The Life of a Young Girl in the Lowell Mill

Topics: Lowell Mill Girls, Lowell, Massachusetts, Boarding house Pages: 6 (2579 words) Published: October 10, 2010
One of the first and significant industrial cities in America was Lowell, Massachusetts. Wealthy men from Boston built massive factories on the Merrimack River in Lowell, MA. These factories created cotton and wool which soon produced more than the leading mills in Britain. America was gradually shifting into a nation of big factories where many Americans would find employment as laborers in these factories. Many men and women were employed at the mills for a variety of responsibilities such as carding, spinning and weaving to manufacture cotton cloth. However, the working conditions of mill were not pleasant, safe or even healthy and many times workers spend endless hours working in the mills. These conditions lead to workers wanting shorter hours and improved working conditions. The mills in Lowell, MA sent representatives of the mill to farms across the New England area to recruit females for the position of, “mill girl.” The representative would speak to your parents and present the wonderful life a girl would have and high wages she could earn. The representative assures your parents that you will be supervised and guided by another woman with experience and that housing will be provided at the factory in a boardinghouse. He also tells that you will have meals twice a day and your transportation will be provided. At the time there were few ways a girl could earn money and the jobs they could get usually only paid up to $.50 per week. Whereas becoming a mill girl a girls wage could be doubled if no tripled. These wages could be sent back home to help the family if needed, but most often the girl would be able to keep her wages. However many times a girl would help out a brother in the family get an education so she would send some of her wages to him. After the wonderful life ath the mill was presented and the parents allowed it many young women packed everything they owned, left their family and was taken to Lowell to start their life as a “mill girl.” After my husband and I spoke to one of these representatives of the Lowell Mills we agreed to send our daughter, Isabella to the mill. Isabella was only 10 when we sent her off to start working in the mills. We were told that her work would be hard, and show would be required to work long hours. This was the only way our little girl could earn a decent wage because there was nothing else for us to offer her. I would have chosen to have to stay at home with her six siblings but our farm wasn’t doing well and we could barley feed everyone and keep our farm. Isabella was so brave and told me before she left, “Momma I know it is the best for me and for our family, don’t worry about me I’ll be fine” and off she was taken. Isabella was the oldest of our six children. Our family has been struggling for many months to make a living on our small, farm in New Hampshire. Before the mill representative came to our farm we heard many good things about the mills. I was nervous to see if what the mill representative said my daughter would get was true. When Isabella left home to go work in the mill we hoped things would get easier for our family because now we would have one less person to feed. I would tell myself every day, “Isabella is being paid a good wage, someone would take care of her, hopefully like a mother and she would be provided with room and board!” This was the right choice for her. Isabella was very excited to go out into the world, she told me before she left that this was an opportunity for her to experience a different way of life and help make her own money and she would be able to help the family if we needed it. Once Isabella arrived at the mills in Lowell she ended up working a mill from the age of 10 until she was just about 15. She would write me letters telling me about her life at the mill and it was hard for her but just as hard as it was on the farm. Sometimes she did want to run away because she felt lonely. But told me...
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