75-Yr.-Old Westcott Mill Will Be Closed
HOPEDALE Ė A 75-year-old manufacturing business will cease operations tomorrow. The A.A. Westcott & Son firm on Mill Street, damaged by flood waters last August, will close according to Roy E. Westcott, president-treasurer of the corporation. Loss sustained in the flood, amounting to at least $5000, is a contributory factor in the closing at this time.
Mr. Westcott said there are no prospective occupants at this time, but he is hopeful that some other kind of industry might be induced to take over the building.
The firm was founded in 1872 by Asa A. Westcott, who began his business career in this town after leasing the water privilege and building known as Gaskillís mill. Later he purchased the mill, enlarged it and made it the largest spindle manufactory in the country. The factory was supplied with specially constructed machinery for making steel spindles and fittings and a large force of skilled machinists employed. The output was over 5000 spindles per day.
For many years they manufactured spindles for the Draper Co., now the Draper Corporation, and the product for the factory was found in use wherever woolen or cotton mills were in operation in this country and much of their product was exported to foreign countries.
Asa A. Westcott, founder of the company, was a native of Scituate, R.I., where he worked on his fatherís farm until he was 19, when he was apprenticed to the firm of Augustus Hopkins and Co., in Pascoag, where after learning his trade he was made a member of the firm.
For six years he superintended the manufacture of spindles. A pioneer in the trade, much of the product was transported by horse and wagon to Providence to be shipped to points all over the world.
Three of his sons, Augustus, Wilmarth and David A., were taken into the firm after serving their apprenticeship. Augustus carried on the business with his two sons, Asa A. and Roy, the later taking over the operation last year after his brotherís death. The original mill was burned in 1901 and later rebult on a smaller scale. Part of this building was carried away in the flood of last August.
The site of the mill, one of the most historic in this area, was originally known as Gaskillís mill. It is referred to in Rev. Adin Ballouís history, as a center of activity, when farmers brought corn to be ground into meal and householders came to purchase their needed rations.
The scene is picturesque today, with the waterfall and meadowland stretching into the valley, though some of the landscapeís beauty was destroyed by the floodwaters in August. Milford Daily News, February 28, 1956.
Alice (Nealley) Wilson, February 22, HHS 1940
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