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A 19TH CENTURY IMMIGRANT'S VIEW OF LOWELL
 

He was very impressed by the number of churches 
in area, among them the nearby Shakers:

"...they get their livelyhood by making some kind of cakes that the bring into Lowell and other place they dress much like the Quakers and when the meet for worship the form in rotation along the meeting house Men on one side and Women on the other as if the was going to dance a country dance and then commence to walk backward and foreward facing each other and commence singing they shake away from all things carnal..." 

     In January 1860, Wood wrote about his experiences with a severe New England winter:

"...as a specemen of the frost I will add what I never experienced in my life before the nails would freeze to our hands if you happened to set the side of your hand on the nails the would stick there as in any as could touch your skin... but when I took it off it brought only the thin skin with it... and the made awful sore places on your hand.." 

     John Wood's narrative of the famous Pemberton Mill fire in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Tuesday, January 10, 1860, is, with the exception of newspaper accounts, one of the few first-hand reportings of this tragedy:

"...the calamity I mentioned... was a cotton mill 5 storys high falling whilst all the hands was at work... I  believe it was not more than one or two minutes from the commencement to being laid in a heap of ruins .... whist labouring to get out the wounded and those buried beneath the ruins about nine o'clock at night a man by accident... put his lantern down in the debris the better to see his way when coming in contact with some hard substance he broke it and being charged  with camphine... it immediately exploded and set the whole fabric in flames those that was alive and unhurt wich might have been saved were burned alive... I must say of all the sicking spectacles I ever saw  nothing could compare with this... one family I was acquanted and went to see had a boy working in the weave room or basement story of the mill he escaped unhurt though buried underneath the whole fabric he told me that he saw the shafting all coming down and he crept under his loom and in a moment when he opened his eyes all was darkness he began to grope about and found a woman some men had got hold off and was getting out so he clung to her hoops and  was draged out with her..."
 

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