Married: 8 June 1823 Boston
Divorced: unknown

Birth: 20 Oct.1800 Belfast, Waldo Co., ME
Death: 13 Jan.1872 New York City, NY at 273 Henry St. (Manh.), 3rd Ward.
Occ: shipping merchant,

Caroline Leeds
(major events)

Birth: 23 June 1804 Dorcester, MA
Death: 13 Aug.1888 Brooklyn, NY, res 273 Henry St.

Family Citations:

       James went to NY about 1827 [births of ch.1850c.] to establish Nesmith & Leeds, became “prominent and wealthy merchant”.

       Obit (Benjamin Ingersol) says came to NY from Boston in 1925.

       Nesmith & Leeds: ship owners and brokers:   Named their ships after family:

the “James Nesmith”:  see below. 991 tons 171 x 36 x 18 1850 built at Thomaston, Maine,

the “Henry Nesmith”:  see below.

the “Caroline Nesmith”: James Eaton, Master or Commander of the Caroline Nesmith, (a sailing     Liverpool to New Orleans, February 7,1849 - mainly laborers); on Nov 16, 1865 [NY Times     p.4] reported Wrecked in a “furious gale on the East Florida coast”.


       In 1860c Astoria in Newtown Queens, NY [Series M653, Roll 843, Page 723:] James Nesmith, ae.60 shipping merchant, with wife Caroline ae.55 b.MA, son Benjamin ae.30, his wife Lenora ae.23, b. NY, their children: Grace ae.2, Caroline (Lena) ae.6/12 b. NY,


       In 1870c Astoria in Newtown Queens, NY [Series M593, Roll 1080, Page 215:] is the household of James Nesmith ae.70, b.ME, shipping commission merchant, value RE $1,200,000, personal $500,000, with wife Caroline ae.64, b.MA, son James ae.46, shipping commission merchant, b. MA, son Henry ae.42, b. NY, shipping commission merchant, son Benjamin  ae.40, b. NY, shipping commission merchant, Sarah ae.34 b. ME (daughter-in-law Sarah Francis Cunningham, wife of James) and their children b. NY: James ae.12, Charlotte ae.10, Sarah ae.6, William ae.4;  Leonora (daughter-in-law Leonora Pendleton, wife of Benjamin) ae34, b. ME, and their children: Lena (Caroline Leonora) ae.10, b. NY, and Grace ae.12, b. NY, and numerous servants.


       [From Brooklyn, NY, Historical Chronology, 1642 - 2000, posted online at:

http://www.placeinhistory.org/Projects/Dumbo/DumboChron2.htm ]

       "1855: James Nesmith begins to acquire the major portion of the land on which the Empire Stores stand."

       "1869-70: Nesmith begins construction of the four four-story warehouses (the eastern section toward Dock Street)."


       At the New York Historical Society is a Ledger of accounts of Nesmith & Leeds given by Henry Leeds Estate to the Society.  In it are the business records of the company (Commission Merchants as well as ship owners) as well as Accounts of the Estate of Henry Leeds (James’ partner), executor Samuel Leeds.  Henry Leeds was the brother of James’ wife Caroline.  Included are accounts for his widow Agnes M. and his 5 children (minors): Agnes Maria (p.167), Henry (p.183), William Johnson Leeds (p.199), Mary Ingersol (p.215), James Nesmith Leeds (p.229).


      Excerpt of letter from David M. Wilson 22 June 1867, transcribing Letter of Charlotte (Nesmith) Cunningham (a week before) “a week since”; [given to MW by Lael Nesmith Snyder]  See Agnes GILMORE for complete letter.

     “My eldest brother (James Nesmith 1800-1872) is in New York mourning the loss of his only daughter of consumption, a mother of six children.  She died at Richmond [VA or SI?] three weeks since on her way home from the South where she passed the winter.  All the wish she expressed was to die in her own home.” [Charlotte (Nesmith) Cunningham]


       In the The History of Thomaston, Rockland, and South Thomaston, Maine, Vol 2.   In 1848 the Ship “Henry Nesmith” was built, 478 (tons) G. Thomas (Builder), b. Kimballs, H. H. Ulmer (Captain). (Owners) Vessels built at Thomaston before its division.  This was built when Henry was 20 years old, so was probably built by James for his sons namesake. [MW]


       SHIP “James Nesmith”

On 7 January 1855 a company of 440 Scandinavian Saints* (mostly from Denmark, and some Sweeds) - about 300 of which had survived a particularly stormy voyage from Copenhagen to England aboard the steamer Cimbria - sailed from Liverpool in the ship James Nesmith. Elder Peter O. Hansen presided over the emigrants. Captain Harvey Mills skippered the vessel. This master had previously commanded the 200-ton brig Thomas & Edward in 1846 for the Dispatch Line and the 199-ton brig Ellis in 1847 for the New Line. The passenger manifest listed thirteen deaths during the crossing. On 23 February 1855 the square-rigger arrived at New Orleans after a forty-seven-day passage.  Eight of the thirteen owners of this ship were from Thomaston - "The Town of a Hundred Captains."  These owners included two members of the noted seafaring Watts family, Captain Mills from St. George, Maine, and James Nesmith of New York, for whom the vessel was named.  This three-master had two decks, no galleries, a square stem, a billethead, and hailed out of New York.  

        In 1864 she was sold to foreigners.  The following reference text was extracted from a web-site at: http://www.indirect.com/www/crockett/cl8.html

        The Journal of Robert Clarkson (1834-1867) Commentary by David Romney Crockett (great-great-grandson) (c) Copyright David R. Crockett 1995.  All rights reserved.   Monday Dec 25th, 1854 being Xmas day a first rate lace party was held in the Wilborforce rooms which went off to good satisfaction. After which a choice selection of songs and recitations were

give.  The meeting breaking up at 12 Oclock. The Danish saints* left Hull for Liverpool about 9 Oclock in the morning of this day, all in good health and spirits with the exception of two. One naturaly an invilid a boy, and the other a young man who sustained an injoury by a broken leg.  

[Footnote:  (fn52) At, Liverpool they boarded the Yankee square rigger James Nesmith bound for New Orleans.]* - The words "Saints" refers to "Latter Day Saints", or more commonly known as "Mormons"

       The passenger list:   Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild


       Sailed 26 Apr.1851 from Liverpool, destination NY, [Irish Emigrant Ships Vol. VII],


      “Index of Ships Names in Queens of the western ocean; the story of Americas mail and passenger sailing lines” by Carl C. Cutler 1961,

       James Nesmith, p.373, 379,

       Caroline Nesmith, p.386, 405, 525,

       Henry Nesmith, p.409,


       see [“The shipping days of old Boothbay : from the Revolution to the World War, with mention of adjacent towns” by George Wharton Rice,  Boothbay Harbor, Me.: unknown, 1938, 455 pgs. 150,151:] regarding the bark “Thales” which ‘Nesmith and Sons’ had managed.


       [Dumbo Historical    http://www.placeinhistory.org/Projects/Dumbo/DumboChron2.htm]

1855: James Nesmith begins to acquire the major portion of the land on which the Empire Stores stand.

1869: By this date, the Empire Stores occupy the entire block between Main and Dock Streets on the north side of Water Street. The area between Dock Street and Fulton Landing is occupied by the Fulton Stores and a coal yard.

1869-70: Nesmith begins construction of the four four-story warehouses (the eastern section toward Dock Street).

1885: James Nesmith’s son, Henry Nesmith, commissions Brooklyn architect Thomas Stone to design and build the 5-story section of the Empire Stores (toward Main Street).

1886: By this date, the Empire Stores occupies the entire block between Main and Dock Streets and Water and Plymouth Streets.  West of Dock is the five-story Brooklyn Tobacco Inspection Warehouse and north of that is the huge one-story tobacco inspection warehouse. Adjacent to the five-story warehouse is a curious little office building and the long, thin, wood framed coal shed belonging to Marston and Powers.

1889: On April 20, the entire block between Dock Street and Main and Water and Plymouth Streets is transferred from James Nesmith and George Baxter to James Nesmith and his son, Henry (1828-1901).

1895: James and Henry Nesmith sell their property to the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Company.

1963: Consolidated Edison purchased the Empire Stores. 

1974: The Fulton Landing area, including the Empire Stores, is placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

     The Arbuckle brothers owned the Jay Street Connecting Railroad in the 1930s, and used it in their importing business, shipping in Yuban Coffee. Yuban had a vast advertisement on the exterior of these 1860s-era warehouses along Water Street, known as the Empire Stores. The building awaits conversion, either to retail space, or, undoubtedly, pricey apartments.

1978: The New York State Department of Parks and Recreation purchases the nine-acre Empire Stores site from Consolidated Edison and declared it a Landmark.


Ships in port:      http://www.maritimeheritage.org/inport/1849.htm

         1849 April 16: Am. ship Henry Nesmith, Almer master. 150 days from New York, with cargo to Mr. Robinson. 4 passengers.



        The Society of California Pioneers Gottfried Heinrich Westphal was born in Germany on October 4th, 1823.  He traveled to San Francisco from New York aboard the Ship, "Henry Nesmith" on April 16th, 1849.


       “Queens of the western ocean; the story of Americas mail and passenger sailing lines” by Carl C. Cutler 1961 http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/becites/genealogy/immigrant/61011247.idx3.html


Caroline Nesmith, 386, 405,

Henry Leeds, 469,

Henry Nesmith, 409,

James Nesmith, 373, 379,

       Library of Congress Online Catalog




1.+James Ingersoll NESMITH,  b.1824,

2.+Caroline Mary NESMITH,  b. May 1825,

3.+Henry Edwin NESMITH Sr.,  b.7 July 1828,

4.+Benjamin Ingersoll NESMITH,  b.1831,

5.  George NESMITH,  b.1832,

6.  Charlotte NESMITH,  b. say 1834,


       Caroline LEEDS in the 1860 NYC Brooklyn Census, living 2nd District, 3rd Ward Brooklyn NY (census info taken on 10 July 1860) [NYPL RL film *ZI-108 reel 764, page 651 & 652 Charlotte] with son James Ingersol, his wife Sarah, and their children James and Charlotte.  She is listed as being born in Maine, but this is a mistake as she is grouped with her husband, who was indeed born in Maine[MW].


       Michael Wolfe  has researched any LEEDS from Maine and there just are not any.  There is an extensive LEEDS family in NJ but for many reasons I do not think this is where she came from.   I have found at the NYGBS (New York Genealogical and Biographical Record Society) a family history of Beatrice Fairbanks (by Charles C. Cotter in 1997  - maybe he has some info) with the inclusion of a LEEDS family in MA.   In this family I have found a Samuel LEEDS Sr. who married 1793 a Mary INGERSOL.   What is very noteworthy is that Caroline named two of her children Benjamin Ingersoll NESMITH and James Ingersol NESMITH.  The second piece of evidence is that Caroline is just a few years younger than Samuel Sr.’s son Samuel Jr., b. 11 May 1796 who became a New York City family as did James and Caroline.  This I believe bears strong evidence of the family connection [MW].   See also Tom Gede notes at Leonora Scull Pendleon.


       On further research at the National Archives 7/13/00, Caroline is indeed found in the 1850 NYC (Brooklyn, 3rd Ward) census as being born in Massachusetts.  In this census is listed:

James Nesmith,  47, Merchant, b. Maine,

Caroline,  47, b. MA. 

James I.,  26, Merchant, b. MA.

Caroline,  24 (b.abt.1826), (no trade), b.MA.

Henry,  22 (b.abt.1828), Merchant, b.NY.

Benjamin, 19, Merchant, b.NY. 

George, 18, Merchant, b.NY.

      Which shows also that James and the family came to NY from MA about 1827.  I believe Caroline’s brother Samuel LEEDS Jr. also moved to NYC around this period.


       In a search of the 1810 Suffolk Co. MA (Boston) census of Samuel LEEDS [Microfilm series M252, reel 21, p.213] shows only the name of the head of the family, but shows -  2 (males under10 yo), 0 (m.10-16), 0(m.16-26), 1(m.26-45), 0(m. over 45), *1(female under 10, which Caroline would have been), 1(f.10-16), 1(f.16-26), 1(f.26-45), 0(f.over 45), aggregate 7.


        *However neither Cotter in the “Fairbanks Ancestry” no lists Caroline as the dau. of 


       To complicate things further there was a Clayton Higbee LEEDS but b.2 Jan.1838, Leeds Pt, Atlantic Co, NJ, who m. 9 Jan.1867, Absecon, Atlantic Co, NJ  Caroline Risley INGERSOLL, who would be a perfect “patrinomic” match for Caroline LEEDS (b.1803) except for the dates. [MW]  These families are of the same connected families except the NJ lines.