June 21, 2019 10:00 AM EDT Cincinnati


Archive of the Gavet Family of Salem, Massachusetts, Two Documents Signed by Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Lot of 40 items, including deeds and receipts concerning members of the Gavet / Gavett / Gavit (and other spellings) family of the Salem area of Massachusetts. The spelling varies, sometimes between branches of the family, other times within the same family.

According to a family Bible, the story of this family in the New World begins with Philippe Gavet, born on the Island of Jersey, a region that has variously belonged to France and England, but is populated primarily by peoples from northern France. Philippe was born May 2, 1631 and immigrated to Massachusetts in 1647. He married in 1655. There is recorded a marriage of Philip Gavett and Hannah Macchone in 1681. Since the youngest child was born in 1699, Philip would have been over 80 years old if he was the immigrant. It is thought that this may be a younger Philip (and the name spelling was "Anglicized"), the son of the 1655 marriage, but little is known about the issue of the earlier marriage.

Most of these documents concern Joseph Gavet and his descendants. Joseph was the son of Philip and Hannah, b. December 22, 1699, died after November 2, 1764 (date of his will). He married Mary Williams (1699 - 1743), then Susannah Carwick (m. 1746; d. 1779). Most of the children mentioned are those by his first wife: Joseph (b. 1726/7); Samuel (b. 1728/9; m. 1751 Ann Whittemore) and Jonathan (b. 1731 - d. 1806; m. 1764 Sarah Whittemore) (a couple of others died young). John (second by that name, the first living only 3 days) was his youngest son by his second wife (b. 1751 - d. 1807; m. Susannah Hill 1777).

The documents offered here tell several stories of this family. The first ones seem to focus on Joseph Gavet and the estate administered by his son Jonathan, including:

• Joseph Gavet, ADS, Salem, 2pp (7.25 x 12 in.), November 2, 1764, copy of his Last Will and Testament. Leaves the typical 1/3 of his estate (other than his tools) and use of the house for his wife, Susanna. His tools and workshop, etc. to his son, Jonathan, with the remainder of the estate divided between sons Samuel, Jonathan and John. Jonathan is named executor and charged with paying any debts and burial expenses. He notes that if his son John should learn the Joiner’s (Joyner’s) trade, he will be welcome to work in the shop with Jonathan.

• Estate asset inventory of Joseph Gavet’s estate, 6pp (approx. 8 x 12.5 in.), October 19, 1765. Extensive listing since every woodworking tool is enumerated. Last page has upper right corner removed. This was a family of some means, as the estate is valued at just under 300 pounds.

• ADS, 2pp (7.5 x 12.5 in.), Salem, January 17, 1784. Division of property held in common by Jonathan Gavet and John Gavet. Document separated into 6 pieces along folds.

• ADS, 3pp (7.75 x 12.75 in.), Salem, February 1802. Articles of agreement to form a co-partnership between Jonathan Gavet and his son, William Gavet (b. 1767 - d. 1856; m. 1799 Martha Richardson (1776-1823)), joiners and glue makers.

• Partially printed DS (8 x 13 in.), Salem, August 26, 1806. Deed of Jonathan Gavet, giving 1/7 part of land he inherited from his father, Jonathan Gavet, to his son, William Gavet, in consideration of 300 dollars paid by William to Jonathan Gavet.

The next group seems to focus on William Gavet including administration of Jonathan Gavet's estate, including:

• Partially printed DS, 1p (7.5 x 12.5 in.), Salem, October 14, 1806. Appointment by the Probate Court of William Gavet as Administrator of his father’s estate, Jonathan Gavet having died intestate (d. 1806).

• ADS, 1p (7.5 x 12.75 in.). Salem, January 20, 1809. Heirs of the estate of Jonathan Gavet give permission for William Gavet to build a dwelling on the southern & western bounds of the estate.

• ADS, 2pp ( 8 x 13.25 in.). Salem, May 14, 1809. Purchase of part of a house formerly occupied by Jonathan Gavet from Ebenezer Pope by William Gavet for $1175. Signed twice by Joseph Story (1779-1845), renowned writer and orator, who practiced law in Salem (1801-1811) prior to his nomination to serve on the US Supreme Court.

• Partially printed DS, 1p (8.25 x 15 in.), Salem, May 18, 1809. Mortgage deed, William and Martha Gavett to Ebenezer Pope, for $1175 a parcel of land. Signed by Joseph Story, J.P.

• ADS, 1p (8 x 9.75 in.), Boston, March 29, 1841. Termination of co-partnership between William Gavett and George Gavett, operating under the firm Gavett Co. For $300 “George Gavett relinquishes all further claims to any and all property and debts owner of held by the said firm of Gavett Co. and authorizes and empowers William R. Gavett to settle all the concerns of the copartnership.

• One other document, manuscript, 2pp (8.25 x 10 in.) no names. This manuscript document establishes a lodge of the Ancient Free Masons in Salem. Dated 1807. With 11 Articles for regulating the lodge. It is unclear who the subscribers to this new lodge were, but we could speculate that at least one Gavet was involved. Joseph Story was also a Mason, and could have been involved in a new lodge in Salem.

For additional information on the Gavet family, see: Gavil, Joseph. "Philip Gavet of Salem, Mass., and Some of his Descendants." New England Historic Genealogical Society. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vols. 76-77, 1922.


Most in somewhat rough shape with separations at folds and some edge scuffing and margin tears. Most still readable.

Estimate: $750 - $1,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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