Daniel Saunders, Sr. (1796-1872) Lawrence, MA

Along with the remains of the City Hall Eagle, the Lawrence Public Library acquired this portrait of Daniel Saunders, Sr. from the Department of Public Works.

Daniel Saunders, Sr. was born in Salem, NH June 20, 1796.  His youth was spent in both Salem and Canada.  He was apprenticed in his early teens to a Mr. Allen of Salem, NH as a clothier and wool carder and remained with him until the age of 21.  He then took the position as foreman at the Abbott Mills in Andover, Mass.  He was asked to return to Salem by Mr. Allen when the business was enlarged.  Two years later he became connected with North Andover Mills and subsequently started his own small mill.  In 1840 he purchased mills in West Concord, NH.  Three years later he sold the New Hampshire mills and the one in Andover.  He began the planning stage of an industrial enterprise in the Andover vicinity.  The rest is Lawrence history: a dam was built at Bodwells Falls, industries established, and a city founded.  He died October 8, 1872.  He had lived in the Saunders homestead on South Broadway.  The house has been rumored to be a stop of the Underground Railroad.  The house is now gone, but a school building (the 2nd of 2) was named after the Saunders family.  His two sons, Daniel, Jr. and Caleb, were both mayors of the city.

13 Responses

  1. The best years of my life was growing up in Lawrence mass. raise by my grandmother my mother got sick and taking away,my father move back with them,growing up was the best times i can remenber,st lawrence otoole, then lawrence high,the 50th we my teen years,mom came back when i was 4 1/2 dad got a job working for the city of lawrence,grandfather ret,from the mills, keep up the history never forget the pass

  2. Daniel Saunders was one of my ancestors. I had the pleasure of visiting the library during a visit to Salem NH, Haverhill MA and Lawrence MA a few years ago, as a part of my genealogy search. Very helpful and illuminating.
    Eugene K Saunders, Sarasota, FL

    • Eugene: Do you know exactly where his homestead was located. The hojse I grew up is in that area. I’m trying to get more history of my house. Thanks, Pam

      • Pam; The bio of Daniel Saunders is quite complete in the historical library in Lawrence, MA providing his exact address in Lawrence. History records that his house was built on top of the underground railroad, which was used to allow runaway slaves from the South a safe route to freedom. “The History of Lawrence” is a reference book available at the library downtown. Hope this helps in your search. If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me at anytime. My genealogical studies several years ago turned up about 3400 names associated with my ancestral immigrant Saunders (Edward), who arrived in Haverhill circa 1660. One of his sons was the founder of Salem, New Hampshire, and built the original meeting house for the city. The building was still standing almost 200 years later when i visited it with my grandson just a few years ago, and is presently being used as the historical museum. Good luck on your hunt. Gene Saunders

        Sent from my iPad

        On Aug 14, 2012,

  3. Eugene: Thank you for the info. I will have to stop in at the library next time I am in Lawrence–very soon. According to an article I read, it describes the Saunders homestead as being located at the SE corner of S. Broadway and Andover Streets. Across the street from where I grew up; we still own the home. In fact, I went to Saunders school when I was young. I’m very interested to see how close the “railroad” was to my house. If I find out anything, I will post…THANKS AGAIN! Pam

  4. Oh my gosh, I went to Saunders Elementary School, back in 1958, It’s really neat to hear some of the history behind it….at least I hope your talking about the school. Last time I was in Lawrence last yr., I went by it, but my sister said it was turned into a home for the elderly. Later on I went to LHS, and I thought the same thing, was to go inside and walk the hallways….wow….~!!!

    • Robinette, The library has some incredibly cool stuff. I have pictures of the 1st Saunders School (wood frame) and the one you went to. I am told that the renovation of the building was well done. The Adult Learning Center was there for many years. Volunteers and I are working on a database of all LHS graduates. Louise Sandberg ________________________________________

    • We were talking about the Saunders Homestead, but the Saunders school was named after him as well. I went there in 1968 for kindergarten.

  5. I love the internet! I have been researching my lines for a few months, working from the first arrivals to the colonies. I too am a descendent. Daniel’s father, James Sanders is my 6x great grandfather. I hail from the first born son William, making Daniel my uncle. In my family tree it mentions Daniel Sanders and the City of Lawrence. Great information here!! Looking forward to uncovering more info.

    • Kim: The Saunders homestead was eventually a funeral home, which is now a parking lot for a credit union. I grew up right near it. It was a part of the underground railroad. And I also went to the Saunders school as a child. Keep posting as you find out. The City of Lawrence is not what it used to be, but the memories are still there!

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