Textile mill, Peace Dale, R.I.
Size: 2 linear feet
Catalog number: MSS 483 sg 36
Processed by: Rick Stattler and Steve Dalpe, February 1999
©Rhode Island Historical Society
The Peace Dale Manufacturing Company was a woolen firm located in South Kingstown, R.I., and was the mainstay of the diverse Hazard family financial empire from 1802 to 1918. It was at the heart of the Peace Dale mill village, and was noted for its innovative profit-sharing plans.
In 1802, Rowland Hazard (1763-1835) bought half interest in Benjamin Rodman's fulling mill on the Saugatucket River. In 1805, he acquired a carding machine in the same location. This was the beginning of the Narragansett Cotton Manufacturing Company. After 1810, Hazard's son Isaac P. Hazard (1794-1879) left school and assumed an important role in the business. Circa 1813, a power loom was purchased for the mill; the company later claimed to be "the place where the first power looms were successfully operated in America, if not in the world".
Rowland Hazard turned over the operation in 1819 to two of his sons: Isaac, and Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888), who operated it as the firm of "I.P. & R.G. Hazard". In 1826, the brothers bought out the last remaining outside investor. With the addition of a third brother in 1828, Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892), the partnership became "R.G. Hazard & Co."
In 1845 one mill building was destroyed by fire; a new mill was built and additions followed. The business was incorporated as the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company in 1848, with Isaac P. Hazard as president and Rowland G. Hazard as secretary/treasurer, though the history of Washington County insists that their actual duties were nearly indistinguishable. Another fire in 1855 destroyed several buildings. With the equipment for producing "Negro cloth" for the declining southern market gone, the company moved into the production of shawls and cassimeres. A new weaving building was constructed in 1882 that covered a half acre of ground.
In 1878, the Hazards announced a new experimental plan to share a portion of the mill profits with their employees, to help instill their conviction that "Capital and labor are interdependent. Their interests are identical." As described in "Cooperation Circular No. 7", no profits were distributed in 1879, but $5842 was divided among the employees in 1880, a 5% dividend. $5999 was distributed in 1881, and $3760 in both 1882 and 1883. Because of sluggish sales, no profits were distributed from 1884 until 1900, when a 2% dividend to employees was declared. A 3% dividend was issued in 1902, the last known use of the cooperation policy.
The company survived two strikes, in 1886 and 1906. In the latter strike, which lasted over three months, weavers walked from their jobs in refusal to operate two machines at once. By World War I, the company was struggling, though military demand for khaki during the war provided a temporary boost. After the death of Rowland G. Hazard II in 1918, the company was acquired by the M.T. Stevens & Sons Co. It had been in the Hazard family for five generations. In 1947, Stevens closed the Peace Dale mills, and it was sold to a Rockingham, North Carolina firm in 1951.
1848-1864 Isaac P. Hazard 1848-1866 Rowland G. Hazard I
1864-1891? John N. Hazard 1866-1891? Rowland Hazard II
1892?-1898 Rowland Hazard II 1892?-1897 Rowland G. Hazard II
1898-1918 Rowland G. Hazard II 1898-1909 William C. Greene
1910?-1918 Rowland Hazard III
Bagnall, William R. The Textile Industries of the United States... (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1893), volume 1, 280-305.
Cole, J.R. History of Washington and Kent Counties... (New York: W.W. Preston & Co., 1889), pages 494-496.
Hoxie, Louise M. The History of Peace Dale, Rhode Island. (Wakefield, R.I.: Published by author, 1968)
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, Historic and Architectural Resources of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, 1984.
"1876 Centennial Exhibition: The Peace Dale Manufacturing Co.", advertising brochure found in this collection.
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Scope and content:
The bulk of the records of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company are in the possession of the Baker Library at Harvard University. In addition, the American Textile History Museum has a small group of Peace Dale Manufacturing records as part of their Stevens Companies Collection, including stock certificates from 1899 to 1918; a ledger dated 1909-1916; a cash book dated 1918-1925; and other scattered records through 1951.
The collection described here represents only miscellaneous items culled from the Hazard Family Papers. The collection does include some important items, including the company's first ledger, with accounts dating back to 1829; a volume of informal annual reports covering 1880 to 1884, often discussing personnel issues in detail; a scrapbook relating to a 1906 strike; and a copy of the stock transfer book.
The early records of the partnerships that became Peace Dale Manufacturing remain somewhat scattered. It was difficult to draw a precise boundary between personal papers of Rowland G. and Isaac P. Hazard; the records of their partnership that became Peace Dale Manufacturing; and the records of side partnerships that both brothers engaged in. Correspondence and loose accounts relating to the mill before 1849 can be found in the personal papers of its various partners: Rowland Hazard I, Rowland G. Hazard I, Isaac P. Hazard, and (to a much lesser extent) Joseph P. Hazard. In particular, the papers of the elder Rowland G. Hazard contain a wealth of correspondence and loose bills relating to mill business in the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s. The researcher will need to evaluate whether a given transaction was official mill business or a personal venture.
Account books are generally much simpler to identify and evaluate. All bound records relating to the mill at Peace Dale after 1819 have been placed here in the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company Records. The earlier account books can be found in the personal papers of Rowland Hazard I and Isaac P. Hazard, or more likely in the Baker Library at Harvard.
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The bulk of these papers were deposited by the Hazard family in 1975, and donated as part of the Hazard Family Papers in 1985. The 1825-1828 letter book, and possibly other items, were donated by the John Carter Brown Library in 1973. The 1849-1876 notes payable and receivable book was donated in 2002 by Henry Richardson, who had received it from the estate of Thomas P. Hazard Jr.
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This collection is part of the Hazard Family Papers, which were processed with support from the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Beinecke Foundation, and the extended Hazard Family.
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Series 1: Correspondence.
Box 1, folder 1. Letter book, 1822-1825 (includes some I.P. Hazard personal letters)
Box 1, folder 2. Letter book, 1824-1825 (includes unidentified 1785 letter book)
Box 1, folder 3. Letter book, 1825-1828
Box 1, folder 4. Letter book, 1868-1878
Copies of outgoing letters written by Rowland Hazard II as treasurer; indexed.
Box 1, folder 5. Letter book, 1878-1897
Copies of outgoing letters, mostly written by Rowland Hazard II as treasurer and president; indexed.
Box 1, folder 6. Correspondence, 1851-1887
Box 1, folder 7. Correspondence, 1893-1901
Box 1, folder 8. Correspondence, 1908
Box 1, folder 9. Correspondence, 1918-1919
Series 2: Financial.
Oversized box 4, folder 5. Audit reports, 1911-1917
Box 1, folder 10. Blotter, 1829
Box 1, folder 11. Cash books #1, #2, #3, 1824-1825
Box 1, folder 12. Cash books #4, #5, #6, 1825-1827
Box 1, folder 13. Cash book, 1827-1828
Box 1, folder 14. Common stock ledger, 1869-1918. Manuscript copy, made c1918.
Box 1, folder 15. Invoice book, 1828
Box 3. Journal A, January 1828 - May 1829. Moldy and in poor condition.
Box 4. Ledger, January 1828 - May 1829. Moldy and in poor condition.
Box 1, folder 16. Ledger A, 1829-1835
Oversized box 4, folder 6. Ledger pages, 1901-1918
Box 1. folder 16a. Notes payable and receivable accounts, 1849-1876
Oversized box 4, folder 7. Taxes, 1894. Including letter of protest.
Box 1, folder 17. Trial balances, 7/1918, 8/1918
Box 1, folder 18. Loose accounts, 1849-1857
Box 1, folder 19. Loose accounts, 1860-1861
Box 1, folder 20. Loose accounts, 1862
Box 1, folder 21. Loose accounts, 1863-1865
Box 1, folder 22. Loose accounts, 1868-1869
Box 1, folder 23. Loose accounts, 1886-1893
Box 1, folder 24. Loose accounts, 1915-1917
Box 1, folder 25. Loose accounts, undated
Series 3: Miscellaneous.
Box 1, folder 26. Advertising card - "Hazards Negro Cloths"
Box 1, folder 27. Advertising circulars received, 1862-1900
Box 2, folder 1. Annual reports, 1880-1884.
Informal. Contains running memoranda of important events, and copies of "Cooperation circulars".
Box 2, folder 2. Annual report notes, 1884-1885
Box 2, folder 3. Circulars and announcements, 1861-1906:
Advertising circular, July 1861
"1876 Centennial Exhibition", with history of PDMC
"Experiment for shorter Hours" circular #2, 1883
Three-page memorandum on cleanliness, 7/23/1896
Open letter to "Citizens of Peace Dale" re strike, 1906
Memorandum re termination of Overseer Ellis, undated
Box 2, folder 4. Contracts and agreements, 1861-1918
Box 2, folder 5. Co-operation circular drafts, 1879, 1881, 1893
Box 2, folder 6. Co-operation circulars #1-4, #7-13 (1878-1902)
Box 2, folder 7. Deeds and leases, 1862-1877
Box 2, folder 8. Dye memoranda, 1861, 1896 and undated
Box 2, folder 9. Industrial statistics reports, 1893-1907
Box 2, folder 10. Insurance: policy, 1829; detailed application with map, 1854
Box 2, folder 11. "Items of interest" - Memorandum book, 1881-1885, 1891, 1906
Almost all of the 1881-1885 information is included in the annual report volume.
Box 2, folder 12. Machinery notes and sketches, 1878 and undated
Box 2, folder 13. "Report of Mr. Maxwell's Trip to England", 12/1894
Box 2, folder 14. Sale of company - Agreements and memoranda, 1918-1919
Box 2, folder 15. Samples:
Silk twists from W.C. Lewis, 2/4/1868
Cloth swatches from the F.W. Company, 7/10/1868
Box 2, folder 16. Strike, 1886 - News clippings
Box 2, folder 17. Strike, 1906 - News clippings
Box 2, folder 18. Strike, 1906 - Negotiation transcripts
Box 2, folder 19. Strike, 1906 - Scrapbook
Box 2, folder 20. Time tables, 1853, 1892
Box 2, folder 21. "The village organizations of Peace Dale", circa 1904
Box 2, folder 22. William C. Greene account, 1908-1918
Box 2, folder 23. Miscellaneous:
Accounting notes, undated
Auction catalogue from New York sale, dated September 19, 1850
Bond to Anna Hazard, 1883
Doublings in worsted mill, 1894
"Expert Tests on Boiler Plants at Peace Dale", 1885
Fire drill notes, 1893
Insurance questionnaire re night work, undated
"List of men requiring substitutes", ca.1863
Lists of "Weaver's Committee" and "General Committee", undated
License for machinery from John Goulding, 1869
Memorandum agreement with D.E. Coe, 1886
Memorandum re Slater Woolen Co., 1886
Memorandum of wool delivered, 1880
Memorandum on William Drysdale's work on Queen Victoria's 1837 coronation, written down in 1903
Number of hands employed in various departments, 1885
"Prices of Flags", on reverse of wool tag
Recipes for hardening steel and iron, 1860
"Sizes of pipe for pumping station given to Mr. Kent", 1896
World's Fair exhibit notes, 1893
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Great Britain - Description and travel - 1801-1900
Hazard, Isaac P. (1794-1879)
Hazard, Rowland II (1829-1898)
Hazard, Rowland G. (1801-1888)
Hazard, Rowland G. II (1855-1918)
Profit-sharing - Rhode Island - South Kingstown
South Kingstown, R.I. - Commerce
Strikes and lockouts - Textile industry - Rhode Island
Textile industry - Rhode Island - South Kingstown
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