Liversidge Starch and Gum Factories

Liversidge Starch and Gum Factories

Thn 1831 map of Dorchester has a square symbol labeled Starch Manufactory.  The 1850 map has a better representation.

Setphen Liversidge began the manufacture of wheat starch on the bank of the Neponset River in 1829.

“Wheat Starch” by Frederick Converse Beach.  The Americana. A Universal Reference Library. (New York, 1912)

“In the United States small factories sprang up in different places about the beginning of the last century.  In 1803, a patent was granted to J. Naylor, by which he made spirits from the wash-water obtained as a by-product in the manufacture of wheat starch.  Another patent was granted in 1810 to E. Perkins of Shrewsbury, N.J., on a process for making starch from wheat and spirits from the residuum.  In 1829, Stephen Liversidge purchased a water power mill at Dorchester, Mass., and made wheat starch for the New England cotton mills.  He was prosperous, and in 1841, added steam power.  He continued until 1855, when his factory was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt.  Other factories were built at Roxbury and at Watertown.”

Stephen Liversidge, formerly engaged in cotton and iron manufactures, left Rotherham, County of Yorkshire, England in 1829, bringing with him to this country his wife and four sons: Thomas, Henry, Walter and Stephen. The family brought with them $50,000 in gold, and after prospecting about the country for a while in search of a water power, they selected 100 acres on the Neponset river.  The family engaged in the manufacture of wheat [starch].  Subsequently son, Walter, discovered the secret of making a low-priced substitute for gum Arabic from common starch.  The demand for this gum by calico printers was extensive, and the profits from its manufacture rapidly swelled the coffers of the Liversidge family.  The elegant home left in England was reproduced on the bank so the Neponset, their grounds including fine conservatories, a deer park, luxurious vegetable gardens and groves, together with every appliance for scientific farming.  – The Boston Herald, January 28, 1876

Stephen Liversidge died in 1848.

The 1850 census reports that the mill produced starch and gum with a value of $64,000.[1]

Stephen Liversidge, Jr.’s worth was reported to be $100,000 in 1851.  He died in October of 1851.

Englishman by birth, and a “John Bull” of the genuine stamp — no lack of dignity here.  Is engaged largely in the manufacture of starch.  Made his property, and knows how to keep it. –

The Rich Men of Massachusetts: Containing a Statement of the Reputed Wealth of about Fifteen Hundred Persons, with Brief Sketches of More than One Thousand Characters.  By A. Forbes and J.W. Greene.  (Boston: Published by W.V. Spencer, 1851)

On February 24, 1865, a fire destroyed the starch factory, but it was immediately rebuilt.

Horatio Nelson Glover purchased the Liversidge factories in 1875.

Horatio N. Glover remained under the parental roof-tree until he was sixteen years old.  From that time until 1867 he was employed as a clerk in Boston.  In 1875 he began the manufacture of gum, starch, and dextrine, under the style of H.N. Glover, purchasing the business established by W. & T. Liversidge in 1829, which he has since developed into its present large proportions.  His son [in-law], Nathan Holbrook, was admitted to partnership in 1896, and the style of the firm changed to H.N. Glover & Son.  The business is prosperous, and the firm ships goods to all parts of the United States. Mr. Glover is a trustee of several large estates, and also of the Liversidge Institution of Industry for Boys of which he is treasurer, being also one of the first trustees appointed. – American Series of Popular Biographies.



[1] U.S. Census. Non-population Schedules. Norfolk County. Dorchester. 1850




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Posted on

April 20, 2023

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