William Scarbrough articles of association and copartnership
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

William Scarbrough articles of association and copartnership

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Scarborough, William, 1776-1838.
Title: William Scarbrough articles of association and copartnership
Dates: 1818
Extent: 0.05 cubic feet (1 folder)
Identification: MS 1490

Biographical/Historical Note

William Scarbrough (1776-1848) was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on 18 February 1776. He was the son of William and Lucy Sawyer, a North Carolina shipbuilder and trader. He married Julia Bernard on 18 April 1805 and had they had ten children.

Scarbrough moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1798 after serving an apprenticeship under Severin Erichson in Denmark, England, Germany, and Spain from 1796 to 1798. In Savannah, he built a prosperous commercial and shipping business and became a successful landowner. He was also a business and society leader with partners in Augusta, Georgia; New York, New York; and Liverpool, England. In the early 1800s, Scarbrough hired William Jay, architect, to build a massive Regency-style house on West Broad Street in Savannah; the house was completed in time for President James Monroe's visit to Savannah in May 1819.

Scarbrough was instrumental in the formation of the Savannah Steam Ship Company. The company bought a 320-ton sailing vessel and outfitted it with a steam engine, bent smokestack, and a side paddle wheel in New Jersey and New York. The vessel arrived in Savannah from New York by sail and steam in April 1819 and was available for President Monroe to steam down the Savannah River to Tybee Island and back. On 22 May 1819, the S.S. Savannah traveled from Savannah and reached Liverpool on June 20, and arrived in St. Petersburg on September 15; it returned to the Savannah River on November 30. The S.S. Savannah made history as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It did not, however, prove prosperous for Scarbrough. Financial problems began to plague Scarbrough, and after the government refused to buy the steamship, he was forced to have the engines removed and turn the ship into a sailing packet. On 5 November 1821, the S.S. Savannah wrecked off the coast of Fire Island, New York, a loss from which Scarbrough never recovered financially. He eventually sold his family's plantation in North Carolina and the West Broad Street house.

In the late 1820s and into the 1830s, Scarbrough recovered enough to hold a job as an agent for the Upper Darien Steam Rice and Saw Mill in Darien, Georgia. During this time, he wrote papers on the mechanism of the steam pump and causes of explosions in steam boilers. He also received a patent on 8 April 1835 for an invention improving the steam engine for use on boats with paddle wheels. In late 1835, Scarbrough returned to Savannah and held several minor elected positions. On 1 June 1838, after leaving Savannah with his son-in-law, Godfrey Barnsley, on a business trip to Liverpool, England William Scarbrough died in New York City.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the Articles of Association and Copartnership between William Scarbrough and Joseph P. McKinee of New York, New York that were agreed to on 7 January 1818.

Index Terms

Legal documents.
McKinne, Joseph P., active 1818.
Scarborough, William, 1776-1838.

Administrative Information

Processing information

This collection is processed at the Basic Level (or collection level). There is no detailed inventory for this collection as it is not fully processed. To request that this collection be added to our priority list of collections to be fully processed as staffing and funding allow, please contact the Library and Archives staff.


Access restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Encoding funded by a 2008 Archives-Basic Projects grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.