Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America

Monson, Massachusetts

Industrial Pursuits

Prior to the erection of what is known as the North factorysilver in 1811, the manufacturing enterprises of Monson were of a minor order, and the principal occupation of the inhabitants was the pursuit of agriculture.

A saw- and oil-mill was erected in the latter part of last century where the Ellis factory now stands. It was first run by Noah Sabin and Reuben Hoar in partnership. The manufacture of linseed oil was pursued until 1808, and the sawmill was in operation as late as 1822.

About the same time a grist-mill was built where Reynolds' Rockland mill now is, by Asa White, who operated it until 1845, when the property passed into the hands of Joseph L. Reynolds. On the opposite side of the stream bar-iron was made from scrap-iron and a little bog-iron gathered in Silver Street,1 near the spring known as "Cato's Pool," by Joseph and Jeremiah Bumstead as early as 1800. Their establishment was carried off by a freshet in the month of February, 1807, and was afterward erected higher up the stream.

A saw- and grist-mill stood where the North factory now is as early as 1800, and was run by Roswell & Gideon Merrick. It was taken down in 1816, and in 1820 the Rockbottom factory was erected on its site by Witherill & Co., who engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods. The building is now the store-house of the North factory.

Early in 1800, Asa Gates had a carding-mill in a small building near Lyon's mill factory. He engaged principally in finishing woven cloth, -- a business which he pursued for twelve or fifteen years. The establishment then passed kite) the possession of the Monson Woolen Company, of which Gates became one of the members.

Several saw-mills existed at Silver Street and in other localities in the town early in the present century.

Roswell Merrick had a tannery, about 1808, near the old burying-ground. Bela Bennett afterward carried on the business. About 1820, Stephen Tobey purchased the building, together with 30 or 40 acres of land, repaired the shops, erected several new buildings, and engaged in the tanning business for upward of forty years. His son, Clinton, in company with E. 0. Fenton, subsequently pursued the business of hide-dressing for several years. The buildings were destroyed by fire some years ago.

1 This locality derives its name from the "four pence half penny" which tax-collector gathered there after a whole day's labor.

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This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006