Showing posts with label Wheelright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wheelright. Show all posts

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Newburyport Woolen Company

From Towle Manufacturing Company, History of Newburyport & Scholfield Wool-Carding Machines

An industry inaugurated by Newburyport capital was located at the falls in Byfield. This was the Newburyport Woolen Company, established in 1794, the first company incorporated for that business in the state, and by some authorities named as the first woolen manufactory in America. The carding and other machines for its equipment were built by Standring, Guppy, & Armstrong, in Newburyport, being set up in "Lord" Timothy Dexter's stable; and were the first made in this country.

From Currier History of Newburyport Volume 2
January 29, 1794, Benjamin Greenleaf, Philip Aubin, William Bartlet, Richard Bartlet, Offin Boardman, jr., Moses Brown, David Coffin, William Coombs, John Coombs, Mark Fitz, Abel Greenleaf, John Greenleaf, Andrew Frothingham, Michael Hodge, Nicholas Johnson, Nathaniel Knapp, Peter Le Breton, Joseph Moulton, Theophilus Parsons, Ebenezer Wheelwright, Edward Wigglesworth and others were incorporated by the name of "The Proprietors of the Newburyport Woolen Manufactory."'

The company purchased about six acres of land, with a water privilege on the Parker river, in Byfield parish, Newbury, and erected a factory there, which was supplied with suitable machinery made by the Schofield Brothers and by Messrs. Guppy & Armstrong in Newburyport. It is said that the company was the first one incorporated for the manufacture of woolen goods in the United States.' The broadcloths, cassimeres, serges and blankets made there were sold by William Bartlet at his store in Newburyport. The business, however, was not financially successful, and Mr. Bartlet bought out the dissatisfied stockholders in 1803. Next year, he sold the property to John Lees, an Englishman, who converted it into a factory for the manufacture of cotton cloth.

The Above is from "Towle Book" A Newburyport philanthropist, Timothy Dexter, contributed the use of his stable. There, beginning in December 1793, the Scholfields built a 24-inch, single-cylinder, wool-carding machine. They completed it early in 1794, the first Scholfield wool-carding machine in America. The group was so impressed that they organized the Newburyport Woolen Manufactory. Arthur was hired as overseer of the carding and John as overseer of the weaving and also as company agent for the purchase of raw wool. A site was chosen on the Parker River in Byfield Parish, Newbury, where a building 100 feet long, about half as wide, and three stories high was constructed. To the new factory were moved the first carding machine, two double-carding machines, as well as spinning, weaving and fulling machines. The carding machines were built by Messrs. Standring, Armstrong, and Guppy, under the Scholfields' immediate direction. All the machinery with the exception of the looms was run by water-power; the weaving was done by hand. The enterprise was in full operation by 1795.

John and Arthur Scholfield (and John's 11-year-old son, James) worked at the Byfield factory for several years. During a wool-buying trip to Connecticut in 1798, John observed a valuable water-power site at the mouth of the Oxoboxo River, in the town (i.e., township) of Montville, Connecticut. Here, the brothers decided, would be a good place to set up their own mill, and on April 19, 1799, they signed a 14-year lease for the water site, a dwelling house, a shop, and 17 acres of land. As soon as arrangements could be completed, Arthur, John, and the latter's family left for Montville.

The Scholfields quite probably did not take any of the textile machinery from the Byfield factory with them to Connecticut—first because the machines were built while the brothers were under hire and so were the property of the sponsors, and second because their knowledge of how to build the machines would have made it unnecessary to incur the inconvenience and expense of transporting machines the hundred odd miles to Montville. However, John Scholfield's sons reported that they had taken a carding engine with them when they moved to Connecticut in 1799 and had later transferred it to a factory in Stonington. The sons claimed that the frame, cylinders, and lags of the machine were made of mahogany and that it had originally been imported from England. However, it would have been most uncommon for a textile machine, even an English one, to have been constructed of mahogany; and having built successful carding machines, the men at Byfield would have found it unnecessary to attempt the virtually impossible feat of importing an English one. If it ever existed and was taken to Connecticut, therefore, this machine was probably not a carding machine manufactured by the Scholfields. It is more probable that the first Scholfield carding machine remained in the Byfield mill as the property of the Newburyport Woolen Manufactory.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mary Perkins Bradbury - Salem Witch Escapee

Melissa Berry the Newburyport News Old Salem Village lost many innocent lives during the witch hunting era. The manufactured delusions brought forth at the witch trials preyed upon one Salisbury woman named Mary Perkins Bradbury. Sentenced to die on September 9, 1692, she must have had a higher power on her side, as she was spared from that perilous place of no return, the gallows.
Mary was fingered by her accusers before the hysteria started. A host of personal grudges made her the supernatural scapegoat of a family feud. There was conflict between her and the Carrs; the most venomous was Ann Carr Putnam, an influential instigator during the witch hunts. Carr’s allies, including the Endicotts, were among the malicious circle adding fuel to the growing fire.
View the case file & court records. To add insult to injury, some of the indictments brought against Mary were twenty years old. The superstitious squabble fed on the hysteria brewing in Salem. While a little common sense may have prevented the whole debacle, all attempts from pastors, legions of townspeople and a high-profile husband could not sway her conviction. At the time of her sentencing, the matriarch was 72 years old and in delicate health.
By all accounts, the Bradburys were pillars of the community. Mary ran a successful butter business out of her home in Salisbury. The Rev. James Allen testified that she was “full of works of charity & mercy to the sick & poor.” Her husband, Thomas Bradbury, was a school master, town representative, associate judge, and captain of a military company. He was described as one of the “ablest men in Massachusetts during his life.” Mary’s ordeal began in May of 1692 when she was named a tormentor of Ann Putnam, Jr. and the other afflicted girls who were casting wild accusations, setting the stage for adults. A batch of butter sold to Captain Smith became suspect. The spread became rancid during a voyage, but more coincidental was the contaminated testimony from the Carr boys and Samuel Endicott. They claimed Mary’s voodoo butter made them ill and insisted that she had unleashed a storm that “lost our main mast and rigging and fifteen horses.” Her specter even haunted them on “a bright moonshining night.” Mary was also accused of causing the death of John Carr by “dethroning his reason” and leaving him “weakened by disease, with disordered fancies.” Ann Putnam, Jr. included spectral evidence provided by John Carr’s ghost confirming this. The real skinny was that John had been slighted in love by Jane True, Mary’s daughter. He pined away for many years and lived a most dismal existence. Another love triangle spread more bad blood when James Carr was passed over by Widow Maverick, who fancied Mary’s son William. James testified that, after his visits to see the widow, he felt “a strange manner as if every living creature did run about every part of [his] body ready to tear [him] to pieces.” He also claimed that, in the night, Mary came to his bedside as a black cat.
Though the ringmaster, George Carr, was long passed, his scorn with Mary was rekindled by his son Richard’s testimony. According to him, Mary transformed herself into a “blue boar” and attacked his father’s horse, causing George to fall outside her home one Sabbath. Zerubabel Endicott came forward to support the ridiculous accusation that Mary had sent her spectator to “dart at Carr.” It’s too bad the horse could not testify and expose the truth behind their reckless gamboling. William Carr, the only sane one from the tribe, came to Mary’s defense, giving testimony to diminish the manic fantasies of his family’s plot. Sadly, it did not have much effect on the court’s noticeably partisan stance. In fact, all efforts to save Mary fell short. Mary’s husband gave a heart-wrenching plea for her innocence. He noted her “wonderful” abilities in industry and motherhood, the eleven children they lovingly shared, and her “cheerful spirit, liberal and charitable.” He asked for compassion for his aged wife who was “grieved under afflictions” and could not speak for herself, hoping the petition signed by 117 district members would speak for her. There are no official records available to explain how Mary escaped the rope, but there are many entertaining rumors among Bradbury descendants. Dr. Howard Bradbury passed on the story that Mary’s nephew from Boston appeared before Constable Baker in a phosphorescent devil's costume, prompting him to release her. In Ancestry Magazine, Catherine Moore suggests that Mary’s husband bribed the jailers and staged a break out with help from a muster. The disappearance of Samuel Endicott added another mysterious twist to these events. He went missing around the time Mary got out of jail. After seven years of not turning up, he was finally declared dead. In 1711, the governor of Massachusetts issued compensation via monetary payment of £20 to the heirs of Mary Bradbury. Although most families were eventually pardoned, this empty gesture was rarely accompanied by true atonement. The men of the cloth were the real transgressors, and dirty laundry always rings out in the wash. Fourteen years later, Ann Putnam, Jr. came clean in front of the church assembly, as pious crimin
als who fall into the mud must eventually clean up their act.

Taken From Harvard Crimson Article 1997
Some truly notable descendants of Thomas and Mary (Perkins) Bradbury include Ralph Waldo Emerson 1832 and the astronaut Allan Shephard. Notable descendants of John and Judith (Gater) Perkins of Ipswich include Franklin D. Roosevelt '04, Calvin Coolidge, Millard Fillmore, Max Perkins, Archibald Cox, the Harvard law professor, Lucille Ball, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins and Tennessee Williams. --Martin E. Hollick, reference librarian for the Widener and Lamont libraries