Skip to Main Content

Lowell History: Visitor Observations 1827-1913

Observations of Lowell by Joseph John Gurney, 1841



We returned to Weare, where we spent the first day of the week among our numerous and simple-hearted friends; and the next morning commenced our journey back again to Lynn. We held public meetings with the people, on two successive evenings, at the busy manufacturing towns of Nashua and Lowell, both on the Merrimac. The latter is a town of 20,000 inhabitants, and seems very prosperous. 
Here we were accommodated with the meeting-house of the Free-will Baptists, who are very liberal in their sentiments, and agree with Friends, in allowing the ministry of women. Both there and at Nashua, our service in the gospel met with a cordial reception. 
We had great satisfaction in visiting the factories of Lowell. Cotton-spinning and weaving are carried on in them to a great extent; and there is also a manufactory of carpets. The points which chiefly pleased me, were the neatness, order, and comfort of these establishments; in which respect, they form a strange contrast to many of those in Lancashire. I found no little children at work; the persons employed, are chiefly young women, who have as much the air of a decent independence as any one could desire. All of them were neatly attired, and not a few were wearing gold necklaces and earrings. They are said to make quite a grand appearance at their places of worship. Undesirable as this may be, it shows the prosperity of a young, unfettered country. They earn sixteen shillings per week, on an average, besides their board; and many of them raise a comfortable property.