Colonel Roswell Lee was appointed Superintendent of the United States Armory in Springfield in 1815. He had rendered distinguished service, first as Major and afterwards as Lieut. Colonel, during the war of 1812-15 with England and was a man of fine character, genial and companionable. The Armory in those days was relatively of much greater importance in the community and Colonel Lee soon took a prominent and influential position. Local histories mention his presiding at numerous dinners of political and local importance and speak of him as "the perfect toast-master."
         Elsewhere in this work his efforts to improve the condition of his workmen is mentioned; under his administration the character of the armorers improved, "they became inventors, were even elected to the Legislature and filled a large place in Springfield;" many also followed Lee's example and became interested in his establishment of the "Chapel on Armory Hill," the organization in 1821 of Christ Church and attended the services held in a room in one of the office buildings of the Armory.
         At that time the village of Springfield had a population of about 3000, (men, women and children) and the Armory records show that 287 men were employed there in November 1821 with a monthly pay roll of $8,383. As many of the employees undoubtedly had families, we can assume that 20% or possibly 25% of the people in Springfield were supported by the cash disbursed by the government authorities. There was then no other industrial establishment of equal magnitude in the town.


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