ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Wool Trade


Watertown Woolen Factory

Just north of the Globe Mill



Watertown Chronicle, 07 14 1847




On Wednesday a drove of about 1800 sheep passed through our city on their way to Waupun.  They were from Ohio, and were mostly common stock.  We hail with pleasure every advance made by our farmers in the rearing of sheep, as we believe wool is destined to prove one of the great staples of our farmers.  It is, however, desirable that fine wooled animals should be reared, as it costs no more to raise a quality much finer than common sheep produce, and as profit is the great end of wool raising as well as every other pursuit in which men engage, we think a sheep producing a quality which will bring 50 cents of more value than one bringing wool worth 30, it costing no more to keep a thoroughbred and getting nearly the same amount of wool.   Watertown Weekly Register



03 31       WATERTOWN WOOLEN MANUFACTORY - Wool Trade in Watertown

The Watertown Woolen Manufactory is now ready for spring operations under the agency of the old and well-known pioneer in that branch of business, Simon Ford [1].  His advertisement—as full of life, hope and energy as ever—will be found in this paper.  Wool growers will do well to give him a call, as he is prepared to pay the highest cash for all varieties, and a large variety is wanted.  His establishment is now in fine running order and he is ready to accommodate all customers on the shortest notice.  Give the Old Pioneer a friendly visit.   WD

[1] Daniel Jones remained in the mercantile business until 1864, when he associated himself with the late S. Ford & Co. in the manufacture of woolen goods, and later conducted the business under the name of D. Jones & Co.  He continued this business till 1877 when he leased it to D. P. Price.


06 16       WOOL TRADE

Thus far during the season the wool trade has not been very brisk in this city.  On the contrary, it has been unusually dull.  Comparatively little has been brought in, though what has been offered has found a ready sale at the figures which the buyers are willing to give.  The largest amount sold in any one day was a thousand pounds.  The prices range from 20 to 35 cents per pound, according to quality, and there is no reasonable probability that much more will be paid.  Whether this is owing to the general depression of business throughout the country or the large quantity which is supposed to be raised this year we are unable to say, but it surely is the fact.  Buyers here at present are by no means as numerous as they ordinarily are and consequently there is scarcely any competition among them.  The chances are that nothing will be made by holding back but as good a way as any is to sell immediately, get your money, and make the best use of it.   WD



05 17       WOOL CROP

The wool crop, which should be large and profitable in this state, will soon be ready for marketing.  A glance at our advertising columns will show the fact that the buyers in this city are prepared to take all they can get.  At all events, wool growers will find a ready sale for their clips this year and the sharp competition will enable them to obtain a paying price.  WD


05 31       WOOL

As the time is rapidly approaching when the next clip of wool will come into market, much anxiety is felt among growers and dealers in that great staple in relation to future prices.  The question is often asked, what will be the ruling price of wool?  There are many things to be considered before a correct opinion can be formed as to this matter.  There are many disturbing elements at work in this country which will more or less effect the price of wool.  The large importations of woolen goods will very much affect the price of raw material, as those goods come directly in competition with the goods manufactured in this country from our native wool.  We are informed that an article made of old woolen clothing called “shoddy” is imported into this country in large quantities and sold to our manufacturers at from 7 to 9 cents per pound, which takes the place of wool. WD


06 07       WANTED:  50,000 lbs. of Wool

[advertisement] Wanted:  50,000 lbs. of Wool, for which will be paid cash the highest market price at the Watertown Woolen Factory.  Farmers and wool growers having wool to sell for cash, exchange for cloth or woolen yarn, will find it to their interest to give me a call.  I have on hand and am constantly manufacturing woolen cloths of all varieties, also woolen yarns of different grades and color, to exchange for wool and sell for cash, on better terms than ever before offered in this market.


Custom Carding—The Mammoth carding machine has been covered with new cards and is in the first order for roll carding which will be promptly attended to.  Customers living at a distance can have their rolls carded the same day to take home with them.  Wool must be clean in good order. 


S. H. Ford WD


Same 06 07 WOOL!  WOOL!

[advertisement] Wool!  Wool!  Connected with the best eastern markets, we are now ready to pay the highest market price in cash for wool and respectfully solicit all having the article for sale to give us an opportunity to bid.


L. J. Kadish & Co.   WD



05 12       THE WOOL TRADE

The wool trade has now commenced and several lots have been purchased in this city.  The price ranges from 50 to 60 cents a pound, according to quality.  The old wool buyer and manufacturer, S. Ford & Co., are in the market, paying the highest prices, and intend to purchase more extensively this season than ever before, if that is possible.  They have recently put their factory in order for spring operations, obtained improved machinery, put in new cards, and all is ready to do the best of work, in the most prompt and satisfactory manner.  This is a good market for wool; growers have no trouble in quickly disposing of what they have to sell.   WD




This manufacturing establishment – one of the oldest and most extensive in this portion of the state – is now undergoing a thorough overhauling and repairing.  The building will be raised several feet, new machinery procured and set in operation, and everything put in order for doing all kinds of work in the best style and finest finish.  When the improvements now in contemplation are completed there will be no better woolen factory anywhere in the west.   WD



This old and well-known manufacturing establishment has recently been so greatly enlarged and improved that it may now be called a new institution.  Mr. Daniel Jones has associated himself with Mr. S. Ford in its management and the work it does and the cloths it furnishes are of the best quality.  A new water wheel, shafting, looms, shearing and brushing machines have been supplied, all of the latest invention, which doubles the former capacity of the factory for work and enables the proprietors to execute all orders with the utmost neatness and punctuality, so that those living at a distance can always have their rolls to take back with them the same day the wool is left for carding — providing, of course, too many do not apply at the same time, which is sometimes the case, when each must take his turn. 


A great variety of cloths, such as cassimeres, fulled cloths [?], tweeds, plaids, colored and plain flannels, of all widths, are now manufactured at this establishment, which for firmness, finish, durability and service, are fully equal to any others made any where, and all who have tried them bear willing testimony to their excellence and admirable wearing qualities.


The factory is now in the best running order and is kept so.  Nothing is wanting to enable it to do all kinds of work with entire satisfaction and promptness.  Farmers can have their wool worked on shares, or exchange it on the spot for any kind of cloth they may prefer.  No care is spared to satisfy and accommodate all customers. 


We are glad to learn this factory is now in a flourishing condition and doing a heavy business, and such is the demand for the cloths it produces that it is quite impossible to keep very large stocks on hand.  Some idea of the extent of its operations may be gained from the fact that it constantly employs twenty hands, turning out over a hundred yards of cloth a .day.  So far during the present season it has purchased over 60,000 pounds of wool and is daily adding to this already large amount.  It deserves the favor and patronage of all in this region of country.   WD




Immediately on the north side, and within 40 feet of the Empire Mill is situated the Woolen Factory, owned by Mr. Daniel Jones, and containing valuable machinery and stock, and adjoining this building is the Sash and Door Manufactory of Mr. G. B. Lewis.  As a precautionary measure against fire, Mr. Smith had surrounded his mill, which was a frame building, with brick walls, and the saving of the Woolen Factory is mainly due to this fore thought on the part of Mr. Smith for all endeavors to save this building would have been unavailing had not the north wall of the mill stood as a barricade between the intense heat and angry flames and the Woolen Factory.


The flames made rapid progress and the devouring element held full sway over the doomed building.  The brick wall, however, still stood the severe strain and test, and the question as to the safety and destruction of the Wollen Mill, hung, as it were, in the balance, and could only be determined by the manner in which the wall nearest the building would fall.  A loud shout rang from the vast throng when it was seen that the wall fell favorably, the Wollen Mill was saved and the further destruction of property saved.




At 2:30 o'clock last Saturday morning a destructive fire occurred in the city and at one time it looked as though a large portion of the west side would be destroyed.  The entire box, bee-hive and section factory of G. B. Lewis & Co. the and Watertown Woolen Mills, owned by Mrs. James Chapman, were totally consumed.  The loss of the former is about $15,000 insured for $4,500 . . . .  The buildings burned were located adjacent to two large lumberyards, the Empire flour mills and several frame buildings.  Had it not been for the good service of the fire department the loss would have been very great. The origin of the fire is unknown . . . .      WG


[ More on fire ] The burning down of the Watertown Woolen mills removes one of the oldest landmarks in our city.  The mill was erected some 45 years ago by the late Simeon Ford, and has been running all the time since.  John Chapman purchased the mill seven years ago, and since his death it has been operated by Mrs. Chapman.       WRep, 04 23 1890



In our issue of last week we referred briefly to the arrest of John Schlueter charged with setting fire to G. B. Lewis & Co.’s bee hive factory in February.  As stated, Mr. Parks, the junior member of the company, visited the reform school at Waukesha for the purpose of getting a confession out of Eddy Weigel, a boy 11 years of age sent from here to that institution last October, with the suspicion hanging over him that he knew all about the various fires that were kindled here the present year, involving the loss of over $25,000 worth of property in the destruction of the G. B. Lewis Co.s bee hive factory, the Watertown woolen mill, Geo. W. Evans’ livery barn and the Herzog and Lange barns.


When Mr. Parks first began interviewing young Weigel, he was reluctant to telling all he knew about these fires, but he finally made a clean breast of it.  He stated that he fired Evans’ and Lange’s barns merely for the sake of seeing a fire, and Herzog's barn because some of the Herzog family were mad at his folks, and called him names because they did not buy beer at Herzog's saloon, and he fired the barn to get even with them.


With regard to the Lewis fire, he stated that he and Schlueter planned this fire because they had applied for work at the Lewis factory and were refused.  Early in the evening they passed some time in a barn back of the William Pell house in the 5th ward, and then strolled down towards Weber’s lumber yard, thence down to the river bank, and waited around the mills and factory until the electric lights went out.  Weigel gave a minute description of the interior of the factory at the place therein where they started the fire on the night in question, so that there can be no doubt of his story being correct.


As soon as the electric lights were turned off, both entered the basement door on the south of the factory leading from the alley way between there and the woolen mill, Schlueter applied the match whilst Weigel stood guard outside watching so that they could not be surprised in their nefarious work.  When everything was ready, Weigel went outside to watch, but returned again to inform Schlueter that a man was passing by and they had better wait awhile longer.  They did so, and both returned to their respective posts. 


Schlueter applied the match to a pile of shavings in the fore part of the basement and then skipped outside, calling to his partner to run.  Both started on the run, got separated in Weber's lumber yard, but came together again near Jesse Stone's residence, and then proceeded to Hughes' barn nearby, where they passed the night.


On arriving home from Waukesha, Mr. Parks had Schlueter arrested.  He was closely questioned as to his connection with the Lewis fire, and told substantially the same story as above. . . .


. . . . It is a relief to know that older persons were not engaged in this work.  Both boys will probably spend the best years of their lives in the reform school, if not in the state prison, and it is hoped that with this as an example before them, other boys here may be prevented from ever engaging in such despicable work. 


The reform school and state prison, to our mind, is altogether too mild a punishment for such acts.  It now remains to discover who fired the old Lindon House barn, and let us hope that the guilty one may also be found out.     WG




The matter is broached here by a former resident, now living in Chicago, of the possibility of organizing a stock company to operate a woolen mill in Watertown.  This is a branch of industry that ought to succeed here.  Several water powers are available for the purpose.     WR


1910       Mrs. Simon Ford          Ford, Adoline, b. 1808, d. 1910

Watertown Gazette, 01 28 1910

Mrs. Simon Ford, a former resident of Watertown, died at Minneapolis last Monday, aged 102 years.  Her remains were brought here on Wednesday and interred in Oak Hill Cemetery.  Deceased was born in Seneca County, New York, in 1808.  November 2, 1828, she was married to the late Simon Ford at Lockaport, New York, and in 1844 they came west and located in this city, where Mr. Ford built and operated a woolen mill on the west side of Rock River, just north of the Globe Mill.  The family resided for many years in the house now occupied by E. L. Bartlett, [305] Washington Street.  Mrs. Ford is well known to the older residents of Watertown, and all her old friends mourn her death as that of a most excellent lady and an old neighbor for whom they have the highest regard.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin