Hawthorne in Salem Search Hawthorne in Salem

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The Simon Forrester House at 188 Derby St. at the corner of Hodges Court was the home of Simon Forrester, a prosperous merchant, in 1791. The house is located next door to the Custom House and was convenient to the Central Wharf. Forrester, of Scotch Irish ancestry, was brought to the U.S. by Captain Daniel Hathorne (1731-1796), Hawthorne's grandfather, who married Rachel Phelps, Nathaniel's first cousin. Forrester became wealthy during the Revolutionary War, but his reputation is tainted by stories of his alcoholism. Hawthorne inserts Forrester into The Custom-House Sketch, calling him "old Simon Forrester." (courtesy of Ohio State University Press)

Here, no doubt, statistics of the former commerce of Salem might be discovered, and memorials of her princely merchants,-old King Derby, -old Billy Gray,- old Simon Forrester,-and many another magnate in his day; whose powdered head, however, was scarcely in the tomb, before his mountain-pile of wealth began to dwindle. The founders of the greater part of the families which now compose the aristocracy of Salem might here be traced, from the petty and obscure beginnings of their traffic, at periods generally much posterior to the Revolution, upward to what their children look upon as long-established rank (28-29).