Excerpts

From Sarah Jones’s inimitable ‘Sketches’ an anecdote about John Cotton Smith, one of the founders of the Greenwoods Textile Mills in the 1850’s:

“He was eminently the friend of the poor, and a promoter of law and good order in the town. And yet, he was not a man to be easily imposed upon, as the following anecdote will illustrate. An employee of the mill, thinking to perpetrate a fine joke on his employer on one occasion, rang the bell for dismissing the hands five minutes ahead of time.  Mr. Smith said nothing, and the weeks ran on until the next pay day, when instructions were issued to send the self appointed bell-ringer to headquarters for settlement of his accounts, where he was shown a paper with the loss to the company of five minutes time for each hand carefully figured thereon, and informed that it amounted to something over the quarter’s wages then due. After that it was not considered a wise thing to attempt a joke on ‘Capt. John’ as he was familiarly called not from any military rank, but because he was a born leader of men.”

From Sketches of the People and Places of New Hartford in the Past and Present; Sarah Lucia Jones, 1883

Reprints for sale from the New Hartford Historical Society, 537 Main Street, New Hartford, Ct. Open 7-9pm Wednesdays.

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