Lowell200: Founders Pt I

The following is one of an occasional series of posts I’m doing in recognition of Lowell’s upcoming bicentennial in 2026. These and future profiles were first featured in my 2012 book, Legendary Locals of Lowell.

Francis Cabot Lowell

Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) graduated from Harvard College then set up as a merchant. He imported hand-spun and hand-woven cotton textiles from India and silks from China. His India Wharf was the headquarters of trade with the Orient. After returning from a trip to Great Britain he was determined to manufacture textiles at home using waterpower. This silhouette is the only known likeness of Lowell.


Nathan Appleton

Born in New Ipswitch, New Hampshire, Nathan Appleton (1781-1861) made his fortune as a young man in partnership with his brother, Samuel. In 1811 while in Endinburgh, Scotland, Appleton met Francis Cabot Lowell and became an early investor in the Waltham Mill. Along with Paul Moody and Patrick Tracy Jackson, Appleton was one of the founders of the city of Lowell. His daughter, Fannie, married the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Patrick Tracy Jackson

Patrick Tracy Jackson (1780-1847), born in Newburyport, was a brother-in-law of Francis Cabot Lowell. In 1813, he agreed to move to Waltham to set up and run the Boston Manufacturing Company where he developed the Waltham System of textile production and marketing. He remained there until 1825 when he moved to Lowell. Jackson was the driving force behind the Boston and Lowell Railroad, one of the first railroads in America.