James Rundlet (1772 - 1852) MP

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Birthplace: Exeter, Rockingham , New Hampshire
Death: Died in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States
Occupation: Textile merchant, manufacturer & investor
Managed by: Reg
Last Updated:

About James Rundlet

Name: James Rundlett

  • Birth: 08 Dec 1772 (8 Dec 1772) - Rockingham
  • Parents: James Rundlett, Dorothy Stevens
  • Marriage: 01 Jan 1795 (1 Jan 1795) - New Hampshire
  • Spouse: Jane Hill
  • Death: 1852 - Rockingham, NH (New Hampshire)

Family

Rundlet married Jane Hill in Portsmouth on January 1, 1795. Just eleven months after their marriage, Jane Rundlet gave birth to their first of child, Harriet (1795-1840). Twelve more children followed, some of whom did not live to adulthood: Caroline (1797-1880), William (1800-1846), Elizabeth (1802-1810), Edward (1804-1805), Edward (1805-1874), John Samuel (1807-1835), George (1808-1830), Alfred (1811-1851), Elizabeth Jane (1813-1839), James (1815-1855), Louisa Catherine (1817-1895), and Francis Matilda (1821-1834).

His will provisions were not unusual. The three of his children who made their home with him, Edward, Caroline, and Louisa, were the major beneficiaries.

Jane (Hill) Rundlet died in August 1849, at age seventy-five. Two and a half years later, James Rundlet died in 1852 at age eighty.

Historical/Biographical Notes

James Rundlet was born on December 8, 1772, in Exeter, New Hampshire, the oldest son of James and Dorothy (Stevens) Rundlet. The family had been in Exeter since the seventeenth century.

The senior James is consistently referred to as yeoman though he engaged in property transactions with "gentlemen" and his property holdings included a blacksmith shop and slaughterhouse and his home included a shop. James Rundlet was born on December 8, 1772, in Exeter, New Hampshire, the oldest son of James and Dorothy (Stevens) Rundlet. The family had been in Exeter since the seventeenth century. The senior James is consistently referred to as yeoman though he engaged in property transactions with "gentlemen" and his property holdings included a blacksmith shop and slaughterhouse and his home included a shop. He must have had more cosmopolitan goals for his oldest son, however. In 1785, at age 12, James Jr. was enrolled in the newly formed Phillips Academy to complete his education.

James Jr. came to Portsmouth in 1794. He began on a small scale as a commission merchant, but later specialized, importing and retailing textiles. The economic environment was favorable, the young man grew wealthy, and the town was prosperous. During the War of 1812 he began the most important phase of his career turning from sales to manufacturing textiles. He was instrumental in the development of two early woolen mills, one in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1814 and in Salmon Falls, New Hampshire, in 1823.

During his middle years, however, the climate of Portsmouth changed. Rundlet turned from active merchant and manufacturing activities to a more passive role as investor. He had become one of the town's wealthiest individuals and could live the last twenty-five years of his life on the interest of his earlier accumulation.

By age forty-seven, Rundlet had steadily turned his profits into investments, rather than continue active trade. This was a common trend for businessmen in the Northeast during the early nineteenth century. Rundlet owned many small house lots throughout Portsmouth in addition to his home and three shops. He maintained approximately one third of his income in real estate. He also invested in banks. James Rundlet was the tenth highest taxpayer in Portsmouth in 1815. The money he amassed in the early nineteenth century kept him at the top of the tax bracket until his death in 1852

The details of James Rundlet's activities in the later years of his life are obscure. He suspended his yearly accounting in 1840, and his ledger was not kept up to date. His investments, through the New York investment firm of Prime, Ward, and King, included some slightly more speculative properties, such as insurance policies, municipal public works, but no clear picture emerges.

Sources

  1. Rundlet papers, 1780-1852
  2. Rundlet-May House History

Links

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James Rundlet's Timeline

1772
December 8, 1772
Exeter, Rockingham , New Hampshire
1795
January 1, 1795
Age 22
1797
September 27, 1797
Age 24
Portsmouth Twp, Rockingham, NH
1800
May 19, 1800
Age 27
Portsmoth, Rockingham, NH
1804
1804
Age 31
1805
1805
Age 32
1807
1807
Age 34
1808
March 19, 1808
Age 35
Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH
1808
Age 35
1811
March 3, 1811
Age 38
Portsmouth, Rockingham, NH