A. W. Stearns (Lawrence, Mass.)

This photograph (21 x 15 cm.) was mounted on gray paper and framed.   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.

This collection also includes the digital copy of a diary published by “Lombard & Brown Importers & Jobbers of hosiery, gloves, Zephyr wools, & thread store goods Nos. 53 & 55 Federal Street or 108 Devonshire Street Boston.”  There are 55 pages (double) of daily entries starting from February 17 and ending with December 31, 1860.  Mr. Stearns talks about the weather, business matters, and a little politics.

Artemas W. Stearns was born March 11, 1816 in Hill, NH. At age eleven, he was “bound” to a Bridgewater, NH farmer. For his services he would receive clothing and board and $100 at age twenty-one. At sixteen 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 a as an entrepreneur in 1844 in Methuen, shortly thereafter opened a branch store in Lawrence on Amesbury Street. His business (dry goods) prospered and he opened stores on Essex Street in Lawrence. Larger quarters were needed at a different location on Essex Street in 1854 and additions and improvements were made in 1870 and 1888. In 1893 a new store was added on Common Street connecting with 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) 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.

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