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Cheston-Galloway papers

Identifier: MS 1994


This collection is primarily comprised of the business papers of Samuel Galloway (1720-1785) and his son-in-law James Cheston (1747-1798), who were both merchants based in West River, Maryland.


  • 1684-1961
  • Majority of material found in 1747-1889


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is only on microfilm at MCHC. See microfilm MS 1994 (11 reels).

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.


0.8 Linear Feet (11 reels)

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

The original documents were transferred to the Maryland State Archives in 2011.

Scope and Contents

This collection is largely the business papers of merchant and slave trader Samuel Galloway (1720-1785) and those of his son-in-law James Cheston (1747-1798), a merchant who dealt in convict servants, tobacco, and wheat. Topics covered by their papers include: colonial trade, the Revolution, Loyalists in Maryland, and post-war trade.

Also included are papers of James Cheston's wife Anne [Galloway] Cheston as well as their children—Anne, Francina Augustina and James, Jr.; their granddaughter Ann [Cheston] Morris and her physician husband Caspar Morris; and the Morris's son Galloway and daughter Mary [Morris] Murray. There are also papers of several other Murray family members. The individuals who have papers in this collection are underlined in the accompanying biographical notes.

John Galloway Papers

John Galloway (d. 1747) was a merchant in West River, Maryland. His papers (1727-1747, circa 60 items) consist of incoming letters, financial papers, and his will. Most of the letters were written to him by his family when he was in London in 1742. There is one letter (1742) from Charles Carroll describing a quarrel between Dr. Carroll and Governor Ogle and Ogle's escape.

Non-Galloway Papers

There are 3 items relating to William Browne. There are two indentures (1681, 1706) and papers (circa 1760) concerning settlement of a dispute between William Browne and Stephen West, Jr. over property in Anne Arundel County.

Samuel Galloway Papers

Samuel Galloway (1720-1785) was a planter, merchant, and slave trader in West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He was most active in the tobacco trade up to the Revolution, and his correspondence and financial papers up to 1770 deal largely with this trade. There is little in these papers about his slave trade.

From about 1768 until 1774 Galloway was associated with Stephen Steward in the firm Galloway and Steward. London merchants with whom Galloway dealt were Sylvanus Grove (circa 1749-1767), William Tippell (circa 1765-1770), James Russell (1770s), and Russell's successor James Clerk of de Drusina, Ridder & Clerk (1784-1785). Beginning in 1773 most of Galloway's correspondence and financial papers deal with the operation of his plantation, "The Ridge," by Jeremiah Watkins. These papers mention hiring servants and Negroes and their wages. Galloway was also an avid horse breeder and some letters mention the horses and racing.

The Galloway family members were loyal British subjects and did not sympathize with the move toward independence. Galloway's son John in Annapolis wrote to him about the burning of the "Peggy Stewart" (October 1774). The letter makes it quite clear he had no sympathy with the mob action. In June 1775 Galloway wrote skeptically to his son-in-law Thomas Ringgold, Jr. about Congress's preparations for war, and the next February Ringgold wrote hopefully that Congress would soon make a declaration against independence. During the war there was evidently much tension between Galloway and his son Benjamin because of Benjamin's ready support of the new government. There are 2 letters (1778) about Benjamin's decision to leave his family and move to Hagerstown. Benjamin's earlier letters discuss his legal education in London (1773). In 1775 he was again in London commenting on the Boston blockade from that perspective.

Samuel Galloway's correspondents include: Anne [Chew] Galloway (1750-1754), Benjamin Chew (1758, 1759), Joseph Galloway (1758), Thomas Ringgold, Jr. (1773-1775), Benjamin Galloway (1773-1778), John Galloway (1774), and Benjamin Stoddert (1783).

James Cheston Papers

James Cheston (1747-1798) was a merchant dealing in convict servants, tobacco, corn, and wheat. He began his career in 1768 in a partnership with Willian Stevenson, his step-brother. Stevenson remained in Bristol, England while Cheston handled the colonial details in Maryland. Cheston moved around but mainly operated in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland. He settled in West River, home of his wife, during the war. In Bristol, Stevenson procured convict servants and goods to send to Cheston. Cheston in turn sold the servants and goods and loaded the ships with tobacco, wheat, and corn. Cheston was the younger of the two, and the correspondence between Stevenson and Cheston is quite detailed as Stevenson trained Cheston in the business. These letters (1767-1775) contain much information on the operation of colonial trade. Stevenson's letters detailed procurement of the convict servants and Cheston's letters (in his letterbooks) described the economic situation in Maryland.

The firm acquired a third member, William Randolph, in 1769, and the letters of advice continued from Stevenson & Randolph. By 1771 the firm was known as Stevenson, Randolph, & Cheston, and Cheston was taking on more of the firm's management. His correspondence from 1771-1776 is more wide-ranging than in earlier years as he corresponded directly with customers. Frequent correspondents during the pre-Revolutionary period were Jesson, Welsh & Co. (1767-1772) and Buff & Welsh (1772-1774) in Cadiz. These firms bought wheat and corn from Cheston, and their letters contain details on prices in Spain. Cheston's most frequent Maryland correspondent was Thomas Ringgold, Jr. Ringgold was a member of an associated firm, Smyth & Ringgold, and was also the brother-in-law of Cheston's future wife Anne Galloway. Other Maryland merchants and growers with whom Cheston corresponded were: James Barnes (1771), Walter Tolley, Jr. (1772-1774), Amos Garrett (1772-1774), William Geddes (1772-1780s), Thomas Symth (1772-1774), Emory Sudler (1773-1774), and John Page (1773-1774).

Stevenson, Randolph, & Cheston continued their trade up until 1776 when William Stevenson declared personal bankruptcy, and Randolph immediately dissolved the partnership. The record books that survive for Stevenson, Randolph & Cheston are a factorage account (1767-1776) which was kept by Stevenson in Bristol. It recorded the names and prices of servants he had purchased. Cheston kept another record of servants he sold in Maryland 1774-1775. There is also the firm's journal (1769-1772) and a record of its tobacco transactions (1771-1772). The collection also includes the loose bills, receipts, and accounts of the firm that Cheston kept in Maryland. Further financial information about Stevenson, Randolph, and Cheston can be found in Cheston's post-war account books, bills and receipts, and legal papers. Most of his papers in the early 1780s deal with straightening out the dissolved firm's accounts, especially collecting pre-war debts from Marylanders.

James Cheston was not a supporter of the American Revolution. He did remain in Maryland for most of the war but apparently only so that his wife could be near her family. Several times he made plans to leave Maryland, and in July of 1774 wrote to his brother-in-law, Robert Bensley, that merchants not supporting independence were discriminated against. His views on the impending war were recorded in his business letters to Stevenson and Randolph. Stevenson's letters in return kept Cheston informed of British actions and sentiments. He predicted (February 1775) that the English people would demand an immediate end to any war that hampered trade. Cheston's close friend William Carmichael also wrote to him (September 1774) concerning popular opinion about war.

Cheston's views on war in relation to his business were overshadowed by the underhanded dealings of his partner William Stevenson. By late 1775 Cheston's correspondence deals mainly with Stevenson's handling of the finances of Cheston's brother Daniel and sister Francina Augustina [Cheston] Bensley. His mismanagement of their funds caused him to appropriate money from the firm to cover himself. These dealings were discovered in early 1776 by William Randolph who immediately dissolved the firm. Cheston had planned to return to England to run the firm, but the bankruptcy meant he had no financial reason to return. For lack of an alternative Cheston tied his fortunes with those of his wife's family and permanently settled in Maryland. One incident that indicates that Cheston's decision to stay in Maryland was a financial and not a political one occurred in 1780. In that year Cheston sailed to France hoping to reach London to settle the accounts of Stevenson, Randolph & Cheston. He was stopped at L'Orient because he was suspected of being a Loyalist. In a petition to Benjamin Franklin, Cheston admitted he had not taken the oath of allegiance, and he was not allowed to continue to London until he had sworn allegiance before Franklin at Passy.

After his return to Maryland in 1781, Cheston spent two years attempting to collect pre-war debts for Stevenson, Randolph, & Cheston. In 1784 Cheston resumed trade activities with William Randolph and appeared to be connected in business with his brother-in-law John Galloway. There are letters from both men in Cheston's papers. Another correspondent was George Chalmers who wrote of negotiating Loyalist claims (1784) and of writing a history of the revolution (1789). Cheston's most frequent correspondents after the war were his sister Francina Augustina [Cheston] Bensley and her husband, actor Robert Bensley. They wrote of their activities in England. In 1787 Cheston built a house on Watkins Neck (now part of Ivy Neck) in Anne Arundel County. There are some bills and receipts for the work and also an undated notebook with a carpenter's measurements of James Cheston's house. Cheston was also involved in a dispute between John Lynch and Daniel Carroll, the details of which are explained by Walter Hall in a letter (1774 December 21). Cheston's papers include accounts relating to this dispute.

Anne [Galloway] Cheston Papers

Anne [Galloway] Cheston (1755-1837) was the daughter of Samuel Galloway. In 1775 she married James Cheston (1747-1798). She spent most of her life in West River, outside of Annapolis, and some time in Baltimore. Her surviving papers (1774-1836, circa 150 items) are letters from relatives and financial accounts. Her earliest letter is from a cousin who described the burning of the "Peggy Stewart" in 1774. James Cheston was in London in 1780 and 1781 and wrote lengthy letters to his wife. The bulk of Anne Cheston's correspondence dates from 1790-1807, and her most frequent correspondents were her sister Mary [Galloway] Ringgold; Mary's daughter Anna Maria [Ringgold] Tilghman; and her sisters-in-law Francina Augustina [Cheston] Bensley and Henrietta [Chew] Galloway. Bensley lived in London. Her letters describe fashions and yard goods sent to Cheston, and mention the fortunes of her husband, actor Robert Bensley. The Ringgolds and Henrietta C. Galloway lived around Hagerstown, and their letters discussed activities there. Cheston's financial papers are largely bills and receipts for goods she purchased, especially from her son James Cheston, Jr. Cheston was the administrator for her husband's estate, and these papers are filed with James Cheston's papers.

James Cheston, Jr. Papers

James Cheston, Jr. (1779-1843) was the son of James and Anne [Galloway] Cheston. He was a merchant in Baltimore, and most of his papers (1799-1828, 50 items) deal with his partnership (circa 1801-1804) with John Chew in the firm, Chew and Cheston. Also included is an 1827 indenture by which Mary [Galloway] Maxcy and her husband Virgil sold "Tulip Hill" to James Cheston for $5.00 and rented him other lands.

Anne Cheston Papers

Anne Cheston (1776-1811) was the daughter of James and Anne [Galloway] Cheston. Her papers (1790-1810, 80 items) are mainly letters. Her most frequent correspondents are her aunt Francina Augustina [Cheston] Bensley who writes about fashions and manners in London; her cousin Anna Maria [Ringgold] Tilghman; and Tilghman's sister-in-law Maria [Cadwalader] Ringgold. Tilghman and Ringgold both lived near Hagerstown and wrote about their steadily increasing families.

Francina Augustina Cheston Papers

Francina Augustina Cheston (b. 1777) was the daughter of James and Anne [Galloway] Cheston. Her papers (1790-1830, 30 items) are letters. Most are from her aunt Francina Augustina [Cheston] Bensley who wrote about fashions and manners in London.

Ann [Cheston] Morris Papers

Ann [Cheston] Morris (d. 1880) was the daughter of James Cheston, Jr., and in 1829 she married Dr. Caspar Morris. The Morrises lived in Philadelphia in the early years of their marriage but in 1858 settled at "Ivy Neck" in West River, Maryland. Morris's papers are largely incoming letters (1839-1865, circa 200 items), and almost all are from her husband Caspar and their daughter Mary H. [Morris] Murray. The bulk of the letters date from 1859 until 1861. During these years Caspar Morris maintained his medical practice in Philadelphia while his wife lived at "Ivy Neck" with Mary Murray and her family. Caspar's frequent letters are lengthy and philosophical, often asking his wife's advice. During the winter of 1859-1860 Ann C. Morris joined her husband in Philadelphia. Her daughter Mary wrote frequently about running "Ivy Neck" and raising her two daughters. The collection includes Morris' diary (1858) for the year she moved from Philadelphia to West River and a recipe book.

Caspar Morris Papers

Caspar Morris (1805-1884) was a physician and the husband of Ann [Cheston] Morris. He was born in Philadelphia and spent most of his professional life there, living occasionally at his wife's family home "Ivy Neck" in West River, Maryland after 1858. Morris had a private practice in Philadelphia and was connected with several medical institutions including the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind and the Episcopal Hospital. His papers pertain largely to these activities. The majority of his papers are incoming letters especially from 1870 until 1883. During this period Morris received letters from patients and colleagues in Philadelphia asking advice and informing him of activities in Philadelphia while he was away. A frequent correspondent during these years was philanthropist John Welsh (1805-1886) who was also associated with the Episcopal Hospital. Welsh held the British mission (1877-1879) and wrote to his friend Morris from London. In the early 1870s Morris was asked to submit suggestions for the proposed Johns Hopkins Hospital. Letters pertaining to this are found in Morris's papers. Some of the letters are from Morris's personal friends with whom he carried on philosophical and theological discussions. Among these correspondents were an English friend J. Braithwaite and Quaker Mary Snowden Thomas. The collection also includes a journal of Morris's trip (1871-1872) to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Europe. Morris's incoming letters occasionally contain a draft of his reply, but the best source of his writings are the letters (1859-1861) he wrote to his wife Ann and his letters (1880-1883) to his son Galloway Cheston Morris.

Galloway Cheston Morris Papers

Galloway Cheston Morris (fl. 1859-1887) was the son of Caspar and Ann C. Morris. Those of his papers in this collection deal entirely with the settlement of family estates. They deal with the estate of Morris's mother Ann [Cheston] Morris, his uncle Galloway Cheston, and land in Virginia inherited by a cousin, Emily Hollingsworth. The papers (1879-1887, circa 200 items) are almost entirely incoming letters. His most frequent correspondents were his father Caspar, sister Mary [Morris] Murray, Emily Hollingsworth, and Baltimore lawyers James Carey, Jr. and Francis T. King.

Mary [Morris] Murray Papers

Mary [Morris] Murray (fl. 1858-1919) was the daughter of Caspar and Ann C. Morris. She married Henry M. Murray and lived at the Cheston family home "Ivy Neck." Her papers (1858-1919, circa 60 items) are letters and legal papers. The letters are from her mother and her brother and sister. The legal papers pertain to her ownership of "Ivy Neck" and an inventory of the furniture in the house. Letters written by her are found in her brother Galloway C. Morris's incoming letters and Emily Hollingsworth's incoming letters.

Murray Family Papers

The collection contains some papers of other Murray family members, including Mary [Morris] Murray's husband Henry M. Murray, his grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Murray, his brother Robert (b. 1822), and his [sisters?] Sally Scott [Murray] Cheston and Anna M. Murray. There are also some estate papers of Emily H. and Anne C. Murray, daughters of Henry M. and Mary M. Murray. Included in the collection are the minutes of two women's groups connected with Christ Church [Owensville, Maryland] to which several Murray women belonged. These are the minutes (1881-1887) of the Sewing Society and minutes (1894-1904) of the Woman's Auxiliary and Parish Aid Society.

Emily Hollingsworth Papers

Emily Hollingsworth (fl. 1832-1889) was a cousin of both Ann [Cheston] Morris and her husband Caspar. Her papers (1832-1889, undated) deal largely with land she inherited in Virginia. Most papers are letters from Mary [Morris] Murray to whom Hollingsworth willed the land.

Guide to the Cheston-Galloway papers
Under Revision
Cynthia H. Requardt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-09-15: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

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