Rufus A. Maxfield by J. P.

Rufus A. Maxfield was born in Nashua, N. H., on the fifth day of March, 1835. His father, Stephen C. Maxfield, was a native of Newbury, Vt., was married to Clarissa Staples, a native of Chichester. N. H., at Nashua N. H., when the now populous city was but a small village. There were ten children born to them. Four died quite young; six are now living, viz.: the subject of this sketch; James G. Maxfield, M. D., surgeon at the National Home for disabled volunteer soldiers at Togus, Me.; J. P. Maxfield, treasurer of the Hiscox File Manufacturing Company, at West Chelmsford, Mass., who resides in Lowell, Mass.; Stephen W. Maxfield, a mechanic, now living in Nashua; Susan T. and Helen A.; the former married and resides in Wolfeborough, N. H., the latter in Lowell, Mass., with the widowed mother, who is still living at the ripe age of seventy years. Stephen C, the father, was employed for seventeen years by the Nashua Manufacturing Company, and was a faithful servant to his employers. He early became identified with the Methodist denomination, and was among the most zealous workers in building up the two societies in those early days. He died in Lowell. Mass., August 10, 1862, having lived a consistent Christian life, at the age of fifty-three years.

When Rufus was eight years old he was employed in the carding department of the Nashua company's mills during his school vacations. It was here that he was first taught the rudiments of cotton-manufacture. For awhile he worked as back boy in the mule-spinning department. In 1846 the family removed to Lowell, Mass. After attending school here for a short time he again went into the mill in the carding department on the Lawrence corporation. From here he was transferred to the mule-spinning department. In 1853 he left the mill temporarily to attend school at Northfield, N. H., where he remained two years, when he returned to the mill and to his mule-spinning. He passed through the various grades until he reached the position of second overseer. He was married on the 10th of May, 1856, to Mary A. Spaulding, daughter of Joshua Spaulding, of Pepperell, Mass.

Soon after the breaking out of the war of the rebellion, the mills of Lowell suspended operations, and thousands were thrown out of employment, Mr. Maxfield among the rest. In 1863 he entered the employ of the Naumkeag Mill, at Salem, Mass., as second overseer under Charles D. McDuffie, Esq., who had charge of all the spinning in these mills. Mr. McDuffie is now agent of the Manchester Mills, Manchester, N. H. Mr. Maxfield remained in the employ of the Naumkeag Mill until the close of the war, when, the corporations in Lowell resuming operations, he was tendered the position of overseer of the mule-spinning in the hosiery-mill of the Lawrence Manufacturing Company, who were then starting. Here he remained until the spring of 1866, when he took charge of the mule-spinning in number five mill, then the largest mill owned by the Lawrence company. During the latter part of 1868 he had charge of all the spinning in this mill.

In 1869 he was appointed superintendent of Ida Hill Mill, Troy, N. Y. Under adverse circumstances, with a mill cramped for power, and with old machinery very much out of repair, he was very successful, earning satisfactory profits for the owners. In the year 1872, the management of the Tremont and Suffolk Mills in Lowell, Mass., offered him the position of superintendent of their large mills, where, under Thomas S. Shaw, Esq., agent, he remained until 1875. During his connection with this company, the quality of the Canton flannels, which are a "specialty" with these mills, was brought up to a standard that made them rank among the first in the market, commanding ready sales and good prices.

The directors of the Nashua Manufacturing Company, on the death of Oliver Hussey, Esq., in January, 1875, realizing the qualifications of Mr. Maxfield for such a position, appointed him agent of their large mills in Nashua, N. H. During Mr. Maxfield's administration to the present time, there have been extensive alterations and improvements in the direction of economy of manufacture and increased production, so that the reputation of the company that owned the model mills of New England has been maintained. Thus we find the boy who at eight years of age took his first lesson in cotton-manufacture, returning, after the lapse of thirty-two years, to the same mills as agent. Little did the youth dream what thirty-two years would bring to pass in his career.

Socially Mr. Maxfield is a very agreeable gentleman; and, while he has devoted his energies during all these years to his chosen calling, he has found time to connect himself by social ties to beneficiary organizations, thus lending his influence to the great work in which they are engaged. He was prominent for many years in the management of the affairs of Mechanics Lodge of Odd Fellows of Lowell, Mass., passing through the various positions until now he is one of the "Past Grands" of this lodge. He is also a member of Pentucket Lodge of Masons, Royal Arch Chapter, Ahasuerus Council, and Pilgrim Commandry of that city.

He is a regular attendant of the Methodist church, and is respected by the people of Nashua for his upright and honorable course of life. He is prompt to decide questions that come before him; but his decisions, though firm, are tempered with that affability of manner which relieves them of much of the harshness that many men manifest. May he be spared many years to pursue his favorite calling; and may the day be far distant when the Nashua Manufacturing Company shall lose his services, or the city of Nashua lose so worthy a citizen.