Colrain — Industries
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The chief element of Coleraine's industries is that of manufactures, which, in 1875, yielded a closely estimated value in products of $390,622, while the value of agricultural and domestic products for the same year aggregated $183,900, an excellent showing in both departments.
The largest and most important manufacturing interest is that of the Griswoldville Manufacturing Company, of which Mr. Joseph Griswold is, and always has been, the head.
In 1828, Mr. Griswold located in Coleraine, at what is now Griswoldville, and began the manufacture of sash, doors, and blinds. In 1830 he began to make also augers, gimlets, and shaving-boxes, and in 1832 he erected a cotton-mill with 16 looms, and before the close of the year doubled its capacity. In 1835 he added a second mill, and in 1840 he organized the Griswoldville Manufacturing Company. In 1851 the mill first erected was destroyed by fire, but in the short space of twelve working-days was rebuilt. In 1856 the second mill, built in 1835, was burned to the ground, but in 1858 it was restored in its present enlarged form. The main building, of brick, is 250 by 50 feet, two and a half stories high; there is a brick L, 60 by 40 feet, and there are also a boiler-house, cotton-house, sheds, etc.
In 1865 the company erected at Willis Place a second brick cotton-mill, 200 by 52 feet, three stories in height, with an extension 70 by 40 feet. Both mills are on the North River, and are operated by water-power, although supplied with powerful Corliss engines, to serve in an emergency. Their combined annual product is about 6,000,000 yards of printing-cloths and sheetings.
About 200 persons are employed at both mills, and of these a majority reside in the company's brick tenements, of which there are 21 at Willis Place and 34 at Griswoldville.
The first cotton-mill in Franklin County was built in 1814, by Johnson & Wing, on the North River, at what is now Shattuckville. Cotton yarn was spun there, and woven by hand among the residents thereabout.
In 1832, Hollister & Johnson built a mill with 14 looms, just above the old one, and shortly thereafter enlarged its capacity to 32 looms. In 1837, C. and H. Thompson and C. W. Shattuck purchased the mill, enlarged its capacity in 1844 to 64 looms, and still further in 1860 to 100 looms.
Oct. 4, 1864, the dam, mill, machinery, and a large stock of goods were entirely swept away by the disastrous flood of that day, the entire loss involved reaching to upward of $100,000. In 1870, Mr. C. W. Shattuck built upon the old site the present frame structure, which contains 200 looms, produces 3,000,000 yards of cotton sheetings and shirtings yearly, and gives employment to 100 persons. The mill-building measures 122 feet in length, 50 feet in width, and 56 feet in height, with additions for dressing-room, wheel-pit, picker- and cotton-rooms.
Coleraine is an excellent grazing-town, and much of the attention of farmers is therefore given to the raising of stock and production of butter. The soil, which is loamy on the hills and sandy on the bottoms, produces a fair yield of tobacco and general farm products.
The minor manufacturing industries of the town include the foundry of Milo Smith, several saw-mills, and the butter-box factories of F. Purington and Pierce Bros.
The assessed valuation of Coleraine in 1878 was $547,093, of which $381,475 was on real estate. The total tax—State, county, and town—was $7473.33,—a rate of $1.36 per $100.
Hugh Riddel, 1775; Joseph Wilson, 1777; James Wilson, 1777; Eleanor Williams, 1781; Esther Bell, 1782; Lieut. John Thornton, 1783; Wm. Miller, 1783; Agnes Stewart, 1784; Capt. Benjamin Clark, 1786; Anna Caldwell, 1788; Thos. Bell, 1789; Joseph McEwen, 1791; Margaret Wilson, 1795; John Patterson, 1797; Robert Miller, 1798; Eleanor Patterson, 1796; Abraham Peck, 1798; Deacon Thomas McGee, 1798; James Bell, 1793; Ann Riddell, 1790; Rev. Sand. Taggart, 1825.