Mill Will Be Closed
HOPEDALE - 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 Gaskill's 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 Company, 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
father's 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 brother's 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 Gaskill's mill. It is
referred to in Rev. Adin Ballou's 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 meadow land stretching into the valley, though
some of the landscape's beauty was destroyed by the flood waters in August. Milford Daily News,
February 28, 1956.
Now from an earlier time, here's an article from the Milford Daily Journal, dated March 29, 1918,
and titled, Westcott's Mill Workers Hear President's Daughter in Song.
Men workers in Westcott's Mill presented an American flag today for service on the flag pole and the
emblem was floated to the breeze while the gathering sang "The Star Spangled Banner," a pleasant
element of which was the song in encore sung by graphonola by Miss Margaret Wilson, daughter of
Exercises took place at noon in the presence of the workers and many of the residents on the
neighborhood. Samuel Olivant made the presentation speech and it was accepted by Asa Westcott,
representing the firm. In connection with the flag raising, a service flag with two stars in honor of men
in the service was also unfurled. The service stars are for Richard Grayson and Ernest Barnacle,
workers in the plant, now in the service.
The ceremonial was one of much interest and enthusiasm to the forty workers and their friends.