Fonds - Thomas Ruck fonds

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Thomas Ruck fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1713-1722 (Creation)
    Ruck, Thomas

Physical description area

Physical description

1 microfilm reel

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Thomas Ruck Jr. (1659-172-), New England shipowner and merchant, was born on 9 July 1659 in Salem, Massachusetts, son of Damaris (Buffum) and Thomas Ruck (d. 1704), and one of seven children. Thomas Ruck Jr. married Mary Clark on 18 September 1708. His death date is not currently known.

Ruck was a mariner and a vessel owner. He was listed as master of the brig Fraternity (1706), part-owner of the brig Dolphin (1710) and master of the brig Swallow (1711). His firm, Thomas Ruck & Company, was extensively involved in the Newfoundland trade during the period 1713-22. Ruck dealt with Newfoundland planters (settlers) and English migratory fishing crews in harbours and coves along the English Shore, from Ferryland to Bonavista. Most of his dealings, however, were concentrated in St. John's and adjacent outports, including Petty Harbour, Bay Bulls, Quidi Vidi and Torbay. Ruck specialized in bartering West Indian products, rum and molasses, and New England produce, foodstuffs, hardware and lumber, for salted cod. He also sold supplies for bills of exchange.

Ruck was one of many New England traders (or, as they were sometimes called, " hucksters" or "interlopers") involved in the Newfoundland trade in the early eighteenth century, playing an important role in supplying early settlers.

Custodial history

Custodial history of records is partially unknown. They were acquired from an American bookdealer, Newburyport Rare Books in July 1988 under a share agreement between the Provincial Archives and the Maritime History Archive and the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Ownership is shared between the two provincial institutions.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of company accounts for the New England firm of Thomas Ruck & Company relating to the fish trade in Newfoundland, 1713-1722. Fonds is composed of five ledgers, a journal and a day book containing accounts for the seasonal trade (usually May-Sept) conducted by Ruck in Bay Bulls, Petty Harbour, Quidi Vidi, Torbay, St. John's, Ferryland, Witless Bay, Cape Broyle, Brigus Bay South and Conception Bay, Newfoundland.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Newburyport Rare Books in July 1988.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

The original records are stored at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Availability of other formats

Microfilm is available at the Provincial Archives and the Maritime History Archive.

Restrictions on access

Originals are restricted for conservation purposes. Reproductions available.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright for microfilm jointly held by the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador and Maritime History Archive.

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No further accruals expected.

General note

See The Newfoundland Ancestor (v.5, no. 3) for the "Thomas Ruck lecture" by PANL archivist Howard Brown which provides an overview of these records. A subsequent article by John Parkinson, "Women in the Thomas Ruck ledgers" (v. 14, no. 2) is also useful.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - May 6, 2013

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  • English

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