bedford, MA. In 1874, their daughter Mary Eliza married Thomas Kimber, railroad executive and Quaker minister. Her letters and the correspondence of sister Alice D. Shearman convey family news and interests including Quaker concerns.
Biographical / Historical
Hepsa Hathaway Howland was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on 6 mo 12, 1806, the daughter of Pardon Howland (1777-1821) and Hepsa Hathaway (1777-1856), Quakers of New Bedford Monthly Meeting. She had six surviving siblings: Pardon (1803-1856), Elizabeth L. (1808-1837), Benjamin Franklin (1810-1888), Henry Stoddard (1812-1877), Mary Taber (1814-1906) who married Captain John A. Delano, and Hannah (1818-1891) who married Henry W. McCoughtry. Hepsa's father was a sea captain and the son of Gideon and Sarah Hicks Howland.
Hepsa H. Howland married David Sands Shearman (1802-1852), also a sea captain, on 6 mo 23, 1826. He was the son of Captain David Shearman and Ann Tucker Shearman, Quakers of Dartmouth, Massachusetts. His siblings were Eliza, Hannah Tucker (1801-1858) who married William C. Taber in 1819 in New Bedford, MA., and Joseph Tucker.
David S. and Hepsa H. H. Shearman had twelve children: David Sands (1827-1847), Anna (1828-1830), Isabella (1830-1832), Anna Russell (1832-1836), Joseph Tucker (1834-1894), Abraham (1836-1862), Mary Eliza (1838-1921)), Alice Delano (1840-1931), Henry Franklin (1842-1922), John Delano (1843-1929)), Isaac Haviland (1845-1879), and David Sands (1848-1857). In 1834, the family removed to Nine Partners Monthly Meeting in Poughkeepsie. After David Shearman's death in 1852, his widow and children returned to New Bedford. Hepsa and daughter Mary Eliza transferred to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Western District in 1867.
Joseph T. Shearman first followed his father into seamanship, but later in life worked in Philadelphia, Stroudsburg, Pa., and Kentucky. Abraham also was a sailor and died in his twenties. Mary Eliza Shearman married Thomas Kimber in 1874 under the care of New York Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). Kimber (1825-1890) was a Philadelphia merchant and railroad executive. In later life he devoted himself to Christian evangelism and was acknowledged as minister by New York Monthly Meeting in 1878. Mary Eliza traveled with him in the ministry and also was an acknowledged minister.
Another daughter, Alice Delano Shearman (1840-1931) did not marry. She lived with her mother and later with her neice Hepsa H. L. Donaldson in Queens, NY. Henry F. Shearman worked in England for many years and became a naturalized citizen in 1886, changing his name to H. F. Howland-Russell. John Delano Shearman married Emmy F. Addams in 1865 under the care of New York Monthly Meeting. Isaac Haviland Shearman married Sarah ("Susie") and settled in Philadelphia, Pa.
Hepsa Hathaway Howland Shearman died on 1 mo 10, 1892, and is buried in Friends Burial Ground, New Bedford.