This collection consists of four books—two letter copy books and two account books listing dividends belonging to Warren Sawyer. Warren’s first letter copy book is identified as “Private Book” on the cover and is dated 1892 to 1913. Warren Sawyer was Treasurer of the Milbridge Water Company as is indicated at the closing of his letters and his letters pertain to both personal and business matters. There are references to a settlement with G. A. Sawyer on the purchase of waterworks (pg. 20) and purchasing valves, pumps, fittings and pipes to build a new water works system in which Warren Sawyer supplied water to the town of Milbridge. Some notes of interest:
<ul> <li> Letters to a brother Philander (pp. 7, 80)</li> <li> Insurance for the Nokomis (pg. 38)</li> <li> between the Town of Milbridge and the Milbridge Water Co (pg. 43)</li> <li> settling is father’s estate , J. W. Sawyer after his death in 1898 (pp. 52, 60-62, 66, 70)</li> <li> dealing with his son Joseph W. accounts (pg. 54)</li> <li> advising Capt. John E. Mitchell on changing a vessel back to American registry (pg. 57-58)</li> <li> references to the bark Auburndale (pg. 60)</li> <li> Land deed between J. W. Sawyer and E. L. Young (pg. 65)</li> <li> Contract for Schooner John Maxwell (pg. 67)</li> <li> Purchasing School Furniture (pg. 85)</li></ul>
The second letter copy book also belongs to Warren Sawyer and this book relates to his own shipbuilding enterprise, Warren Sawyer & Co. He alludes to this in two letters. One on page 13 written to Lebanon Chain Works stating, “I was senior member of the firm of Sawyer Brothers, but am now building on my own account.” and on page 98 where is says, “I was formerly in the firm of Sawyer Bros. I left my brothers last Oct. and have started to go it alone in this business.” He does reference his brothers’ yard (Sawyer Brothers) a number of times. Most correspondence deals with purchasing materials to build his ships, writing to freight agents or providing vessels to others. I have included an index for this book of letters as part of the finding aids.
Neither of the letter copy books have their internal index filled out.
The two account books deal with dividends and vessels Warren Sawyer had a financial interest in. We have included an index of vessel names as part of the finding aids. Inside the second account book were loose papers belonging to the Sawyer Bros. (Alonzo and Elmer). Since one of the account books includes entries after Warren’s death, it may have been used also by his widow, or son Joseph W. Sawyer II.
Warren Sawyer was the eldest child of Joseph Warren Sawyer and Mary Jane (Wallace) Sawyer, born in Milbridge, Washington County, Maine, in 1849. He went to sea, and at the age of 20 had command of the Bath-built three-mast schooner Warren Sawyer. In 1872 he became the commander and part owner of the 5-year-old Milbridge schooner Mahaska, which his father and uncle had had shares in from her launching. In 1876 he took the new Milbridge bark Illie, and in 1885 the new Milbridge bark Ventura. He later commanded the 1897 Milbridge three-mast schooner Nokomis, built by his brothers.
In 1876 he married Mary L. Knowles, and they lived in Milbridge. When the census taker visited the house in 1880, Warren Sawyer got recorded as “Master Mariner – at sea.” He was still listed as commanding Nokomis in 1899, but by the 1900 census his occupation was given as ship builder. Although nominally a partner with his father and brothers in the family shipyard from 1888, he likely was less directly involved in the yard, spending a good deal of his time at sea.
Warren Sawyer is the builder of record for the four-mast schooner Myrtle Tunnel, launched in 1904. There were other schooners built in Milbridge that carried the Tunnel name, but all were built by Sawyer Brothers. Every other vessel built in Milbridge from 1899 until Warren’s death was recorded as built by Sawyer Brothers or a non-Sawyer builder. The Myrtle Tunnel may be the only vessel built by Warren alone.
The 1910 census gives his occupation as “Saw Mill”, but when he died of pneumonia on 19 April 1914, aged 64, he was called a ship builder.