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Roswell Gleason
 Roswell Gleason, 1799-1887

From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.

ROSWELL GLEASON, who introduced the art of silver-plating in America, was born in Putney, Vt., April 6, 1799, son of Reuben and Sally (Fuller) Gleason. Settling in Dorchester, Mass., in 1818, he associated himself with a Mr. Wilcox in the tinware trade; and on the death of his partner in 1830 he became sole proprietor of the business. His attention was subsequently diverted to the manufacture of Britannia ware and brass lamp fixtures, which soon became one of the chief industries of Dorchester; and at one time he employed a force of one hundred and twenty-five men. In 1849 he still further increased his business by introducing to the American people the art of silver-plating, thereby placing upon the market a new article of commerce known as plated ware, which immediately sprang into favor among those of moderate means; and he was therefore the pioneer in a business that now constitutes an important branch of the silverware trade. His two sons, on attaining their majority, were each admitted to partnership; and the business was continued until 1871, when, both sons having died, he closed up his affairs and retired. For many years he was one of the most prominent as well as popular residents of Dorchester, serving as Captain of the Dorchester Rifle Company. Politically, he was a Democrat. His death occurred, January 27, 1887.

In 1822 Mr. Gleason married Miss Rebecca T. Vose, daughter of Reuben and Polly (Willis) Vose, of Milton, Mass. She died June 22, 1891, aged eighty-six years. They were the parents of four children, of whom three -- Mary Frances, Roswell, and Edward -- lived to maturity. Roswell, who was born in 1826, died unmarried in July, 1866. Edward, whose birth took place in 1829, married Augusta M. Depew, of Peekskill, N.Y., and at his death left a daughter, Edwardina Augusta Gleason. Mary Frances Gleason, who was born in 1825, married in 1848 one of the founders of Tonawanda, N.Y., William Vandervoort. He was a son of Michel Vandervoort, and the descendant of an early Dutch settler who arrived in the colony of New Amsterdam about the year 1640, and took up a large tract of land at Paulus Hook (now Jersey City). In 1825 William Vandervoort removed to Western New York, and with others founded the town of Tonawanda. Mr. and Mrs. Vandervoort had four children: William; Rebecca; Roswell Gleason, who died in infancy, in 1858; and Mary F. Rebecca married for her first husband George H. Tripp, by whom she had three children -- William V., Rebecca Vose, and George H., Jr. Mr. Tripp died in 1880; and later she married Erasmus D. Miller, who died in 1889. Mary F. married Charles A. Hall, and became the mother of four children -- Mary F., Roswell G., Rachel, and Charles A. Hall, Jr. all living.

William Vandervoort, only living son of William, Sr., and Mary Frances (Gleason) Vandervoort, was born in Dorchester, March 11, 1850, and is still a resident of that district. He acquired his general education in the public schools of Dorchester and in the school of William H. Brooks, of Boston, and was graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1872. In 1875 he married Miss Josephine Davenport, daughter of Charles and Joan F. (Hagar) Davenport, of Newton, Mass. Mr. Davenport was the first builder of railway cars in the state of Massachusetts. Mr. and Mrs. Vandervoort have one daughter -- Florence Josephine, born July 23, 1876. She received her education at the school of Mrs. Hayes and at Radcliffe College.

Related Images: showing 8 of 19 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 19 images.
Roswell Gleason House east facadeRoswell Gleason House south facadeComposite of Gleason piecesRoswell Gleason worker housing
Map Detail showing Roswell Gleason propertyRooms from Roswell Gleason House at Museum of Fine ArtsRoswell Gleason silver-plated teapotGleason Family
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Created: November 1, 2004   Modified: November 1, 2004