Creator: Carlton W. Wonson; various
Dates:  1857-1975
Quantity: 5.5 linear feet (11 manuscript boxes)
Acquisition: Accession #: 2011.011 ; Donated by Philip Chalmers
Identification: A70 ; Archive Collection #70
Citation: [Document Title]. The Carlton W. Wonson Papers, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright:  Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid: Processed by Howard Thomas and Peter Brown, 2012, for Stephanie Buck, Librarian/Archivist. Updated by Karla Kaneb, June 2020.


Carlton W. Wonson was born in Gloucester on March 27, 1888 and died on December 17, 1982 at Addison Gilbert Hospital. He graduated from Gloucester High School in 1907. He was also a graduate of Northeastern University.

He was an attorney in Gloucester for many years and had only recently retired from his law practice before his death. At one time he was a partner with William MacInnis as MacInnis and Wonson. He was City Solicitor for 25 years and served in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1918.

He served as Master of the Acacia Masonic Lodge in 1922-1923 and was a member of the YMCA Men’s Club, the Independent Christian Church Universalist and the Massachusetts bar Association.


Brief Description: The papers primarily relate to Carlton Wonson’s long time practice of law in Gloucester, including his public service to the citizens of Gloucester, serving as City Solicitor for 25 years, as well as spending many years in private practice. His papers include a great amount of correspondence and documents that evidence his primary interest in the field of real estate, land planning and the fishing industry.

These papers were donated to the Cape Ann Museum by Philip Chalmers. They consist primarily of legal work performed by Carlton Wonson during his long and very successful career as an attorney in Gloucester. 

His service as City Solicitor for 25 years and as an active practitioner in the field of law resulted in a very diversified legal practice. His papers include a large collection of “Plans of Land” and title records resulting from eminent domain proceedings for the City and real estate development for private clients. There is a large amount of correspondence and legal documents relating to one of his outstanding accomplishments, serving as legal advisor to the Gloucester Community Pier Association, Inc. for the period of 1936 – 1975.

Mr. Wonson’s papers evidence a large private practice including probate proceedings and major real estate clients including Riverview Landing Inc. and Rockport Quarries Co. Inc. He also represented the Wingaersheek Beach Association in its effort to obtain deep water from the City.

Mr. Wonson’s correspondence indicates that he represented a number of organizations, many of which he served as a member and usually held high office. These organizations included Eastern point Yacht Club, “Y” Men’s Club of the YMCA, Acacia Masonic Lodge and Young Ladies Independent Society. (Processor does not believe he was a member of the latter but he did perform legal services for the “Young Ladies”.)


Series I. Land Records.

This series contains a large collection of Plans of Land located in the GloucesterCape Ann area

Series II. Probate Proceedings.

This series contains papers, appraisals, deeds and agreements relating to the estates of Helen E. Berry, Elizabeth M. Wonson, Ella Burnham and misc. documents.

Series III. State Fish Pier – Gloucester Community Pier Association.

This series contains interesting correspondence and documents relating to the construction of the State Fish Pier and its subsequent management by the Community Pier Association for the period 1936-1975. Folder 13 contains a series of photographs of 5lb Island and environs taken by Robert W. Phelps in 1937. Folders 8, 9 and 10 contain copies of tenant’s leases 1949-1966. (Exhibit #1)

Series IV. City Solicitor.

This series contains correspondence and bills 1932-1956, papers relating to public issues confronting the City of Gloucester including public landings and litigation highlights including Dehydrating Process Co. and Gloucester Ice and Cold Storage Inc.

Series V. Private Practice of Law.

This series contains a very limited amount of correspondence and documents compiled in a single folder for each of the following listed organizations: Eastern Point Yacht Club, Acacia Lodge and Masonic Bldg. Assoc., Gloucester Housing Authority – Emma G. Babson, East Gloucester Baptist Church and Fort Square Title Records.

Series VI. Young Ladies Independent Society.

This series contains a history of the Society, financial records 1878-1914, and correspondence and documents relating to the difficulties encountered in the effort to sell the land and building owned by the Society, including court proceedings.

Series VII. Wingaersheek Beach Association.

This series contains a history of the Association July 1957, correspondence, Plans of Land and title records relating to efforts by members of the Assoc. to obtain a deep water extension to their property by the City of Gloucester 1956-1959.

Series VIII. Riverview Landing Inc.

This series contains correspondence, documents and Plans of Land 1956-1974 relating to the subdivision of land and sales of individual lots located in the Wheeler’s Point area.

Series IX. Rockport Quarries Company Inc.

This series contains correspondence, documents and title records relating to efforts by the Company to obtain power land easements over primarily owned land to extend electricity to land where quarries were located.


Box 1

Series I. Land Records

Folder 1. Plans of Land – Gloucester (Bay View)

Folder 2. Plans of Land – Gloucester (Essex)

Folder 3. Plans of Land – Gloucester

Folder 4. Plans of Land – Gloucester

Folder 5. Plans of Land – Gloucester

Folder 6. Plans of Land – Gloucester (Lanesville)

Folder 7. Plans of Land – Gloucester (Magnolia)

Folder 8. Plans of Land – Gloucester (West Gloucester)

Folder 9. Plans of Land – Manchester

Folder 10. Plans of Land – Rockport

Folder 11. Plans of Land – Swampscott

Box 2

Series II. Probate Proceedings

A. Helen E. Berry Estate (dod 4/4/1966)

Folder A1 - Wall and Codicil (copies)

Folder A2 – Appraisal Reports and Abstract of Title

Folder A3 – Business Matters

Folder A4 – Deeds and Agreements

B. Elizabeth M. Wonson Estate (dod 3/25/1935)

Folder B1 – Wills, Appraisals and Business Matters

Folder B2 – Correspondence 1935-1936

Folder B3 – Correspondence 1937-1947

Box 3

C. Ella Burnham Estate (dod 7/26/1963)

Folder C1 – Appraisals and Business Matters

Folder C2 – Subject notebooks – Gloucester High School

D. Misc.

Folder D1 – Presson Estate Appraisals 1970’s

Folder D2 – Deeds and Agreements

Folder D3 – Deeds and Agreements

Box 4

Series III. State Fish Pier. Gloucester Community Pier Assoc.

Folder 1. Correspondence and Documents 1936

Folder 2. Correspondence and Documents 1937

Folder 3. Correspondence and Documents 1938-1939

Folder 4. Correspondence and Documents 1945-1948

Folder 5. Correspondence and Documents 1949-1952

Folder 6. Correspondence and Documents 1953-1959

Box 5

Folder 7. Correspondence and Documents 1961-1975

Folder 8. Lease 1949-1966 Lessee A – B

Folder 9. Lease 1949-1966 Lessee C – M

Folder 10. Lease 1949-1966 Lessee N – Z

Box 6

Folder 11. Copies of Special Legal Documents

Folder 12. Copies of Bills for Legal Services 1950-1969

Folder 13. Photographs – 5lb Island, Parker St. 1937

Series IV. City Solicitor

Folder 1. Correspondence and Bills. 1932-1956

Folder 2. Expenses. 1932-1956

Folder 3. Public Landing, Hodgkin’s Cove. 1947-1953

Box 7

Folder 4. Litigation – Dehydrating Process Co. 1951-1954

Folder 5. Litigation – Gloucester Ice and Storage Inc. 1956-1958

Folder 6. Litigation – Misc. – Six cases. 1950-1957

Series V. Private Practice of Law

Folder 1. Misc. Papers. Birdseye deed. Stock certificate.

Folder 2. Eastern Point Yacht Club. 1941-1946

Folder 3. “Y” Men’s Club – YMCA. 1941-1946

Box 8

Folder 4. Acacia Lodge and Masonic Bldg. Assoc. 1927-1960

Folder 5. Gloucester Housing Authority- Emma G. Babson. 1948-1949

Folder 6. East Gloucester Baptist Church. 1857-1969

Folder 7. Fort Square Title Records

Box 9

Series VI. Young Ladies independent Society

Folder 1. History and Financial Records. 1878-1914

Folder 2. Court Proceedings – Sale of Land. 1916-1917

Series VII. Wingaersheek Beach Association

Folder 1. Correspondence and Documents. 1956-1959

Folder 2. Plans of Land ~ Title Records

Box 10

Series VIII. Riverview Landing Inc.

Folder 1. Plans of Land – Surveys

Folder 2. Correspondence and Documents. 1956-1959

Folder 3. Correspondence and Documents. 1960-1962

Folder 4. Correspondence and Documents. 1963-1965

Folder 5. Correspondence and Documents. 1966-1969

Box 11

Folder 6. Correspondence and Documents. 1970-1974

Series IX. Rockport Quarries Company Inc.

Folder 1. Correspondence and Documents. 1956-1972

Folder 2. Power Line Easements – Proposed Route. 1960

Folder 3. Title Records


LEASES: 1949-1966

A-B Lessees:

A & B Leasing Company Inc.

Alpine Seafoods Inc.

American Fillets Corp.

American Stern Trawler

Bernardo Amero

Xavier F. Bertolino

Bio Marine Laboratories

Booth Fisheries Corp.

Boston frozen Foods

C-M Lessees:

Cape Ann Fisheries Inc.

Cape Ann Seafoods Inc.

Codinha’s Fisheries Inc.

Dehydrating Process Company

Charles Favolora

Fish Sticks Inc.

Gloucester By-Products Inc.

Gloucester Seafoods Corp.

Golden Fillet Company Inc.

Gray Chemical Inc.

Harbor Fisheries Corp.

Imperial Seafoods Company Inc.

Lipman Marine Products Inc.

Lucy Fish Company Inc.

N-Z Lessees

Frederick J. Nally

Neptune Seven Seas Inc.

Oceanside Fisheries

Bernard J. Salvatore Jr.

Salvatore J. Scandalito Jr. & Liborio B. Cucuru d/b/a Gloucester Mink Food Company

Sea Freeze Corp.

Sea Good Products Inc.

Star Fisheries Corp.

State Fisheries Corp.

Sunlight Fisheries Inc.

Surf Fisheries Inc.

Vencov Fisheries Inc.