“Mr. Joseph Davenport, a clothier by occupation, settled at the Lower Falls about the year 1730 or 1731, and built a dwelling-house a third^of a mile distant from the forges on the Boston Road (now Woodward Street); and opened a shop near the fulling-mills and gave employment to a number of workmen in the manufacture of clothing, until his death, in 1752. As we find no record of other clothiers in Newton at that time, it is fair to presume that he held a monopoly in the business among the inhabitants for several miles around.
Mr. Azariah Ware may have been a successor of Mr. Davenport in the clothing business. His name is mentioned as a clothier in a deed given by him to Moses Grant & Son, in 1809. In his description of the property conveyed to said Grant, he included clothier-shop and fulling-mill as one building.
Mention is made of other industries at the Lower Falls, including a grist-mill, a snuff-mill with four mortars, and a calico printing-works. But these were discontinued, and passed into history more than sixty years ago, so it is difficult to procure satisfactory information as to ownership or the amount of business done by them. Mr. Simon Elliot may have been the owner of the snuff-mill, and may have run it in connection with his extensive factories at the Upper Falls.
October 20, 1789, Mr. John Ware, of Sherborn, brother of the Rev. Henry Ware, professor in Harvard University, bought of Timothy Ware, of Needham, about fourteen acres of land at the Lower Falls, including dam, stream, water courses, saw-mills and forge, also a dwelling-house and barn. The next spring he built the first paper-mill in the village. The old hand method of paper-making was in vogue at that time, and we presume Mr. Ware had his stone vats for prepared pulp, and rectangular moulds with wire cloth strainers and deckles to form the sheets of pulp to be placed in layers, alternating between sheets of felting cloth for pressing out the water, as well as to give them a uniform thickness. Two or three repetitions of re-packing and pressing are usually sufficient to give the pulpy fibres an affinity to hold together while hanging in the drying lofts. This slow process of paper making was superseded in the early part of the present century by power machinery for spreading the pulp upon an endless felt carrier, and passes it along to a series of steam-drying cylinders, and is finally rolled into large coils for the rotating shears to divide into sheets of uniform dimensions, when it is ready to be bundled into reams for market. The latest improved paper-making machine was patented in England or France by Mr. Fourdrinier, and has since been in general use by all fine paper makers. From the records of the late Benjamin Neal, E<q., we learn that one of the first Fourdrinier machines imported into this country was placed in a mill at the Lower Falls.
August 29, 1808, Mr. John Ware sold to Mr. Azariah Ware a small lot of land, with clothiers’ shop and fulling-mill thereon, and on the fourth day of September of the next year Azariah Ware sold the same property to Moses Grant & Son, of Boston, reserving a perpetual right of way over the land, for teams and workmen from the county road to Curtis and Elliot’s paper mills and other mills. The Messrs. Grant built a paper mill upon the land for the manufacture of glazed book-board, and other use, and on August 9, 1811, Moses Grant, Jr., conveyed his interest in the property to his father, who then became the sole owner of the same.
Between the years 1812 and 1832 upwards of thirty sales and transfers of property were made among the several mill owners that depended upon the water from the river to operate their machinery; and so far as the water-power was concerned, it became a common interest to them all. These divisions and subdivisions of mill property conveyed with them corresponding divisions of the water-rights each enjoyed in the river; questions were continually arising, particularly in the seasons of low water, relative to this or that owner’s draught from the stream. The growing complexity of this difference of opinion created a question of paramount importance to the several proprietors, which terminated in the spring of 1816 by a new apportionment of the water.
The old adjustment of water-rights by and between Jonathan Willard and Henry Pratt in 1748 was still in force, but was not considered sufficient to answer the present requirements, and July 26th a new apportionment was made and agreed to by all parties in interest, to-wit:—Simon Elliot and Solomon Curtis owned the two southern paper mills; Hurd and Bemis owned one paper-mill and the saw-mill; Moses Grant owned one paper-mill, and John Ware one fulling-mill, all on the Newton side. Simon Elliot and Solomon Curtis owned two-thirds of the paper-mill and two-thirds of the saw-mill, and Hurd and Bemis owned the remaining one-third of the mills on Needham side. By this agreement all of the paper-mills and fulling-mills were to have the first right of water, the saw-mill on Newton side the second right, the glazing machines in the several paper-mills to have the thjrd right, and the saw-mill in Needham to have the fourth water-right.
This agreement further entailed upon the several parties in interest an apportionment of the cost of keeping the main dam in the best of repair, and to keep the flumes and water-ways to their respective mills in good order, and perfectly tight at all times. This indenture was signed and sealed by Simon Elliot, Solomon Curtis, Moses Grant, William Hurd, Charles Bemis and John Ware; and for a season the vexed question was amicably adjusted.
In the year 1834 important changes in ownership were made upon both sides of the river. These changes may have been brought about by a destructive fire that swept down the river bank on the morning of May 19th of this year, totally destroying Messrs. Amos Lyon & Co.’8 paper-mill, and Messrs. Reuben Ware and William Clark’s machine-shop, all on the Needham side of the river.
In October Mr. Lemuel Crehore, by purchase, became the sole owner of the Moses Grant and William Hurd mills on the Newton side, which included the old saw and fulling-mills, and the John Ware papermill. And at the same time Mr. William Hurd purchased Mr. Crehore’s rights in a paper-mill upon the Needham side. More than two years previous to this transaction, Messrs. Allen C. and William Curtis, sons of Solomon Curtis, had acquired the entire fee in the Solomon Curtis and Simon Elliott mill. By these sales of property the varied interests upon the Newton side were separated from the Needham property, and grouped into the hands of two ownerships.”
History of Middlesex County Massachusetts, Vol. 3, by Duane Hamilton Hurd, 1890, pages 101-2