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British Industrial History

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Joseph Thacker

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of Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.

Iron and brass founder.

1854 Partnership dissolved - J. Thacker and C. Thacker, ironfounders, Ashton-under-Lyne[1]

A former apprentice who did well in the USA.....[2]

'ROBINSON, Thomas, second child of William and Elizabeth (Dunston) Robinson, was born in Salford, near Manchester, England, July 27, 1820, came to this country in 1841, and settled at Pawtucket, R. I., where he has since resided. Mr. Robinson's opportunity for obtaining an early education was limited. When a little over seven years of age he went to work in a mill, where he remained until he was 13 years old. Then he went to night school for one year, after which he was apprenticed for seven years to Joseph Thacker, an iron and brass founder at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

'On the expiration of his term of indenture, being possessed of a thorough knowledge of the moulder's art, he determined to try his fortunes in a new field, and came to Pawtucket. He first worked as a moulder in an old foundry that stood on the site now occupied by the city pipe yard. He then sought employment at some other occupation, and for the next two years devoted his time to the fitting up of stores, and also to umbrella manufacturing. He then started a brass foundry, which he finally sold to Nehemiah Lee, who carried on the business in Pawtucket for a number of years. Later, in Providence, he worked for Louis P. Mead, and also for George B. Holmes, at the Phenix foundry, until the spring of 1846, when he erected his present homestead on what was called 'Seekonk Plains'. During the summer of that year he worked at Frederick Fuller's foundry at Fox Point. A year later he engaged himself with Amos C. Barstow, who was then about to undertake Corliss & Nightingale's foundry work, they having a machine shop at India Point. He remained with Mr. Barstow about 11 years, and turned out several 'premium' jobs, one of which was the sample for the fence that surrounded the old cove, by which the A. C. Barstow Co. secured the contract. He was also one of the organizers of the Pawtucket Furnace Co., in 1853.

'During all this time he had applied himself closely to study, and had remedied the deficiencies of his early education. The habits of study thus acquired became fixed, and when 37 years old he commenced to study law and later was admitted to the bar. He opened an office in the old Franklin Bank building, and on the death of the late Wellington Kent succeeded to his business, enjoying a large and lucrative practice until he retired in 1889. '...... March 29, 1840, he was married to Mary Ashton of Duckinfield, Cheshire, at Stockport, England, and by this union there were eight children: John William, b. Sept. 4, 1841, d. Oct., 1842; Eliza, b. July 17, 1844, d. Aug. 14, 1844; Elizabeth, b. Feb. 12, 1846; William Corbett, b. Oct. 17, 1850, d. Feb. 12, 1853; Mary Eleanor, b. Feb. 11, 1854; Thomas William, b. March 23, 1856; Alice Amelia, b. Oct. 3, 1859.'


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Sources of Information

  1. Halifax Courier - Saturday 18 March 1854
  2. [1] 'Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vicinity: Biographies of Prominent Citizens' by Robert Grieve, 1897. Extracts transcribed by Beth Hurd, 2001, for Rhode Island USGenWeb Project