Digital Commonwealth

Seth Bemis, (January 23, 1775 - April 4, 1851)

Seth Bemis, (January 23, 1775 - April 4, 1851)

Item Information

Title:
Seth Bemis, (January 23, 1775 - April 4, 1851)
Description:
Owner of Bemis Mills, which manufactured cotton cloth. Seth graduated from Harvard in 1795 and worked as a lawyer for a brief time. Luke and Seth Bemis inherited from their father, Seth Bemis, a grist mill, a paper mill and a snuff mill. About 1796, Seth bought out the interest of his brother. For the next few years he experimented in the production of chocolate (this eventually became the Walter Baker Chocolate Co. of Dorchester -- now a historic land mark) and the processing of dyewoods & medicinal roots. He owned the water rights at Bridge Street. Seth also invented a machine that picked over cotton to remove seeds & other impurities. In 1811, Seth Bemis purchased from his brother Luke and his brother-in-law, Caleb Eddy, the mills and water power on the south side of the river. He then sold to Boston Manufacturing Company of Waltham, the right to the height of the dam which he always regretted. He manufacture the first cotton duck cloth. He furnished the sails for the USS Constitution (old Ironsides) when it was being repaired. In 1812, Seth produced a short-lived first: he was able to extract gas from coal and used this gas to light his Watertown factory. In 1822, he built the present rolling dam. In 1827, Bemis Manufacturing Company was incorporated but this corporation was dissolved in 1830. In 1847, he sold the dye wood business on the south side of the river and continued the cotton mills until his death. He had an interest in farming and believed that merino sheep could be profitably raised. He was an active member of the First Parish and a member of the Legislature who was an earnest advocate of public improvement. He gave $1,500 to the new Library built in 1883, as well to other educational institutions. He married Sarah Wheeler of Concord, MA. Photograph of a portrait by Francis Alexander.
Format:
Photographs
Location:
Watertown Free Public Library
Collection (local):
Watertown People
Subjects:
Portraits
Bemis, Seth--1775-1851
Alexander, Francis--1800--1881
Bemis, Sarah Wheeler--d.1849
Bemis, Seth--d. 1849
Bemis, Luke
Places:
MassachusettsMiddlesex (county)Watertown
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Identifier:
figure 643