Frazar Family

The Frazar Family Collection (1767-1922)

Scope and Content:  The collection consists primarily of correspondence and legal documents written to various members of the Frazar family.  Much of the correspondence deals with matters concerning their jobs within the Union army. There are also more personal letters of correspondence, including an 1861 letter to Amerst Alden Frazar from his brother-in-law, William A. Stearns, President of Amherst College. The legal documents concern their travels throughout the world and governmental appointments.  Of special note is the c. 1801 guide map of Nagasaki, Japan by the artist Chikujenken. This wood-block map was made for visitors who took them home a souvenirs. The Dutch trading station can be seen on the fan-like island, Dejima.

Biographical Information: 

Samuel Alden Frazar (1766-1838) was the son of Thomas Frazar and Rebecca Alden.  He was one of the most prominent citizens of Duxbury in his day as both a shipbuilder and Justice of the Peace. In 1791 he married Abigail Drew. They had ten children: Thomas, who died at 1 year, John, who married Betsy Drew, Abigail, who married Nathaniel Weston, Mercy C., who never married, Samuel A., who married Maria Winsor, George, who married Ann Little, Amherst Alden, who married Sarah Drew Bradford, Rebecca Alden, who married the Rev. William A. Stearns, Sarah D. who married Mr. Mansfield, and Thomas, who married Frances Bradford.

Amherst Alden Frazar (1804-1876) was the son of Samuel A. Frazer and Abigail Drew. He was a prominent Boston merchant engaged in the Far East trade.  His wife, Sarah Drew Bradford, was the daughter of Capt. Daniel Bradford and Sarah Drew. Amherst and Sarah had three children: Corrina, Lauretta and Douglas.

Douglas Frazar was born on August 19, 1836 to Amherst Alden Frazar and Sarah Drew Bradford. He was educated in Duxbury and then Dixwell’s in Boston. He also studied in Paris, France. At age 18 he went to sea aboard the steamship “Atlantic” traveling between Boston and Liverpool. On his second voyage he traveled to San Francisco, Shanghai and then London, circumnavigating the globe.   In 1858 he became the captain of the barque “Maryland” which went to China to open a trading house in Shanghai – Frazar & Co.  It was operated for many years by Everett Frazar (son of George Frazar and Ann Little).

At the outbreak of the Civil War Douglas Frazar returned to the United States and became Major of the 13th New York Calvary. He was later a Colonel of a South Carolina black regiment.  At the end of the war he was brevetted Brigadier General. After the war, Douglas worked for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

In 1871 he married Emily May Durrell and they settled in Somerville, Massachusetts where he continued in various business ventures and was active in civic affairs. Douglas Frazar died in 1896. The couple had two children, Amherst Durrell Frazar (b. 1873) and Gerard Frazar (b. 1878).


 Organization:  The collection is separated into three series:

Series I – Correspondence (1843-1922)

Series II –Legal Documents (1771-1894)

Series III – Miscellaneous (1767)

Series I – Correspondence (1843-1922); 14 items.

  •  Folder 1- Correspondence (1843-1870)
  1. Secretary of War to U.S. Senator Henry Wilson; Feb. 4, 1843.
  2. Stearns to A.A. Frazar; Sept. 3, 1861.
  3. Note from Oliver Eldridge; Feb. 6, 1863.
  4. Eclectic Association secretary A.G. Montgomery to Major Douglas Frazar; Nov. 12, 1863.
  5. Secretary of Union Club to Major Douglas Frazar; Dec. 15, 1863.
  6. Josiah Quincy to Governor of New York Reuben Fenton; Dec. 5, 1864.
  7. U.S. Senator Charles Summer to Governor of New York Reuben Fenton; Dec. 15, 1864.
  8. Assistant Secretary of War to Major Douglas Frazar; Jan. 27, 1865.
  9. Governor of Massachusetts John A. Andrew to Governor of New York Reuben Fenton; July 7, 1865.
  10. O.B. Wilcox to General Douglas Frazar; Apr. 3, 1868.
  11. Assistant Commissioner of Virginia for Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands to General Douglas Frazar; Sept. 9, 1868.
  12. Mosby to Frazar; Dec. 9, 1886.
  13. A.A. Frazar to Brother Thomas; May 16, 1870.
  • Folder 2- Correspondence (1922)
  1. Estelle Tyler Warner to George Frazar; June 14, 1922.

Series II – Legal Documents (1771-1894); 12 items

  •  Folder 1- Military (1865-1894); 4 items
  1. Orders for Colonel Douglas Frazar; Sept. 24, 1865.
  2. Complaint filed at Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands; Aug. 8, 1868.
  3. Honorable Discharge of Douglas Frazar; Apr. 22, 1873.
  4. Military Record of Douglas Frazar; Jan. 6, 1894.
  •  Folder 2- Business (1771-1868)
  1. Charter Party of Affreightment; 1771.
  2. Notice of new business office of Frazar & Co.; Apr. 1, 1859.
  3. Clearance of Morning Star for Shanghai, c. 1860
  • Folder 3- Travel (1854-1857)
  1. Certificate of American citizenship for Douglas Frazar; June 23, 1854.
  2. Passport from the U.S. to travel to France; Aug. 14, 1857.
  3. Passport issued to Douglas Frazar in China, 1860
  • Folder 4- Government Appointment (1816-1887)
  1. Samuel A. Frazar appointed Plymouth county judge; Aug. 29, 1816.
  2. Samuel A. Frazar appointed Plymouth county judge; Apr. 20, 1837.
  3. Douglas Frazar appointed Massachusetts judge; March 23, 1887.

Series III – Miscellaneous (1767); 2 items.

  1. Family tree by Thomas Frazar; 1767.
  2. Map of Nagasaki, Japan by artist Chikujuken, c. 1801.

6 thoughts on “Frazar Family

  1. Hello, 07 Jun 2011

    I do hope there is someone that actually reads and responds to these messages.

    I, Martin Strong Burrell, am the the great grand of Thomas Frazer’s daughter, Rosetta [Frazar] Burrell. She married, Martin Strong Burrell at Hazel Wood Farm.

    Rosa was married on 07 Jan 1862, at Hazel Wood Farm, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, to Martin Strong Burrell. Martin had come from a well to do Ohio farming family. He was drawn first to his brothers interests in California. After staying there a few months he decided to move on to Portland, Oregon where a couple of cousins had started up a store that marketed goods of all kinds to the valley farmers. After working for several years for his cousin as book keeper. He bought part ownership into the Portland based company and they renamed it Knapp-Burrell & Company. It grew to have many outlets located in farming centers and mining areas across the Oregon Territory of Oregon, Northern California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

    Her father tried to turn apart of Hazal Wood Farm [located about six miles east of the heart of Portland into an orchard. But, after several years of bad weather and crop failures. He lost hope. Then added to this trouble was the death of four of their beloved children while living at the farm. They sold out and moved back into Portland.

    Rosetta Frazar Burrell grew to become the right arm of Martin Burrell. But, she was also her fathers daughter. One who fought for public schools and good government in Portland. Then for the whole state of Oregon. Rosa was one who had the ear of both men and women of wealth and position. Like her father she knew politics on all levels. When Rosa could not herself reach out as a woman, she was able to persade her husband and their friends’ to help.

    In religious beliefs she followed her father and mother into the Unitarian Church and firmly supported it all her life. The family were founding members of the First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon and it is presently active today. Note: The church first met in community homes for worship and study. Several of men then went to California seeking a pastor to return with them. They were successful and enlisted a young man who became a great church leader.

    The Burrell’s amassed great wealth for their day. The estate was worth well over a million dollars. They were capitalist and were involved in many businesses in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. It included mining, farming, banking, agriculture and the retail outlets based in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

    Look at the womens groups she helped form with Mary Ann Phelps Montgomery, Constance Phelps Montgomery Burrell,
    Margaret Phelps Montgomery Zogbaum, Helen Strong Burrell Voorhies and others. They formed the Oregon DAR, actions groups that were based on growing a strong patriotic Portland. They were watching a small town change each year into one of the largest and strongest in the West. These women wanted their city to be clean, with a good police force, fire department, with a good library system for all, with a free school system for all children, and a good political system that was fair and open to all it’s citizens.

    Their son, Walter Frazar Burrell was not the smartest business man. Between the 1930’s Depression Era lasting until Pearl Harbor and lavish spending, and bad business deals. The money was soon depleted to a point where he was forced to sell major assets at great loss.

    Rosa’s mother was Frances Ann Adams Bradford. Who was born on, 08 Oct 1815, to a sailing ship Captain named Daniel Bradford in Keene, New Hamshire. She died in Dorchester, Massachusetts on, 11 July 1848. Her place of burial has not been determined.


    I am hoping that your facility would allow me access to information found in letters written between, Thomas Frazar and his brother, Captain Amherst Alden Frazar. Do you have papers relating to their agreement to send, Thomas to Portland for the purpose of opening up a store. to sell goods and receive orders for goods to be purched on the East Coast and hense returned by his brothers ships to Portland? Do you have letters announing the death of Thomas’ children.

    A store was indeed sent from the East Coast and built in Portland and operated for several years. It was one of the first stores in Portland, Oregon.. Conformation of it’s exsistance would be wonderful. Thank you for any help, Martin S Burrell, (503) 655-9017. You can go online and see Frazar Family Memorial at They are all located within Portland, Oregon. Lone Fir Cemetery and Riverview Cemetery. To locate go to Portland, Multnomah, Oregon and search, Frazar. There are several historical books that include reference to Thomas Frazar.

    • How fascinating! I will have to look over our Collections to see if there is anything on the Portland store or other Frazer material. But, you may be interested to know that the Bradford Family Collection is related to Capt. Daniel Bradford of Keene, NH and I have much information on him. In fact, I just started a facebook account for Charlotte Bradford, a Civil War nurse who was Daniel Bradford’s neice. There is also a blog post about Charlotte on this site.

      The Bradford Family Collection is primarily material of the family of Captain Gershom Bradford, Daniel’s brother, but there are letters and other materials that mention Daniel. The Daniel Bradford House in Duxbury still stands and is a beautiful private residence. Capt. Daniel had a harrowing experience at sea, his ship was de-masted during a storm on the Atlantic. They were rescued and no one perished but I often wonder if this is what induced him to sell and move to Keene.

    • Yes, people do read these. I am researching the history of owners of my house (built 1917) in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland OR. In 1861 Thomas Frazer received a land grant of 320 acres that became the Hazelwood Farm you mention as the wedding place of your great grandparents. The farm was purchased by William S. Ladd in 1869 (maybe when the Frazers moved back into the more urban part of Portland). The farm, with more land Mr. Ladd purchased, became Hazel Fern Farm (mostly dairy). The farm, passed down to Mr. Ladd Sr.’s sons, then became the Laurelhurst neighborhood in 1909. Although I think my house is in the “other land” and not the Frazer’s farm, it is still close to where “your people” were, and it is fun to learn more about their lives.

    • Martin Strong Burrell,
      I am going to try to find you and contact you (three years now after you left this message that I just found). I would be very interested in getting pictures / scans (or at least some details) about the records this family Bible holds.

  2. I am researching two different lines of the Frazar family, trying to see if I can find a connection that I suspect is there. Anyone researching the Frazar line can feel free to contact me with any information they may have, or for us to compare notes.

    Anyone can feel free to contact me at ( ) is the public email address I put out. I do not check it daily (and sometimes not even weekly) as it gets a lot of spam. You can also find me on facebook (Jeremy Frazar).

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