Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 97

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.


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WHITNEY GENEALOGY. 97

the industry, as having contributed to advance it to its present high estate in this country. Jonathan Sawyer was born at Marl- borough, Mass., June 7, 1817. He attended school at Lowell, Mass., where he was a member of the first class that entered the high school of that city, of which Bishop T. M. CLARK, of Rhode Island, was then principal. Illness compelled Mr. SAWYER to leave school at the age of 16, and he went to Dover, N. H., to reside with his brother, Alfred Ira SAWYER. This brother, after serving an apprenticeship as a dyer at Amesbury, Mass., and Great Falls, N. H., had moved to Dover in 1823, and established a small factory for the manufac- ture of woolen yarns on the banks of the Bellamy river. This was the beginning of the great manufacturing establishment which has made the name of the Sawyers familiar throughout the United States. As first operated, the mill was a grist mill, a custom carding and cloth-dressing mill-the combination of industries very common at that period, in which the great woolen manufacture of to-day had its genesis. The mill was enlarged and converted into a flannel mill in 1832. Jonathan SAWYER remained two years in Dover, attending school And working in his brother's mill. In the fall of 1835 he returned to Lowell, where his mother then resided, and afterward attended for a short time the Methodist school at Wilbraham. When 19 years old, he went to work in a woolen establishment at Lowell as a dyer. After a brief apprenticeship, he began the dyeing busi- ness on his own account, continuing it until 1839. In that year he was married to Miss Martha PERKINS, of Barnet, Vt., and immediately went to Watertown, N.Y., where he served two years and a half as the superintendent of the Hamilton Woolen Company. Mr. SAWYER subsequently established a mill for the manufacture of satinets, in Watertown, which he operated until 1849. In that year his brother, Alfred I. Sawyer, the founder of the Dover mill, died, leaving children who were too young to carry on the business of manufacturing. Jonathan SAWYER there- upon removed from Watertown to Dover, and in company with his brother Zenas continued the manufacture of flannels under the firm name of Z. & J. SAWYER. Two years later Zenas SAWYER retired from the business, and was succeeded by another brother, Francis A. SAWYER, who had been a prominent builder in Bos- ton. The firm of F. A. & J. SAWYER was then formed, and this firm still continues in existence as the selling agent of the com- pany's product. They continued the manufacture of flannels in a wooden mill, which stood upon the site of the brick structures now occupied by the Sawyer Woolen Company. In 1858 the property lower own the river, now known as the lower mill, then called the Moses mill, and also operated as a flannel mill, was purchased by the firm. In 1860 this mill was enlarged to a four set mill, in 1863 to eight sets, and in 1882 to sixteen sets, with new machinery throughout. The old woolen mill, wherein were laid the foundations of this splendid enterprise, had been erected in 1832, and continued to be operated until 1872, when it was replaced by the present substantial structure, containing eighteen sets of cards, with preparing and finishing machinery for thirty- seven sets, as well as a new outfit of three sets for worsted manufacture, recently added. In 1873 the present company was incorporated under the name of the Sawyer Woolen Mills, and its first officers were Francis A. SAWYER, prisident; Jonathan SAWYER, treasurer, and Charles H. SAWYER, agent. Until 1832 only yarns had been produced in the Sawyer mill, the spinning and weaving being done at the neighboring farmhouses. When the manufacture of flannels was begun in that year, the factory system was completely established in the mill, and the subsequent increase in the plant and in the quan- tity and quality of its products was largely due to the enterpris- ing inspiration of Jonathan SAWYER. The Sawyer Woolen Mills

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