Knowlton, D.[aniel] H.
Autograph Letter Signed, Lowell, Massachusetts, January 31, 1827 to Lucy P. Knowlton, Hopkinton, New Hampshire

quarto, two pages, plus stamp-less address leaf, formerly folded, some soiling and light stains, the writer’s handwriting somewhat difficult to read, but is readable, very good.

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“I begin this epistle not knowing whether an opportunity will offer itself for sending it or not… The General Court is now in session at Boston, among the petitions are two for Bank, one in Lowell and one in Belvidere. A Bank in Lowell would be quite convenient where they pay out 4 or $ 6000 every fortnight, nearly all Boston. Many things in the market here go very cheap I have seen good chickens sold for 6 cents per pound turkey 6 ½ or seven and good bacon for 6 cents, all of which might have been sold for from 8 to 10 cents, but speculators will lie and take the advantage of country farmers. I have seen how reports are circulated against the Factories; it is done by a few not very respectable characters who pay their daily – or hourly visits to the taverns, - not in Lowell for here they have something else to do, and pass off their jokes… all of which is taken for truth by many of the ignorant, and like clouds in the summer grow darker the farther they go, till peals of thunder from the old Ladies make it a complete tempest, all of which time will sweep away…”

 

          The textile companies of Lowell became famous for employing young “Mill Girls”, most between the ages of 16 and 35 – 600 in 1826, 8,000 by 1840, making up three-fourths of the mill work force. This was probably the first and largest group of American women employed during the early Industrial Revolution – some came to support their families, some to gain economic independence from men, and some to earn money to further their formal education. Rumors of “immoral” behavior among the women were no doubt rife, but Daniel Knowlton, who published the weekly Lowell Journal, was determined to defend the textile factories and their female laborers.