Records of the Starbuck family of Nantucket Island and Milford Haven

Scope and Content

Estate and personal papers relating to the Starbuck family of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, USA, and of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. The papers relate to the colonial history of Nantucket Island, [c. 1660]-1791, and to Milford Haven, 1800-1822, and to the Quaker communities of both places, [c. 1749]-[c. 1810], and to the Penrose family of Waterford, Ireland, merchants, 1740, 1815-1825. There is also a copy of a published account of the trial of Thomas John and Samuel Griffith for treason following the French invasion of Fishguard.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Starbuck family, originally from Derbyshire, emigrated to Dover in the North American colony of New Hampshire in about 1635. The island of Nantucket, off Massachusetts, was granted to Thomas Mayhew and his son in 1641; they combined with others to buy the island from its Indian owners. By c. 1660, Nathaniel Starbuck was one of the associates. In 1725, Nathaniel Starbuck of Sherborn, blacksmith, granted land to his son Paul, including land that had formerly belonged to his brother Barnabas. Paul Starbuck described himself in his will of 1759 as a glazier; Samuel Starbuck described himself as a mariner in 1745, as a glazier in deeds dated between 1751 and 1763, and as a merchant, 1772-1783. In 1791 Samuel Starbuck, now of Halifax, Nova Scotia, merchant, sold Samuel Starbuck & Co. to William Hussey of Sherborn, merchant. Samuel Starbuck's will was proved at Canterbury in May 1805. Samuel Starbuck of Nantucket, mariner, bought the sloop Unity in 1745, with all appurtenances, except for some whaling equipment. The first American Quaker whalers arrived in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, from Nantucket in 1792. The Starbuck family is said to have sailed to Milford Haven on the whaler Aurora. By 1800, Daniel Starbuck held land in Milford and Steynton, and had goods distrained for the non-payment of tithes in four of the six years 1810-1815. Samuel Starbuck probably died in 1819, when his estate included half of the stock in trade of Daniel & Paul Starbuck, joiners (£5,020), the lighter Upton Castle, and the brig Diligence. The Starbucks were related to the Penrose family of Waterford, Ireland, merchants, who were fellow Quakers.


Arranged into the following sections: land, c. 1660-1822; personal, 1719, 1745-1954; Penrose family, 1740, 1815-1825; and French invasion, 1798.

Access Information

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Mr J. B. Hemingway of Haverfordwest in December 1971 on behalf of George Griffiths of Bournemouth.


Compiled by Stephen Benham for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: McKay, Ken, and George Springer, Milford Haven: waterway and town (Stroud, 1999); National Library of Wales, St Davids Marriage Bonds 42/210 and 42/445, and National Library of Wales, Miers 32-33.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at Pembrokeshire Record Office, National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at the Pembrokeshire Record Office have been retained.

Custodial History

The papers eventually passed to Mr George Griffiths, of Bournemouth, England.


Accruals are not expected


The papers were used by Miss Flora Beech Thomas, The Builders of Milford (Haverfordwest, 1920).