Memorials of Peter Smith
Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802 Died, Andover, Mass., Juy 6,
1880 (1881) (pdf)
"FOREST HILL”, Residence of The Late PETER
SMITH, ANDOVER MASS.
John Smith, Peter D. Smith, and John Dove (from
left to right)
Many Scots in Andover are
related to people who emigrated from the area in and around Brechin,
Scotland, and came to Andover to work in the Smith & Dove Company, whose
three owners were from Brechin. John Smith (1796-1886) came to America in
1816. In 1824, with two partners, he constructed a mill in Frye Village. By
1831, he was sole owner, and he soon brought his brother Peter Smith
(1802-1880) and their friend John Dove (1805-1876) into the business as
employees. However, when John Smith built a large flax mill in 1836, he did
so under the name Smith & Dove, having given his brother and Dove
partnerships. It was the first flax mill in the country. In 1843, the firm
was doing so well that it moved to a larger mill the three men constructed
in Abbot Village, off lower Essex Street and Red Spring Road. The owners
also bought the 1814 building erected by Abel and Paschal Abbot, who gave
the village its name. In 1846, John Smith, an abolitionist, became a founder
of Free Church. In 1865, the company started constructing additional brick
structures near the mill, including dormitories and recreation buildings. At
a later date, the company built playing fields, known as the Cricket Field.
Abbot Village grew rapidly. The Smiths and Dove became philanthropists. The
Memorial Hall Library was largely financed by them, and they gave generously
to Andover’s private schools.
Smith & Dove employed more than 300 people at the end of the century and
closed in the late 1920s. Many of the buildings still remain off Essex
Street below the tracks, and on Red Spring Road. The Cricket Field, near St.
Augustine’s Cemetery, was active into the 1950s, used mostly by teenagers
playing baseball. (Courtesy of AHS.)
Peter Smith, born in Brechin,
Scotland, sailed to America to join his older brother, John, who had already
been living there for several years. John had started a cotton machinery
manufacturing business with two other men, both of whom died shortly after
the venture began.
Peter, along with John Dove, a friend from Brechin, entered into the
business with the elder Smith. John Dove convinced John Smith that there was
a market for flax products in America. They incorporated this into the
business and it became so lucrative that they abandoned the cotton machinery
all together. Peter was in charge of managing the business, a department in
which he excelled.
He donated a great deal of money to the Andover Memorial Hall Library, the
Theological Seminary, Phillips Academy, and Abbot Academy. He was a deacon
at West Parish Church for 48 years, teaching Sunday school and inspiring
respect and affection in his employees, students, friends, and fellow
Smith & Dove: Turning flax into gold