Conway — Early Industries
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The first manufacturing industry, other than a saw- or grist-mill, was opened by Aaron Hayden, who set up a "fulling" mill on the South River. Seventeen years later Dr. Moses Hayden and R. Wells added to it an oil-mill. In 1810 its site was occupied by a broadcloth-manufactory, and later as a cotton-bag factory, operated by Gen. Dickinson; it was destroyed by fire in 1856. The mill stood within the limits of Conway Centre. As before noted, Edmund Burke erected a woolen-mill in Burkeville in 1837, and in 1842, at the same place, Alonzo Parker began the manufacture of carpenter and joiner's tools, and, shortly afterward organizing the Conway Tool Company, the business was so expanded that upward of 80 men were employed. In the year 1851 the company transferred its operations to Greenfield, and there reorganized as the Greenfield Tool Company.
The South. River Cutlery Company erected extensive works in Burkeville in 1851, and employed at one time 135 men. The enterprise failed, however, and not long afterward passed out of existence.
Whitney & Wells manufactured largely of seamless cotton bags, beginning in 1846, and were succeeded by L. B. Wright, whose works were destroyed by fire in 1856. The site is now occupied by the mills of R. Tucker & Co.
The Conway Mutual Insurance Company was organized in 1849, and in 1854 changed to the Conway Stock and Mutual Insurance Company; in 1860 transferred its stock department to Boston, and in 1876 closed business.
According to the State census reports of 1875, the value of manufactures in Conway for that year aggregated $333,430; that of agricultural and domestic products, $235,296. In 1878 the assessed valuation of the town was $667,896, of which $494,043 were on real estate. The total tax—State, county, and town—was $9798, a rate of $1.46 per $100.
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