Sanford Blackinton was the most famous Welsh Immigrant that came to North Adams. Today we still have the Blackinton Mansion, which is now the library.

(Picture of Sanford Blackinton.)

    Blackinton came over to America in the mid 1800s. He decided that he wanted people to work for his family. By doing this, he could become more wealthy. He invited more Welsh  immigrants over to America to work for him because they were experienced in the work he wanted done, like bookkeeping, card room helper, etc. They did not all come together, and they had to each pay for travel themselves. A lot of them did not care about spending this money because it was for a job that would support their families.

     To keep his workers here and working hard, he built them their own two-family apartments. Some were right in Blackinton's mill, while others were just outside of it. He just wanted the workers to stay and work for him so he could become wealthy, and he would do whatever it took to keep them there.

     Oscar A. Archer was a bookkeeper for Sanford when he first came over from Wales. He was a good worker and later became a superintendent. He kept journals while he was here for work, and in those diaries it had how much they earned and how working conditions were. "A bookkeeper earned $50 a month. A boss carder earned $1.57 and 1/3 a day. A card room helper earned 50 to 75 cents a day. A boss dyer made about $1.75 a day. Other jobs varied around the same earnings." Today, that money is nothing at all, but back then it was a significant amount.

(Picture of Oscar Archer.)

    The mill was a huge success in the mid 1800s when the Civil War started. The mill was used to make wool clothing for the soldiers going to war.  For the next fall, winter, and spring of 1861 and 1862, the workers were in the mills day and night making supplies for the armies. At this time, Blackinton's company earned a thousand dollars everyday, a significant amount of money. Blackinton's mill was the largest of it's kind by 1863. Also at the time, Blackinton was the third richest man in the county. 

    After the war, the mill went back to normal, and this meant it ran half the time it did during the war. The company's wages went down by 12.5%. Since the Hoosac Tunnel was built a little while after, this would somewhat help the mill by reducing shipping costs.

    A couple years went by and they were still working the same hours but got paid less. The workers in the Blackinton mills really wanted to get paid overtime, and even maybe a raise. On October 20, 1876, the workers got sick of Blackinton not listening to what they had to say, so they worked what they got paid for and did not stay overtime. After this, they all got fired.  This made the mill close because they had no workers. The Welsh immigrants started going back to Whales soon after they were fired.

(Picture of Sanford Blackinton's grave.)


Blackinton Address 

 Blackinton Funeral


Immigration home 

Site map


Welsh Immigrants in North Adams