Rowe — Manufacturing Interests
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The water-power of Pelham Brook has been utilized to good advantage, and was made to operate a saw-mill at the village soon after the town was settled. A small grist-mill was also put into operation before 1780. The early owners were the Chapins and the Thomases. In later years the Reeds became the proprietors, who sold the grist-mill to Abijah Burnap. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by him, and after being changed for other purposes was again consumed by fire in 1872. This privilege is now unemployed. The power above operates a saw-mill, built by Ambrose Stone, and in which machinery for grinding was placed in 1871, by David Henry. The establishment is now carried on by Moses Bullard.
In a few years after the above power was improved a saw-mill was erected on the brook flowing from the northwest, by a man named Ward. From this circumstance the brook took its name. The power has long since been abandoned.
A mile below the village Ephraim Fellows had a lumber-mill at an early day, which after many changes was destroyed by the freshet of 1869, causing the loss of the lives of Rufus Hyde and his wife.
East of the centre of the town, on Pelham Brook, the Chapin Brothers built a mill, which has had among its operators Royal Stone, H. A. Kendrick, C. E. Graves, and Jude Tuttle; and above this point John Cheney formerly had a chair-factory.
At the centre, S. Nash had a small tannery before 1800, which was afterward operated on a more extensive scale by Asa Foster (2d). Other proprietors were Enos Adams, Alfred Olds, and Thomas Harrington. About the same time Alfred Olds established a tannery at the village, which has been successively carried on by Pliny and Joel Wells, Hitchcock & Maxwell, and by the present proprietors, Messrs. Scott & Son, under whose management it forms a considerable industry. Tanning had also been carried on below this place by Jude Cooper.
About 1808, Selah Munson built a fulling-mill at the village, but soon after sold his interests to Ebenezer Nims. After 1812, Erastus and Moses Gleason enlarged the business, and added sixty spindles for the manufacture of satinets. The machinery for carding was then removed and the clothing-works carried on by Solomon Amidon and Moses Gleason, who changed the location of the factory to a point farther up the stream, where it was successfully operated.
In 1836, Solomon Amidon and Joseph Burton erected the present factory building,—a large three-story frame structure,—and supplied it with good machinery for the manufacture of satinets. This business was afterward carried on by a stock company, which was discontinued before 1848. Subsequently the factory has been partially operated by S. P. Day.
Wooden-ware has been manufactured here, and it is said that an invoice of bowls was sent to California for use in the placer-washings when gold was first discovered. Cut nails have also been made by Erastus Gleason. Other small industries flourished for a short time between 1825 and 1850. The town is yet well supplied with the ordinary mechanic-shops.
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01 Ju1 2005