The Sayles Bleacheries were the foundation for all the subsequent manufacturing activities of the Sayles family. The profits from this highly successful operation fueled the acquisition of the scores of companies whose records now make up the Sayles Collection. Thus the Sayles Bleacheries were in every sense the “parent” organization of the Sayles empire. The Sayles Bleacheries originated when William F. Sayles, in December 1847, bought at auction the plant of the Pimbly Print Works, lying along the Moshassuck River in the town of Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Sayles Finishing Plants (Saylesville, Philipsdale, and Valley Falls, Rhode Island and Ashleville, North Carolina) Business Records
55 linear feet
In the first two decades of the 20th century, there occurred a gradual consolidation of the various finishing plants owned by Frank A. Sayles. To the original bleacheries at Saylesville were joined administratively the various branches of the Glenlyon Dye and Print Works and the National Tracing Cloth Company. The first indication of this trend came in 1906, when the records start referring to the Sayles Bleacheries as Plant A - implying the existence of a larger organization of which it formed a part. In the decade that followed, the various finishing units were increasingly linked by central departments - e.g. the Central Purchasing Department, the Efficiency Department, the Rate-Fixing Department, the Superintendent's Office - that came to coordinate more and more of their activities. This process was formalized in March 1917, when Frank A. Sayles set up Sayles Finishing Plants as an unincorporated trust that owned and operated the various finishing subdivisions.
Sullivan Dorr (1778-1858) was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Ebenezer (1739-1809) and Abigail (Cummingham) Dorr (1762-1796).Early in life Sullivan was engaged in the fur trade on the northwest coast of the United States and at the age of twenty, he went to Canton, China to follow mercantile pursuits. Much of his business was for the firm of J.& J. Dorr; based in Boston and owned by his brothers, Jonathan and Joseph. He stayed in Canton for five years (1799-1803) and upon returning to the States he settled in Providence and became a prosperous merchant. He resided in a home he built in 1811 on the northeast corner of Benefit and Bowen Streets.
James Browne (1666-1732) was born in Providence in 1666, the son of John and Mary (Holmes) Browne, and grandson of Chad Browne, the original settler of the Brown family, who came to Rhode Island in 1638 from England. He ended his name with an "e", a practice that was discontinued by his descendants.
James Browne, born in 1724 to James (1698-1739) and Hope (Power) Browne (1702-1792) of Providence, took up the family business of trading to the Caribbean. This collection consists of two cyphering and navigation books, dated 1743. The first, dated from January to February 1742/3, is a primer of Geometry and Trigonometry, which also contains lessons in Plain Sailing and Mercators Sailing. The second volume, dating from February 1742/3 to April 1743, is lessons in Mercator’s Sailing, Latitude, and Traverse Sailing, and ends with the day to day journal of his voyage to the island of Barbados in 1742/3.
Thomas W. Dorr (1805-1854) was best known as the leader of the Dorr Rebellion. This collection contains seven letters written by Dorr to miscellaneous persons, as well as one received from Franklin Pierce, selections from Dorr's personal scrapbook, twelve pages of business accounts, and several items relating to the rebellion.
William Read Bowers (1800-1841) was a sea captain and ship owner of Providence. He was the son of Asa Bowers and Candace Hoppin; his mother was a member of one of the leading merchant families of the city. By 1832, William was the owner of at least three ships: the Abeona (Samuel Read, master), Almira (Ephraim Eldredge, master) and the Phebe (William Davis, master). William Earle (1808-1879) was the son of Oliver and Sally Earle of Providence. He was employed at William R. Bowers and Co. beginning in the early 1830s, and purchased the firm upon its bankruptcy in 1837, with partner Lloyd Bowers (1786-1864). He continued operating the chandlery as William Earle & Co. through about 1877, and died two years later. His wife was Mary A. Chandler.