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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:446 1742-1919

Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records


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.


  • 1699-1963


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.


115 linear feet (220 volumes, 124 boxes)
The Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records contain bound volumes and unbound manuscripts relating to the Hazard family's textile business located in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. The collection is broken into three series: Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records, Hazard family material, and Narragansett Pier Railroad Company records. The collection includes financial material, production and payroll records, correspondence, family deeds and trusts, and investments and business ventures of Hazard family members. The bulk of the material relates to their ownership and management of the southern Rhode Island textile manufacturing firm throughout the 19th century. The records highlight the progression from a small textile mill to a large manufacturing company built on relationships made with Southern plantation owners and their desire for custom slave clothing and shoes. Within the collection are swatches of textiles in many different colors, patterns, and thickness. The records of the Narragansett Pier Railroad Company, a small railway, owned and operated by the Hazard family include administrative and management material, financial records, construction and operational records, and correspondence. The Hazard's used the railroad to transport goods from Narragansett and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad to the mill in Peace Dale. The rail line served passengers as well.

Some of the bound volumes contain records for companies or business entities owned and operated by Hazard ancestors and their business partners. These materials were produced prior to the founding of R.G. Hazard & Co., later Peace Dale Mfg. Co. Represented in the bound volumes are Rowland Hazard I's first cousin, John Robinson, Jr. and his business partner, Peter Ayrault, both of Charleston, South Carolina. Also included is material pertaining to a store owned by Isaac Peace, Mary Peace's father; a flour mill located in Trenton, NJ, owned by Mary's grandfather, Joseph Peace; and the Hopkinton Manufacturing Co., owned by cousin Jonathan Hazard in southwestern Rhode Island. The earliest material in the collection is located in the Hazard family papers series and includes deeds and mortgages to land in Rhode Island and South Carolina.
Textile samples: This collection contain textile samples that accompanied letters sent to Peace Dale Manufacturing Company by various commission merchants, sales agents, dye companies and plantation owners during the 19th century. All textile samples sent to Peace Dale prior to the Civil War have been digitized. The textile samples during and after the Civil War, have not been digitized, but are noted throughout the collection. The digitized textile samples can be seen as embedded images throughout this finding aid or via links within this finding aid. The original textile samples are located in Boxes 123 and 124.

Historical Note:

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.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records, 1742-1922
  2. ___Subseries A. Daybooks, journals, and ledgers, 1742-1918
  3. ___Subseries B. Accounts, 1809-1905
  4. ___Subseries C. Sales and order records, 1794-1918
  5. ___Subseries D. Cash books and memos, 1785-1922
  6. ___Subseries E. Labor and employment records, 1820-1915
  7. ___Subseries F. Production records, 1803-1919
  8. ___Subseries G. Inventory and supplies, 1841-1918
  9. ___Subseries H. Correspondence, 1797-1890
  10. Series II. Hazard family papers, 1699-1912
  11. ___Subseries A. Financial, 1699-1877
  12. ___Subseries B. Business investments, 1810-1888
  13. ___Subseries C. Legal records, 1822-1885
  14. ___Subseries D. Correspondence, 1837-1886
  15. ___Subseries E. Miscellany, 1785-1912
  16. Series III. Narragansett Pier Railroad Company records, 1856-1963
  17. ___Subseries A. Administrative, 1868-1946
  18. ___Subseries B. Management and operations, 1875-1939
  19. ___Subseries C. Construction and equipment, 1876-1952
  20. ___Subseries D. Other transportation, 1875-1929
  21. ___Subseries E. Correspondence, 1856-1963
  22. ___Subseries F. Financial, 1868-1884

Physical Location



Gift of Peace Dale Manufacturing Company, 1927.

Gift of Merrimack Valley Textile Museum, 1962.

Purchase, 2007.

Related Material

Rhode Island Historical Society has related Hazard family materials.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2011

By: Benjamin Johnson Preservation and description of 18th century material in this collection were supported by the Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.
Processing Information: The Peace Dale Manufacturing Company records were reprocessed in 2011. The original physical order of the material has been unchanged, however the finding aid has been intellectually reorganized to more appropriate series and subseries. The collection was rehoused in new folders and boxes.
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Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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