Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 98

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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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98 WHITNEY GENEALOGY.

is justly regarded throughout the United States as one of the best types of a great manufacture. It is the center of an intel- ligent, thrifty, contented community, made up for the most part of families living happily in their own homes, and reflecting in their lives the influence which may be exerted upon the employes by men who regard the welfare of their help as closely as they watch the internal management of their mills. Mr. SAW- YER was a humanitarian as well as a manufacturer, and his chari- ties, while they were always unobtrusive, were as much a part of his life as his business. Shrinking from publicity as he always did, hiding his good deeds from the knowledge of the world, the example of his life was an ennobling influence in the community, and is the most precious of his legacies to family and friends. The unmarred reputation for strictest integrity which he has won, his far-seeing and far-reaching enterprise have enabled the corporation to pass prosperously through the financial depres- sions and panics which so many times have swept over the country during his long career. He has been a great lover of his home, where his fine tastes had full sway. When free from business, he was always there. He loved books, and his conver- sation showed an unusual breadth of reading, in science, history and politics. He was possessed of a strong, clear intellect, a calm, dispassionate judgment, and sympathies which always brought him to the side of the weak and the suffering; and no one ever went to him for assistance and came away empty-handed He was the father of ex-Governor Chas. H. SAWYER, Mary Elizabeth SAWYER, Francis Asbury SAWYER (who died two years ago in Boston), Roswell Douglass SAWYER, the artist of New York city, Martha Frances, wife of W. S. BRADLEY of Dover, Alice May SAWYER, and Frederic Jonathan SAWYER. Ch.: Charles Henry, b. Mar. 30, 1840; m. Susan Ellen COWAN, Feb. 8, 1865; address, Dover, N.H. Charles H. SAWYER is a lineal descend- ant of Thomas SAWYER, who settled in 1647 at Lancaster, Mass., where, in 1708, he (or possibly a son of his bearing the same name) was captured by the Indians and taken to Canada, and purchased his deliverance and that of several fellow-captives, by building for the French governor a saw mill; the First, it is said, in that region of country. Phineas, the great-great-grandson of Thomas, and the grandfather of Charles H. SAWYER, bought in Marlborough, Mass., a century later, a water privilege and mills, to which he afterward added a cotton factory, a difficult and hazardous undertaking at that early day. He operated it for some years, about the time of the last war with England, but probably with more public spirit than private advantage, and died in 1820, leaving a widow and twelve children. Charles H. was born in Watertown, N.Y. At the age of 10 he was taken by his father to Dover, N.H., and acquired the basis of his education in the excellent public schools of that place. When he became 17 his father, who designed him for the hereditary calling of manufacturing, placed him in the flan- nel mill as an ordinary hand, to enable him to form a practical acquaintance with the various and complicated processes required to transform the rough fleece into the finished fabric. Here he supplemented his book education by the education of work, observation, and experience. Step by step he rose to the higher grades of employment, mastering every detail of the busi- ness as he went, until at the age of 26 he was appointed super- intendent of the establishment. Meantime, the proprietors of the mills had greatly extended their operations and had adapted the machinery to the manufacture of fine cassimere cloths and suitings. In 1873 they were incorporated by the name of the Sawyer Woolen Mills, and Col. SAWYER became a part owner and agent; and in 1881, on the death of his uncle, Francis A. SAWYER, the senior proprietor, he was chosen the president.

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