Abstract

The Otis Company of Ware, Massachusetts, was founded in 1839 and became a major producer of textiles, including checks, denims, and cotton underwear. At the height of their operations, the company operated three mills with a workforce of over 1,300. The collection contains correspondence between Otis agent Henry Lyon and the firms of Parks, Wright & Co. (1846-47) and Wright, Whitman & Co. (1847), both of Boston. It includes bills, invoices, letters, and memos, covering orders for such goods as lamp glasses, patent starch, whale oil, gas pipes, bales of cotton, pot and pearl ashes, fish glue, sour flour, fire buckets, potato starch, tar, sheet copper, and indigo.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
413-545-2780
Otis Company Records
1846-1847
2 folders (1 envelope) (0.25 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 310

Background on Otis Company

The Otis Company of Ware Massachusetts was founded by James W. Otis in 1839 with capital of $350,000. It purchased a part of the property of the Hampshire Manufacturing Company that lay north of the Ware River, and at the time of its incorporation in 1840, the company employed 211 people, later swelling to a workforce of over 1,300. A manufacturer of textiles, including checks, denims, and cotton underwear, the company operated three mills, including one in Palmer (Three Rivers).

Contents of Collection

The collection consists of correspondence from Parks (Luther), Wright (John S.), & Co. (1846-1847), and later from Wright, Whitman (E. P.) & Co. (1847), merchants of Boston (97 Milk St.), to Mr. Henry Lyon, agent of Otis Company. Included among the correspondence are bills, invoices, letters, and memos, covering orders for such goods as lamp glasses, patent starch, whale oil, gas pipes, bales of cotton, pot and pearl ashes, fish glue, sour flour, fire buckets, potato starch, tar, sheet copper, and indigo. The correspondence principally deals with routine information relating to the invoices and bills. Other information of a "non-routine" nature is also present; especially significant are the letters of February 2 and May 21, 1847 concerning a vote of the board of directors respecting a "Guarantee Account" and a letter respecting eight Richmond Looms, for No. 3 Mill, to make ginghams.

The individual items in this collection are arranged chronologically from September 1846 through September 1847. The invoices and bills are identified with an original numerical identity [#355-409, Nos. 2-8], as well. The records are not complete as evidenced by the existing chronological and numerical gaps.

Collection inventory
Parks Wright and Co., Correspondence
1846

Box
# 355, Bill for lamp glasses
1846 September 22

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting Patent Starch
1846 October 3

Box 1: 1
# 357, Invoice bale books, oil & labels
1846 October 5

Box 1: 1
# 358, Inv. bags of bran (error in order- send back)
1846 October 8

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting marks for sheeting
1846 October 10

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting 178 bales of cotton
1846 October 10

Box 1: 1
# 359, Bill for Pipe
1846 October 13

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting 178 bales of cotton
1846 October 16

Box 1: 1
# 360, Invoice pot and pearl ashes and fish glue
1846 October 21

Box 1: 1
# 363, Invoice pipe, etc.
1846 November 2

Box 1: 1
# 364, Bill blocks
1846 November 3

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting box of pipe
1846 November 11

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter for 4 kinds good for [S.F.] Morse & Co.
1846 November 19

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting mark for sheeting
1846 November 19

Box 1: 1
# 365, Invoice whale oil
1846 November 24

Box 1: 1
# 366, Bill for 100 barrels of sour flour
1846 November 25

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting tickets being put on all the goods (quote from letter will probably go to Palmer first")
1846 December 3

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter requesting receipt for $500 for William Crampton
1846 December 5

Box 1: 1
# 368, Invoice 2 casks oil
1846 December 7

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting tickings and sheetings
1846 December 8

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting cases
1846 December 16

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting tickets
1846 December 16

Box 1: 1
letter, Letter respecting goods for S.F.Morse
1846 December 16

Box 1: 1
# 369, Invoice oil
1846 December 25

Box 1: 1
Parks Wright and Co. and Wright, Whitman & Co. Correspondence
1847

letter, Letter respecting five buckets and Insurance on No.2 & No.4 mills
1847 January 03

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting stripes sold Beebe & Co.
1847 January 07

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting no. of lamps wanted altered
1847 January 18

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting D.D.Ticks and Denims
1847 January 20

Box 1: 2
letter, Memo of vote of Bd. of Directors respecting Guarantee Account
1847 February 02

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter sending fixtures for 155 lamps
1847 February 03

Box 1: 2
# 384, Bill for pickers (sent to Ware by H. Hobbs & Son)
1847 March 13

Box 1: 2
# 392, Invoice 8 casks potatoe starch
1847 April 07

Box 1: 2
# 393, Invoice gas pipe and winter oil
1847 April 28

Box 1: 2
# 395, Invoice 1 barrel tar
1847 May 01

Box 1: 2
# 396, Invoice 1 sheet copper
1847 May 03

Box 1: 2
# 397, Bill 55 barrels flour
1847 May 07

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting color of denim
1847 May 14

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting 8 Richmond looms for No. 3 Mill to make ginghams
1847 May 21

Box 1: 2
letter, Letter respecting flour & starch for use in sizing
1847 May 22

Box 1: 2
# 403, Invoice southern flour & winter oil & indigo
1847 May 27

Box 1: 2
# 406, Bill red cotton yarn (sample)
1847 June 3

Box 1: 2
# 409, Invoice hemp lines & gold twine
1847 June 15

Box 1: 2
letter, order for goods I&S and J.W.B.
1847 July 13

Box 1: 2
# 2, Invoice labels for denims & flour
1847 July 13

Box 1: 2
# 3, Invoice potatoe starch
1847 July 15

Box 1: 2
# 4, Invoice bale twine
1847 July 16

Box 1: 2
# 5, Invoice 3 casks winter oil
1847 July 19

Box 1: 2
#8, Invoice 1 barrel tar
1847 August 10

Box 1: 2
letter, Invoice 200 bales cotton (purchased in New Orleans by Whiting Wright & Co.)
1847 August 19

Box 1: 2
letter, order for D.D.Ticks
1847 September 04

Box 1: 2
Bills of sale
1863, 1866

Box 1: 3
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from John Foster, Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 1990. The records were found by him in the attic of Draper Hall in a departmental file folder labeled with the date "1964/65". This collection is part of Accession #90-020.

This collection is part of Accession #90-020.

Bibliography
Gay, William Burton, ed. Gazetteer of Hampshire County, Mass., 1654-1887. Syracuse, N. Y. : W. B. Gay & Co., [1886?].Call no.: F72.H3 G2 1886.
Processing Information

Processed by Mike Milewski, summer 1990.

Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Otis Company Records (MS 310). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts--Ware.
  • Textile manufacturers--Massachusetts--Ware.
  • Ware (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century.
Names
  • Lyon, Henry.
  • Otis and Co.
  • Parks, Wright, and Co.
  • Wright, Whitman, and Co.