Tag Archives: Charles Cowley

Charles Cowley – Week 8

Here’s the eighth installment of my Twitter “tweets” of Charles Cowley’s “Illustrated History of Lowell.” We’ve almost reached the city’s incorporation in 1826 (as a town). Much happened here before Lowell even existed.

In 1819 Moses Hale + Oliver Whipple built a (gun) powder mill on Concord River in Lowell

In 1818 Thomas Hurd purchased the East Chelmsford cotton mill of Whiting + Fletcher + converted it into a woolen mill

In 1818, Winthrop Howe started a flannel mill at Wamesit Falls in Belvidere

The bridge across the Concord River at East Merrimack St was constructed in 1819

Maj General Joseph Varnum of Dracut died in 1821 at age 70 – “the most distinguished man in the Merrimack Valley”

While visiting England in 1810 Francis Cabot Lowell studied manufacturing hoping to introduce a similar system in America

In 1813 Francis Cabot Lowell returned to Boston convinced that cotton manufacturing in America could compete with England

Charles Cowley – Week 7

Here’s the seventh installment of my Twitter “tweets” of Charles Cowley’s “Illustrated History of Lowell.” We’ve almost reached the city’s incorporation in 1826 (as a town). Much happened here before Lowell even existed.

1st steamboat traveled from Boston to Concord NH in 1819 via Middlesex Canal & Merrimack River

By 1853 railroads put Middlesex Canal out of business and much of it was filled in

First “textile mill” in Middlesex County built in 1801 by Moses Hale on River Meadow Brook in what became Lowell

In 1805 a stone bridge across the Merrimack at Pawtucket Falls replaced the 1792 wooden structure at cost of $14000

In 1812 flow of textiles from England to America cut off due to war. Demand for domestic manufacturing explodes

In 1813, Phineas Whiting + Josiah Fletcher built a wooden cotton mill on the Merrimack in Chelmsford

In 1816 saw + grist mills were built at Pawtucket Falls, at the junction of the Concord + Merrimack + in Chelmsford on the Merrimack

Charles Cowley – Week 6

Here’s the sixth in my weekly compilations of Twitter “tweets” from Charles Cowley’s “Illustrated History of Lowell.” I think I missed posting this one when I went on vacation.

July 13 – In 1793 the Proprietors of the Middlesex Canal began work on the canal that ran from Chelmsford to Charlestown.

July 14 – Middlesex Canal was completed in 1804 at a cost of $700,000. It was 31 miles long, 24 feet wide and 4 feet deep

July 15 – Middlesex Canal was 1st canal in US to provide passenger service. From Chelmsford to Boston took one full day

July 16 – “Vast quantities of timber grown around Winnespesawkee Lake” were transported to Boston via Middlesex Canal.

July 17 – 1st boat trip from Boston to Concord NH was via Middlesex Canal & Merrimack River in 1814. First steam boat in 1819.

Charles Cowley – Week 5

In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Here’s my fifth weekly compilation of “tweeting” from Cowley’s book:

July 3 – Chelmsford always gave tax breaks & land grants to millers, mechanics & traders so they would settled in the town. Many did.

July 5 – By end of 18th century Billerica Tewksbury Chelmsford & Dracut all had many saw-mills, grist-mills & mechanics shops.

July 7 – At end of 18th century, this region became a center of lumber production – Pawtucket Canal dug to get lumber passed the falls.

July 7 – In 1792 Proprietors of the Locks & Canals on Merrimack River incorporated – the oldest still active corporation in the US.

July 8 – Construction of Pawtucket Canal began in 1792; it took 4 years to complete and cost $50,000.

Charles Cowley – Week 4

In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Here’s my fourth weekly compilation of “tweeting” from Cowley’s book:

June 29 – On October 29, 1727 an earthquake caused walls and chimneys to fall throughout the Merrimack Valley

June 29 (2) – In 1734, the General Court incorporated the town of Tewksbury which had previously been part of Billerica

June 30 – In 1745 the French fortress of Louisburg was captured by English troops from Massachusetts led by Sir William Pepperell

July 1 – On June 17, 1775, 2 militia companies from Chelmsford & 1 from Dracut fought at Bunker Hill

July 2 – At Bunker Hill, with no more ammo Captain Colburn of Dracut struck a British officer with a stone allowing his men to retreat

July 3 – In Nov 1776 Merrimack Valley reps led by Dracut’s Joseph Varnum asked legislature for price controls against wartime inflation

Charles Cowley – Week 3

In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Here’s my third weekly compilation of “tweeting” from Cowley’s book:

June 19 – In 1686 Col Tyng, Maj Henchman et al purchased from Wannalancet all land in region, leaving native Americans hunting & fishing rights

June 22 – During King William’s War (1688-96) the fort at Pawtucket Falls was garrisoned but in Aug 1692 Indians killed 8 in Billerica

June 23 – On August 5, 1695, an Indian raid on Tewksbury (then part of Billerica) left 14 residents dead

June 23 – Dracut was incorporated in 1701 with 25 families. Previously part of Chelmsford, it was named for the Varnum’s parish in Wales

June 25 – After King Phillip’s War, some Chelmsford residents occupied Indian land in Wamesit and began using it as their own

June 26 – In 1725 Samuel Pierce elected to represent Chelmsford in General Court but he lived in Wamesit and was not allowed to serve

June 27 – When General Court refused to seat Samuel Pierce, residents of Wamesit stopped paying taxes so GC annexed it to Chelmsford

Charles Cowley – Week 2

In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Here’s my second weekly compilation of “tweeting” from Cowley’s book:

June 13 – In 1669 Wannalancet fearing a Mohawk attack built a fort on a hill in Belvidere called ever since Fort Hill

June 14 – In 1675 came King Phillip’s War. “Local Indians” suffered severely at hands of “hostile Indians” and “low whites.”

June 15 – In King Phillip’s War a “party of scoundrels from Chelmsford” came to Wamesit, set fire to Indian wigwams, killed 7 invalids

June 16 – In King Phillip’s War, 2 buildings in Chelmsford were burned and 2 sons of Samuel Varnum were shot while crossing river to Dracut

June 17 – In April 1676, colonists erected a fort at Pawtucket Falls; stop spread of attacks during King Phillip’s War

June 18 – Wannalancet returned to Wamesit after the war but colonists were already using his fields & he was banished to Wickasauke Island

Charles Cowley – Week 1

In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Earlier this week I began “tweeting” these facts on Twitter, one each day. Here’s a compilation of this week’s tweets:

June 7 – My new project: a daily Tweet from “Illustrated History of Lowell” by Charles Cowley from 1868

June 7 – In 1647 Rev John Eliot made first visit to Pawtucket Falls returning every year until Wamesit village abandoned

June 8 – In 1652 Captains Simon Willard and Edward Johnson surveyed Merrimack Valley as far north as “Lake Winnepesawkee”

June 9 – On May 29, 1655, the Mass General Court incorporated the towns of Chelmsford & Billerica

June 10 – Mass General Court incorporated town of Wamesit (now downtown Lowell) at behest of Rev Eliot on May 29, 1655

June 11 – In 1660, Passaconaway “retired” as leader of the Pennacooks & was succeeded by his son Wannalancet

June 12 – In 1669 Wannalancet fearing a Mohawk attack built a fort on a hill in Belvidere called ever since Fort Hill

Tweeting the “History of Lowell”

More than a year ago, the Massachusetts Historical Society began publishing the diaries of John Quincy Adams on Twitter. Adams was a prolific diarist, writing something everyday from the age of 12 until he died, leaving behind 14,000 pages. Since Twitter only allows posts of 140 characters, it may be centuries until the project is complete. Still, each day I look forward to my small nugget from John Quincy Adams.

This Adams-Tweets also gave me a Lowell-centric idea. In 1868 Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell” which covered the city’s history from before the English arrived until just after the American Civil War. Long out of copyright, the book is now freely available on Google Books for viewing and download. Like Adams’ diaries, Cowley’s book is filled with fascinating facts about our city’s history making it the perfect candidate for a long-term Twitter project. So tonight I’ll begin Tweeting the “Illustrated History of Lowell” (or at least my own abridged version of it). If you’d like to follow along, click the Twitter icon in the right sidebar and then click “follow” when my Twitter page appears. For those of you not ready to make the leap into Twitter, I’ll try to post a compilation of each week’s Tweets here on this blog each Sunday.