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Oliver Family Estate papers

Identifier: MS 0626.2


This collection consists of papers of lawyer David Maulden Perine (1796-1882) who acted as the agent for the administrators and trustees of the Oliver family's various estates.


  • 1759-1870


Conditions Governing Access

Open to the public without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


39.88 Linear Feet (26 full Hollinger boxes; 23 flat boxes; 5 large flat boxes; 1 half Hollinger box;)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Washington Perine in August 1944, Mrs. Lawrence Hall Fowler in October 1944, and purchase in November 1957.

Related Materials

MS 626 Robert Oliver papers, 1757-1834

MS 626.1, Oliver record books, 1757-1834

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of papers of lawyer David Maulden Perine (1796-1882) who acted as the agent for the administrators and trustees of the Oliver family's various estates. The collection includes papers relating to Robert Oliver's estate; the trust estates that Oliver's will established for his two daughters Emily [Oliver] Gibbes and Margaret [Oliver] Colt; and the special trust Robert Oliver's will established for his three sisters and the two illegitimate sons of his brother John Oliver. The collection also includes some papers concerning the estate of Robert Oliver's son Charles Oliver, and that of Oliver's son-in-law Robert Morgan Gibbes.

The papers concerning these estates that were in Perine's possession include Perine's correspondence with the various executors and trustees; copies of legal documents; and the financial papers of the executors and trustees, especially vouchers, cancelled checks, checkbooks, bankbooks, and account books.

Robert Oliver Estate

Robert Oliver died in 1834 a wealthy man, and it took nearly 30 years to execute his will. Oliver appointed as executors and trustees his two sons Thomas and [UNK] [UNK] his two sons-in-law Roswell L. Colt and Robert M. Gibbes. The papers in this collection revolve around these four men and their agent David M. Perine. (As the original trustees resigned [Colt in 1840] or died they were replaced by Allen Thomas, Columbus O'Donnell, David M. Perine, and James Mason Campbell.)

The difficulties in settling Oliver's estate can be seen through Perine's correspondence (1834-1864, ca. 1000 items) with the executors and trustees. Among the topics covered in these letters are the sale of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad stock, municipal bonds, Tide Water Canal and Susquehanna Canal Company bonds, and real estate in Baltimore, New York, and New Jersey.

The most time-consuming aspects of settling Robert Oliver's estate were the creation and management of trust estates for his daughters Emily [Oliver] Gibbes and Margaret [Oliver] Colt. Also detailed in the papers were smaller trusts for Robert Oliver's three sisters who lived in Ireland, Elizabeth [Oliver] Gray Kelly, Mary [Oliver] Curran, and Jane [Oliver] Carlton and for two illegitimate sons, John Robert Oliver and Henry Williams, of John Oliver.

A second time-consuming aspect of managing the estate was the settlement of a claim of the Mexican Company of Baltimore.

David Perine separated the administration of the trusts of Emily Gibbes and Margaret Colt from the settlement of Robert Oliver's estate, and these materials have been organized separately. They will be discussed below. The trustees of the Emily Gibbes and Margaret Colt trusts were the same as the executors of Robert Oliver's estate (i.e. Thomas Oliver, Charles Oliver, Robert M. Gibbes, and Roswell L. Colt, until 1840). Therefore, their letters to Perine often discussed both Robert Oliver's estate and the Gibbes and Colt trusts. These letters were filed by Perine in the Robert Oliver Estate correspondence (Boxes 1-3) although they deal with both the estate and the trusts.

The material on the trusts for Robert Oliver's sisters and his brother's two sons are collected under the heading Special Trust. These papers include correspondence between Robert Oliver and his sisters who lived on the Isle of Man and correspondence among David Perine, the estate executors, Robert Oliver's sisters, and the guardians of John Oliver's illegitimate sons. Also included are account books, a check book, cancelled checks, and vouchers used in administering the special trust and kept by Perine.

One of the most interesting parts of the collection is the material relating to Robert Oliver's claim against the Mexican government on behalf of the Mexican Company of Baltimore and a countersuit against him. This company was formed in 1816 to procure arms, vessels, munitions, goods, and money for General Mina, an agent of the Mexican government. The company, however, never received payment. Robert Oliver obtained shares in the Mexican Company of Baltimore in payment of debts to him by three shareholders in the company: Lyde Goodwin, John Gooding, and James Williams. By an 1839 U.S.-Mexican treaty, the Mexican government settled its debts with Americans, including the shareholders of the Mexican Company of Baltimore. As soon as the money ($ 417,000) was paid (1841) to Robert Oliver's estate, however, the heirs of Goodwin, Gooding, and Williams sued the estate. Much of the Perine correspondence for the period 1840-1850 alludes to the Mexican claims, and Perine kept copies of the briefs and records of these suits against the estate as well as an account book, check book, and vouchers relating to the Mexican claims.

A smaller claim (1833-1862) dealt with the payment of New Granada (Columbia) bonds to the estate.

Robert Oliver held a considerable amount of real estate. Plat books showing which properties he willed to his children are in the papers of Emily Gibbes, Margaret Colt, and Charles Oliver below. In the Robert Oliver estate papers (Box 22) is a plat book of a piece of his property in Bombay, New York, and there are also Perine's advertisements for and records of the sale of much of Oliver's real estate in 1836-1843 (Box 15). There is a volume of copies of land deeds owned by Robert Oliver for the period 1784-1835 that is part of the Oliver Record Books MS. 626.1.

In 1825 Robert Oliver acquired some property in Monaghan County, Ireland. His son-in-law Roswell L. Colt administered this property until 1840 and his papers concerning this land are part of the Estate papers. (Box 8).

The remainder of the Robert Oliver Estate Papers is a minute financial accounting kept by David Perine. These include records of both the executors and the trustees. Included are vouchers, cancelled checks, ledgers, account books, bank books, check books, and blotters.

Emily Oliver Gibbes Trust Estate

The papers concerning Emily Oliver Gibbes trust estate cover the years 1836 to 1875. They deal largely with the financial administration of the trust during her lifetime with a small amount of material on the legal battle over the dissolution of her trust at her death in 1870.

The financial administration of Emily O. Gibbes trust estate is well-documented in the correspondence between D.M. Perine and the three successive trust agents. Her brother-in-law Thomas S. Gibbes handled the trust from 1839-1857; her husband Robert M. Gibbes handled it from 1858-1864; and her son-in-law Edwin A. Post from 1864-1871. The letters are largely instructions to Perine and his replies dealing with the acquisition and sale of stocks and bonds, especially railroad stocks and municipal bonds. Although most of the administration is dealt with in this correspondence file kept by Perine on Emily Gibbes' trust (Boxes 30-33), there is some information on her trust in the letters written to Perine by R. M. Gibbes which Perine kept with the Robert Oliver estate correspondence (Boxes 1-3).

The other papers relating to Emily O. Gibbes trust are financial papers of her trustees including vouchers, account books, blotters, checkbooks, cancelled checks, and bank books. There are some papers relating to the real estate in her trust, including a plat book of real estate left to her by her father. Also, there are legal papers such as releases, powers of attorney, and decrees appointing trustees.

Margaret Oliver Colt Trust Estate

The papers concerning Margaret Oliver Colt's trust are much like those of her sister Emily O. Gibbes' trust. There is correspondence between David M. Perine and her agent, her son James O. Colt. There is also some reference made to Margaret O. Colt's trust in the letters of her brother Thomas Oliver which Perine filed with the Robert Oliver estate correspondence (Boxes 1-3).

Other papers dealing with Margaret O. Colt's trust are financial papers of her trustees such as vouchers, account books, blotters, check books, cancelled checks, and bank books.

There are some papers pertaining to the real estate in her trust including a volume of plats of the real estate left to her by her father Robert Oliver. Included with Margaret O. Colt's trust papers are a few letters of Perine's dealing with the administration of the estate of her son John O. Colt.

Charles Oliver Estate

David M. Perine was Charles Oliver's agent and also administrator of his will, and Perine's papers on Charles Oliver reflect these two activities. Charles Oliver

resided in Paris for nearly 20 years (ca. 1838-1858). During this time Perine acted as Oliver's agent in the administration of Oliver's lands in Allegany County, Maryland and Hampshire County, Virginia. There are about 150 letters (1836-1852) pertaining to these transactions.

Charles Oliver died in Paris in 1858, and Perine was named the administrator of his estate. The papers pertaining to this administration include correspondence between Perine and the U.S. Consul in Paris, the estate's residuary legatees, and the claimants on the estate. There are also some legal documents and financial papers pertaining to claims on the estate. Perine also kept a volume of copies of legal documents pertaining to the estate, as well as an account book, bank book, and check book for the estate. Included among Charles Oliver's estate papers is the volume of plats of real estate left to Charles by his father Robert Oliver.

Robert M. Gibbes Estate

David M. Perine was Robert M. Gibbes' attorney and acted as his agent while Gibbes was in Europe and New York (1839-1850). The papers in Perine's possession are financial relating to business he transacted for Gibbes. These papers include an account book, bank book, check book, cancelled checks, and vouchers. Gibbes' instructions to Perine on these transactions are included in Gibbes' letters to Perine on the Robert Oliver estate, and are filed in the Robert Oliver estate correspondence (Boxes 1-3).

Non-Estate papers

There are a few items relating to members of the Oliver family but not connected with Robert Oliver's estate. There are four items of Thomas Oliver's and 30 letters (1828-1883) of his wife Mary C. [Harrison] Oliver. There are also letters (1869-70, n.d.) of Meta [Oliver] Thompson, her husband Henry Fenwick Thompson, military commissions (1815, 1819) of his father Henry A. Thompson, and military commissions (1807, 1809) of Henry Thompson. Also an obituary of Roswell L. Colt and a copy of his will.

There are several papers (memorials and land plats, 1850-1866) relating to mining in Frederick and Carroll Counties, Maryland.

Guide to the Oliver Family Estate papers
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Revision Statements

  • 2019-08-16: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States