Old York’s popular lecture series, History…with a side of soup! continues with a talk by Sandra Rux, curator of the Warner House, on “The Life and Times of William Pepperrell of Kittery, Maine.” The lecture is followed by a dinner of soup and bread in historic Jefferds Tavern.
William Pepperrell (about 1651–1734) began life in relatively humble conditions. Through skill (and luck) he parlayed a small income into one of the largest fortunes in New England. Unlike the merchants of Portsmouth, who were heavily involved in the mast trade with England, Pepperrell focused on trading in the staple products of the Piscataqua region—fish and lumber. He restricted his ventures to the North American coast and the Caribbean islands, and invested his profits in land in what is now York County. He left such a large empire to his son—the famous Sir William Pepperrell and first American to be granted a title by the king—that it was said the junior Pepperrell could walk from his house in Kittery to Pepperrellborough (now Saco) without leaving his own land! Sandra Rux reveals the details of the life and times of this shrewd merchant and businessman, and describes how the senior Pepperrell built his magnificent fortune.
Sandra Rux is curator of the Warner House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and a hand loom weaver, who has written about nineteenth-century carpet weaving in Corsets, Clocks and Locks, a book about the industrial development of New Haven, Connecticut. She is a graduate of the Museum Studies program of the Munson Institute, Mystic Seaport Museum, and formerly worked as Manager/Curator of the John Paul Jones House, Portsmouth. Sandra lives in York with her husband Alan Haesche.
Image: Unknown Artist, Portrait of Colonel William Pepperrell, private collection.