Smith and Dove Flax Mills

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Smith and Dove Flax Mills

Peter Smith and John Smith were born in Brechin, Scotland in 1802. After the death his father in 1810 John was unable to attend school regularly began to work on farms and in flax mills. After leaving Scotland he traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia and on to Boston arriving on December 15, 1816. He worked as a machinist in Medway and Waltham and then left to travel the country in August of 1819 arriving back in Medway, Massachusetts in 1820 where he worked as a machinist. He founded a machine company in Plymouth known as the John Smith & Co and asked his brother Peter to join him. Seeking the water power in Andover John moved his company to an unoccupied mill in Frye Village in 1824. John's business partners died in 1829, In 1833 when Peter and John Dove decided to form a company to spin flax as he and Peter had in Scotland, John Smith went into business with them.

He traveled the country. When in South Carolina he saw slaves being sold. Founded Free Christian Church founded on anti-slavery doctrine. First made cotton machinery. Joined by brother Peter and other friends and family from Scotland.

Memorial Hall library- $50,000 Philanthropists Phillip Academy, Abbot Academy

unoccupied mill in Frye Village (later renamed Shawsheen by William Wood)built cotton machinery. Joined by John Dove in 1833 who had worked with Peter Smith in flax mills in Scotland. The three began to produce flax after John Dove traveled to Scotland to learn more about the machinery and the process to produce flax.

They eventually ceased making machinery and bought water power and building from Abel and Pascal Abbot in Abbot Village in 1843. In 1864 the John and Peter Smith and John Dove incorporated as Smith & Dover Company. By 1896 they employed 300 people.

West Parish Garden Cemetery Peter Smith & John Smith

  • "Andover Stories column: Smith& Dove: Turning Flax into Gold", Townsman, March 31, 2011


  • Andover Historical Society Newsletter Article:

First Flax Mill in America (Smith & Dove Mfg. Co.) - written by George Glennie - Vol. 03, No. 4 A Long Linen Thread: Smith & Dove in Andover - written by Florence Feldman-Wood - Vol. 23, No.


  • Small Riot, Attack on Officer and Abbot Village. (Bill Dalton column describes Abbot Village, where many Smith and Dove workers lived, and Abbot Village Hall) Andover Townsman January 26, 2012, p.9.

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