Digital Commonwealth

A. W. Stearns

Lawrence Public Library

or
Artemas W. Stearns was born March 11, 1816 in Hill, NH. At age 11, he was “bound” to a Bridgewater, NH farmer. For his services, he would receive clothing and board and $100 at age 21. At 16, he bought himself out of the contract. He then went on to work in mills in Nashua, Lowell, and Methuen. He acquired some education at Newmarket, NH Academy and Nashua Academy. He taught school in the winter and worked as a peddler in the summer. He settled down as an entrepreneur in 1844 in Methuen, shortly thereafter opening a branch store in Lawrence on Amesbury Street. His business (dry goods) prospered and he opened stores on Essex Street in Lawrence. In 1854, larger quarters were needed at a different location on Essex Street, and additions and improvements were made in 1870 and 1888. In 1893, a new store was added on Common Street, connected to the Essex Street establishment by a bridge and a tunnel over and under the alley. Besides dry goods, he was also president of the Lawrence National Bank and for one year (1861) and he served on the Board of Aldermen. He was a member of Trinity Congregational Church. He married Lydia Searles of Nashua, but the marriage was without issue. He died in April 1896.

The photograph (21 x 15 cm) was mounted on gray paper and framed (27 x 20 cm). The picture was removed from its frame. The house--7 Lowell St.--was designed by Steinart. It looks to be an elaborate Queen Anne Victorian. A man stands in front (perhaps Stearns?). The photograph is undated.

Locations in this Collection: