pp. 224 - 232.
On the east side of the river, a little below the thread-works of Messrs. Greene & Daniels, is located the extensive dyeing establishment of Mr. Richard Harrison. In 1862, the firm of Haley & Harrison commenced the business of dyeing woollen yarns and braids, occupying the basement of Payne & Taylor's building. They began upon a small scale and employed but two men; soon, however, the demand for embroidery-work began to increase, and their business grew with the demand. In 1867, Mr. Haley withdrew, and in consequence, a new firm was formed, under the style of H. Harrison & Co. Previous to this, however, their business had continued to increase, until they were compelled to enlarge their facilities by the erection of suitable buildings and the employment of some thirty-five operatives.
In 1867, the building was enlarged, and the company began to print cotton and woollen yarns, turning out about six hundred pounds per day. In the fall of 1869, they added the manufacture of woollen yarns, and subsequently reached a production of fifteen hundred pounds per day. In 1871, the firm met with a loss by fire, amounting to some $5,000, occasioned by the carelessness of one of the operatives. Mr. Harrison is at present conducting the business alone, and has facilities for dyeing five thousand pounds of braid and yarns daily; printing one thousand pounds and manufacturing one thousand pounds of woollen and merino yarns per day.
Hough Brothers, located at the rear of Collins & Son's machine-shop, on Front Street, established in 1877. They do all kinds of dyeing and bleaching, and have facilities for turning out about 3,000 pounds per day.
R. D. Mason & Co. This establishment is located on East Avenue, and is the most extensive bleaching and dying establishment in Pawtucket. The first business of this kind was carried on by Barney Merry, as early as 1805. In 1847, Mr. Merry died, and he was succeeded in business by his sons, under the firm-name of Samuel Merry & Co. In 1866, Mr. Robert D. Mason was admitted to the firm, and at the death of Samuel Merry became head of the concern, and it assumed the present title. The firm have a capacity of handling from four and a half to five tons of goods per day. The have thirty-six vats used in dyeing, and employ about sixty hands.
J. H. Cumming commenced the dyeing and scouring business on Pleasant Street, in 1872. In 1875, he removed to Leather Avenue, his present location, and is engaged in a general jobbing business in his line. He has a capacity for the employment of five hands, and his office is at 210 Main Street.
Mr. George H. Blanchard is located at 90 High Street, engaged in the hat and bonnet bleaching. Mr. Charles H. Harrington commenced the business, in 1873, but was subsequently succeeded by G. S. Merry. Mr. Blanchard purchased of Mr. Merry, and continues the business at present. He has enlarged his facilities by adding several kinds of machinery, and it is the oldest establishment of the kind in Pawtucket.
Brushes, Cardboard, Paper Bags and Boxes.
Thayer Brothers are located on East Avenue, and manufacture various kinds and styles of brushes. This firm started business in 1870, and since that time it has been steadily on the increase. They employ from fifteen to twenty operatives, and have won an excellent reputation for the superiority of their goods.
Linton Brothers & Co. This establishment is located on Bailey Street, and commenced business in 1871. In 1875, they built their present commodious building and added improved machinery. They manufacture all kinds of cardboard, and employ from twenty to thirty hands. The first cardboard manufactured in Pawtucket was by Mr. Ray Potter, in 1844. Mr. Jollie, one of this firm, was associated with Mr. Potter, and is the oldest cardboard manufacturer living in Pawtucket.
Rhode Island Cardboard Company, located in the rear of the present post-office, upon the site of what was known as the old red distillery. This firm consists of Henry B. Dexter and George H. Clark. This was the site of Mr. Potter's experiments, and is undoubtedly the first establishment in the country that made cardboard by machinery.
Joseph L. Abbott is located on River Street, engaged in the manufacture of paper bags. Great quantities of these useful article are manufactured and to supply the constantly increasing demand various ingenious machines have been invented by Mr. Abbott, to facilitate their production. Some years ago Mr. Abbott had the misfortune to become totally blind. It is surprising, however, to note his exactness in the transaction of business, and since this calamity befell him he has succeeded in inventing numerous useful articles.
G. D. Williams. This establishment is located on Hamilton Street. The business was commenced on Mill Street, in 1865, removing to the present location in 1873. Mr. Williams is engaged in the manufacture of paper boxes, of all styles, and has a capacity for the employment of twenty operatives, and does a business of $30,000 per annum. Mr. Williams is a direct descendent from the illustrious founder of the State.
Bliss manufacturing Company. Mr. Bliss, the founder of this establishment, commenced work in Pawtucket in 1823, following the trade of a carpenter. In 1832, his attention was drawn to the manufacture of wooden screws, which he turned out with the use of a lathe, and having manufactured a small quantity, was accustomed to peddle them from place to place. He soon acquired an extensive reputation for the excellence of his wares, and business rapidly increasing, he at once enlarged his facilities and began the manufacture of various articles used by cabinet and pianoforte makers. In 1845, A. N. Bullock became associated with him, and the firm took the title of R. Bliss & Co.
Several changes took place in the firm during the next four years, and in 1867, Mr. Bliss withdrew from the business. In 1866, their present building was erected, and retaining their past reputation, their business has continually increased. In 1873, Mr. A. C. Bullock died, and his interest was retained by Mrs. Bullock. In 1874, a stock company was formed, consisting of A. N. Bullock, E. R. Clark, and Mrs. A. C. Bullock, retaining the firm-title of the R. Bliss Manufacturing Co. President, E. R. Clark; Treasurer, A. N. Bullock; Directors, Mrs. A. C. Bullock, C. E. Davis, and R. B. Bullock. They manufacture wooden screws, clamps, tool-handles, tool-chests, toys, croquet sets, tenpins, and numerous other articles.
D. D. Sweet & Co. The present firm is composed of E. W. French, Harrison Howard, Daniel H. Arnold, and Fred. Sherman, retaining the above title of D. D. Sweet & Co. They employ some fifteen workmen, and are engaged in the manufacture of sash, blinds, and builders' materials. They also have an establishment in Providence, and much of their work is done in various places in the country.
Kenyon & Whitaker. This firm is located on Broad Street, being the successors of Kenyon, Drown & Company. The establishment was founded by Nathaniel Lewin, about forty-five years ago. Subsequently, Messrs. Fisk and Kenyon became associated with him in the business, under the firm-name of Lewin, Fisk & Kenyon. They were succeeded by Lewin, Kenyon & Co., and remained until 1870, when Mr. Lewin died, and the style of the firm was changed to Kenyon, Drown & Co. Later the present firm succeeded, and are now engaged in the building of mills, flumes, dams, water-wheels, general housework, and make a specialty of brackets, mouldings, and like articles.
Pawtucket Lumber and Builders' Supply Company. This establishment is located on Broad Street, and a little to the north of the above-mentioned firm. Messrs. S. S. & J. Humes started the business in 1850. The present company was incorporated in 1876, with a capital of $100,000. They manufacture all kinds of wood-work, such as boxes, tanks, keirs, scroll-work, sash, blinds, and doors, together with various styles of mouldings, &c.
Carpenter & Wilmarth. This firm is located in the White building, on Dexter Street, and have a power-shop. They are contractors and builders, and their shop contains all the facilities for the manufacture of gothic, circular, and plain window and door frames; also brackets, scroll and fancy work, together with mouldings of every size and description. They also have a patent for a solid wood conductor, which they manufacture. It is bored from the solid wood, instead of being nailed in halves.
J. N. Polsey & Co. This establishment is located near the railroad, at the head of Bailey Street. The senior member of this firm commenced the manufacture of boxes in 1857, having succeeded Messrs. Luther & Ashton, who were located on what is known as Shad Rock. In 1869, Mr. J. P. Haskins and son were admitted to the concern, under the firm-name of J. N. Polsey & Co. In 1872, they removed to their present building, and employ some thirty operatives. This is the oldest established box-factory in Pawtucket. Some definite idea may be obtained of the extent of their business, when we say that they cut one and a half million feet of lumber, and sell about two and a half million feet. Their shipments are made to nearly all eastern markets, and the excellence of their goods has acquired a wide-spread reputation.
L. Upham & Co. This firm is located in the above building, and are engaged in the manufacture of patterns, and various kinds of fancy and ornamental wood-work. In 1857, Messrs. Capron & Upham began the business of pattern-making, thread-dressers, &c., and continued until 1868, when Mr. Upham purchased the stock and business. A son was subsequently admitted to the business, and the present firm of L. Upham & Co. was formed. They are also manufacturers of derricks, the only establishment of this kind in New England States. They employ from twelve to fifteen hands, and have added a department for making mouldings, brackets, and many other similar articles.
D. A. Arnold & Son. In the same building is also located the establishment of the above firm. Messrs. Arnold & Son commenced the business of pattern-making in 1873. They manufacture also various kinds of wood-work for cotton machinery, viz., twisters, spinning-frames, &c.; also brackets, and other fancy work for carpenters and builders, and fit up stores, offices, &c. They employ twelve operatives, and are doing a large and profitable business.
Atwood, Crawford & Co. This establishment is located south of Greene & Daniels's mill, and their special manufacture is that of spools. The consume nearly a million feet of timber per year, and turn out some twenty-two hundred gross per month. To accomplish this, they employ forty to fifty operatives, and twelve sets of machines. They also manufacture handles, toys, and numerous other useful articles.
Benjamin Dexter, located at 91 Mill Street. This establishment was founded in 1870, by Mr. Dexter, it being the first business of this character introduced into Pawtucket. Formerly, the manufacture of picture-frames was confined to large cities, and they were kept in stock by dealers in stationery and fancy articles. In connection with this manufactory, is a stationery and fancy-goods store.
Clark Sayles is among the oldest carpenters in the town of Pawtucket. He built one of the first churches erected in the town, and many other buildings bear the marks of his workmanship. He has long since retired from business, and is to-day enjoying the fruits of well-directed efforts. Simeon Daggett was also among the early carpenters, and resided for a long time on what was known as the Boston Pike, but now bears the name of Broadway. J. Jennings was also an early carpenter, and Elijah Ingraham was engaged in the business. He afterwards became a cotton manufacturer, and was prominent in the building up of Ingrahamville. Joshua Ingraham is also a retired carpenter. Wilmot D. Luce was among the early carpenters and builders, and is said to have been a very eccentric man, as is evidenced by the singular epitaph found upon his tombstone in Mineral Spring Cemetery.
These are a few of the early carpenters and builders of Pawtucket, and many buildings remain, that attest their skill and good workmanship. The later development of the town, have increased the demand for this branch of business, and thirty or more, at present, represent this branch of mechanical trade, some of which will be found under the Patrons' Historical Record of this book.
Other Business Interests.
A. M. Read is located at No. 86 Main Street, and was among the first to engage in the hardware trade, having commenced as early as 1819. Mr. Read was, at that time, the only man engaged in this business, on that street. In 1849-50, he erected the building occupied at present, and is still engaged in a general hardware trade, agricultural implements, &c. The business was established by David Wilkinson & Co., who were succeeded in 1830 by Mr. George Mumford. E. S. Wilkinson soon after became a partner, and in 1851 G. A. Mumford took an interest in the business, and the firm-title became George Mumford & Co. In 1855, Mr. George Mumford died, and in 1873 Mr. Wilkinson died. The business was then left in the hands of Mr. G. A. Mumford, who still continues it, having made two changes in the business location. For several years the business has been steadily increasing, and to-day it receives its share of patronage, and is justly deemed prominent among the business institutions of Pawtucket. Messrs. C. L. Rogers & Co. are also engaged in a general hardware business, at No. 11 Mill Street.
John B. Read was the first tin and sheet-iron worker in Pawtucket. He was in business as early as 1823, and continued until his death, which occurred in 1863. L. T. Haskell, at No. 102 Main Street, began the business in 1867, with S. Fifield as partner. In 1870, Mr. Haskell commenced business alone, upon the site of his present store, having withdrawn from the firm of Fifield & Haskell, the previous year. George H. Barnes's office and store-house were located at No. 96 Broadway. Mr. Barnes is a general dealer in paper and furnishing goods; supplies some ten or twelve carts, which are run through the country peddling various wares. He also manufactures tin, sheet-iron, and copper ware. Amount of business done per annum, is from $50,000 to $75,000.
Another branch of business is that of steam, gas, and water-pipe fitting. Mr. R. Alexander was the first man engaged in this business in Pawtucket. In 1872, Messrs. Irwin & Jackson commenced the business on Mill Street. In 1875, Mr. Jackson purchased the entire business, embracing everything usually found in an establishment of this character. The Pawtucket Steam and Gas-pipe Company are located at 26 and 28 East Avenue. In 1859, the Rhode Island Steam-heating Company commenced business on Mill Street, removed to East Avenue a few years thereafter. In 1871, Messrs. Fales & Andrews, doing business under the firm-title of the Pawtucket Steam and Gas-pipe Company, purchased the business of the Steam-heating Company, and merged the old business with the new, locating at East Avenue, manufacturing their own brass work. They are also extensively engaged in wrought-iron fencing, and have facilities for the employment of twenty operatives. Another old establishment of this character, is that of E. Read & Son, located at 17 East Avenue. E. P. Carpenter & Co. have an establishment located at 26, 28 and 30 Mill Street. The firm began business in 1858, on the east side of the river, removing to their present quarters in 1861. Their business is done upon the instalment plan, and they were the first to adopt this plan of business in Pawtucket. The business is divided into three departments; viz., furniture, bedding, and carpets. They also manufacture all kinds of sheet-iron, tin, and copper ware, and do a business of $100,000 per annum. W. B. Read is located at 58 Main Street. Mr. Read commenced business in 1853, in a building upon the same site as that now occupied, and continued until 1872, when the old building gave place to the present fine and commodious block. Mr. Read occupied the whole building, one story being used for upholstering, and the others for the sale of furniture, &c. Mr. Amos Read, the father of W. B. Read, was among the early furniture dealers of Pawtucket. His store and shop, were located on the west side of the river, above the bridge, and were washed away during the great freshet. Hornby Brothers & McCready, are also prominently engaged in the furniture business. Charles Rittmann located at No. 21 Broad Street, and commenced the upholstering business, in 1874, in the Odd Fellows' Building, removing to his present location in 1876. This is the only establishment in the town that makes a specialty of this branch of business.
Opposite St. Mary's Church, on Grace Street, are the coffin warerooms of Mr. Daniel O'Neill. He located here in 1867, having succeeded Mr. R. McCoart. Mr. O'Neill keeps two hearses, and is prepared to furnish all styles of burial-cases, and to attend at funerals. P. J. Manning, at No. 40 Vernon Street, established the undertaking business in 1873. Daniel A. Clark, located at No. 5 Park Place. This business was established in 1820, by Daniel R. Clark, who continued it until his death, which occurred in 1860. His son, Daniel A. Clark, succeeded to the business, and makes a specialty of undertakers' furnishings.
Mr. Nathaniel Croade was among the early dry-goods dealers of Pawtucket; also Parmeter & Miller, the Bateses, and numerous others. Martin Ballou, at No. 6 Broadway, is engaged in the dry and fancy goods business. Mr. Ballou, in 1861, commenced as clerk for Mr. George Allen, in the building now occupied by Mr. Dispeau as a restaurant. About 1870, he took an interest in the business, and continued until 1875, when he purchased the interest of Mr. Allen. Since that time, he has conducted the business alone, at the old stand in Bates Block. Messrs. Small & Harley, located at No. 7 Mill Street. In 1875, they commenced business on Mill Street, removing to their present double store in the Spencer Block in 1877. These gentlemen were formerly in Providence, removing to Pawtucket in 1875. They keep a full line of dry and fancy goods, and do a business of about $100,000 per annum. There are several other parties engaged in the dry-goods trade, who receive their proportionate share of local patronage; among whom are Messrs. Jencks & Allen, Salisbury, Arnold, and Weeden.
In 1811, one Mr. Dailey located in Pawtucket as a hatter, occupying the site of the present Read Block. In 1825, two men from Dedham, Mass., began the business on the site of the Dexter Building, Main Street. James L. Jones was also a practical hatter. D. & T. Carpenter carried on the business, in 1835, in connection with the boot and shoe trade. Mr. A. Massey engaged in the business in 1845. Since that time, several parties have carried on the hat and cap trade, usually in connection with that of boots and shoes. N. Bates & Son are located at No. 2 Broadway, in the Bates Block, engaged in the sale of hats, caps, boots, shoes, and general furnishings goods. They are an old established firm, the senior partner having formerly been engaged in the dry and fancy goods trade. The site upon which stands their present block, erected in 1858, has been used by the family since 1836. J. H. Spitz, located in Lee's Block, is also a dealer in hats, caps, and gents' furnishing-goods, established in 1872. Mr. Spitz is the son of Peter Spitz, the famous hatter of Boston, who was a practical hatter forty years ago.
Ira D. Ellis is located at No. 1, Broadway, dealer in boots and shoes; commenced business in 1832, on the opposite side of the street, with Mr. William Sweet. In 1836, Mr. Ellis started business, alone, in the block where he is at present located. In 1859, William W. Read became associated with him in the business. This is the oldest established boot and shoe store in Pawtucket. W. C. Pettee, at No. 31 Mill Street, dealer in boots and shoes; established in 1877, and keeps a stock of fine made work.
Dr. C. E. Davis & Son are located at No. 130 Main Street, and deal in drugs and medicines. Dr. Davis commenced as a practical physician in 1836. Established a drug store in 1841, having purchased the building of one Mr. Tiffany, which was partially destroyed, in 1857, by an explosion in an adjoining building. C. E. Davis, Jr., was admitted to the firm in 1865, under the style of C. E. Davis & Son. Dr. Davis, Sr., died in 1872, when C. E. Davis, Jr., took the entire management of the business, retaining the former style. Dr. Davis was a lineal descendant of John Carver, first governor of Massachusetts, and one of the Pilgrims that came over in the 'Mayflower'. George T. Dana & Co., at No. 93 Main Street, registered pharmacists. The business was established here in 1858, by Messrs. Cushman & Newell. It passed through various hands, when, in 1870, the present firm purchased, and have since continued the business. The fire of 1871, in which they lost some $3,200, interrupted their business for a short time.
William H. Abbott is located at 43 and 45 East Avenue, and deals in drugs and medicines. Abbott & Greene established the business in 1869. Mr. Greene disposed of his interest in 1873 to Mr. W. K. Adams, who, in turn, sold to Mr. Abbott in 1874. Since this time, Mr. Abbott has conducted the business alone. Fisk & Co., located at 129 Main Street, are also dealers in drugs and medicines.
H. H. Sager, at No. 3 Mill Street, stationery and circulating library, established in 1861 by George Sager, who continued the business until 1871, when he died. Mr. H. H. Sager then took the management of the business, and keeps a full line of stationery goods, toys, and other fancy articles. E. H. Dix, located at 173 Main Street; stationery, circulating library, and general newsroom. Mr. Dix began the business in 1871. This library contains seven hundred volumes, and Mr. Dix employs several news-boys, selling on trains and elsewhere.
A. Strauss & Co., located at 199 Main Street, dealers in ready-made clothing and furnishing goods. This is the pioneer establishment of the kind in Pawtucket, and is the leading clothing-house in the town. The present firm-title was assumed in 1873. S. R. Pierce & Son, located at 90 Main Street, merchant-tailors, and do all kinds of custom-work. The senior partner has been engaged in the business since about 1846 or 1847, having been formerly associated with his brother, Nathaniel Pierce. In 1854, Mr. S. R. Pierce purchased the entire business, and continued it alone until 1875, when his son was admitted to the business, under the firm-title of S. R. Pierce & Son. They keep in stock all the finest grades of cassimeres, coatings, &c., and have facilities for making them into fashionable garments unsurpassed by any like institution in Pawtucket. J. H. Boyle, at No. 1 Almy's Block, located in Pawtucket in 1875, does all kinds of custom-tailoring. J. A. Williams is located on Mill Street, and is an old resident tailor. He keeps a good assortment of cloths, and makes them up into custom-work. H. Cheek is also a merchant-tailor, located in Carpenter's Block, East Avenue. He worked at his trade three years in Pawtucket, when he started business for himself.
Henry B. Carpenter, located at 27 Mill Street. This is among the first establishments in Pawtucket that made crockery a specialty. Mr. Carpenter began business in 1868, by purchasing a half-interest in the business with Mr. E. P. Carpenter, who started in 1857. In 1876, Mr. Carpenter added the manufacture of lamps. This is the only manufactory of this character in Pawtucket. L. W. Dillon, at 15 Central Avenue, is also quite extensively engaged in the crockery, glass, and chinaware trade. S. Almy, located on Main Street, near the bridge, is also engaged in the crockery, glass, and chinaware trade; established in 1848.
L. A. Rand, located at 140 Main Street, succeeding Mr. Orrin Perry in 1869; keeps a full line of millinery goods and ladies' furnishings. S. W. Fifield, located at 125 Main Street, dealer in millinery and fancy goods. He commenced business in 1859 on the corner of Meeting and Main streets.
George W. Kent, located in rear of 221 Main Street. He is a dealer in flour, feed, grain, &c.; established in 1865, and built his present building in 1875; has one run of stone, and receives the power from Z. P. & J. S. White's establishment. He has an elevator in connection, accessible to the railroad, affording accommodations to those parties less favored. D. M. Smith, located at No. 33 Broadway, produce and commission-merchant; established in Pawtucket in 1859. Mr. Smith is said to be the first wholesale produce-dealer in Pawtucket. D. W. Ashton, wholesale dealer in hay, straw, &c., purchasing in large quantities, and delivers to any part of the State.
Grocers and Markets.
The first store wholly devoted to this branch of business, in Pawtucket, was kept in a building owned by Daniel Carpenter, which stood on the site of Lee's Block, on Main Street. Mr. Carpenter had a shoe-shop adjoining. George Jencks had a grocery-store as early as 1795. Ebenezer Tiffany kept on the site of Amos M. Read's hardware store, on the corner of Jencks Avenue and Main Street. Ephraim Miller opened a store where the Almy Block now stands. John Louden was also engaged in the business, near the site of the J. P. Read Building. Mr. Newell was among the early grocery and marketmen, having located here about 1814. Caleb Cushing kept a store in the Tyler Building, near the corner of Main Street and East Avenue. Captain Ellis, and A. Peck, did business on Mill Street in 1828. William Haven, and W. D. S. Havens [sic], his son, located in 1845, and the latter still continues the business at 119 Main Street. J. H. Moore is located at 32 East Avenue, having succeeded B. P. White. Mr. Moore deals largely in hay, straw, feed, &c. Pearce & Larkin, and George Allen, occupy the old sites of Mill Street. H. O. Barney is located at the corner of Broad and Main streets, removing to his present quarters in 1877. Mr. C. E. Frost is located in the Odd-Fellows Building, and began the business in 1874. At 182 Pine Street, is located the establishment of the Wheeler Brothers, who commenced business in 1875.
Passing up this street to 227, we find the establishment of James Haberlin & Son, who began the business in Pawtucket in 1869. They are also agents for five popular lines of emigrant-steamers. W. T. Stuart opened a store in 1871, located at 28 Hilton Street, which was, a few years ago, but a rough, unsettled tract. E. C. Barney is located at 394 Main Street; began business at the corner of Main and Dexter streets about 1872, removing to the present location in 1875. F. Baxter located at the corner of Harrison Street and West Avenue, and is remembered by many old settlers as the inventor of 'Hair-Cloth Looms'. Lonsdale Avenue, or the old Smithfield road, not many years since was considered quite out of town, but the march of improvement has converted it into a business centre of no little importance. E. Fisk, at the corner of Weeden Street and Lonsdale Avenue, has a store which has been in successful operation since 1873.
A little north of this is the store of Francis Foss. At the junction of Pawtucket Avenue and Main Street is the neat, roomy store of T. E. Taylor, who located here in 1876. J. Gervais is located at 147 Harrison Street, corner of Bullock; commenced the grocery business in 1874; also keeps a general meat and vegetable market. On Mineral Spring Avenue, No. 78, is the store and market of William D. Bucklin. John Branigan located in Pawtucket 1866; erected the present store on Pawtucket Avenue, No. 36, in 1875. On Division Street, at Nos. 35 and 37, is the old grocery store of James Graham, who located in 1836. At his death, which occurred in 1864, his son, George, succeeded to the business. He keeps a market at the above place, and a store at No. 34 Water Street, which was opened in 1867. On the opposite side of the street is a similar establishment, kept by Mr. Owen Banigan. At the corner of School and Division streets Mr. C. McNulty keeps a general grocery, provision, and feed store, having located here in 1866. At 82 and 84 Division Street, is the grocery, meat, and vegetable market of Lewis & Chace, who settled in 1875. Angell & Anthony are located at the west end of the granite bridge, at 76 Main Street; successors to Case & Perrin. Crossing the bridge we find, near the corner of Broadway, the store of George Crawford. At No. 37 Main Street is the establishment of John Brierly, who began the business in 1858 with S. B. Lord, whose interest was purchased by Mr. Brierly in 1874. At Nos. 34 and 36 School Street, is located H. T. Chace & Son, in the store formerly occupied by Warren Wakefield. The present firm-title was adopted in 1873. In connection with their groceries, they also deal in coal and wood.
At the junction of Prospect and School streets, is the old establishment of Wakefield & Benchley, who were succeeded by Amasa W. Carrique, the present proprietor, in 1871. Pleasant View has several first-class grocery stores, prominent among which is that of L. W. Dillon & Goff. This establishment was founded by Mr. Dillon in 1861. At this time there were but seven or eight dwellings in this locality. Since then much interest has been manifested in the development of this section, and to-day we find many thriving establishments, which give a healthy competition to business.
Among the earliest retail venders of meat through Pawtucket, was Major Tyler. He was located in Attleborough, and brought his meat to Pawtucket on horseback. This was some time previous to 1800. He soon had a rival, and the strife was settled by a leg of mutton hung on a peg at the Dolly Sabine tavern, by the butcher who first arrived in town. This was used as a signal, and the party on the ground first had the field to himself for that day. Jesse Carpenter was also a marketman from Attleborough, and is said to have been the first to run a butcher-wagon into Pawtucket. He afterward opened a shop in a little, old red building occupying the site of the present Miller Block. R. S. Darling & Co., located at 142 Main Street. Mr. Darling began business, in 1854, on Mineral Spring Avenue, slaughtering and selling in the Pawtucket and Central Falls markets. In 1856, he opened the market at Nos. 6 and 8 Mill Street, removing from thence to his present commodious market in 1875. He does a wholesale and retail business, and has at present a son associated with him, under the firm-title of R. S. Darling & Son. Mr. E. Darling is located at No. 12 East Avenue, in what is known as the Eagle Market. Mr. Edwin Darling was associated, in 1857, with Mr. R. S. Darling in the Mill Street market. He subsequently sold his interest to R. S. Darling, and located in the present market in 1861. Formed a copartnership in 1868, under the style of E. Darling & Co., and thus continued until 1873, when Mr. Darling withdrew. In 1875, he repurchased the business, and has since conducted it alone. Mr. Darling is said to have slaughtered the largest pair of cattle ever brought to New England. They were known as the 'Slade cattle', and their actual weight was 5,780 pounds.
G. W. Gorton is located at the corner of High and Exchange streets. Commenced business in 1864, with Mr. Tillinghast as partner. In 1866, Mr. Gorton purchased the entire business, and has since continued it. His first market was located on the opposite side of the street from the present one. C. E. Richardson is located at Nos. 11 and 13 Broadway. He also has a market at 56 Main Street. He succeeded Messrs. C. T. & C. E. Richardson, who previously succeeded Mr. E. F. Richardson. The latter Richardson was the partner of J. K. Miller, and they were among the pioneer marketmen of Pawtucket. C. D. Richardson is located at 61 Main Street, in the old stand of William Higginson. He keeps a general meat and vegetable market. W. F. Meagher, located at 19 Pawtucket Avenue, commenced business in 1874. He keeps a general meat and vegetable market. B. C. & W. E. Payne are located at 78 Garden Street, corner of Brown. Commenced business in 1875, and keep constantly on hand choice meats and vegetables.
John H. Devlin, at 18 Pleasant Street, is also engaged in the general market business. This market was established by his father, in 1868, on the opposite side of the street, but was succeeded by his son, Mr. John H. Devlin, in 1873. Two years later he removed to his present location. Mr. J. Cullen is located at Nos. 31, 33, and 35 Water Street, and is engaged in the general market business. He began business on Elm, corner of Main Street, in 1865, with C. Donnelly. Mr. Donnelly retired in 1867, and Mr. Cullen succeeded to the business, removing to his present location in 1875. N. F. Whipple & Co. are located at 188 Main Street. Mr. Whipple began in the employ of E. F. Richardson, remaining four years, when he took an interest in the business, and continued about five years. He sold to Mr. Darling, and began operations alone in 1875. In 1876, he formed a copartnership with Mr. L. Whiting, under the firm-title of N. F. Whipple & Co.; they keep a general meat and vegetable market. S. C. Titus; located No. 7 Park Street, Pleasant View. Mr. Titus commenced business here in 1871. He runs a sale-wagon in connection with his market, and his is the first meat and vegetable market established at Pleasant View. William E. Stanley is located at 87 Mill Street, and does a general meat and vegetable business. F. Maynard, located at No. 224 East Avenue, was formerly associated in business with Joseph Gervais; began business by himself in 1877.
H. S. Johnson, at No. 104 Weeden, corner of Coleman Street, established, in 1873, a packing-house. He purchases dressed hogs; cuts and packs them, cures the hams and shoulders; manufactures sausages, &c. He has facilities for cutting and packing one hundred dressed hogs per week. The lard is put up in packages of eight to three hundred and fifty pounds.
Joseph Smith Company. This establishment is located on what is known as the Landing, and is extensively engaged in the buying and selling of coal. In 1830, Mr. Joseph Smith purchased the point known as the Old Ship-Yard, at the foot of Water Street. In the year following he commenced the coal business with a Mr. Ellis, and also the grain trade. This latter business, however, was subsequently abandoned, and Mr. Ellis retired from the firm. Mr. Smith continued the business until 1858, when a son and son-in-law were admitted, who took the management of the business, having purchased the interest of J. Smith's heirs in 1870. The firm then consisted of H. F. Smith and A. Bliss. Mr. Bliss sold his interest to Mr. John T. Cottrell, in 1873, and the firm took the title of the Joseph Smith Company. In connection with the coal trade, they manufacture, quite extensively, doors, blinds, mouldings, wood conductors, &c.
William T. Adams & Con. Office located at No. 115 Main Street. Mr. Adams commenced the business, in 1874, with his son, having previously been in the employ of J. S. Fountain & Co. They deal in all kinds of coal, wood, and masons' materials. S. Grant & Co., and Cushman, Wilcox & Co., are also largely engaged in the coal business, their yards being upon the opposite side of the river from the Joseph Smith Company's.
Artists and Mechanics.
The first photographic artist that settled in Pawtucket, was Lorenzo Wright, a native of Plymouth, Mass. He came to Pawtucket in 1846, and carried on the business a few years, when he removed to Providence. H. H. Richardson succeeded him, having been in his employ for some time previous. Of the present artists, Frank M. Hodge is located at 134 Main Street. He succeeded Mr. A. L. Moffit in 1873. A. F. Salisbury, at 65 Mill Street, located in his present gallery in 1872. Frank H. Williams, at 94 Main Street, is also engaged in this business.
Alexander Chapin, at 43 East Avenue. Mr. Chapin established himself in business in 1866; had previously been in the employ of Wright & Slocum. In the above year, he associated with himself two partners, and began the manufacture of boots and shoes. They continued for three years, under the firm-title of A. Chapin & Co. Mr. Chapin withdrew, and started alone, in his present location, changing the business to the manufacture of ladies' shoes exclusively. He makes a fine quality of goods, and is the only manufacturer in town making ladies' wear a specialty. He has a capacity for the employment of some forty operatives.
Elisha Gaynor, located at 83 High Street, manufacturer of harness; established at first on Mill Street, in 1860. His is one of the oldest harness manufactories now in Pawtucket. G. W. Easterbrooks, at 214 Main Street, manufactures all kinds of harness. He succeeded Mr. A. H. Ford in 1874. He has a capacity for the employment of five hands. Edward Hogan, located at 46 Broadway. He succeeded Mr. Philander Baker, in 1867, and has continued the business since that time. He keeps a general assortment of harness and horse-furnishing goods, and in connection with this business, does carriage trimming, &c. Has a capacity for three to five hands.
E. A. Robert, located at 22 Broad Street, is also engaged in the harness business, and bears an excellent reputation for good workmanship. Among the early chaise and wagon makers, were Jabez Hills, who followed the business as early as 1762. Oliver Starkweather, was also engaged in the carriage and harness business about the year 1800. A Mr. Wing occupied the site of Mr. Starkweather's shop, and the lane running from the street to his residence, the Daniel Bucklin house, was called Wing Lane, which name it still bears. Prominent among the present carriage and wagon manufacturers, are the following: H. M. Rounds, located on the corner of East Avenue and Church Street; he commenced business in 1854. Thomas Chandler, at 16 Slater Avenue.
Among some of the early blacksmiths, were Nathaniel Walker & Son, who kept a shop on the old coal-yard, previous to 1800. Their principal work was the ironing of chaises for Oliver Starkweather. Benjamin Arnold carried on the business on the old forge lot, and was succeeded by Timothy Greene. May D. Mason worked at the blacksmith trade as early as 1812. He was in the employ of the Wilkinsons. Mr. Mason sailed, in 1812, in a vessel called the 'Providence', a privateer, Captain Nicholas Hopkins. They were captured by a British man-of-war, and carried to St. Thomas, in the West Indies. Afterwards transferred to an old troop-ship commanded by Captain Dill; then to Admiral Francis LaFoure's man-of-war 'Dragon'. They laid up in a harbor called the Saints, where they were set at work by the British government. They were finally exchanged at the Barbadoes, in 1813, and returned to Providence. He afterwards carried on the blacksmith business on the old forge lot. Benjamin Linkfield was an early blacksmith, carrying on business on the old coal-yard. William Meagher began business about 1852, on Pleasant Street, and is said to have been about the first engaged in the manufacture of cable chains. He is said to have made chains weighing twenty tons. Prominent among the present blacksmiths, are the following: Henry Perrin, located at 13 Elm Street; established in 1849. Mr. Perrin worked at his trade some twelve years previous to this, making forty years that he has worked at the blacksmith business. This shop was occupied as early as 1833, by William Fish. E. B. Bruce, at 19 Main Street, began business in 1845, succeeding Mr. Reuben Burlingame, who began the business in 1831, succeeding Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen built the shop, and was a shipsmith.
George W. Everett, located at corner of East Avenue and Church Street, commenced business in 1846. Mr. Everett is an elliptic-spring manufacturer, and the excellent quality of his work has acquired for him a wide-spread reputation. This shop was occupied in 1832 by one William Fisher. Stephen R. Bucklin, located at 20 Slater Avenue, is also engaged in the general blacksmith business; was formerly a partner with Mr. Everett. M. H. McCabe, located at 19 Main Street, is engaged in the business of carriage-ironing. McCabe & Whalen, located at the corner of Bailey and Main streets. They do a general blacksmithing business. Henry A. Luther, located in the rear of 221 Main Street. Does a general business in blacksmithing.
Prominent among early painters, glaziers, and paper-hangers, were John Tompkins, and Robert Wilcox. They came from Tiverton, in 1825, and began business as partners in an old wooden building on the site of the Miller Block. Mr. Tompkins was scalded with boiled oil, from the effects of which he died. Merritt Wheeler, located on the site of the Congregational Church in 1828. Horace Read began business about 1832, and had a shop in an old wooden building adjoining the Dexter Mill. In 1827, William G. White began the painting business with Robert Wilcox; remained about twenty years. Of the present house, sign, and carriage painters, glaziers, and paper-hangers are the following: C. J. Pullen, in rear of Lee's Block, began business in 1867. He was apprentice of Mr. Wilcox; employs about five men on an average. Mathews & Allen, located at No. 5 Elm Street. Mr. Mathews began in 1844. Mr. Allen in 1847. Jillson & Horton, located at No. 14 High Street. Mr. Jillson commenced business in Pawtucket in 1854, purchasing the business of C. Taber; went into the army, remained until 1864, when he returned and worked for a time for George Walker. In 1873, took as partner Thomas Horton, and located at No. 14 High Street; employ from ten to twelve men. D. S. Franklin, located at No. 48 Exchange Street. This shop was built about 1843, by Mr. Franklin, and J. Bailey, who were associated in business together at that time. They began business in 1841, in a basement on Union and High streets. Robert McCloy, at No. 9 Walcott Street, established in 1863, succeeding J. H. Fletcher. The building was used at an early date, as a store, in connection with one of the mills running at that time. C. H. Wilcox, located in the Almy Building, has carried on the business of painting since 1853. Mason S. Peck, located in Pawtucket about 1864; built the present shop, on Ship Street, in 1873. P. F. Everett is located at No. 42 Mill Street; he began in 1838. C. B. Perry, located at the corner of Main and Bailey streets, carriage and sign painter, located here in 1874, and employs from three to five men. George L. Walker & Co., at No. 23 East Avenue. Mr. Walker learned his trade of the veteran Wilcox. In 1853, he became a partner with a son of Mr. Wilcox. Mr. Walker has had several partners, doing business under the firm-title of G. L. Walker & Co. William Randall, at No. 48 Broadway, carriage, sign, and ornamental painter, located in 1877, having succeeded A. McQuinston. William I. Cookson, located at No. 5 Slack's Lane, does a general painting business; learned his trade with Joseph Nickerson in 1853,
Washburn Brothers, located at No. 95 Dexter Street, engaged in a general job-printing business, began, in 1875, with small resources, and limited capital. As business increased, they extended their facilities, until at present they have presses, type, &c., sufficient to execute the demands of their trade. They publish a small, four-page paper, which is gratuitously distributed in Pawtucket, Central Falls, and vicinity, as an advertising medium. They have steadily worked themselves into favor with the people, and they have a destiny of undoubted success in the future. C. F. Carpenter, and L. W. Upham, - the former located in the Carpenter Block, the latter in White's Building, - are both doing a general job-printing business. In 1873, they were associated together in the business in a room in Mr. Upham's house. More room being required to meet the demands of their business, they removed to the Carpenter Block in 1874. They continued in business until 1876, when Mr. Upham withdrew, locating as above, and Mr. Carpenter retaining the old quarters. F. E. Wright & Co., located in the Dexter Block, No. 140 Main Street, do a general business in job-printing. F. D. Morse & Son, located at No. 94 Main Street, are the only book-binders in Pawtucket. They are doing a fine business, and bear an excellent reputation for the quality of their work.
Havens & Dewitt, at Nos. 48 and 50 East Avenue, successors to A. F. Dill, bakers and confectioners. James Weeden began the business on Main Street, in a building on the Albert Jencks estate, previous to 1800. At his death, in 1819, his two sons, James and Horace, succeeded to the business, and continued it until 1854, when S. Beers & Son, who were employees, purchased and ran the business until 1868, when they were succeeded by H. B. Dean. He remained until 1875, when he sold to A. F. Dill. F. Taylor, located at No. 12 Water Street. Mr. M. L. Dean commenced the baking, in 1842, in a small building upon the site of the present fine and commodious bakery. He was succeeded by his son, who subsequently sold to Mr. Taylor in 1877. This establishment consumes sixty barrels of flour per week, and has facilities for the employment of seventeen hands. Chace & Nickerson, No. 46 Vernon Street, building-movers. A Mr. Kent engaged in this business in a rude sort of way, some years ago, using oxen and wheels in the moving of buildings. In 1860, Messrs. Chace & Nickerson purchased the business and tools, and are now the only parties engaged in this business. The implements used have undergone marked improvements, thus facilitating labor, and insuring greater success.
The livery business forms an important item in the business interests of the town. As early as 1812, a livery was kept in the old Pawtucket Hotel barn, by John Hart, who was also the proprietor of the hotel. Major Nelson also kept here in 1822. On Wing Lane, a stable was in operation at an early day. B. Balcome, L. Ware, and C. Holbrook were among its occupants. Prominent among the present livery-men are: H. M. Arnold, located at Nos. 10 and 12 Broad Street; keeps a livery, hack, and boarding stable. In 1865, he located on the east side of the river, moving to his present stables, which he built in 1871.
Benjamin Gannett, at No. 73 Mill Street, livery and boarding stable. Mr. Gannett began business in 1869, in the Pawtucket barn, on Broadway, removing to his present location in 1874. Tierney & McMahon, located in Wing Lane, in the old hotel stable, moved from Bailey Street in 1877. C. D. Nichols, at No. 10 Slack's Lane, hack and livery stable. Mr. Nichols located here in 1872. This stand is known as the Holbrook Stables, he having built them, in 1840. In 1863 they were burned, and the site purchased by John Martin, who rebuilt immediately.
The local express business is extensively carried on in Pawtucket, and is represented by numerous parties. Prominent among those engaged in this branch of business are: H. G. Aldrich's Pawtucket and Providence Express, No. 3 Mill Street; Chickering & Miller, at Nos. 13 and 15 North Main Street; Earle & Prew's Express, No. 35 Mill Street; Providence and Worcester Express Co., and Walker & Co., No. 35 Mill Street, and others of equal merit, of which space will not permit a more extended review.
J. E. Dispeau, located at No. 104 Main Street. Mr. Dispeau is a native of Massachusetts, and removed to Rhode Island in 1842, commencing the restaurant business in 1843, and was the proprietor at one time of the Pawtucket Hotel. Has been in the business for the past thirty years on the same street, and is the oldest established caterer in town.
Mr. W. B. Bowen, located at 19 Mill Street. This establishment was opened in 1877, and is known as the 'Cafe Bowen'. In 1856, he was in business in the old wooden building upon the site of the Miller Block, selling about that time to Mr. A. Benchley, who still continues at this place.
Dr. John Jencks, of the third generation of Jenckses, was the second resident physician in Pawtucket. He succeeded his cousin John, who was the first practicing physician, and died in London, of the small-pox. Dr. Jencks acquired great wealth and was highly esteemed for his genial ways and his success as a practitioner. Dr. Hosea Humphrey was an early physician and a prominent politician. Like all men taking an active part in the politics of their town, Mr. Humphrey had many bitter opponents. Abram and Isaac Wilkinson were among his more inveterate enemies, politically, and when the Doctor moved from town they gave him a salute by firing cannon, and made other demonstrations of their joy in thus getting rid of their political rival. Prominent among the physicians of the early part of the present century were Dr. Cleveland, Dr. Benoni Carpenter, Dr. Draper, and Dr. C. E. Davis.
Dr. Sylvanus Clapp, a graduate of Dartmouth College, located in Pawtucket in 1841. He is assisted in his office by his son, Dr. L. W. Clapp, who is a graduate of Harvard, and commenced his professional practice in 1873. Dr. James O. Whitney, a graduate of Berkshire Medical College, settled in Smithfield in 1846, removing from there to Pawtucket, and locating at No. 30 High Street. It is a remarkable coincidence that Mr. Whitney has, during all of these thirty-one years, practiced on or near this same street. Nearly opposite we find the office of Dr. Arnold. At 146 Main Street is the office of Dr. J. L. Wheaton, who is also a graduate of Berkshire Medical College. He began the practice of medicine in 1847, and has been located on High Street ever since. Dr. Lloyd Morton, at 53 East Avenue, began the profession some years since, and enjoys a lucrative practice. Dr. William A. Gaylord, at 31 Broadway, located here in 1850, is a graduate of Harvard, and was a surgeon in the Seventh Rhode Island Infantry, and also in the Fourteenth Massachusetts, Second Light Artillery, and Fourteenth Colored Regiment. Dr. P. E. Bishop, a graduate of Dartmouth College, located in Pawtucket in 1872, at the corner of Elm and Main streets. The Bishop family were among the early settlers of the town, and a hill, a little to the south of the village, bears their name. Dr. E. D. L. Parker is a graduate of Cleveland Hospital College, and began the practice of his profession in 1877. He practices the homeopathic mode of treatment, and has his office in the Spencer Building.
The Press of Pawtucket.
The first paper published in Pawtucket was the 'Pawtucket Chronicle and Manufacturers and Artisans' Advocate.' Its first issue appeared on Saturday, Nov. 12, 1825, and was edited by John C. Harwood, who occupied the wooden building, south side of Main Street, and west of the granite bridge, belonging, at the time, to Amos M. and John B. Read. In 1849, this rickety and decayed old building was replaced by a new and more commodious building, known as the Amos M. and John B. Read blocks. When it was first issued, its size was twenty columns, five columns to the page; and length of each column, eighteen inches; making its combined length three hundred and sixty inches. Mr. William H. Sturtevant was editor in the year 1826, as is seen from its issue on November 11th of that year. Soon after, it appears that its editorship was again changed, it passing into the hands of Messrs. Carlile & Brown of Providence. It did not prosper under their management, and it quietly disappeared with the issue of Jan. 20, 1827, and consequently Pawtucket was left, for the next three weeks, without a paper of its own publishing. It was however, reissued on Feb. 10, 1827, by Randall Meacham, who had purchased the entire property of Carlile & Brown, and, on that day, he issued it as editor and proprietor, from the 'office contiguous to the Pawtucket Hotel.' On Sept. 22, 1827, Mr. Meacham purchased his rival the 'White Banner', a paper once published in Pawtucket, but whose history is but little known.
In the 'Chronicle' of June 6, 1829, the 'Pawtucket Herald' appeared, but seems to have been but poorly supported, and soon passed out of existence. The 'Mercantile Reporter' soon after appeared, but seems to have had a brief and inglorious life, as it expired seven weeks after its first number was issued. In July, 1829, S. W. Fowler became associated with Mr. Meacham in the management of the 'Chronicle' establishment. On the 1st of January, 1830, Mr. Fowler's name appeared as the editor of the paper, as well as one of its proprietors. Previous to Aug. 6, 1830, the 'Chronicle' had been published on Saturday morning, but from that date it was changed, and continued to be published on Friday evening, until it ceased to exist under that distinctive name.
On Feb. 11, 1831, Mr. Fowler purchased Mr. Meacham's interest in the paper, and became its sole proprietor. Mr. Fowler's failing health rendered him unable to attend to the arduous duties of the office, and, in the summer of 1832 he resolved to go South, in hopes a change of climate would improve it, and, during his absence, and until the paper was sold, its editorial work was committed to the charge of the late John H. Weeden. Mr. Fowler soon returned, and, on Aug. 26, 1832, he died at his home, of consumption, in the twenty-seventh year of his age. This circumstance, left the paper and office without a proprietor, whereupon his widow placed it on the market for sale, and, in the following October, Henry and John E. Rousmaniere of Newport purchased the entire establishment for $1,800, and, on the 26th of that month issued it as editors and proprietors. These gentlemen, it appears, had no tact for the business, and failed in the enterprise, and, on the 2d of October, 1835, they offered the establishment for sale, but they found no purchasers. On the 4th of November, 1836, J. E. Rousmaniere silently retired, and Henry became the sole manager of the establishment. On the 19th of April, 1839, he publicly announced that he had disposed of his interest in the 'Chronical' to the proprietors of the 'Pawtucket Gazette', and that the two would be consolidated and published under the name of the 'Gazette and Chronicle'.
In August, 1838, Messrs. Sherman & Kinnicutt, who had been apprentices in the office of the 'Chronicle', started a paper under the name of the 'Pawtucket Gazette'. This paper seemed to prosper, although its failure was predicted by many. There was no event of particular interest in the history of the paper until 1839, when, as has already been stated, it was merged into the 'Pawtucket Gazette and Chronicle'. In 1841, the office was removed from its old quarters into the upper story of the wooden building at the corner of Main and Mill streets. In March, 1850, the office of the 'Gazette and Chronicle' was removed into the upper story of the new block erected by Amos Read. Some enlargements were made from time to time, and it continued to grow in favor until January, 1863, when, on the account of the general stagnation in all kinds of business, owing to the unsettled state of our national affairs, it was reduced in size, with a promise, however, to return to its former dimensions, whenever the times and circumstances would seem to warrant it. On the 5th of January, 1866, it did so appear. It continued to remain in its old quarters until March, 1866, when it was removed to Manchester Hall, where it still remains in a very flourishing condition.
Up to 1855, the paper was printed on a hand-press, when it was superseded by a Guernsey Improved Patent Cylinder Press. This, however, was laid aside on July 1, 1870, to give room for the Potter Cylinder Power-Press, a much larger and more improved press. The proprietors were the first to introduce a power-press into Pawtucket, and the first to introduce power into a printing-office. Subsequently, a steam-engine took its place. They are now, however, using for the most part, water-power, it being obtained from the old Lefavour Mill.
In January, 1870, Ansel D. Nickerson and John S. Sibley became the publishers of the 'Gazette and Chronicle', and continued to run the establishment until April 1, 1875, when Charles E. Lee purchased an interest, and the firm-name was changed to Nickerson, Sibley & Co. In July, 1870, the 'Gazette and Chronicle' was enlarged by the addition of a column to each page, and again 1873, it assumed its present dimensions, which is as large as can be printed on the cylinder press now in use in the office. Mr. Nickerson, the senior member of this firm, has been connected with the interests of this paper for more than thirty years, and the present high position attained by this journal is mainly due to his untiring zeal and energy. The junior member, Mr. Charles A. Lee, has also been long identified with the interests of this establishment, having commenced the art of printing in this office some years ago. Among the papers that have been printed or published in Pawtucket during the past thirty years are the 'Truth's Advocate', 'John the Baptist', 'Midnight Cry', 'Rose and Lily', 'Sparkling Fountain', 'Battle Axe, 'Temperance Regulator', 'Mercatile Reporter', 'Business Directory', 'Observer', and the 'Pawtucket Herald'. They were all short-lived, and none of them attained to any degree of success.
Free Public Library.
In the month of January, 1852, a charter was obtained from the General Assembly, and the corporation was organized in the following month. Parties came forward and liberally subscribed for shares of stock, and it was duly organized under the charter, with by-laws and a board of officers, composed of the following named persons: President, Thomas K. King; Vice-President, Jesse S. Thornton; Secretary, Claudius B. Farnsworth; Treasurer, James O. Starkweather; Trustees, Jesse S. Tourtelott, Sylvanus Clapp, Cyrus Benson, Jr., John H. Willard, and Alexander Meggett. The shares sold at this time amounted to a trifle over one thousand dollars, which amount was entrusted to Messrs. Benson, Farnsworth, and King as a committee, appointed by the directors on Feb. 5, 1852, for the purpose of purchasing books, &c. The masonic lodge purchased shares to a large extent, and also sold their library to the association, which formed the nucleus around which gathered the magnificent library which now adorns its spacious rooms.
The Central Falls Library Association, by purchase, soon became merged into this new one. About this time, the association was presented with some two hundred volumes or more, the Rev. George Tafft making a very liberal donation of some one hundred volumes out of his own private library. On April 6, 1852, the directors' report gave the whole number of volumes as 1,200. They issued a catalogue, and also leased suitable rooms. Several members contributed minerals, which formed a fine cabinet. The librarians have been: F. H. Shepard, A. Meggett, R. H. Gladding, J. McIntire, H. H. Richardson, Ellen Weeden, Adelaide Fountain, Jennie Horswell, Anna Lewis, Emily Pratt, and Minerva A. Sanders, the present incumbent. A tax of one dollar per share was laid on each share of stock, in order to meet the expenses of running the association. Among the donations to the library was a very neatly executed picture of the Landing of the Pilgrims, by Mr. D. D. Sweet, who also gave twenty-four volumes. Another by Rev. C. Blodgett, another by Daniel Wilkinson; also by Jesse S. Tourtellott, Thomas Davis, and others.
About the year 1857, finding the finances of the association inadequate to meet the necessary expense, and the usefulness of the institution becoming apparent, it was voted (after a number of meetings had been held by the directors and stockholders) on Feb. 23, 1857, that Thomas K. King and C. B. Farnsworth be appointed as a committee to petition the General Assembly to so change the charter as to allow a tax of two dollars to be laid on each share of stock, which was duly considered and granted by the Assembly and accepted by the stockholders, though not without considerable debate, arising from the supposed illegality of such a proceeding; but the wisdom of such a course became at once apparent. The library then numbered some 3,000 volumes. A reading-room had been added, furnished with periodicals and other interesting reading matter. The library has been the recipient of gifts from different sources; Hon. Charles Sumner, among the number, sending public documents quite frequently. A very beautiful work, and 'Encyclopaedia Britannica', was presented by a citizen having the good of the library in view. The ladies of Pawtucket came to the rescue in 1858, and by means of fairs, entertainments, &c., relieved it from its pecuniary embarrassments.
In 1875, a meeting of the stockholders was held, with a view to making this a free library, which was done by giving the whole accumulation of books to the township, which gave it the name of the Free Public Library of Pawtucket, R. I. Mr. G. L. Spencer gave the use of the rooms in his block on Mill Street for five years, which are now used by the library association. At the same time, Mr. Spencer rented the adjoining room, at a nominal sum, to the library for a reading-room, which is furnished with forty-five of the leading periodicals of the day, being carefully assorted and arranged at tables, for the different ages and tastes of the people who frequent this department, thus bringing many a youth to a pleasant and instructive hour's pastime, and away from the alluring temptations of bad associates and their consequent evil influences.
At the time of the change into a free library it numbered 4,700 volumes. The town appropriated $2,500 to the library in 1876, and the whole number of volumes is now 5,500. A large number of these were selected by Thomas K. King, who was foremost in every move looking toward the establishment of a library in Pawtucket, that would be an honor to the place; which has been accomplished, as the following facts and figures clearly demonstrate. Since the day of opening, July 20, 1876, to July 1, 1877, the circulation was 40,000, showing the high estimation in which this institution is held by the citizens of Pawtucket, who are decidedly a reading community. Perhaps the following extract from the Pawtucket 'Gazette and Chronicle', under date Feb. 3, 1871, under the heading of 'In Memoriam', of Thomas K. King, would more fully express the feelings of every person who is familiar with the early history of this splendid institution: --
'The Pawtucket Library Association almost owes its existence, certainly its high standing and prosperity, to Thomas K. King, its honored president. His efforts in behalf of this institution have been untiring and unremitting. It was his treasure, and he always took special delight in personally attending to all its interests, and his superior taste and erudition were nowhere more discernible than in his selection of the valuable books which adorn and enrich its shelves. His place on the board of directors of this institution can hardly be filled.'
The officers of the library consist of a board of trustees, elected by the town council, of six citizens, and the president of the town council, chairman of the school committee, and superintendent of public schools, as ex-officio members. The officers of the board are a president and vice-president, with appropriate committees.
Thus is briefly reviewed the early organization and subsequent history of this free institution. Like all similar enterprises, that have their dependence upon the liberality or generous support of a mixed community, in its struggles to attain its present excellence. All such institutions as this should be guarded with a watchful care, and cherished among the most beneficent of blessings. 'Our youth find here a place where much may be obtained to please and instruct, and a refuge from the alluring temptations of evil companions, and their consequent evil influences, while those older and more experienced derive a source of pleasure while thus communing with some favorite author, or reviewing the histories of the past. A proper education of the masses of the people, is the only sure foundation upon which is erected the fabric of a republic, and the only sure guarantee of its steady growth and perpetuity. In a republic like ours, the general diffusion of knowledge is the great bulwark of our national strength, and our very existence depends upon the virtue, the patriotism, and the right education of the masses of our people. Certainly the citizens of Pawtucket may well feel proud of this public institution, and should cherish, with a commendable degree of pride, the memory of all those who have helped to place this institution in the position it occupies to-day, and see to it that their munificent liberality receives no diminution.'