Joseph Peabody (December 9, 1757 – January 5, 1844) was a merchant and shipowner who dominated trade between Massachusetts and the Far East for a number of years.
He was born in Middleton and during the Revolutionary War he enlisted on a privateer, and made his first cruise in Derby's "Bunker Hill".
He was promoted to a command for Messrs. Gardner of Salem and soon earned enough to buy his own vessel, "Three Friends". He retired from the sea in 1791 and engaged actively in commerce.
In his early years, it was said he owned 83 vessels. His vessels made 38 voyages to Calcutta, 17 to Canton, 32 to Sumatra, 47 to St. Petersburg and 30 to other ports of Europe.
Captain Joseph Peabody, East India Merchant of Salem (1757-1844) : a record of his ships and of his family / compiled by William Crowninshield Endicott (1860-1936) ; edited and completed with a sketch of Joseph Peabody's life by Walter Muir Whitehill. Endicott, 1962