N.H.) Manchester Historic Association (Manchester.

Manchester Historic Association collections (Volume 4) online

. (page 12 of 24)
Online LibraryN.H.) Manchester Historic Association (ManchesterManchester Historic Association collections (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of the late Deacon Samuel Simpson, of Deerfield, N. H.
He served in the War of 1812; and his widow, who is now
eighty-one years of age, draws a pension from the gov-

Mrs. Adams' paternal grandfather, Major John Simp-
son, participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and, it is
said upon good authority, fired the first shot of that famous
engagement, on the American side.

It occurred in this wise: The men in his line were
instructed by their commander, Colonel Stark, not to fire


a gun until the British had arrived at a certain point', forty
paces distant from the American works. When the red-
coated invaders had advanced to within that distance, the
major (who was then a private), an excellent marksman,
being unable to withstand so good an opportunity, fired
before the order was given, and dropped his man. The
fire was then opened along the whole line. On being
reproved for disobeying orders, Mr. Simpson replied, "I
never could help firing, when game which I was after came
within gun-shot." He died October 28,1825.

From this happy union of Mr- Adams with Miss
Simpson, two children have sprung: Elizabeth, born June
15, 1842, and Phinehas Adams, Jr., born December 26,
1844, — both being born in the same house in the city of

The former is the wife of Daniel C. Gould, Esq., pay-
master of the Stark Mills, and the popular tenor singer at
the Franklin-street church, to whom she was married the
loth of September, i868- Mr. Gould is a son of Deacon
Daniel Gould, who was the first railroad station agent in
Manchester, a position he held until succeeded by the late
Henry Hurlburt.

Mr. Phinehas Adams, Jr., married Miss Anna P. Mor-
rison of Belfast, Me., and they reside with the subject of
this sketch. He (the son) is engaged in the cotton busi-
ness in Boston.

About a year after being married, the father of the
latter joined the First Congregational church in Lowell,
Rev. Amos Blanchard, pastor. Mrs. Adams was also a
member of this church. On removing to Manchester, both
had their relation transferred to the Franklin-street Con-
gregational church, the Rev. William V. VV. Davis being
the able and esteemed pastor thereof.

At a recent business meeting of the Stark Corporation
directors, on the suggestion of Edmund Dwight, Esq., it
was voted to present Colonel Adams with a suitable token,
bearing testimony of the high respect in which he is held
by them.


Therefore, on the 17th of November, 1879, that being
the date completing his thirty-two years of service as agent
of that corporation, they presented him with one of the
most valuable gold hunting-case, stem-winding watches
ever made by the Waltham Company, together with a
massive gold chain and an elegant seal. Inside the watch-
case is engraved the following: "The Stark Mills to Phin-
ehas Adams, November 17, 1 847-1 879, William Amory,
Edmund Dwight, treasurer."

Accompanying these superb gifts was the following
letter, expressive of sentiments that any honorable man
would be justly proud to merit:

Boston, November 15, 1879,

My Dear Sir, — T send you a watch and chain by request of the
directors of the Stark Mills. It will reach you on the anniversary of the
day on which you entered their service, thirty-two years ago.

Will you receive it as an expression of their great respect for your
character, and their high appreciation of the service you have rendered
the corporation during the third part of a century?

It is their sincere hope that the connection which has lasted so long
may long continue.

With great regard, yours sincerely,


Phinehas Adams, esq.

This testimonial was eminently deserved, as no one is
held in greater or more universal respect than is the
upright, courteous and genial recipient.

The life of Mr. Adams proves that tireless persistence
and devotion to duty accomplish much. The influence
exerted by his life is far greater than is commonly sup-
posed or realized. It can hardly fail to stimulate young
men to honorable exertions, and to teach them that exten-
sive notoriety is not necessarily indicative of true great-
ness, and also that too eager grasping after mere political
distinction or eager grasping after mere political distinction
or after temporal riches is far less desirable than linking
their lives to immortal principles.

Ctje ^iUs of |19anct)£gter

By A Staff Contributor

y^lY^HAT country alone is great whose manufacturing
f ^\ advantages are allied with the cunning of the brain
^** and the skill of the human hand. It is true that
agriculture is the oldest employment of man and its accom-
plishment the foundation of his upbuilding, but it never
lifts a timber above the sills of his superstruction. "Home-
ward the plowman plods his weary way" empty-handed.
The barbarian may be, and often is, an agriculturist, but
his feet are earth-bound. The shepherd, tending his flocks
on the sunny slopes of some Iverness, may fill an idyllic
life, but he is only a dreamer. The range of the Arab is
as far-reaching as the ring of his fleet-footed steed; the
roof of his tent is as wide as the blue-arched dome of the
Persian sky, and his freedom undoubted; but his legacy to
posterity is as barren as the sands of Sahara. It is not
until man begms to exercise his fertile mind in the inven-
tion and making of those things which shall enable him to
broaden the scope of his labors that he starts on his
upward course.

Even in this stage of progress, his capacity to do and
attempt is helpless until he calls to his assistance the
latent powers of nature. Then the river becomes his most
potent ally. As an agricultural territory New Hampshire
could never have become to any extent a noticeable factor
in the march of progress or power. But with her excellent


water privileges, in proportion to her area, she is in the
ranks of the progressive states. And the Merrimack,
"the busiest river in the world," is the source of her great-
ness. Not only does this "river of broken waters'' afford
the power for the majority — the most — of her manufactur-
ing industries, but it has given the impetus to the progress
and growth of four prominent cities of the Bay State,
Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill and Amesbury. Passing by
this quartet of industrial centers, we will sketch the de
velopment of those gigantic manufacturing interests made
possible by the falls of Amoskeag.

This rugged waterfall has a descent of forty-five feet,
carrying over its dam, when the water has a depth of one
foot above its rim, 3,700 to 3,800 cubic feet every second
during the working hours of the machinery that it turns.
The current of the river is so slight that a flowage is
accomplished which reaches back to the tails of Annabesit,*
or Hooksett, a distance of eight miles. The area covered
is 443 acres, and the average rise obtained upon October
1, 1908, was 3.325 inches. The river above Pawtucket
Falls at Lowell has a flowage of eighteen miles. These,
with other water privileges of note, help to make the
Merrimack the river remarkable for its power.

It was as noted to the aboriginal inhabitants in its
pristine glory for its fisheries as it is to-day for its manu-
facturing industries. Amoskeag Falls was especially we
known among the early pioneers, who little realized
the possibilities lurking under the lash of its foaming
current, as a "horrible cataract." Hither came the good
Parson McGregor, as early as the summer of 1719, one of
the very first of the white settlers in this vicinity, to gaze
with awe and pious veneration upon the falls. The first
recorded evidence that we have of the place was given by

*Thi.<! is an Indian term signifying "little place for fish," in compari-
son to Namaske, or Amoskeag, "great place for fish." — Author.


Capt. William Tyng in December, 1703, when that doughty
pioneer led his band of snow-shoe men upon their memor-
able wintry march into the "North Country" in search of
Indian prey.

The first man to express his belief in the possibilities
of this water power was Judge Samuel Blodget. But his
mind and means were engrossed in the subtile undertak-
ing of setting at defiance the waterfalls by building his
canals. He came upon the scene of action too early to
lead the way in this enterprise, as he certainly would have
done had he been born a few years later. Thus it was left to
a worthy pioneer in New England manufactories, Mr. Benja-
min Prichard, to harness the legions of an idle river to the
looms of industry. He had served his apprenticeship at
Ipswich, where the first cotton mill had been erected in
New Hampshire in 1803. And here in 1804 this ambitious
young man, in conjunction with three others, named
Ephraim, David and Robert Stevens, came to Amoskeag,
then a part of the town of Goffstown, and built the
first cotton mill on the Merrimack above Pawtucket Falls.

The business grew so rapidly that it was soon thought
necessary to form a stock company, which was christened
"The Amoskeag Cotton and Wool Factory." This name
was changed m June, 1810, to "The Amoskeag Cotton
and Woolen Manufacturing Company." The first board of
directors consisted of James Parker, Samuel P. Kidder,
John Stark, Jr., David McQuestion and Benjamin Prichard.
The first-named was chosen president and Jotham Gillis
was made clerk and selling agent. He was succeeded in
order by Philemon Walcott, John G. Moor and Frederick
Stark. Compared with the mills of to-day, this was a
primitive affair, having neither picker nor loom, and it
made but slow, though deserving, progress along its un-
trodden way. No small meed of praise belongs to those
sanguine leaders in the industrial world.

The factory was about forty feet square and two
stories high, situated midway between the head and foot of


the falls, directly below the west end of Amoskeag bridge.
The cotton used was parcelled out to the families living in
the neighborhood, to be ginned at four cents a pound.
The yarn was woven by hand by women who had looms in
their homes. The Rev. Cyrus W. Wallace said in one of
his discourses:

I have examined the accounts kept in the beautiful round hand of
Judge Stark for the month of October, 1813, and for fifteen days in succes-
sion. During the month there were manufactured, at Amoskeag, three
hundred and fifty-eight skeins per day of cotton yarn. This was about
the average amount: three hundred and fifty-eight skeins at factory
price were worth twenty-nine dollars and twenty-two cents.

After some changes in its management and increased
knowledge and capital, in 1826, the old original mill was
enlarged and a new one was built upon the river bank,
with another upon an island,* which was burned May 14,
1840. The second structure raised on the bank was known
as "The Bell Mill," from the fact that a bell there called
the operatives to work. Shirtings, sheetings and tickings
were now manufactured, the latter commodity winning a
wide reputation as the "A C A" tickings. Both of the
mills upon the bank were consumed by fire March 28, 1848.

Until July 13, 1831, the manufacturing was carried on
as a private enterprise with varying success according to

*This island was reached by a bridge that spanned the rapids from the
west bank, near where the P. C. Cheney Paper Mills were afterwards built-
The fire which destroyed the island mill seems to have been the first fire
of special mention in Manchester. A local writer, Mr. E. F. Roper, in
the Observant Citizen's column in the Union, says that in 1846 there were
several buildings on the island, namely : a machine shop, foundry, dry
house and a large house occupied by three families. Cyrus Baldwin, who
afterwards invented the seamless bag loom, was boss of the shops.
Among the hands were two who deserve especial notice: S. H. Roper, the
builder of the first successful steam carriage, and G. H. Rollins, who later
built steam engines at Nashua. The other cotton mills were nearer the
village, which it was then believed was to become the heart of the coming
city. This was in the days when Farmer owned the old hotel or tavern, a
noted resort, and John Allison kept the village grocery. — Author.


the capital and experience given it. Upon July 1 of this
year, the state legislature authorized the formation of the
Araoskeag Manufacturing Company with a capital limited
to a million dollars, a great sum for that day. The incorpo-
rators were Oliver Dean, Ira Gay, Willard Sayles, Larned
Pitcher, Lyman Tiffany and Samuel Slater. At the first
meeting Mr. Tiffany was chosen president; Mr. Gay was
made clerk, and Oliver Dean agent and treasurer.

This was the most important meeting ever held in the
interest of the company, inasmuch as its counsels and acts
laid the foundation of the future of the manufacturing
interests of the Merrimack at this place. It was unani-
mously agreed that the property of the old firm should be
taken for stock in the new company, and it was decided
that the new organization should acquire possession by
purchase the title to the land on both sides of the river^
though it was settled that henceforth the main mills should
be located upon the east bank, where the engineers
declared it was more feasible to build canals and to utilize
the water power. The company, in 1835, acquired the
property of the Isle of Hooksett Canal Company, the Bow
Canal Company and the Union Locks and Company,
located at different points along the river. The following
year the Hooksett Manufacturing Company, which had a
capital of two hundred thousand dollars, was merged with
the Amoskeag. About this time the first brick mill upon the
Merrimack was built in Hooksett from brick made near at
hand. The falls here have a perpendicular descent of six-
teen feet and are capable of carrying one hundred thousand
spindles. The Amoskeag Company operated this privilege
until 1865, when it sold the franchise to a new corporation
with a capital stock of one million dollars, authorized by
the legislature. In 1837 the Concord Manufacturing Com-
pany became a part of the Amoskeag.

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company not only
obtained a control of the water power of the Merrimack
from Concord to Manchester, but purchased large tracts


of land, fifteen hundred acres on the east side, joining
upon the river and reaching back into what was then wild
country. In 1837 the company made a plan of the future
city of Manchester, and laid out the site of a town, with
the main street running parallel with the river, and in 1838
it sold land divided into lots for building and business
privileges. This movement not only brought into the
the market much land to become valuable in the following
years, increasing as time passed by, but it opened the way
to the coming city. This wise foresight is seen to-day in
the well-arranged streets and commons that are such a
blessing to our city, making it one of the best-regulated in
New England.

In the meantime the company had been active in its
own direct business. The wooden dam across the river
built a few years before, was repaired in 1836, and the fol-
lowing year the construction of a wing dam of stone, with
guard locks, was begun on the east side. This was com-
pleted in 1840. In 1838 the rights, site and water privi-
leges, for a new company, incorporated as the Stark Mills,
were sold which corporation exists to-day. The first
building erected on the east side was the Stark Mills
counting room, a part of which was used for a time by the
land and water power department of the Amoskeag Manu-
facturing Company. The first mills built on the east side
were Nos. 1 and 2 of the Stark Corporation, and were
erected in 1838 and 1839, respectively.

After the burning of the Island Mill in 1840, the
Amoskeag Company built two new ones just below the
Stark Mills, and added to these as their demands increased.
A machine shop was built in 1840 and in 1842 a foundry to
meet the requirements of the increasing business. In
1845 they sold land for a new corporation, known as the
Manchester Print Works, and erected mills for the new
company. This corporation, after over fifty years of suc-
cessful operation, in 1905 was absorbed by the Amoskeag
Company and its mills are to-day a part of the property


and business of that company. In 1859 the manufacture
of the famous Amoskeag steam fire engines was begun.

During this period of constant growth of its industry
the original idea of the development of a city was ever
prominent in the purposes of the company. Tenements
and boarding-houses for their operatives and those working
for the other corporations were erected, and land sold for
business sites and dwelling houses. In the matter of
public buildings a generous and beneficial policy was car-
ried out, land being given for sites of churches and public

These founders of the Amoskeag Manufacturing
Company, and incidentally the founders of Manchester,
deserve a large meed of credit for their sagacity and enter-
prise. It must be remembered, when an account of their
work is taken into consideration, that their undertaking
was entirely along an unmarked path. The manufacture
of the goods they purposed to put on the market was in
the infancy of its growth even in England, then in the lead
of the manufactures of the world. There were no practical
mechanics in the country to accomplish any design they
might invent. It was only a short time before their organi-
zation that it had been found expedient to manufacture raw
cotton into finished cloth in the same mill, and thus two
distinct branches had been carried on to accomplish one
result. The power loom was the means to revolutionize the
outcome and it has been claimed, with what seems good
authority, that Phinehas Adams, Sr., was the first man in
America to successfully run the power loom. No prouder
monument to their success is needed than the great indus-
try and prosperous city which has sprung up on the
unsightly sandbanks overlooking the scenes of their labors.
This, in brief, is the story of the rise and progress of
the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, giving employ-
ment to over 15,000 persons and having an annual output
of about 200,000,000 yards of cotton cloth and 20,000,000
yards of worsted cloth. The mills have a floor space of


110 acres and have 600,000 spindles with 19,000 looms
The weekly pay-roll is ;^1 12,000 and the amount of capital
invested is ;^5,760,000. What is termed as the quick capi-
tal is at '^10,412,521.19, which represents the assets. The
land and water power is valued at $400,000; the mill and
machinery, ;^2,550,000; reserve, ^10,000; bag mill, ^40,000;
plant, $3,000,000. The report of the treasurer at a recent
meeting of the stockholders showed that during the past
year the company has spent $500,000 in the purchase of
machinery, and that the profit and loss is placed at
$1,924,993.44. The cotton goods on hand June 80, 1907,
were valued at $512,911.41; cost of manufacture, $14,969, -
932.94; interest, $13,265.04; guarantee, $52,648.46; profit
for twelve months, $1,250;655.49; total, $16,799,413.34;
goods sold, $16,109,124.75; goods on hand June 30, 1908,
$690,288.59; total, $16,799,413.34. In the worsted goods
department there were on hand a year ago, dyed and fin-
ished, 980,253 yards, while there has been finished during
the year, 12,301,687^ yards; total, 13,281,940 yards.

This company at least has avoided the common
mistake made by Americans in many lines of industries,
where a person is allowed to come to the front poorly
equipped for the responsibility that he has to fill. The
Amoskeag Company believes that no man, however keen
in his perception, can master a trade in a short time, and
this is at least one place where skill is fostered and experi-
ence counts above a passing claim to utility. The result is
evident to the most casual beholder. Employing a high
grade of labor and having a management conducted upon
principles of integrity and fair dealing, the Amoskeag
Manufacturing Company has moved steadily and smoothly
on in the industrial sphere whether the tide of business
ebbed or flowed.

Herman F. Straw is the present clerk of the corpora-
tion, and the board of directors elected are T. Jefferson
Coolidge, George A. Gardner, George Dexter, Charles
W. Amory, George Von Meyer, T. Jefferson Coolidge, Jr.,


George Wigglesworth, F. C. Dumaine, and Frank P. Car-
penter. F. C. Dumaine, Boston, is treasurer of the com-
pany; C. L. Bausher &. Co., New York, are the selling
agents; Herman F. Straw, agent; Charles H. Manning,
superintendent; Perry H. Dow, engineer.

Not all of the power is now furnished by the river, as
other means have been found necessary to keep the mighty
round of machinery revolving at all times they are needed.
The following statistics, taken from the company's own
table, show the situation in this respect:


Number of steam turbiuss i

Number of horse power furnished by turbine 2,000

Nnmber of turbine water wheels 34

Amount of horse power furnished by wheels 16,488

Number of steam engines 14

Amount of horse power furnished by engines 20,900

Number of generators 5

Amount of horse power furnished by generators 6,700

Number of electric motors 96

Amount of horse power furnished by motors 7,000

Number of boilers 146

Nominal horse power furnished by boilers 22,000

Number of tons of coal consumed per annum 100,000

Number gallons of oil consumed per annum 60,006

i|oto ilouBESi ^r^ Ji^umbereb


LTHOUGH Manchester streets had been numbered
after a fashion previous to that time, no system
really worthy the name was introduced until about
1871, when the late ex-Gov. James A. Weston was mayor.
At that time a Boston directory firm, acting under Gover-
nor Weston's direction, thoroughly renumbered the city,
according to a definite system, and the new numbers.


despite vigorous opposition by a great many property
owners, were put on and nailed up by the city, which has
ever since then continued to furnish the numbers.

The plan then adopted remains in use to-day, practi-
cally unchanged. If at that time the buildings along Han-
over street had simply been numbered in rotation, begin-
ning with Elm, odd numbers on one side of the street and
even numbers on the other, it would have been necessary
since then to have changed the numbers dozens of times,
or else have resorted to the use of fractions when new
buildings were put up.

But instead of numbering buildings consecutively,
without regard to future changes or to vacant lots, an
entirely different plan was adopted. On Elm street, and
the more crowded side streets, one number was allowed to
every twenty-five-foot front, and when a new house or a
new door went in there it received the number allotted to
it according to the plan. On some of the side streets one
number was allowed for every fifty feet, and further back
one for every one hundred feet.

The first complete plans in the city engineer's office
were prepared by George H. Allen, who was one of the
first city engineers, that office, however, not being estab-
lished until several years after the numbering was done.
These plans were put into book form and new plans have
been made several times since then. The plans at pres-
ent used are bound in a book and can be easily referred
to. These plans do not show the numbers that are actually
on doors of buildings, but instead show the numbers which
belong to that lot. If there is only one door on that lot
only one number is used, although the lot may be long
enough to have half a dozen numbers assigned to it.
Records of numbers actually placed upon a house are
kept in another book. It is the practice now to allow one
number to every twelve and one-half feet of street front.

Hmos^feeag in ojarlp Pioneer l^aps

By Rev. C. W. Wallace, D. D.

The following interesting historical sketch of Amoskeag and its early
settlers was written by the late Rev. Cyrus W. Wallace, D. D., and was
found recently among a lot of old sermons which had been left among his
effects. The date is not given but it is believed to have been written
about a third of a century ago for delivery at an anniversary celebration

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Online LibraryN.H.) Manchester Historic Association (ManchesterManchester Historic Association collections (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 24)