Conditions Governing Access
Extent1.5 linear feet (4 boxes)
After several years at home while recovering from poor health, William Wetmore departed for Canton, China in 1833. William Wetmore and Samuel Archer, a family friend, completed an agreement to establish Wetmore & Co., a partnership between Wetmore and Archer's son Joseph. Wetmore's cousin, Samuel Wetmore, Jr., would serve as clerk. The elder Archer had close connections to the British textile trade, especially James Brown & Co. of Leeds. John Cryder, who was then working for the London bankers Morrison & Cryder, secured these accounts for Wetmore & Co. With these textile accounts and Joseph Archer's established connections in the tea trade, Wetmore & Co. acquire much of the business previously held by Dunn & Co., a recently disbanded China trade firm. Wetmore & Co. conducted brisk business throughout the 1830s trading in Chinese tea, silk, opium, and other goods to merchants in the United States, Britain, France, Chile, Peru, and Sumatra.
In 1839, Wetmore left China and established himself in New York City. His partner from Chile, Richard Alsop, had been the United States agent for Wetmore & Co. of Canton; however, due to a quarrel, Alsop was removed from the firm. Wetmore then became the principal United States agent for his own Canton firm. In 1844, William Wetmore and John Cryder established the New York City commission merchant firm of Wetmore, Cryder & Co. Cryder had married Wetmore's sister and had recently returned from London. Wetmore, now established in New York, left his cousin, and former clerk, Samuel Wetmore, Jr. as head of the Canton firm Wetmore & Co. William Wetmore removed himself from all business in 1847 and retired to his mansion, Chateau-sur-Mer, in Newport, Rhode Island.
Wetmore traveled from China to London, England, in 1837 to marry his cousin, Esther Phillips Wetmore of Middletown. She was the daughter of his uncle Samuel Wetmore. Esther died in October 1838, a few weeks after the birth of their firstborn daughter. William was then in Canton, and received word of his wife's death through a letter in this collection (see Box 2, folder 25). In 1843, William married Anstiss Derby Rogers, daughter of Salem, Massachusetts, merchant John Rogers. Wetmore had three children with Anstiss: William Shepard Wetmore, Jr. (1844-1858), George Peabody Wetmore (1846-1921), and Annie Derby Rogers Wetmore (1848-1884). William Wetmore died on June 16, 1862.
- Series I. Papers, 1821-1846
- Series II. Daguerreotype and cameo, 1846
By: Andrea Cronin, Benjamin Johnson
- Wetmore, William S., 1801-1862. William Shepard Wetmore Papers, 1821-1846: A Finding Aid
- Baker Library
- EAD ID
Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository
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