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Peace Dale Manufacturing Company



The Peace Dale Manufacturing Company began in 1802 with merchant Rowland Hazard I (1763-1835). Rowland Hazard I was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island in 1763. He moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1789 to partner with his cousin John Robinson, Jr. in the merchant firm Hazard Robinson & Co. In Charleston, he met and married Mary Peace (1775-1852), daughter of Charleston commission merchant Isaac Peace and Elizabeth Gibson Peace. In 1796, Hazard partnered with Peter Ayrault in the commission merchant firm Hazard & Ayrault, however the firm dissolved in 1803. With the death of his father Thomas in 1798, Rowland inherited family land in Rhode Island and moved back to South Kingstown where he invested in in Benjamin Rodman's small textile mill on the Saugatucket River. Although focused on the textile business, Hazard financed coastwise shipping voyages, frequently including his brother and merchant Thomas Hazard Jr. (1758-1828), of New Bedford, Massachusetts. As Hazard became more involved in the textile mill he introduced machinery, including a carding machine and the power loom. He turned over the business to his two sons, Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888) and Isaac Peace Hazard (1794-1879) in 1819, and was later bought out in 1821. The brothers renamed the firm I.P. & R.G. Hazard. In 1826, they bought out all outside investors, and company became solely a family operation. Younger brother Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) was admitted to the firm in 1828 and the name was changed to R.G. Hazard & Co. In 1848, the business was incorporated as the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company with Isaac as president and Rowland G. as treasurer.

Upon gaining financial control of the firm, the brothers began expanding the business. Cotton and wool was bought from Rhode Island farms and imported from Southern plantations. Woolen goods and pre-made clothing were exported to plantation owners in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Plantation owners had previous gotten much of their slave clothing from textile manufactures in England, however a desire for customized materials gave the Hazard's an advantage. R.G. Hazard & Co. produced slave clothing using different combinations of materials according to their customers wishes and could even supply the clothing in different colors and patterns if desired. During the 1820s, Isaac Peace Hazard served as a traveling representative targeting new customers and obtaining orders from Southern plantation owners, while Rowland and Joseph continued to work at the mill in Peace Dale. Between 1833 and 1843, Rowland made yearly trips during the winter months to the South, including Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans. During the 1840s, the size of the company grew at such a fast pace that the Hazard brothers had to employ selling agents in the major cities to handle their business. In the early days of R.G. Hazard & Co., southern plantation owner corresponded directly with the Hazards, however that changed in the years leading up to the Civil War. When a fire destroyed the original mill, the Hazard's replaced it with new, larger stone mill. At the same time, orders for slave clothing were slowing and production was refocused to the production of shawls and cashmeres. Rowland G. Hazard and Isaac Peace Hazard both served as president and treasurer interchangeably until 1864, when Isaac retired. Rowland G. Hazard retired in 1866, leaving the firm in the hands of his son, Rowland Hazard II (1829-1898), who had been superintendent of the mill from 1855-1860, and assistant treasurer since 1860. Rowland Hazard II assumed the treasurer role and worked closely with his brother and president of the firm John Newbold Hazard (1836-1900). Rowland G. Hazard II (1855-1918), son of Rowland Hazard II served as president of the company until his death in 1918, when the firm was acquired by M.T. Stevens & Sons Co.

In 1843, Rowland G. Hazard purchased a smaller mill in western Rhode Island and renamed it Carolina Mills, to honor his wife, Caroline Newbold Hazard. The Carolina Mills focused on cotton textile production until 1863, when the Hazard family leased the mill to T.R. Hyde & Co. and woolen manufacturing became the dominant textile produced. T.R. Hyde & Co. was a partnership between Thomas R. Hyde and Rowland Hazard II. This partnership lasted until 1868 when the mill was sold. The Hazard family also owned and operated the Narragansett Pier Railroad Company, a rail line connecting Kingston and Narragansett Pier; and the Solvay Process Company, a soda ash production company located in Solvay, New York. The Narragansett Pier Railroad Company connected the mill in Peace Dale to the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad in Kingston and to the coast in Narragansett. The two modes of transportation afforded the Peace Dale Mfg. Co. options for shipping their goods.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records

Collection Identifier: Mss:446 1742-1919

The records of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company, a large textile empire located in Peace Dale, Rhode Island owned and operated by five generations of the Hazard family.