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Peter Smith
Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802 Died, Andover, Mass., Juy 6, 1880 (1881)

Memorials of Peter Smith
Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802 Died, Andover, Mass., Juy 6, 1880 (1881) (pdf)


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 townsmen.

Smith & Dove: Turning flax into gold

Andover  |  Brechin

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