The Dorchester Cotton and Iron Company

The Dorchester Cotton and Iron Company was one of the first large cotton mills in Massachusetts.[1] Incorporated in 1811, the manufacturing plan was originally located near the upper falls, but moved to a location by Central Avenue.  In 1850 the census of manufactures reported that the company produced cotton cloth with a value of $150,000.[2]  By the time of a fire in 1855 that closed the plant, the company employed over 200 hundred men and women.[3]

The following is from the 1859 History of Dorchester:

July 4th, 1811, an incorporated company, styled the Dorchester Cotton and Iron Company, purchased the privilege of Mr. Boies, and immediately commenced putting up a cotton-mill–intending, at a future day, to add a mill for turning and finishing up iron to be used in machinery.  Mr. Boies was appointed agent of the company.  As soon as the building was completed and the machinery in, the company commended the manufacture of cotton cloth.  From the first their business was successful, proving a paying concern to its owners, and a blessing to the community around them, as it furnished much work for the women and children in the neighboring towns during the stagnation of business in the war of 1812.  The cotton, at that time, was delivered a the mill to such as chose to take it home and cleanse it from its seeds and other foreign substance.  It was then returned, and carded and spun.  The yarn was then taken around in the neighboring towns, and wove by hand in families–about eight cents a yard being paid for the weaving. …

Boies resigned in January, 1822, and Enoch Baldwin took his place.  Mr. Baldwin resigned his place as agent, and was succeed by Hananiah Temple, July 1, 1836.[4]

The 1850 Dorchester and Milton Business directory says the company employed 250, making principally bed-ticking.[5]

The mill was destroyed by fire, January 11, 1855.


[1] Stryker’s American Register and Magazine, v. 6 (New York, 1851), 222.  Massachusetts. Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. From February February 1806 to February 1814.  IV (Boston, 1823),339.

[2] U.S. Census Non-Population Schedules for Manufactures. Norfolk County. Dorchester. 1850.

[3] New England Farmer. (Boston), January 20, 1855.

[4] The History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts. (Boston, 1859), 632-634.

[5] The Dorchester and Quincy Directory, 1868-9.  (Boston, 1868), 32.