GELSTON, David, 1744-1828


Guide to Research Collections

Mystic Seaport Museum
G.W Blunt White Library
Mystic, CT
Papers: ca. 1800-1843, 5000 items.
The papers of David Gelston contain correspondence, reports, accounts, and other papers, mostly from his service as collector for the port of New York, including letters and reports between David Gelston and collectors at other ports, the U.S. Treasury and State departments, and merchants and officials involved with importing, exporting, and smuggling goods through the port of New York; inspectors’ and surveyors’ reports regarding smuggling activities; U.S. District Court, New York (later U.S. District Court, New York, Southern District), papers for embargo violation cases; revenue cutter papers; and material relating to the operations of the New York Customs House.


East Hampton Free Library
Long Island Collection
East Hampton, NY
Papers: 1777-1826, 0.2 cubic foot.
The papers of David Gelston contain deeds, receipts, and Floyd-Gelston family documents, 1788-1799; book of receipts for monies paid to Gelston and Saltonstall, 1788-1792; book of receipts for monies paid to David Gelston, 1794-1817; correspondence, 1777-1826; receipts, 1788-1790; deed, 1799. Some of the letters to David Gelston were from DeWitt Clinton, John Jacob Astor, Stephen Decatur, James Monroe, James Madison, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Rufus King, and John Quincy Adams.


James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library
Fredericksburg, VA
Papers: In the James Monroe Correspondence Concerning Alexander Hamilton, 1792- 1797, 5 items.
Other authors include David Gelston.


The New-York Historical Society
New York, NY
Papers: 1791, 1 volume.
A letter book of the firm, Gelston & Saltonstall, containing copies of letters to business contacts (May 1791-May 1793), particularly in Connecticut and Long Island, on topics such as their trade in sugar, molasses, rum, coffee, Jamaica spirits, beeswax, white beans, and other commodities; shipping, market conditions and prospects, freight, prices, trade with the West Indies, sale and charter of vessels, credit, marine insurance, the excess of molasses and closing of distilleries in 1791, financial speculation, economic crisis of 1792, and the insurrection in Haiti. The book is also available on microfilm.

Papers: 1793, 1 volume.
A letter book kept by David Gelston after the dissolution of his partnership with Gilbert Saltonstall (March 1793-Sept. 1800). Business correspondence concerning his trade in sugar, iron, beef, whale oil, and bone; output of his sugar mill during 1796-1797; his hostility toward the British government due to privateering and seizure and condemnation of American vessels, including his own; the embargo; apprehension of war between France and England; and the failure of Comfort Sands in his claim in 1797. The letter book is also available on microfilm.


New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections
Albany, NY
Papers: In the Zephaniah Platt Papers, 1745-1846, 0.25 cubic foot.
Persons represented include David Gelston. An unpublished guide is available in the repository.


University of Virginia
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: In the Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1816, 1 item.
A letter from Thomas Jefferson to David Gelston, collector of the Port of New York, to ship a case of Barsac wine from Bordeaux to Richmond in care of Gibson and Jefferson. The wine was originally sent to New York by Consul John Martin Baker via the brig General Ward.