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Letterbook of Samuel Cary used in St. Christopher/St. Kitts and in Grenada for the Simon Plantation

Identifier: MS Group 166

Scope and Content

Manuscript letterbook (covers missing), dated 1765 to 1772, written by Samuel Cary for the Simon Estate plantation on Grenada, West Indies. Although most of the pages were written in St. Kitts (St. Christopher), the Simon Plantation was located in Grenada. The book includes detailed business transactions concerning sugar, rum, and coffee, as well as numerous copies of letters describing the activities of the plantation to the owners in London, Charles Spooner, Joseph Sill, and William Manning. Several letters pertaining to family or business matters also are addressed to Boston.

Throughout the letterbook, Cary provides information about the African slaves owned by the plantation, listing about 300 at one point. He describes the shipping of slaves, the purchase of slaves, their labor and health, and the escape and death of slaves. In addition, he records information about the products of the plantation, goods shipped, itemized expenses, account payments received, and his trips to nearby islands in the Caribbean, including Nevis and Grenada. Cary also describes his purchase of an estate on Grenada, a coffee plantation, and lists the 75 slaves included as property of the estate.


  • Creation: 1765-1772



The collection is open for research. The letterbook is in very fragile condition as both covers are missing and the pages are fraying substantially. Please consult with departmental staff prior to handling this item. Photocopying may not be allowed due to the condition of the letterbook.

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Cary, Jr., was born in 1742 in the Boston suburb of Chelsea. Following his graduation from Harvard, he moved to the West Indies where he managed plantations for various individuals before purchasing a Grenada sugar plantation. In 1772, after the death of his father, Cary left the West Indies and returned to live in the Chelsea family home.

Charles Spooner was a British planter who owned several plantations in the Caribbean, specifically the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. William Manning (1763-1835), a British merchant with property and business interests in the West Indies, was a member of Parliament and served as a director and governor of the Bank of England.


1 linear foot (1 box)

Language of Materials



Manuscript letterbook, dated 1765 to 1772, written by Samuel Cary in St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and in Grenada for the Simon Plantation.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, New Jersey, 2000.

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

Samuel Cary Papers and Cary Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

A Guide to the letterbook of Samuel Cary used in St. Christopher/St. Kitts and in Grenada for the Simon Plantation
Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers
August 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America