Smith and Dove Flax Mills
John Smith was born in Brechin, Scotland in 1802. After the death his father in 1810 John was unable to attend school regularly and he began to work on farms and in flax mills in the area to help family survive.
He left Scotland and traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia and on to Boston arriving on December 15, 1816. He found work as a machinist in Watertown 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 in America. Seeking the water power in Andover John and his two business partners moved their company to an unoccupied mill in Frye Village in 1824; the business partners died in 1829.
In 1833, when Peter and John Dove decided to form a company to spin flax and manufacture machinery needed for the process. They had originally met in Scotland where they worked for John Dove's father. John Smith went into business with them and eventually ceased making machinery.They 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.
John and Peter were philanthropists. John donated funds to Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy and $50,000 to establish Memorial Hall Library. When traveling in South Carolina John saw slaves being sold and became a staunch abolitionist. He founded Free Christian Church founded on anti-slavery doctrine. Peter was a supporter of the West Parish Church. Memorial Hall library- $50,000
Both John and Peter are buried at the West Parish Garden Cemetery.
- "Andover Stories column: Smith& Dove: Turning Flax into Gold", Townsman, March 31, 2011
- Andover Historical Society Newsletter Articles:
- "First Flax Mill in America (Smith & Dove Mfg. Co.")by George Glennie - Vol. 03, No. 4
- "A Long Linen Thread: Smith & Dove in Andover" by Florence Feldman-Wood - Vol. 23, No. 4
- Mary Byers Smith Papers (granddaughter of John Smith) Andover Historical Society
Historical Sketches of Andover Massachusetts] by Sarah Loring Bailey, 974.45 Bai
- The Lower Merrimack River Valley: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites R 609 Low, page 9.
- 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.