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The Town & the City: Lowell before and after The Civil War

Originally created to be a digital archive for Lowell documents from 1826 to 1861, this website has grown to cover many periods and events in Lowell's history.


“I carried on the business of spinning cotton yarn in a small way, as all our manufacturing was done at that time. Spun about 20 pounds of yarn per day. Also had a carding-machine for carding custom wool for spinning by hand, making what was called homespun cloth. Carried on a machine shop for making cotton and wool machinery; made looms for weaving suspender webbing and boot webbing, and a tape loom to weave 36 pieces at one time. I occupied the building some four years, when it was purchased by Thomas Hurd, who fitted it up for making satinet. . . . . I built a small mill on the canal property and took water from the canal and made machinery there. Help fit up Hurd's mill. I moved from East Chelmsford just before the canal company sold out to the present owners, who came into possession and established Lowell. Mr. Nathan Tyler built a grist-mill just below me on the canal.”

John Goulding quoted in Before the Power-Loom. The Earliest Cotton and Wollen Industries at East Chelmsford and Vicinity, and their Promoters ; by Z. E. Stone. Read before the Old Residents’ Historical Association Dec. 18, 1894. Contributions of the Old Residents' Historical Association, Volume 6


More from Before the Power-Loom -

Thomas Hurd, who succeeded Messrs. Goulding and Knowles, came to East Chelmsford from Charlestown (one account says from Stoneham) in 1818. The Chelmsford historian (Allen) speaks of him as “an enterprising gentleman,” and says he repaired and fitted up the mill “for a woollen manufactory. Sixteen looms, worked by water, were employed in making satinet, of which about one hundred and twenty yards per day were manufactured. This estimate includes the coloring, carding and spinning of the wool, weaving and dressing of the cloth. He employed of both sexes about twenty persons. Machinery: 16 looms worked by water; 1 winder of 50 bobbins, 1 winder for warping 8 spindles, 1 Columbian spinner of 200 spindles, 3 coppers for dyeing — one for blue of 400 gallons and smaller ones for other colors, 3 double carding-machines.”

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In 1818, Thomas Hurd removed to East Chelmsford (as we must still call Lowell), and purchased the cotton mill, started five years before, by Whiting & Fletcher. He converted it into a woollen mill, and ran sixteen hand-looms for the manufacture of satinets. He also built a larger brick mill for the manufacture of the same class of goods. Mr. Hurd's mill was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt in 1826. About this time, being in want of additional power, he built the Middlesex Canal, conveying water from Pawtucket Canal to his satinet mills. Mr. Hurd was the first man in this country who manufactured satinet by water-power, having had a mill at Stoneham before he came to Lowell. He continued to run these works until the great re-action of trade in 1828, when he became bankrupt, and the property, in 1830, passed into the hands of the Middlesex Company.

            History Of Lowell by Charles Cowley (1868)


Also see Site of the Middlesex Company Research Report -


Owner of original document(s): Lowell Historical Society

Location of original document(s): Center for Lowell History