Andover Biography - William Wood
This is a record in progress.
William Madison Wood was born in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard on June 18, 1858, to immigrant parents from the Portuguese Azores. He had to go to work to support his family at age 13 when his father died. He was promoted through the levels of companies that he worked for, always showing a propensity for cost reduction.
He came to Lawrence in 1886 as a manager at Washington Mill, but quickly was promoted to treasure. He advocated combining mills to save costs and created the American Woolen Company by combining eight mills in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. In 1899 he became president of the American Woolen Company. the American Woolen Company largest worsted wool manufacturing company in the world in 1899
Bread and Roses strike when the work week was reduced from 56 to 54 hours by order of the Massachusetts Legislature, he reduced the workers' pay accordingly. Tnis was the impetus for the Bread and Roses Strike in 1912.
Moved headquarters of American Woolen Company to Shawsheen in Andover where he built mills on the Boston & Maine Railroad to provide the transportation for workers from Lawrence. For the managers he built a planned community, known oa Shawsheen Village consisting of brick homes for the high level managers and white wooden homes for the lower level managers. He also built recreational facilities including a golf course, a pool and a club house. He even built a drug store.
Created Shawsheen Village 1919-1924
Plaque on the corner of Lowell and North Main Streets describes him as an industrial genius, a humanitarian, and a great benefactor of youth. This terminology was specified as conditions of the bequest to the Town by William Wood's grandson Cornelius. a portion of the bequest for the memorial to William Wood the rest to be used for "public purposes". Money given by the estate of William Wood's son Cornelius.
Built the West Parish Church and is buried in the West Parish cemetery.
After several strokes, took his life in 1926 at the age of 67
- "Larsen Launches Discussion on Wood Memorial", Townsman, January 20, 2000, page 6.
- Mills, Mansions and Mergers: The Life of William M. Wood, by Edward G. Roddy
- "Mill Owner Led the World in Wool Manufacturing", Eagle Tribune, November 4, 1999, page 21
- "Wood: Andover Honors Controversial Figure", Eagle Tribune, Januart 13, 2000, page 1 and 2