William Amory

William Amory was born in Boston, Mass., June 15, 1804, and is the son of Thomas C. and Hannah R. (Linzee) Amory. He was one of a family of four sons and four daughters, of whom three only—two sons and one daughter—survive. His father, a merchant of Boston, died in 1812; and seven years later his son, then but fifteen years of age, entered Harvard University. He spent four years there, and soon after went to Europe to complete his education. He pursued in Germany the study of law and of general literature for a year and a half at the university in Gottingen, and for nine months at the university in Berlin. He occupied the subsequent two years and a half in travel, and returned to Boston in July, 1830, after an absence of five years. There he pursued his legal studies with Franklin Dexter and W. H. Gardiner, and in 1831 was admitted to the bar of Suffolk county, without, however, any intention of entering upon legal practice.

In that year he was chosen treasurer of the Jackson Manufacturing Company, at Nashua, N. H., and began business as a manufacturer. Without experience, and yet with a mind which study had disciplined and knowledge of the world had made keen, with remarkable energy and enterprise, he was eminently successful, and the Jackson company paid large and sure dividends for the eleven years he continued its treasurer. In 1837 he became the treasurer of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, an office which included at that time, when the plan of creating a city upon the Merrimack was just to be carried out, the responsibility and wisdom of a general manager of the company's interests, as well as the usual financial duties of a treasurer. He held that office from then till October, 1876; was treasurer of the Stark Mills, with the exception of four years and a half, from its organization, in 1839, to 1876; was a director of the Manchester Mills, and its successor, the Manchester Print-Works, from the start, in 1839, till 1871; and has been a director of the Langdon Mills from its beginning, in 1860, and its president from 1874 to 1876. When Mr. Amory tendered his resignation as treasurer of the Amoskeag company, the following complimentary resolutions were unanimously adopted by the stockholders:—

"Resolved, That the stockholders of this corporation have heard with regret of the resignation of their treasurer, William Amory, Esq.

"That a continuous service of thirty-nine years demands from them an expression of their appreciation of his eminent success, not only in building up an unequaled and remunerative manufacturing establishment, but in founding the largest and one of the finest cities in the state.

"For both these results they tender to him their hearty thanks, and desire to place this testimonial upon the records of the company."

In seconding the motion to adopt the above resolutions, T. Jefferson Coolidge, Esq., spoke as follows:—

"The best witness to the services of Mr. Amory as treasurer is the splendid condition of the Amoskeag company. He took it in its infancy, when it was poor. There was then but one mill of about eight thousand spindles. He leaves it, after forty years of success, with one hundred and thirty-seven thousand spindles, and more than two millions of quick capital. You have received in dividends, for forty-two years, an average of eleven per cent a year; and, if to that is added the increase of the quick capital, the company has earned fifteen per cent per annum, without taking into consideration the money spent on the plant. To put it in another light: a stockholder of one share, costing one thousand dollars, if he allowed compound interest at the rate he received on his dividends, would find that his share had been worth to him eighty thousand dollars.

"The mills themselves are equal, if not superior, to any in New England, and contain more than twenty acres of machinery floor; and, although there are many mills in England and some here that are running more spindles, yet I believe the Amoskeag is the largest cotton-manufacturing establishment in either country producing its goods from the cotton in the bale, and turning them out actually finished for the market.

"I have said enough to show that no one can be more deserving of a vote of thanks than the retiring treasurer. Let us hope that he may be preserved for many years to aid in the counsels of the company, and to assist his successor in the arduous task that must fall to any man who takes a place which he has filled so long, so ably, and so successfully."

Mr. Amory married, in January, 1833, Miss Anna P. G. Sears, daughter of David Sears, an eminent merchant of Boston, by whom he has had six children, of whom four survive.

Mr. Amory is a man with whom, more than with almost any one else, Manchester is closely identified, and to whose accurate foresight and comprehensive views a very large proportion of its beauty and success is due. To him, as the manager of the company which gave it its first impulses in life and has ever since assisted its growth, it owes in large measure its wide streets, its pleasant squares, and its beautiful cemetery. He has pursued a liberal policy, and deserves the city's gratitude. As the treasurer of the company, he has met with eminent success. A man of perfect honor and integrity, cautious and prudent, he has looked upon the funds in his possession as his only in trust, to be managed with the utmost care. Herein is to be found the secret of his success. Few men stand better than he in the business world of his native city, or elsewhere. A gentleman of culture, of the utmost polish, with a very pleasing appearance, he enjoys the affection and respect of many personal friends.