Showing posts with label weapons manufacture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weapons manufacture. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2012

Money May Not Smell, But....

The Odor of Blood Does Reek

Bloody Bleeding Kansas
William E. Connelley included a chapter titled "Lane's Army of the North," in his book,  A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans--referring to Col. James H. Lane, who had gone to Washington, D.C. in March to present the Topeka Constitution to Congress, and attempt to have Kansas admitted as a State. He later went to Chicago, where he told those who heard him:
"I have been sent by the people of Kansas to plead their cause before the people of the North. Most persons have a very erroneous idea of the people of Kansas. They think they are mostly from Massachusetts. They are really more than nine- tenths from the Northwestern States. There are more men from Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, than from all New England and New York combined."
 Speaking further of President Franklin Pierce, Col. Lane, quoted by Connelly, declared:
"Of Franklin Pierce I have a right to talk as I please, having made more than one hundred speeches advocating his election, and having also, as one of the electors of Indiana, cast the electoral vote of that State for him. Frank was, in part, the creature of my own hands; and a pretty job they made of it. The one pre-eminent wish of mine now is that Frank may be hurled from the White House; and that the nine memorials, sent him from the outraged citizens of Kansas detailing their wrongs, may be dragged out of his iron box."
Connelley tells us that organizations were formed all over the North to help Kansas in the struggle with the slave power. 
On the 10th of July, there was a meeting at Buffalo, New York, to consolidate all these local bodies into a National organization, to be directed by one head. Governor Reeder presided at this meeting. It was determined to open a road through Iowa and Nebraska to enable emigrants to come to Kansas without being obliged to pass through Missouri....Lane had advocated the route through Iowa even before it was known that the Missouri River would be blockaded by the Missourians, saying that Free-State emigrants to Kansas ought not to be compelled to pass through hostile territory where they were insulted, maltreated and sometimes mobbed. The route through Iowa was recommended by this meeting. The National Kansas Committee was organized, composed of the following members:
  • George R. Russell, Boston; 
  • W. H. Russell, New Haven; 
  • Thaddeus Hyatt, New York, 
  • N. B. Craige, Pittsburgh; 
  • John W. Wright, Logansport; 
  • Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, 
  • E. B. Ward, Detroit; 
  • J. H. Tweedy, Milwaukee; 
  • W. H. Hoppin, Providence; 
  • W. H. Stanley, Cleveland; 
  • F. A. Hunt, St. Louis; 
  • S. W. Eldridge, Lawrence; 
  • G. W. Dole, J. D. Webster, H. B. Hurd, J. Y. Scammon, and I. N. Arnold, Chicago.

Eli Thayer's Emigrant Aid Company

In a book Eli Thayer wrote years after the event, A History of the Kansas Crusade,
edited by Edward Everett Hale, he stated that the convention was not so much about opposing slavery as opposing the stranglehold the Puritan fathers like Winthrop and Lawrence had for so long held over New England. They had "readily joined the disaffected Democrats of New York in the Buffalo Convention" after Zachary Taylor was nominated in 1848 after the war with Mexico and annexation of Texas. This combined party, however, according to Thayer, grew smaller every year until in 1853 they lost a battle with the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and formed the Free Soil party. Thayer blamed the southerners for the ensuing bloody battle that eventually occurred in Kansas, while President Pierce always laid the responsibility for the bloodbath on the New Englanders who formed the Emigrant Aid Company.

Thayer chose a man born in Old Lyme, Connecticut, James Denison Colt, to assist him. Colt's genealogy takes us back to the family of Samuel Colt, inventor of the improved revolver for which he received a British patent, and profited greatly from the wars against Mexico and native Americans:
Colt received a boost in sales during the Texas Revolution and the Mexican American War. His weapons contributed to the U.S. Army's success, and to the resulting westward expansion of American territory. A Texas Ranger, Captain Samuel Walker, wrote Colt a testimonial that read, in part:"Your pistols...[are] the most perfect weapon in the World... to keep the various warlike tribes of Indians and marauding Mexicans in subjection."
Construction of the Colt Armory in Hartford, Connecticut began in 1853, after renting space there since 1848.

Machine Tools and Interchangeable Parts

British scientists had long been interested in American factory outputs for interchangeable moveable parts. In the book, English and American tool builders, author, Joseph Wickham Roe, tells the history of the rivalry between British and American inventors and dates the rise of the interchangeable parts inventions with Eli Whitney in New Haven and Simeon North in Middletown, Connecticut, the same town from which Skull and Bones founder, William H. Russell, had hailed. 

Simeon North's oldest son, Reuben, inherited his father's armaments business in Middletown, and the youngest son, Dr. Simeon North (1802-1884)  graduated Yale, class of 1825 (eight years ahead of William H. Russell) and became the fifth president of Hamilton College in New York. Dr. North's wife, the former Frances Harriet Hubbard, was a sister of Mrs. William H. Russell--wives being daughters of Dr. Thomas Hubbard, professor of surgery at Yale and president of the Connecticut State Medical Society, 1822-27. Mary E. Hubbard Russell would assist her husband in operating the Collegiate School in New Haven, which became one of the favored prep schools for young men who would later be tapped for Skull and Bones.

Click image to enlarge.

Mary Bellis, has written:
Both Eli Whitney and Simeon North helped to establish the United States Arsenals at Springfield, Massachusetts, and at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in which their methods were adopted. Both the Whitney and North plants survived their founders. Just before the Mexican War the Whitney plant began to use steel for gun barrels, and Jefferson Davis, Colonel of the Mississippi Rifles, declared that the new guns were "the best rifles which had ever been issued to any regiment in the world." Later, when Davis became Secretary of War, he issued to the regular army the same weapon.
Whitney's factory and its assets, including any patents he may have owned, were sold by his descendants in 1888, to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven. During the interim, the Sharps rifle company was moved to Hartford, and several of the Colt company's top managers, Billings and Fairfield, helped to supervise that company as well as their own. What we learn from this history of the machine tools is that whatever domestic use could be made for the machinery--whether for cotton gins, sewing machines, lathes, or even cotton mills or men's suspenders made of India rubber and fabric cartridge belts used in machine guns and ammunition belts, manufactured by the Russell family's factories in Middletown--the machine tools could always be converted to make weapons when it became more patriotic or profitable to do so. The researcher ,who provided the information about Russell Manufacturing for his website, stated:
From information provided by the Russell Library, Middletown, CT, the Russell Manufacturing Company, established in Middletown by Samuel Russell in 1834, had a history of producing military equipment dating at least back to the Spanish-American War when they produced cartridge belts for use with the M1892 Krag rifle and possibly cartridge belts for various state militia units equipped with M1873 trapdoor Springfield rifles. When WWI started the Russell Company was producing about 300 M1910 "BELT, Cartridge, Dismounted, Model of 1910" per week. The M1910 had 10 "eagle" snap and later lift-the-dot flap pockets each holding two 5 round stripper clips of M1906 .30 caliber ammunition. This belt was very similar to the M1923 cartridge belt used in WWII and Korea and served the army until it was phased out in 1957 with the advent of the M14 rifle which used a detachable 20 round box magazine. As the country was preparing to celebrate the first post-WWI "Decoration Day", now known as Memorial Day honoring the U.S. WWI war dead, the Middletown Press, on May 29, 1919, ran a feature story highlighting the local manufacturers contributions to the war effort.  The cut below lists items that Russell Manufacturing produced for the WWI war effort.

Founder of Russell Manufacturing Company in 1834

Samuel Russell, son of Capt. John Russell
with biographical sketches of its prominent men 
by J.B. Beers

Samuel Russell, eldest son of Capt. John and Abigail Russell, was born at Middletown, Conn., August 25th 1789. His father having deceased when he was but twelve years of age, he was placed under guardianship, and after receiving an ordinary education was placed in the store of Messrs. Whittlesey & Alsop, Washington street, Middletown, and afterward with Mr. Samuel Wetmore, where he remained until he arrived at majority; he then went to New York city, and entered the house of Messrs. Hall, Hull & Co., foreign shipping merchants, and was sent by them as supercargo to Spain; after which he was invited to enter the house of B. & T.C. Hoppin & Co., Providence, R. I., who were engaged in the Calcutta and China trade, where he remained until he became a partner of Messrs. E. Carrington & Co., Cyrus Butler, and B. & T.C. Hoppin. 

On the 26th of December 1818, articles of co-partnership were signed for the transaction of business in China for a term of five years, which at the expiration of that time eventuated in the establishment of the house of Russell & Co., at Canton — one of the most celebrated firms in China, doing business under the same name up to the present time; having numbered among its partners such men as Phillip Amidon, Augustine Heard, William Henry Low, John C. Green, John Murray Forbes, Joseph Coolidge, A. A. Low, W. C. Hunter, Edward King, Robert Bennett Forbes, Warren Delano jr., and Russell Sturgis.

Mr. Russell's life in China is thus briefly described by one who knew him intimately and enjoyed his lifelong friendship:

While he lived no friend of his would venture to mention his name in print. While In China, he lived for about twenty-five years almost an hermit, hardly known outside of his factory except by the chosen few who enjoyed his intimacy, and by his good friend, Hoqua, but studying commerce in its broadest sense, as well as its minutest details. Returning home with well earned wealth he lived hospitably In the midst of his family, and a small circle of inmates. Scorning words and pretensions from the very bottom of his heart, he was the truest and staunchest of friends; bating notoriety, he could always be absolutely counted upon for every good work which did not involve publicity."

The house of which he was a member had a world-wide reputation, and the name of Samuel Russell was potent wherever commerce reached. It is said of him, personally, that his word was as good as his bond.

In 1837, he returned to Middletown, where he had made previous arrangements for the erection of the elegant mansion on the corner of Washington and High streets. This was done under the supervision of Hon. Samuel D. Hubbard. He did not sit down, on his return, simply to enjoy his wealth, but entered heartily into public and private enterprises. He founded the Russell Manufacturing Company, and was its first president. He was president of the Middlesex County Bank nearly ten years, and was a large stockholder. During the panic of 1857, he advanced $75,000 of his private fortune to sustain the bank through the crisis. He was constantly assisting private individuals who were in financial trouble, and while he frequently lost large sums in this manner, it never occasioned him any regret. His motto was "Duties are ours; events are God's.''

He was a man of broad and liberal views, and gave freely to the support of all religious denominations. He gave liberally toward the building of the Roman Catholic church, and induced the quarry companies of Portland to contribute the stone. He assisted nearly all the other churches by large contributions. He made judicious investments of his money, which yielded large returns, but it is said of him that he gave away, and lost by assisting others, a sum fully equal to all he made in China.

In his business he was very methodical and painstaking; in his private life was frugal and economical, avoiding all display or ostentation, but very hospitable. His friends always found a hearty welcome under his roof. In his private charities no one but himself and the recipients ever knew the extent of his gifts.

Mr. Russell was twice married; first, on the 6th of October 1815, to Mary Cotton Osborne, in New York city, daughter of David and Mary Cotton Osborne, of Stratford, Connecticut, an orphan (both parents having died in the West Indies), by whom he had two sons: George Osborne, and John Augustus Russell. During Mr. Russell's first absence, in China, his young wife died suddenly at the early age of twenty-three, leaving his two little children in charge of his sister, Frances. After having completed the five years' engagement with the Providence house, Mr. Russell returned from Canton for a brief stay, during which time he married Frances A., the sister of his first wife, and again returned to the East. George and John, his sons, did not inherit strong constitutions, and although sent to Europe for travel and treatment, and living much in the West Indies, neither of them attained far beyond the age of early manhood. George Osborne, the eldest, married Amelia C., daughter of Thomas Mather, and left two sons: Samuel and George Osborne. John A. married Helena E. Webster, of Cuba, and left one son, Frank W., who died while a youth.

Mr. Russell had one son by his second wife, Samuel Wadsworth Russell, who married Clara A. Casey, daughter of Dr. William Casey, of Middletown, by whom he had three children: William Wadsworth, Mary Alice, and Cornelia Augusta. This third son of Mr. Russell was much younger than his half brothers, and survived his father some years, but died at the early age of 31.

Samuel Russell, son of George Osborne, and grandson of Samuel Russell, the East India merchant, lost his father when but three years of age, and was brought up by his grandfather. He represents the family in Middletown, and is in possession of the fine old residence, built by his grandfather, and maintains with pride the characteristics of the old mansion.

He married for his first wife, Lucy McDonough, second daughter of Hon. Henry G. Hubbard, and granddaughter of Commodore McDonough, by whom he has three children: Samuel, Thomas McDonough, and Lucy Hubbard. He married, for his second wife, Sarah Chaplin Clark, daughter of John Clark jr., and Caroline Madison Pickering, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, by whom he had one daughter, Helen Pickering. Mr. Russell has been, for some years, the vice-president and a director of the Russell Manufacturing Company, and also holds several directorships elsewhere.

Edward Augustus Russell was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on the i6th day of June 1797. He was the second son of John Russell and Abigal Warner, his wife, and was born in the old family homestead, which had been owned and occupied by four generations before him, among whom were the Rev. Noadiah Russell, and the Rev. William Russell, who were consecutively together pastors of the North Congregational Church in this city for seventy-three years — or from 1688 to 1761.

At an early age he was apprenticed to Mr. Samuel Wetmore, merchant, with whom he remained as long as Mr. W. continued in business in Middletown, Mr, Russell then went to Providence, R. I., as clerk to Edward Carrington & Co., in the East India trade.

On the 12th of September 1820, he married Miss Elizabeth Brown Hall, daughter of William Clark Hall, a native of Boston, but more recently of Middletown, and moved to Petersburg, Va., where he was engaged in business for about two years, when he returned North to enter the office of Mr. George Douglas in New York. He had not been there long, however, when offers of strong inducement caused him to sever his connections with Mr. Douglas and to seek a home from which he then supposed he might not return for many years. In the spring of 1825, he sailed from New York for China, to take part in the house of Russell & Co., in Canton, which had been formed the year before by his elder brother, Samuel, in partnership with Mr. Philip Amidon, of New York. He was, however, within two years from the time of his arrival there, stricken down with that dread scourge of the East — liver complaint — and after a long and protracted illness was obliged to return to his native country.

Again entering the office, in New York, of Mr. Douglas — this time as partner — he continued for some years, and until this connection was severed by his being called to the presidency of the Royal Insurance Company in that city, which position he held until he retired from active business, and returned to Middletown in 1838.

During the remainder of his life, he was interested in the affairs of his native town, and held many trusts outside as well as at home. He was mayor of the city from May 1857 to January 1861, was representative to the Legislature, delegate to National Convention, president of the Charles River Railroad, as well as director in other roads, and was also interested in the development of the manufacture of silk in the State of Massachusetts.

By his marriage he had seven children, three of whom, with one grandson, now occupy the old homestead. He died in Middletown, April 4th 1874, on the same spot where he was born, and which has now been owned and occupied by seven generations of the same family.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sharps Rifle's Role in Abolitionists Cause

War has always been an important resource used to protect investments made by one segment of a society from being lost. It can also be a means of making money. The following research shows that a company, set up in Massachusetts and invested in by many former China-trade opium merchants, was a prime mover in colonization of the Kansas Territory. Were these New Englanders that committed against slavery, or were they more concerned with selling weapons like the Sharps Rifle, manufactured in Connecticut, to protect other investments they made in frontier Kansas?