1835: Capt. Preserved S. Storms to Capt. Peter Storms

This letter was written by Capt. Preserved S. Storms (1813-1838), the son of Capt. Peter Storms (1789-1837) and Susan Collins (1790-18xx). Preserved married Mary Ann Bourne (1813-1897), daughter of Benjamin Bourne, on 15 September 1836 in Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Peter Storms drowned on 25 February 1837 at Maracaibo at the age of 48. His obituary referred to him as an “intelligent and active captain and merchant. Peter Storms had long been a resident of Maracaibo and was “highly respected by the inhabitants” according to his obituary. Another source, however, was not so complimentary — describing him as a “low, ignorant man.”

It seems Peter Storms was in continual trouble with the Venezuelan authorities for smuggling, particularly powder and ammunition, and he frequently complained to Dr. Robert H. Nones who served as the U.S. Consul to Venzuela at the time. According to Nones, Peter Storms was a naturalized American citizen of British birth who claimed Sandwich, Massachusetts, as his home. In Maracaibo, he lived in the Calle de Comercio in a house that was later owned by Consul William L. Dubs. After Peter’s death in 1837, Preserved Storms arrived in Maracaibo to claim the estate of his father. Estate in hand, Preserved then resided in Maracaibo for a few weeks working at the trade of sailmaker but died in Maracaibo on 29 January 1838. The author of this source of information added that Storms left several half-breed descendants in Venezuela. [Source: A Forgotten Episode of History by Albert H. Gerberich]

Stampless Cover


Addressed to Capt. Peter Storms, Monument, Barnstable County, Massachusetts

Maracaybo [Maracaibo, Venezuela]
January 23d 1835

Dear Mother,

I now have the pleasure of informing you that I arrived from Cúcuta on the 8th but sick with the fever and ague having been capsized in the river and losing about everything save my clothes and fifteen hundred dollars. But thank God my health is better. Father left on the 21st for Saint Thomas and the William will leave for the same place on the 30th on their return. The 2 vessels go on the Indian Coast and take in a load of Brazil wood and from there [go] home. Father, I expect and hope, will go in one of the vessels. Business is at present dull but I think improving. Peter is well and sends his best respects as likewise Capt. [John M.] Bergner. ¹ I hope soon to go home and see you all for if I wait to have anything to take, I shall have to stop a long time if I do not have better luck than I have had this last 4 months.

Hoping that your health is entry good and that in 6 or 8 months I shall have the pleasure of seeing you, I am — dear mother — your affectionate son, — Presv’d Storms

¹ John M. Bergner was the captain of the brig William that sailed out of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Bergner’s Passenger Manifest for a voyage from Maracaibo, arriving in New York Harbor on 9 September 1831, shows that he transported the Peter & Susan Storms, and two of their children. See Brig William



6 responses to “1835: Capt. Preserved S. Storms to Capt. Peter Storms

  • Lorena Montiel

    Hello. I would want to know more about Capt. Preserved S. Storms. We could be relatives. My name is Lorena Montiel. I am from Venezuela and I am a direct descendent from Captain Peter Storms. I´m very interesting in knowing about my ancestors and family that I dont know yet.
    I hope you have other information can help me.


    Best regards,


  • Thais Ocando

    My uncle “found” this letter on-line in February 2017 but did not provide source & I was looking for this to document this treasure of a find! Appreciate your work on saving letters from the 19th C!

    I too am a Venezuelan descendant of Capt Peter Storms (believe it’s thru Peter Francis Storms). Ms.Lorena Montiel & I recently contacted one another as well & are trying to establish the connection. Do you remember where you purchased this letter? I wonder if there may be others from the Storms family. Appreciate any further hints. Sincerely, Thais Ocando-Bravo

    • Griff

      I do not actually own the letter. It was purchased and subsequently sold again on e-bay by a friend of mine who asked me to transcribe it and research it for him. In exchange, he authorized me to publish the letter on this blog site for the benefit of family researchers and/or historians.

      • Thais Ocando

        Very much appreciate your prompt reply! Would love to know, if possible, who now has this letter…Nonetheless, this letter is priceless as it confirms the link to the Peter Storms-Susan Collins family from Cape Cod, MA.,their sons, & ties to Maracaibo, Venezuela. Thank you, Thais

  • Thais Ocando

    P.S. My uncle also found the quote from your mentioned book! It depicted Capt. Peter Storms as a “scoundrel” . I wish I could use a “time tunnel” & meet this intriguing family. HE most definitely was an adventurer! My grandmother told me (40+ years ago for a family history project) that he was captain, on the U.S.S. Peacock, that fought a major battle on Lake Maracaibo in 1823, backing Simon Bolivar. This has been confirmed as this schooner was part of the U.S. Navy.

    He had 7 children with Susan Collins, the baby “Simon P” was born in Maracaibo in 1830 (I’d like to think he was named in honor of Simon Bolivar). Ship records on Ancestry.com show that Capt Peter Storms arrived in New York, with his wife, Susan, daughter Mary Ann, son Simon 10 months in 1831. Prior to that, a few years earlier (@1826), he arrived in New York with his young son, Peter Jr. (this is who we think is our ancestor). What I “see” is a family going back & fro from U.S.A to Venezuela, making a living…fascinating!

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