Size: 6 ft.
Catalog number: MSS 29
Processed by: Harold E. Kemble, September, 1980
©Rhode Island Historical Society
1789: Moses Brown (1738-1836), although retired, had interested himself in the business of yarn manufacture. When his prospective son-in-law, William Almy (1761-1836) expressed a desire to enter into the business of cotton manufacture, Moses took him as a partner in a firm called "Brown & Almy". Their first step into the business was the purchase of other manufacturers' hand-powered machinery which they put into operation at various places about Providence.
Apr 1789: Wishing to drive their machines by water power, Moses leased a vacant fulling shed at a place in North Providence on the west side of the Pawtucket River, near the falls. More machines were purchased and some where made, and these were stocked in the Pawtucket factory. None operated well enough to make a successful commercial venture of it. Moses, willing to cut his personal losses, decided to return to retirement.
Sep 1789: He brought his cousin Smith Brown (1756-1813) into the firm as a junior partner, changing the firm style to "Almy & Brown". Moses retained control of the finances of the firm and continued to seek a skilled workman to make his machines efficient. The new company continued to trade in general merchandise from a store in Providence, buying goods from incoming vessels and local manufacturers and selling it to a generally local clientele. For a short time they attempted to manufacture stocking yarn, but abandoned it. Faulty and out-moded machines continued to hamper their hopes of entering into the manufacturing field. Samuel Slater (1768-1835), a skilled textile worker recently immigrated from England, and learned of Moses Brown's continuing search for someone able to harness his textile machinery to water power.
Dec 1789: He exchanged letters with Moses and they agreed upon terms whereby Slater would attempt the job.
Jan 1790: Upon Slater's arrival in Providence he was taken to Pawtucket to see the machinery. Sources differ on whether Slater had only to alter the existing machinery or to make entirely new machinery. Whichever was the case, in only two months he, with the skilled assistance of Sylvanus Brown and Oziel Wilkenson, succeeded in making water-powered machines operating on the Arkwright principle. Having successfully fulfilled the terms of their original agreement, Samuel Slater was brought into a new corporate relationship with his partners.
5 Apr 1790: The firm of "Almy, Brown & Slater" was organized, whereby Slater was placed in control of the manufacturing operations. The old firm of Almy & Brown, while continuing with their on-going mercantile activity in Providence, became the marketing agent for goods produced at Pawtucket. They were also the purchasing agent for all of the raw materials used at the factory. Slater personally supervised work in the mill and work put out, while continuing his own work on new machine designs.
Sep 1790: By the end of the summer there was enough work for the mill to hire full-time employees, children, to operate the machinery.
Dec 1790: By December Slater had succeeded in perfecting the water driven carding machine.
Apr 1791: Production gradually exceeded the capacity of Almy & Brown to market the goods through outlets then available to them, so they began to advertise their yarn in local newspapers.
Jun 1791: In June, the first lot of entirely machine spun cotton yarn was sold.
Nov 1791: Demand for their fine spun yarn and thread was so great that Almy & Brown purchased a site for a new mill, close by the old shed in Pawtucket.
20 Jan 1793: Upon the retirement of Smith Brown his interest in the firm was taken up by Obadiah Brown (1771-1822), son of Moses and brother-in-law to William Almy. (Hedges incorrectly dated this change as being 1791; Bagnall guessed that it happened on 15 Jul 1792, when Obadiah "attained his majority.")
Jul 1793: The new mill at Pawtucket was completed and put into operation. Thereafter, all work was done on machinery in the mill. A new dam supplied power to the works which included a dye house and later (1795) a blacksmith shop.
31 Aug 1799: Five years later Almy & Brown purchased a controlling interest in the spinning company established in 1794 by William Potter, James and Job Greene and John Allen, with mills located at Centerville, Warwick. The mills manufactured cotton twist and yarn, some of which Almy & Brown sold and some of which they kept for their own purposes. Products of the Pawtucket mill, by 1802, included warp and woof yarn, knitting and weaving yarn for stockings, and candle wicking.
1806: Samuel Slater's brother, John (1776-1843), came to America and joined the new company called "Almy, Brown & Slaters". He went directly to the town of Smithfield where he supervised the building of a large new mill complex, around which grew the village that came to be named "Slatersville".
1807: These mills were completed and put into production in 1807, just in time to face the devastating effects of the newly imposed embargo. With most of their regular outlets in port cities closed, the company was forced to find new means of disposing their growing yarn output. They determined that the best solution to the problem of swelling yarn stocks was to weave it themselves, which by 1809, they were increasingly doing. Still using hand looms, they did not succeed in greatly reducing their yarn inventory. With the ports closed Almy & Brown worked hard to develop new markets in the west in which were accessible by land routes. The most important were in Philadelphia and Baltimore. In 1809 the company was marketing, in addition to yarn and thread, shirting and sheeting, bed ticking, ginghams, chambrays, stripes and checks.
Jun 1813: With the death of Smith Brown his interest firm passed to his wife.
Oct 1822: Upon the death of Obadiah Brown his interest passed to William Jenkins, William Almy's son-in-law. the name of the firm remained Almy & Brown.
1832: In the notice dated 22 November, William Almy, William Jenkins and John Slater informed their commercial agents that "the late firm of Almy, Brown and Slater has been dissolved by mutual agreement". The firm's interest in The Smithfield Mills was sold to Samuel and John Slater. In the same month William Almy sold his interest of Almy, Brown & Slaters to Samuel and John Slater, known thereafter by the firm style of "S. & J. Slater". Samuel Slater died shortly thereafter.
1832-1846: From 1832-1846, Almy & Brown also operated Center Dale Mill. This was not in the North Providence Village later known as Centerdale, it was in Central Falls, now a city, then a neighborhood of Smithfield near Pawtucket.
Apr 1835: The name of the firm still did not change in the next year when William Almy died.
Feb 1836: His one third interest passed to his daughter, Anna, wife of William Jenkins.
Sep 1836: Death of Moses Brown.
May 1843: Death of John Slater.
Mar 1846: The death of William Jenkins left complete ownership of Almy & Brown in the hands of his wife. Anna Almy leased the works to Gideon C. Smith & Co. who operated it until his death in 1849, when ownership passed to her son Moses Brown Jenkins who conveyed the property to a trustee.
Apr 1856: Samuel Boyd Tobey, trustee for Moses Brown Jenkins, sold the company to Henry Jerauld & Co., ending the manufacturing history of the firm Almy & Brown.
Bagnall, William R. Samuel Slater and the Early Development of the Cotton Manufacture in the
United States. Middlesown, Conn: [s.n.] (J.S. Stewart, printer), 1890. .
Cameron, Edward High. Samuel Slater, Father of American Manufacturers. [Freeport, Me.]:
The Bond Wheelright Company, .
Gaspee (Schooner). "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the
Century." edited by Edward Field. 2 leaves, p. 467-469.
Hedges, James Blaine. The Browns of Providence Plantations. Providence: Brown University
Walton, Perry. The Story of Textiles. New York: Tudor Publishing Co, .
White, George S. Memoir of Samuel Slater. Philadelphia: Printed at No. 46 Carpenter Street,
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Scope and content:
The unbound papers in this collection are arranged in chronological order; bound materials are numbered sequentially as they appear on the inventory. Included are Administrative Records, 1789-1821; Purchasing and Receiving Records, 1789-1806; Production Records, 1789-1846; Sales Records, 1791-1841; Letters 1789-1832; and Miscellany.
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- Articles of organization--see "Agreements" (1789-1791, 1793, 1799-1801, 1806, 1810, 1818, 1819, 1825) for the terms whereby the owners of the company and its offspring established their corporate relationships to each other.
-Property Transfers (1798, 1799, 1801, 1805-1811, 1813-1815, 1818, 1821, 1823, 1825, 1829, 1832). Deeds, plats and any other unbound documents pertaining to acquisition of land and buildings are filed under "Property Transfers".
-Tax Records consist of receipts, which are filed in the unbound papers in the folders labeled "Accounts, Corporate", and in Receipt Books (volumes numbered 65 and 66)
-Blotters. 1791-1807, were used to record the mercantile business, mainly of the store. Individuals are debited for retail goods received; they are credited with the value of the goods and services rendered to the company.
Vol. 1 Jul 1791- Mar 1792
Vol. 2 Mar 1792- Nov 1792
Vol. 3 Nov 1792- Sep 1793
Vol. 4 Sep 1793- Mar 1794
Vol. 5 Mar 1794- Aug 1794
Vol. 6 Aug 1794- Mar 1795
Vol. 7 Mar 1795- Jun 1795
Vol. 8 Jun 1795- May 1796
Vol. 9 Aug 1796- Nov 1797
Vol. 10 Nov 1797-Sep 1798
Vol. 11 Jul 1798- May 1799
Vol. 12 Oct 1800- Oct 1801
Vol. 13 Oct 1801- Dec 1802
Vol. 14 Dec 1802- Apr 1804
Vol. 15 Nov 1804- Dec 1805
Vol. 16 Apr 1804- Nov 1804
Vol. 17 1806
Vol. 18 Jan 1807- Mar 1807
Vol. 19 Mar 1807- May 1807
Vol. 20 Aug 1807- Oct 1807
-Day Books. Bound volumes of records showing the company charged with the value of goods and services received; credited for retail sales of goods from stock and debits to owners and others for funds received by them. (Also see vol. 103):
Vol. 21 Sep 1789- Dec 1793
Vol. 22 Dec 1793- Aug 1794
Vol. 23 Aug 1794- May 1795
Vol. 24 May 1837- Apr 1844
-Journals. Bound volume recording debits to the company for manufacturing expenses; credits for value of goods produced and saleable.
Vol. 25 Sep 1789- Nov 1792 (and unident. 1794-1796)
-Accounts with Mills--Pawtucket. Unbound papers (1790-1798, 1800-1806, 1808-1814, 1816-1819) including all of Samuel Slater's letters, memoranda, nots, orders, reports, etc. to his partners; and bound volumes of records of accounts with the firm Almy, Brown & Slater:
Vol. 26 Jan 1793- Sep 1804: Cotton Mill (account) to Samuel
Vol. 27 Aug 1793- Oct 1801: Almy & Brown account with Cotton
Vol. 28 Aug 1793- Dec 1801: Cotton Mill account
Vol. 29 Jan 1804- Dec 1804: Almy & Brown account with Cotton
Vol. 30 Jan 1805- Dec 1805: Spinning Mill account
Vol. 31 Jan 1807- Sep 1807: Almy & Brown account with Spinning
Vol. 32 Jan 1808- Dec 1808: Almy & Brown account with
Vol. 33 1809: Acct. of cloth returned to A. B. & S.
Vol. 34 Jan 1810- Dec 1810: Almy & Brown account with
Vol. 35 Jan 1814- Dec 1814: Almy & Brown account
Vol. 36 Jan 1817- Jan 1818: Dr. Almy & Brown to A. B. & S.
Vol. 37 1818: Spinning Mill Account against A.& B.
Vol. 38 Jan 1820- May 1821: Spinning Mill account against A. &
Vol. 39 Jan 1821- Dec 1821: Almy & Brown's account with
-Accounts with Mills--Warwick. Unbound papers (1799-1806, 1808-1814, 1816-1819, 1825-1828, 1831, 1832) and bound volumes of records with "Owners of Warwick Spinning Mills", a.k.a. the Warwick Manufacturing Company, including James Greene, John Allan, Joseph M. Greene II and William Potter:
Vol. 40 Jan 1803- Dec 1804: A & B account with Spinning Mills
Vol. 41 Jan 1804- Mar 1805: A & B account with owners of Warwick Spinning Mills
Vol. 42 Jan- Jun 1808: A& B account with owners of Warwick Spinning Mills
Vol. 43 Jan-Jun 1809: A & B account with owners of Warwick Spinning Mills
Vol. 44 Jul-Dec 1809: A & B account with owners of Warwick
Vol. 45 Jul 1810- Jan 1811: A & B account with owners of
Warwick Spinning Mill
Vol. 46 Jan 1811- Jul 1812: A & B account with owners of
Warwick Spinning Mill
Vol. 47 Jan 1820- May 1821: Almy & Brown's account with Warwick Manufacturing Co.
Vol. 48 1821: Almy & Brown's account with Warwick
Vol. 49 1822: Almy & Brown's account with Warwick
Vol. 50 1823: Almy & Brown's account with Warwick
Vol. 51 May- Dec 1823: William Almy's account with Warwick
Vol. 52 Jan- Dec 1824: William Almy's account with Warwick
Vol. 53 Jan- Dec 1826: William Almy's account with Warwick
Jul- Dec 1826: Almy & Brown's account with Warwick
Vol. 54 Jan- Dec 1827: William Almy's account with Warwick Manufacturing Co.
Vol. 55 Jan- Dec 1828: William Almy's account with Warwick Manufacturing Co.
Vol. 56 1829: William Almy's account with Warwick
Vol. 57 1830: William Almy's account with Warwick
-Account with Mills-- Smithfield. Unbound papers (1807-1832) of accounts with the firm of Almy, Brown & Slaters.
-Cash Books. Records of cash receipts and disbursements.
Vol. 58 Aug 1799- Feb 1802: Cash Book #7
Vol. 59 Feb 1802- Nov 1804: Cash Book #3
Vol. 60 May 1832- Jun 1846
Vol. 60a Dec 1832- Feb 1835: (Centerdale)
Vol. 61 Feb 1835- Apr 1846
-Accounts with Owners. Notes and personal charges, 1789-1794, 1796, 1797, 1800, 1802, 1807, 1812, 1814, 1819, 1821, 1824, 1831, 1832.
-Ledgers. We have only a single undated c. 1799) "alphabet" or index saved in hopes of someday finding the ledger to match up with it.
-Notes. A volume listing notes given, 1794-1798, by Almy & Brown.
-Bank Book. A record of drafts written in account at the Smithfield Union Bank, 1805-1806.
-Insurance. Policies, 1801-1804, 1806-1808, 1810-1813, written by various companies insuring structures, vessels, cargoes, etc.
Purchasing and Receiving Records
-Receipts. Loose receipts are scattered throughout the folders of accounts. Receipt books include:
Vol. 65 1794-1798: Providence accounts recording payments for
supplies and materials.
Vol. 66 1798-1801: Entries after 1800 specify accounts pertaining
to Warwick Spinning Mill--payment to people for
work and for supplies and materials.
-Accounts, Providence. Unbound papers, 1798-1806, 1808-1811, 1818-1821--notes, shipping and general mercantile activities, probably including some information actually pertaining to Pawtucket. Also, a minute book of store transactions, shipping and buildings. Important.
Vol. 67 Aug 1783- Jun 1790: On p. 61 it is noted at the bottom:
"All the past entries on this book are on Smith
Brown's own private account and those on the
pages forward the Company account of Almy &
Brown." (Date is approx.1 Sep 1789)
-Miscellaneous Accounts. Unbound papers, 1789-1797, show payments to millers, teamsters, masons, people providing boarding for workers, school teachers for the workers, and to others whose services and goods are not directly related to the manufacturing process. Bound records include:
Vol. 68 Feb 1835- Mar 1844: Untitled record of payments to
Vol. 69 Mar 1841- Mar 1843: Ledger fragment recording payments
Purchasing and Receiving Records
-Miscellaneous Accounts, 1789-1797--unbound papers including mostly receipted bills for services, raw materials for manufacturing, and goods to be sold in the store.
-Invoice Book. Record of bale cotton purchased. Shows the source and to which of the mills it was sold.
Vol. 70 Aug 1802- Feb 1806
-Accounts with artisans. Unbound papers, 1789-1797. During these critical early years the company employed numerous "mechanics", woodworkers, weavers, spinners, dyers and other skilled workers whose labor was directly related to production. Bills, receipts and accounts are filed in this subseries,
-Agreements. Unbound material, 1789-1791, 1793, 1799-1801, 1806, 1816, 1818, 1819, 1825 and n.d., including contracts with workman and others.
Pickers' Accounts. Bound volumes of accounts with individuals and families for out-work:
Vol. 71 Jul-Dec 1800
Vol. 72 Jun- Dec 1800: Cotton Book
Vol. 73 Oct 1800- Feb 1802
-Spinners' accounts. Bound Volumes of out-work and of production within the mills:
Vol. 74 Sep 1789-Nov 1792
Vol. 75 1791-1792: Invoice book of cotton yarn rec'd from
Vol. 76 Jan 1796-Sep 1797: Twist received from Spinning Mills
Vol. 77 Aug 1804-Dec 1805: Invoice Book containing each bill of
cotton rec'd from spinning mills at Pawtucket.
-Weavers' Accounts. Bound Volumes of records of production by out-workers and workers in the mills. (Also see Vols. 97-100, 103):
Vol. 78 Oct 1791- Oct1792: Weaver's book
Vol. 79 Dec 1793- Jun 1796: Weaver's book
Vol. 80 Feb 1796- Jun 1797: Account of Cloth Returned and Stock and Labor
Vol. 81 Dec 1832- Aug 1841: Weaver's Book--Account of cloth wove and wages paid at Centerdale Mill
Time & Wages Books. Bound volumes showing workers names, days worked and wages earned:
Vol. 83 Nov 1832- Feb 1835: CenterDale Mill
Vol. 84 Feb 1835- Dec 1838: CenterDale Mill
Vol. 85 Dec 1838- Jun 1845: CenterDale Mill
-Orders. A bound volume of records of who ordered what, and the relevant dates. (Also see correspondence):
Vol. 86 Feb-Aug 1806
-Yarn Sales. Bound Volumes of records of yarn and wicking sales.
Vol. 87 1791-1792: Invoice of cotton yarn received from spinning
mills--consists mostly of "Account of Sales..." Jan
Vol. 88 Oct 1797- Aug 1798: Invoice of Yarn sold and taken to
(Almy & Brown's) own use
Vol. 89 Jan 1799- Dec 1801: Invoice Book of cotton yarn rec'd
from Pawtucket Spinning Mills sold, sent for sale
and taken (by Almy & Brown).
Vol. 90 Oct 1799- Dec 1806: Invoice of cotton yarn received from
and Warwick Spinning Mills and how disposed of.
Vol. 91 Nov 1799- Jan 1803: Invoice of Warwick Yarn. . .
Vol. 92 1802: Invoice of Warwick Yarn. . .
Vol. 93 Jan 1802-Oct 1806: Invoice of Cotton Yarn. . .from
Vol. 94 Feb 1802- Dec 1803: Pawtucket Yarn sold
Vol. 95 Jun 1800- Apr 1802: Invoice Warwick Yarn . . .
Vol. 96 1804: Pawtucket Yarn sold
- Cloth Sales Bound record of sales (see also unbound Accounts for all dates):
Vol. 97 Jan 1795- Sep 1797: Weaver's book, tells by whom the
cloth was woven and finished, to whom sold, and
Vol. 98 May 1802- Aug 1804: Invoice Book of Bed Tickings, etc.
Tells by whom wove and to whom sold.
Vol. 99 Aug 1804- Dec 1806: Continues the above volume, but
also includes muslins.
Vol. 100 Mar 1840-Jan 1841: "Summary showing quantity of goods
at any time. . . in the hands of (commission
-Finishing Records. Bound volumes of records of dying and calendering done on their own goods and custom finishing done for others (see also Accounts, Artisans, for all dates):
Vol. 101 Jan 1791-Dec 1793: Dye House Book
Vol. 102 Jan-Dec 1794: Dye House Book
Vol. 103 Feb 1794-Oct 1797: Dye House Book
Business correspondences and memos, incoming and outgoing. Personal letters formerly kept with this collection have been dispersed to the personal papers of the recipients. All of Samuel Slater's memos, orders, reports are together in the unbound accounts of the Pawtucket mill (1790-1798, 1800-1806, 1808-1814, 1816, 1819)
-Unbound incoming, copies and drafts of outgoing, 1789-1804, 1806, 1808-1810, 1812, 1813, 1815, 1817-1822, 1829, 1832.
-Letter Books. Bound copies of outgoing:
Vol. 104 Mar 1797-Nov 1799: Begins as a day book, 1790-1791;
includes also "An Account of Stockings Wove and
Mostly Delivered But Not Settled for," 1789-1791
Vol. 105 Jan 1802- Jan 1803
Vol. 106 Feb-Dec 1803: Book #2
Vol. 107 Dec 1803-Oct 1804: Book #3
Vol. 108 Nov 1804-Nov 1805: Book #4
Vol. 109 Nov 1805-Jan 1807: Book #5
Vol. 110 Jan 1807-Nov 1808: Book #6
Vol. 111 Nov 1808-Nov 1810: Book #7
Vol. 112 Apr 1813-Sep 1815
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Almy, William, 1761-1836.
Almy, William, 1761-1836.
Almy, Brown & Slater.
Brown, Moses, 1738-1836.
Brown & Almy.
Brown, Obadiah, 1771-1822.
Brown, Smith, 1756-1813.
Brown, Sylvanus, 1747-1824.
Business records - Rhode Island - Pawtucket.
Business records - Rhode Island - Providence.
Business records - Rhode Island - Smithfield.
Business records - Rhode Island - Warwick.
Cabinet workers - Rhode Island - Pawtucket.
Center Dale Mill.
Children - Employment.
Cottage industries - Rhode Island.
Cotton manufacture - Rhode Island - Pawtucket.
Cotton manufacture - Rhode Island - Smithfield .
Cotton manufacture - Rhode Island - Warwick.
Coxe, Tench, 1755-1824.
Deeds - Connecticut - Farmington, 1808.
Deeds - Massachusetts - Attleborough, 1832.
Deeds - Massachusetts - Dudley, 1815, 1821.
Deeds - Massachusetts - Uxbridge, 1832.
Deeds - Rhode Island - Pawtucket, 1828-1832.
Deeds - Rhode Island - Providence, 1809-1832.
Deeds - Rhode Island - North Providence, 1832.
Deeds - Rhode Island - Smithfield, 1805-1832.
Deeds - Rhode Island - Warwick, 1799-1823.
DeWolf, Charles, 1745-1820.
Hazard, Thomas, Jr., 1758-1828.
Hazard & Robinson.
Jacob & Joshua Lopez.
Jenkins, William, d. 1846.
New Wenscot (Brig).
Pawtucket (R.I.) - History.
Peck, Nicholas, 1762-1847.
Real property - Rhode Island - Maps.
Slater, John, 1776-1843.
Slater, Samuel, 1768-1835.
Slatersville (R.I.) - History.
Smithfield (R.I.) - History.
Smithfield Manufacturing Company.
Textile factories - Rhode Island - Pawtucket.
Textile factories - Rhode Island - Smithfield.
Textile factories - Rhode Island - Warwick.
Unity Cotton Manufacturing Company.
Updike, Daniel, 1761-1842.
Warwick (R.I.) - History.
Warwick Manufacturing Company.
Water power - Rhode Island - Pawtucket.
Water power - Rhode Island - Smithfield.
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