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|A 19th Century Immigrant's View of Lowell
tells the story of John Wood, a cabinet-maker from Bury, England who immigrated
to Lowell in 1858 and lived here until his tragic death in 1869.
The letters and other historical documents on exhibit help to tell the
story of one man's life and what he observed around him in Lowell during
the mid 1800's.
The Historical Background
Through extensive research
conducted locally and in Bury, England, a more complete portrait of John
Wood has emerged. We now have much information regarding his
early years in England, the reasons he immigrated to Lowell, where he lived,
worked and worshipped, the events in his life after his last letter of
1860, the impact of the Civil War years upon his life, and the events leading
up to his tragic
In his letter of 1858, the engraved heading of which appears below, John, writing to his brother, marvels at the appearance of the mills and the female factory workers:
I never saw such a place for females as Lowell is in summer you may with see them coming from the mills with there vails of blue green or black wich the all wear and parosols and as neat and clean as if the where going to church in the mills in every room there are washstands with iron wash bowls in rotation with water taps sinks and all complete."
"...I was in the Merrimack Corporation
... I can assure you the look much more comfortable here in the mills than
home every one has a stool ore chair to sit upon and watch there work and
like wise all provided with a looking glass where you may see them stand
combing their hair at the glass and straightening up themselves as if in
a bedroom ..."
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