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George C. Ballou

George Ballou Born in 1798 in Cumberland, Rhode Island, George C. Ballou was the younger brother of Woonsocket textile pioneer Dexter Ballou.

Originally a carpenter, George caught "textile fever" in 1826 while working for his brother Hosea in Blackstone making satinet warps. He moved to Woonsocket in 1830 and began spinning in a mill built on the remains of his brother Dexter's burned out mill in Market Square. Being a carpenter, George probably built most of the mill himself. He prospered to the extent that he was able to purchase the mill from James Arnold in 1839.

Stone Mill built by George C. Ballou in 1846 Unfortunately, Ballou's wooden mill was struck by fire in 1846 and was completely destroyed. Undaunted, he replaced the wooden structure with a fine stone mill. This mill, featured on the seal of the City of Woonsocket, stood for over 100 years before it was torn down in the 1960's. Another mill closely associated with George C. Ballou was located across the river at the Globe Mill complex

The Globe Village encompassed the area southeast of the Woonsocket Falls and was named for the Globe Mill that stood between Front Street and the Blackstone River. The first mill was built on this site in 1827 when James Arnold sold the land and one quarter of the water rights from the Woonsocket Falls to Thomas Arnold, Thomas Paine and Marcel Shove. Globe Mill built by George C. Ballou in 1873The company they started, the Globe Manufacturing Company, went bankrupt in 1829. After a succession of owners, Ballou acquired the property in 1864. In 1873, he built a magnificent new mill at the Globe site. It was a large mill, four stories tall with thirty-five thousand spindles. The mill was built of stone and Ballou had the entire complex painted white. It was the capstone of his career.

George C. Ballou died in 1876. His funeral was held at the Stone House - his home on South Main Street. He was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery. At the time of his death, his holdings included his mills at the Globe and in Market Square, a large interest in the Clinton Mill on Clinton Street and the American Worsted Company on Main Street and a great deal of real estate - most in the Globe District.

Thanks to the Woonsocket Call for featuring my presentation on Dexter and George Ballou at the Museum of Work & Culture on February 4, 2007.

This site utilizes information from:

  • The Ballous in America written by Adin Ballou and printed by E. L. Freeman & Sons, Providence, RI in 1888.
  • Woonsocket - Highlights of History 1800-1976 written by Alton Pickering Thomas, MD and published by the Woonsocket Opera House Society in 1973.
  • Statewide Historic Preservation Report for Woonsocket, Rhode Island published by the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission in September, 1976.
For Woonsocket residents, these books are available at the Woonsocket-Harris Public Library.

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