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A Guide to the Letterbook for the Simon Plantation, St. Kitts

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2004

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cary, Samuel
Title: Letterbook for the Simon Plantation, St. Kitts
Dates: 1765-1772
Abstract: Manuscript letterbook, dated 1765 to 1772, written by Samuel Cary for the Simon Estate plantation on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) in the West Indies.
Extent: 1 linear foot. 1 box.
Identification: MS Group 166
Language(s): English
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Cary, Jr., was born in 1742 in the Boston suburb of Chelsea. Following his graduation from Harvard, he moved to the West Indies where he managed plantations for various individuals before purchasing a Grenada sugar plantation. In 1772, after the death of his father, Cary left the West Indies and returned to live in the Chelsea family home.

Charles Spooner was a British planter who owned several plantations in the Caribbean, specifically the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. William Manning (1763-1835), a British merchant with property and business interests in the West Indies, was a member of Parliament and served as a director and governor of the Bank of England.

Scope and Content

Manuscript letterbook (covers missing), dated 1765 to 1772, written by Samuel Cary for the Simon Estate plantation on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) in the West Indies. The book includes detailed business transactions concerning sugar, rum, and coffee, as well as numerous copies of letters describing the activities of the plantation to the owners in London, Charles Spooner, Joseph Sill, and William Manning. Several letters pertaining to family or business matters also are addressed to Boston.

Throughout the letterbook, Cary provides information about the African slaves owned by the plantation, listing about 300 at one point. He describes the shipping of slaves, the purchase of slaves, their labor and health, and the escape and death of slaves. In addition, he records information about the products of the plantation, goods shipped, itemized expenses, account payments received, and his trips to nearby islands in the Caribbean, including Nevis and Grenada. Cary also describes his purchase of an estate on Grenada, a coffee plantation, and lists the 75 slaves included as property of the estate.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research. The letterbook is in very fragile condition as both covers are missing and the pages are fraying substantially. Please consult with departmental staff prior to handling this item. Photocopying may not be allowed due to the condition of the letterbook.

Related or Separated Material

Samuel Cary Papers and Cary Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Letterbook for the Simon Plantation, St. Kitts, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, New Jersey, 2000.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Grenada -- History.
Plantation life -- Saint Kitts.
Plantations -- Saint Kitts -- History.
Saint Kitts -- History.
Saint Kitts and Nevis -- Commerce.
Slavery -- Grenada.
Slavery -- Saint Kitts.
Sugar growing -- Saint Kitts -- History.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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