You Arrive in Lowell
You spend two days bouncing about in the coach from New Hampshire. You have a lot of time to think about how much fun it will be to live and work with other girls for a few years; you day dream about what you will do with the money you'll earn. Your plan is to work in the mills just for a few years, then get married and have a family.
When the coach comes to a stop, you are immediately caught up in the excitement of Lowell. It's the biggest and busiest town you've ever seen! You are a little overwhelmed. If your old friend Abigail Snow wasn't there to meet you, you might turn right around and head back home.
Abigail takes you to meet her boss at the Boott Mills. His name is Duncan Lowery. He is a funny little man with gray whiskers and a gruff voice. He looks you up and down and offers you a job as a weaver right then and there.
Abigail warns you that the weave room can be a noisy and dangerous place, but the pay is good and you're glad to have found a job on your first day in Lowell. Abigail gives you directions to Mrs. Pierce's boardinghouse, where she is living, and then gets back to work at her loom.
The boardinghouse isn't at all what you expected. The food is awful and it doesn't look like Mrs. Pierce has washed the floors in years. You don't like anything about it, but Mrs. Pierce is your mother's cousin and you know Ma will feel better knowing that you are being looked after by a relative.
Your next choice is:
- Stay at Mrs. Pierce's boardinghouse.
You've already worried your mother enough, and if you move so soon people
might think you don't know your own mind. You don't want to move away from
Abigail and you think maybe Mrs. Pierce's cooking will improve.
- Move to a different boardinghouse. Even if people do think you are too "independent minded," you just can't bear one more mouthful of Mrs. Pierce's "dinner mush." Plus, some of the girls in the house don't look well. If you get sick, you will have to go home, and the last thing you want is to be a burden on your parents.
Need some advice?
Copyright ©2003 Tsongas Industrial History Center, 400 Foot of John St., Lowell, MA 01852. E-Contact: Ellen_Anstey@uml.edu.