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Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers

 Collection 0147-MDHC

The Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers bring together the men and places of Dorchester County, a heart-shaped area of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and provides a window on their lives for a seven month period from November 1776 to May 1777. The collection focuses on Captain William Trippe's (1725-1777) schooner "Hazzard" and trips made for Robert Gilmor and Co. for supplies during the Revolutionary War. It includes business accounts for goods received, goods delivered, and wages paid to sailors, as well as correspondence and intelligence reports concerning the British fleet in the Chesapeake Bay.


  • 1776-1777

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers consists of 31 items, including correspondence, receipts and account statements, dating from November 1776 to May 1777, between merchants, militia officers and seamen in residence on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and between merchants in Dorchester County and Baltimore.

Geographical History

Located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Dorchester County is bounded on the three sides by water. In the eighteenth century, the people of Dorchester County depended on the rivers and bays for transportation of their products. The Choptank River, the city of Cambridge, the small town of New Market, and Ennalls Ferry are on its northern border with Talbot County. Its western border is unbroken by the Chesapeake Bay. To the south is the Nanticoke River and Vienne. To the southeast beyond Somerset County are the Pocomoke River, Pitts Landing and Chincoteague, Virginia and finally the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1776 and 1777, the principal crops of Eastern Shore farmers were tobacco, corn and wheat. Area merchants bought the tobacco and other crops grown in the area and hired schooners to take it to the French West Indies for sale. The schooners returned with molasses, salt, coffee and rum and other commodities to be sold mainly in Baltimore. Many Eastern Shore men joined colonial militias to fight the British who had warships in the Chesapeake and along the Atlantic coastline.

Cap Francois, Hispaniola is now known as Cap Haitien, Haiti and is located on the northern coast of that island. The island is one of several formerly referred to as the French West Indies.

Chincoteague Island, Va., was a safe haven on the Atlantic where the "Hazzard" docked to and from Cap Francois.

Ennals Ferry was on the Choptank River near New Market, Md., in Dorchester County.

New Market, Md., is today known as East New Market and is about 11 miles east of Cambridge, Md.

Pitts Landing in Accomack County, Va., was on the Pocomoke River, across from Maryland; it had a tobacco warehouse.

Vienne, now Vienna, Md., is located on the western bank of the Nanticoke River in Dorchester County. In 1776, it was a trading center with a tobacco warehouse.


The collection is organized into one series

  1. Series 1: Documents

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Robert Gilmor and William Trippe papers were purchased by the University of Maryland Archives from Chesapeake Galleries, Baltimore, in 1982.

Related Material

  1. The Bench and Bar of Maryland: a History 1634 to 1901 by Conway W. Sams and Elihu S. Riley. (Chicago: Lewis, 1901). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks KF354.M3 S35)
  2. Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland by Robert William Barnes. (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1996). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F187.E2B37 v.16)
  3. Maryland Historical Magazine, v. X, No. 1, March 1915, 376-384. “Genealogies of Four Families of Dorchester County” by Joseph S. Ames. (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F176 .M18)
  4. New revised History of Dorchester County, Maryland by Elias Jones. (Cambridge, Md.: Tidewater Publishers, 1966). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Reference F187.D6 J7 1966)
  5. Scots in Maryland & a History of the St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore, 1806-2006 by Christopher T. George. (Timonium, Md.: St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore, 2007). (UMCP HBK Maryland Room Maryland Stacks F190.S3 G46 2007)

Processing Information

The collection was processed in May 1982 by Mary Boccaccio. In 2012, Terry Ann Sayler reorganized the papers and created a new guide for the collection.

Guide to the Robert Gilmor and William Trippe Papers
Processed by Mary Boccaccio in May 1982. Papers reprocessed by Terry Ann Sayler in March 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742