Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Appleton, Samuel

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APPLETON, Samuel, merchant, b. in New Ipswich, N. H., 22 June, 1766; d. in Boston, 12 July, 1853. His youth was spent on a farm and in teaching. For a time he kept a store in Ipswich, but he removed to Boston in 1794 and went into the importing business in partnership with his brother Nathan. He also established cotton mills at Waltham and Lowell. After 1799 he passed much of his time abroad, until he retired from business in 1823. He was at this time literally a merchant prince, and, with true nobility of character, devoted a large part of his income to charitable purposes. He made it a rule to spend annually his whole income, and to this end often placed large sums for distribution in the hands of those who were likely to meet cases of destitution. At his death the sum of $200,000 was distributed among charities. See memoir, by I. A. Jewett (Boston, 1850). — His brother, Nathan, merchant, b. in New Ipswich, N. H., 6 Oct., 1779; d. in Boston, 14 July, 1861. He entered Dartmouth college in 1794, but soon left to engage in business with Samuel in Boston. When he became of age he was admitted into partnership, and the firm was known as S. & N. Appleton. In 1813 he was associated with Francis C. Lowell, Patrick T. Jackson, Paul Moody, and others, in establishing the Waltham cotton manufactory, in which the first power loom ever used in the United States was set up. This proving successful, he and others purchased the water-power at Pawtucket Falls, and he was one of the founders of the Merrimac Manufacturing Company. The settlement that grew around these factories developed into the city of Lowell, of which in 1821 Mr. Appleton was one of the three founders. He was also the projector and chief proprietor of the Hamilton Company. He was elected to the state legislature in 1815, served during several terms, and was elected to congress in 1830 and again in 1842. He was the author of several speeches and essays on currency, banking, and the tariff, of which his “Remarks on Currency and Banking” (enlarged ed., 1858) is the most celebrated. An account of the introduction of the power loom and of the origin of Lowell was published by him. He was a member of the Academy of Science and Arts, and of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He accumulated great wealth, and was noted for his benevolence. A memoir of his life has been written by Robert C. Winthrop of Boston.