Winter Family History

 


Scotland Roots

James Scott Winter (1797-1871) and his older sister Janet (1794-1830) were born in Clova and christened in Easter Bonhard, near New Scone, just north of Perth, Scotland. (click here for map). His parents Charles (b. 1768) and Jean Esplin (b. 1772) Winter were living in Bonhard. Parish records show an Alexander Winter living in Doll having a son Charles, probably James’ grandfather born in 1731. Doll is in the River South Esk valley, just north of the village of Clova. There is a marker in the Kirkton of Clova remembering Janet and her husband Alexander Robbie’s family. James, a gardener, and Ann Crane (1806-?) were married 20 December 1829 in Airlie, Angus, Scotland. They were probably farm servants as were most others in the parish according to records from 1790s and 1843. Ann was born in Glenkindie in Aberdeenshire north of the River South Esk valley. James and/or his father may have worked on the estate of Patrick Murray, suggested by the choice of this name for his youngest son. They started their family while living in Airlie. The parish records show the christening of their first child, Janet, in 1830 in “Lindertis”, which is near Airlie.

 

Transcription of Baptisimal Record for Janet Winter
Winter “10 October 1830
Winter James Winter and Ann Crane at Taindantis(sp) had a daughter born this day, baptized 2 November named Janet.” (Tain, Viking term meaning, “ place of assembly )

As the birthplaces of subsequent children show on the Google map at the end of this article, they migrated down the valley, eventually arriving in the area of Perth, Scotland. James and Ann had five sons and one daughter. The two oldest, Janet (1830-?) and James(1832-?), are presumed to have died by 1851 since Janet is not in the 1841 Census and James is not in the 1851 Census. The estimated periods of their deaths suggest they might have succumbed to the scarlet fever epidemics which appeared in waves from 1840 to 1848. Scarletina was especially hard on the younger members of families.

In the 1851 Census, James is widowed and living with his sons John Bishop, William and Patrick in Taymount House, shown at right, which sits on the Tay River two miles NNE of Stanley in Kinclaven Parish, Perthshire. Presumably he is working as a gardener on the Taymount Mains (farm) of the Honorable David Murray. The Murray family lives in the house with a number of servants. There were 1945 residents in Stanley in 1846, over 800 (mainly women & children) employed at the Stanley Cotton Mills, located several miles down stream from Taymount House. The mill was established in 1785. Taymount Mains likely sold their produce to the mill workers.

 

In 1865, James is living in Brigend, Perth by himself. The valuation rolls list him as a gardener paying 6 pounds 10 shillings per year.

Bridgend, Kinnoull and Barnhill were separate villages connected to Perth by a succession of bridges and/or by ferries. Development of the Perth side of the river and incorporation into the Burgh of Perth only happened after the opening of Perth Bridge in 1772. Before that, Bridgend and Kinnoull were burghs of barony entitled to hold weekly markets and four annual fairs.

Bridgend was settled from at least the 16th century. It was formerly a leper colony and a place for “less desirables” from the city. By 1736 it was described as a sorry village with a few thatched hovels except for the house at the shore where the ferry boat landed. This and the houses at Potterhill and Rosemount were said to be the only respectable buildings. James Winter’s son, John Bishop bought a house on Rosemount. His daughter Mardie was born there. The road to Scone was a narrow dirty lane lined with mean clay huts. However when Perth Bridge opened, Bridgend blossomed into a thriving village with many new houses. There were at one time 16 taverns including Cross Keys. In the early nineteenth century the “smart set” built villas in Bridgend and Isla Road.

It is not known what happened to Janet and James; parish records provide no information on any marriages or their deaths. The four remaining sons were John Bishop (1834-1905), Charles (1836-1903), William Clark (1838-1920) and Patrick Murray (1840-1901). The oldest of the four living Winter brothers was John Bishop Winter, grandfather of Mardie Winter; he was a hatter. He married Christina Darling, the daughter of a haberdasher. (Great-Aunt Chris was named for her—Christina Darling Winter.) John Bishop became part of the family business and remained in Scotland.

 

The other three brothers, Charles, William, and Patrick, came “across the water.” Charles came first in 1857 and worked as a gardner. He married Isabella (Bella) Bruce Smith of Edinburgh, Scotland. No record of when Bella immigrated from Edinburgh, her birthplace. In the 1870 Census, they are living in Fishkill Plains, N.Y. where their three children were born.

James Scott wrote a letter to his son Charles dated April 29, 1857, as Charles prepared to depart for America. Below is a transcription.

 

William Clark, an errand boy in Scotland at the age of 12, followed Charles in 1861 and settled in Boston, later moving to Mansfield, MA. In 1873, he married Mary Brown. He was a florist and grew prize-winning gladiolas. (See his 1906 ad with his son William Lewis in Mansfield City Directory.) John Winter remembers the swing in his yard for children and the short temper of Uncle Charles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The youngest son, Patrick Murray, shown at left, came to the U.S. right after the Civil War (1866) at the age of 26. Immigration records show a Patrick Winters (sic) arriving in New York, March 20, 1866 aboard the ship, City of Washington, having departed Liverpool. In the 1870 Census, Patrick is living as a boarder in the mansion of Joseph and Rebecca Grinnell. Grinnell (1788-1885)was an immensely successful business man. His interests included, whaling, railroads, banking and textiles. Grinell, a Whig, served eight yers in the US Congress. In 1836, he built a impressive mansion It was that Patrick lived and worked as a gardener. He is one of four servants living in the house in the 5th Ward of New Bedford, MA. The Grinnell mansion is shown below.(See map of 5th ward below in gallery.) Joseph Grinnell lived to be 96 years old.

 

 

 

Patrick had worked at Scone Palace before immigrating. Supposedly he had an “understanding” with Isabella Ednie, daughter of John and wife Mary Ednie, so he returned to Scotland in 1871 for his bride. Isabella was 11 years younger than he, so he may have had his eye on her, but she was quite young (15) when he left. John Ednie was a gardener at Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland. The Ednies resided in a cottage on the palace grounds. Following the marriage, the couple returned to the U. S. According to John, Patrick loved children and was probably anxious to start his family.

The trip back to the U.S. in 1871 following their marriage enabled Patrick and Isabella to bring some valued family household items. Prominent among their baggage would have been the grandfather clock shown at left. Marion Winter Thomson said the clock belonged to Patrick and Isabella. The picture was provided by Lowell Jr. and Marie Raymond who now own the clock. The Raymonds had the face of the clock professionally restored to its original condition. They have been faithful stewards of many items related to the Winter family. For more see the Winter Brothers memorabilia page....here. The clock was made by James Gordon of Perth who operated a shop in Perth from 1771-1796. (Information kindly provided by Colin Proudfoot, A. K. Bell Library, Perth.) Whether the clock belong the Winter family or the Ednie family is not known. Either way the clock would have likely been purchased used or if originally purchased it would have been done so by James Winter, Ann Crane, John Ednie or Mary Allan’s parents. A silver service that belonged to the Ednies was also brought over and survives. The Raymonds also own an old Scottish Hymnal which belonged to Mary Ednie. To hear this 18th Century clock strike and see memorabelia click ...More.

 

Life in America

Patrick’s brother Charles was a nurseryman who started his business originally in Poughkeepsie, NY, but moved his business to Mansfield, MA. (His greenhouses are shown on the map of Mansfield in 1895 at the end of this article). Patrick worked with a fellow named Brown in Mansfield in the horticulture business. They raised tomatoes, grapes, and other produce in greenhouses and used the train which went through Mansfield to send the vegetables to large hotels in Boston and New York. Later he came to work for a Daniel Brown in his greenhouses in Wrentham. The Patrick Winter family moved to Wrentham in 1899. Charles married the Smith Brothers’ cough drops niece, Isabella. (Smith Brothers Cough Drops originated in Poughkeepsie in 1852.) John said, “When Charles and Isabella came to Mansfield, they had had an indoor bathroom in New York. When they got to Mansfield, they built one onto Uncle Charles’ house giving them the first indoor bathroom in Mansfield. They used a windmill to pump the water.” Their greenhouses were near the S. W. Card Die and Tap Works, also seen on the 1895 map. Charles suffered from ill-health, and could work only intermittently, fortunately Isabella had an income.

 

 

 

Trip Back To Scotland

Following the birth of her first three sons, John, Murray and Allan, Isabella began having problems with hemorrhages (according to Uncle John), so she took the boys and went back to Scotland for a year. She was her parents’ only child and certainly would have wanted to take their only grandchildren back to get to know them. (The story I always heard was that she had gone home to die, but she was probably dying of homesickness—it would have been 10 years since she had seen her parents—and it was certainly a form of birth control!). Murray turned 7 on the way over (that would have been June 6, 1881) and 8 on the way back. John (born in 1873) was 1/1/2 years older, and Allan would have been about 3. The name of the ship on the way over was State of Georgia and the trip took ten days. They came back on the Scandinavian (see picture), and that trip took 14 days, complete with icebergs. They arrived back in Boston June 8, 1882. John was seasick over and back, but Murray and Allan were fine. They landed in and departed from Glasgow. Through letters from home they learned that there was such a severe winter in Massachusetts that while they were gone there was sleighing on Boston Harbor. Though John was young, he regularly wrote letters home. A photo of the boys ca. 1883 is shown below at left, L to R: Murray, Allan and John.

While they were in Scotland they lived with Isabella’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John (Mary) Ednie on Blairgowrie Rd, in Scone just outside of the city of Perth, where, as mentioned earlier, John was a gardener. (See picture at right.) The family story is he was Chief Gardener, however there is no official verification, (see more detailed information regarding the Ednies and their cottage at the end of this page.) The black thorn walking stick that Uncle John Winter used and later Bob Winter, Jr., was originally John Ednie’s. (A picture of the stick is on the Web site.) Uncle John remembered that the Ednies had a high feather bed in their house, which he and Murray slept in. John said they were in Scotland for about a year. So far we are unable to find a record of their travels over and back. Both the State of Georgia and the Scandinavian were in service during this period bringing immigrants to New York, Boston and Quebec.

John remembered that his Aunt Chris worked too hard. John Bishop and Christina’s son James was the father of Mollie and Mardie Winter. (Mardie Winter was the last Winter left in Scotland—many of us knew her—and visited her in Scotland or hosted her during her trips to the USA.). Agnes Winter, the daughter of Christina and John, taught art and came over once to the U.S. with her father. They arrived in New York, August 6, 1894, aboard the Arania from Liverpool. She could beat Uncle John at tennis (she was about 2-4 years older than he). During WWII the Auntie Twins sent food packages to Mardie in Scotland, she particularly requested spam and prunes.

John’s uncles, Charles and William Clark, both had two boys and a girl. Ship records show that William Clark took his wife Mary and three children, William L., Alfred R. and Hattie Bruce back to Scotland for a visit, returning in 1887 aboard the State of Nevada. By 1965, Charles and William Clark’s children had all died.

John thought the Winter name perhaps originated in Germany as Wonterer. The family was associated with Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland (they were gardeners). His Ednie grandparents’s cottage (see below) was on the Palace grounds. His grandparents drank tea all of the time—not water. Grandma Ednie made tea about 6 in the morning and kept adding hot water to the pot all day long. His grandfather was one of the gardeners at the palace. There were 110 rooms with 100 fireplaces in the palace. After WWI, it was used as a girls’ school. By 1965, the Earl of Mansfield was back in residence.

John remembered the Tay River and Kinnoull Hill. During another visit he told of how he went to first grade that year in Perth (see picture of school) and how he corresponded with a classmate for many years after that. There were nine children born to the marriage of Patrick (Pat) and Isabella. They were John, Murray, Allan, Christina, Elsie, Charles, Robert, Isabella, and Mary. When the twins (Mary and Isabella) were born on April Fool’s Day, 1896, friends told Pat, “Pat, you’ve got a fine April Fool!” Isabella turned 45 years old on the 7th of April that year. She had her first child at 20. John remembered hearing people say that Isabella would serve supper and then have the next baby! Isabella made all of the children’s clothes. Patrick Winter lived in New Bedford, Mansfield, and Wrentham, MA, and died at age 64 of cancer of the stomach. Isabella lived to be 84. The twins were only 5 when their father died.

Winter Brothers Tap and Die

John and Murray took advanced math through the International Correspondence School of Pittsburgh. Allan would not go to high school, so went to work with his older brothers. They earned five cents an hour. Based on the knowledge and skills learned at the S. W. Card Company, a tap and die manufacturing firm, in Mansfield, Murray and John started Winter Brothers Tap and Die Company in 1900. (Simon W. Card came to Mansfield in the employ of John Birkenhead, who himself had come from Providence in 1868 to make spindles and lathes. With the invention in 1871 of machines to cut internal and external screw threads, Card set out to manufacture taps and dies, forming by 1894 the S. W. Card Manufacturing Co. The Card company served as a school for numerous die makers. John and Murray Winter, owners and operators of the Winter Brothers tap and die works in Wrentham, received their training there, as did several of those who in 1903 established the Bay State Tap and Die Co. in Mansfield. In 1913 S. W. Card merged with the Union Twist Drill Co. of Athol, but by that date, tap and die production was already a major Mansfield industry.) A medallion celebrating the 250th anniversary of the town of Wrentham is shown at right.

By 1900, John had saved $500 and they borrowed $2000 from Daniel Brown (more about Daniel Brown below) in Wrentham, MA . Patrick was looking after the Brown estate in Wrentham (the family had moved there from Mansfield in 1899). Mr. Brown told John and Murray that he would let them use the empty jewelry shop on the grounds. With 3 or 4 employees and the borrowed capital they began. The first ten years were a struggle. They all worked 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. for 2-3 years to get the company going. John had originally gone to Providence, R.I. as a foreman (and then came back to work in Wrentham). His wife Minnie didn’t want to leave her home in Providence and didn’t like Wrentham, so they compromised by moving to North Attleboro. Charles, was the company’s chief engineer.(Footnote 1) Allan, restless for change, was only there for a short time, finally moving to Florida with his family in the 1920s. The first year Murray set everything up. He was not married yet and had the time. John was earning $25.00/week. The photo below shows the staff in about 1910, John is third from right on back row, Murray is second from right on back row. Charles is fourth from the right on second row.

In 1916, pay was $.30/hr, 10 hour days and 5 1/2 day weeks. That year they added two large lathes, new mills and 14 automatic machines.2 Fifty people were out with influenza on October 3, 1918. In 1933, the bank notified them there would be no more money and they were forced to lay off workers. From 1933 to 1938, diary entries describe the impact of the depression: “July 14,1937, business is falling”, Sept 17, “no work for days”, Oct 14, “shop closed Thursday, except tool room”, Nov 27, “there isn’t much work, very dull”, Feb 8,1938, “business is still poor”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the difficult years they agreed to make taps and dies for Sears-Roebuck at a profit of only a penny per tool. When the specifications came from Sears, they refused to put their trademark thistle on it, instead choosing a duck. (from Loel “Ski” Raymond). Inspiration from the duck came from the duck hatchery in Wrentham. Robert Hanson kindly shared the emblem used.

At the end of 1937, with the economy deteriorating President Roosevelt responded with an an aggressive stimulus program, $5 billion for WPA and public works creating 3.3 million WPA jobs. The conditions improved dramatically at Winter Bros. Diary entries now read, Dec 8 1938, “building new addition”, Sept, 1939, “enough work for five years.” Although their product was higher-priced than the cheaper grades available, they could advertise that their product was truly superior. At normal speed their taps and dies lasted longer than ordinary taps and dies. “When the operating speed can be increased,” they argued, “the gains resulting from increased production and the long life of the tools much more than compensate for the high first cost.” They stated flatly, “We have made records of productions increased from five to fifteen times by their use.”

Their philosophy, hard work and persistence paid off and it became a very successful and nationally respected company employing more than 1100 employees by 1942. Among their buildings was a unit which produced centerless ground bolts, which were rather new in that era, and studs for most of the major engine manufacturers. This building, which face Depot and Minot Streets , was known as the “stud plant.”

Their logo, seen on the orange box displayed here, was well-known and depicts the three founding brothers. On their “Thistle Brand” taps and dies they had a thistle stamped into the metal and on the box, reminding all of their Scottish roots. The thistle is the official emblem of Scotland. It is seen on the end of the wooden box shown at right. Occasionally one will find these tools for sale on eBay today at reasonable prices. They sold the company in 1929 to National Twist Drill of Rochester, MI, but they continued to run it for 13 more years until it was moved to Detroit. The plant was taken over in 1948 by the Crosby-Ashton Valve Company. The company was unionized during WWII. Lois Brown worked there in the late 1930s and John said that she was a “handsome girl.” Doris Brown recalls working on the line. Youngest Winter brother Bob did not work for Winter Brothers—he went to Michigan and worked as one of Rickenbacker’s right hand men. Robert Winter, Jr., said of his father, “That redheaded Scotsman was too independent to join his brothers in their venture.”

 

 

The three founding brothers are pictured here, left to right, John, Murray and Charles. Patrick Murray Winter’s daughters all lived in the Wrentham or Boston area. The twins, Isabella and Mary, worked for many years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Christina lived with them and kept house. Elsie married Walter George, who worked as a jeweler in Attleborough, and they had five children whom they raised in Wrentham.

In 1965, John Winter had lived in his house for 49 years and had lived in North Attleborough for 56 years. He was a great walker—walked to and from work in Wrentham, enjoyed using bicycles, motorcycles, electric cars, trains and buses. John had custom-made ice skates made for himself when he was 18 and skated until he was 82!

Mary Alice Raymond remembers seeing Uncle John walking to and from Winter Brothers back to N. Attleborough, a round trip of 13 miles. He stayed active until the end of his life, dying at 96. (1873-1969).

 

 

 

Uncle John was a bright, lively man when I met him in 1965. For some reason, I had met him only once before. His daughter Dorothy used to bring him to visit in Wrentham and would sit outside in the car. One day Aunt May went out and invited her in—and from then on she was part of the visits, too. Mary Alice Raymond remembers seeing Uncle John walking to and from Winter Brothers back to N. Attleborough, a round trip of 13 miles. He stayed active until the end of his life, dying at 96. (1873-1969). His daughter Dorothy lived from 1901-1995 and never married. She gave me a plate from her china set on that visit in 1964. She told me how she and her mother had gone into Boston to Jordan Marsh to shop for her hope chest. and had started her china service. –researched and written by Mel and Pat Winter Oakes. Any errors are theirs.

 

 


1 The notes below written by Pat Oakes, are from Elsie Winter George as told to Ida George Meikle (Pat also has a Historical Society Newsletter with some memories by Calista Jamison.)

In the early l850s, two George brothers, William and Lyman, began a straw business, one of many that flourished in the town of Wrentham. The business failed in the panic of 1857 but William reestablished it and was successful for a number of years, when it was taken over by Daniel Brown and Hiram Cowell, who was William George's nephew. They were very successful, with a huge shop, a large boarding house for the workers, and Mr. Brown had a sumptuous home on Common St. (the Hope Hall house) with property running clear through to Taunton St. Behind his home, Mr. Brown had, as a hobby, several greenhouses where he grew huge Concord grapes.

Now let's tie in Grandfather Patrick Winter and his two brothers, who came from Scotland to Mansfield, in 1866, where they established a good business growing produce for the Boston hotels. They were known for their outstanding table grapes, which were a specialty. Daniel Brown hired Patrick to prune his grapes, so Grandfather Winter made regular trips on his bicycle from Mansfield to Wrentham. Then he went on to one of the Attleboros to do the same for another hobbyist and back to Mansfield. His daughter, our Aunt Chris (who must have been quite a tomboy) begged to ride the loop with him sometime. I found in Aunt Fannie's genealogy book a penciled note that said "Ask about Aunt Chris and the chicken." I asked Mom if she knew what that meant, and she laughed. Apparently on one of these trips, a hen ran across the road and Aunt Chris's bicycle spokes beheaded the chicken. Grandpa took the remains to the house nearby and offered to pay, but the woman laughed and declared that it was OK--now they could have chicken for dinner and they had saved her from the distasteful job of chopping its head off!

Besides the straw business, Mr. Brown also had an interest in a jewelry shop in town. Making jewelry was a thriving business in the Plainville/Wrentham area, but the shop in Wrentham center was not doing well and closed. Mr. Brown took over the building as his part of the shares and he was trying to find something to bring a business back to town. Uncles Murray and Allan were home from Providence for a weekend and met Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown asked them why didn't they start a business in Wrentham and offered to give them free rent for a year. The steam and piping and pumping were all usable for making taps and dies, and Murray adapted some of the machines. Uncle John continued working at Brown & Sharp in Rhode Island to bring in some money while Murray and Allan got the shop going. Later Allan moved to Florida and John gave up his job at Brown & Sharp to join Murray full time at Winter Brothers Tap & Die shop.

Aunt Chris did the office work for a short time, but it was not to her liking. She went on to graduate from Boston University, and Elsie took over the office. Young Charles joined the company later when he was old enough.

Mr. Brown also owned rental property on Taunton St. and for a small rental fee, he made it possible for the whole Winter family to move to Wrentham in 1901 before Grandpa Winter died. Lois Brown was 16 then and in high school.

2 “A total change from English to metric measurements in this industry, if made on short notice, say one year, would cost each plant, as a first cost, at least one-third of plant valuation. If five years were given it would still be at least 20% of the plant valuation. In succeeding years the maintenance of tools and parts to keep machinery made to English measurements in repair, the obsolescence of machinery due to inability to secure repair parts, the time consumed in determining whether a hole was threaded to metric or English figures and consequent errors, etc., would amount to figures that would stagger any manager. Also, every man in the shop, particularly among tool makers, has personal tools valued at sometimes several hundred dollars, many of which would be useless after a change." * Winter Brothers response to a 1921 National Industrial Conference Board study on implications of switching to the Metric System.

 

 

Gallery of Winter Maps, Photos and Documents

 

5th Ward in New Bedford, MA, where Patrick Murray Winter was a boarder in mansion of Joseph Grinnell in 1870 before returning to Scotland to marry Isabella Ednie in 1871. Green arrow shows location of Grinnel Estate.

 

 

Above we see an 1895 map of Mansfield, MA. In the upper right hand corner, you can see the layouts of the Winter Brothers Greenhouses. Charle's snd William Clark's names are included. Note the S. W. Card Tap and Die Works at the lower right near Murphy’s Pond.

Winter Brothers Tap & Die Factory, Wrentham, MA

Winter Brothers’ Staff, about 1910. John & Murray Winter are 3rd and 2nd from right on back row. Charles Winter is 4th from right on second row.

Winter Brothers’ Banquet, January 11, 1940. Holman Hall, Caterer Thos. F. Holman, Norwood, MA. Photographers: Ashmont Photo, Boston. Please send corrections and additions to oakes@physics.utexas.edu

Standing, L to R: Emil Youngdahl, ?, ?, Murray Winter(Owner), ?, ?, ?, ?.
Right side of table, left to right: John Fuller (Machinist), Fred Grant (1906), George A. Foller (1908, Shipping Clerk, Doris A.), maybe Stuart Dean (Header, 1884, Doris), ?Name on Collar, ?, ?, Maybe Fred , ?, ?.

Left side of table: L to R: Charles A. Batchelor (Fireman, 1881, Alice), Casper Blaisdell (Machinist, 1913, Mary Ruth), Walter Henderson (Office Manager, 1891, Jessie)

Winter Brothers’ Banquet, January 11, 1940. Please send corrections and additions to oakes@physics.utexas.edu

1. John Fuller (Machinist), 2. Earle Tyler Stewart, 3. Hector Belisle (1891 Edith Shelton), 4. Charles A. Batchelor (Fireman, 1881, Alice), 5. Casper Blaisdell (Machinist, 1913, Mary Ruth), 6. Walter Henderson (Office Manager, 1891, Jessie), 7. Martinus Larsen, 26. Clarence Blaisdell , 35 Clyde Waterman , 61. Swede Carlander, 69. Jack Ware.

Winter Brothers’ Banquet,1940. Combined photo.
Thanks to Barbara Larsen for these photos and to Marie Raymond for sending them. Please send corrections and additions to oakes@physics.utexas.edu

Winter Brothers Employees
Front Row Left: Sigurd Larsen, John Knapp, Magnus “Maggie” Larsen (1901-99),
Second Row: Sigurd Larsen (1899-1977), Leroy Jennes, ?, ?, ?, Albert Locklin, ?
Thanks to Barbara Larsen for these photos and to Marie Raymond for sending them.
Please send corrections and additions to oakes@physics.utexas.edu

John, Allan & Murray Winter Established a Very Successful Tap and Die Manufacturing Business in Wrentham, MA. Their story is told below in various documents

Detailed Winter Brothers Tap and Die History
by Joseph J. MacDougald
Based on Diary of Willard Henry Bennett(1857-1939), (a carpenter, who worked in tool room, later Town Assessor)
Other contributors: Harold Issler, Jim Wignall, Dan MacLean and Dick Sabin

The Winter Brothers were trained machinist and moved to Wrentham from Mansfield in 1889 where they had worked for S. W. Card Company, a tool and die firm. On Feb 19, 1900 they were two young men just starting a business and worked informally as a partnership until May 25, 1901 when Winter Brothers incorporated. There was a total of nine employees at this time.

The wooden building with rows of closely set windows which provided the former Jewelry company workers with light to do the small piece work was available and near the railroad on Kendrick Street. It provided the space for the brothers to start a Tap and Die Company an although in the beginning the nearby jewelry industry provided their principal income, automobile companies came to them and grew be one of their principal customers.

The struggling company was hit by a summer flood on March 5, 1902 when there was five inches of water in the steam engine room. Flooding continued through October of that year and management came close to ordering a complete shutdown. It was strange that at that time their source of water was from a private well.

In 1903 Winter Brothers purchased the building they had been renting and started remodeling. By 1906 a 20 X 20 foot building was erected to use for hardening, tempering and grinding.

Again the elements took control and the shop remained closed on February 23 1907 when the temperature dropped to 10 below zero.

By September 2, 1910 the company had the economic strength to start a new building strictly for an office and packing room. Forms were erected for the concrete foundation and the fireproof (red brick) building started. By September 29 the concrete floor was laid and stairs were built. That same year a generator and electric lights were installed.

In 1912, the benches in the grinding room were removed and a new overhead shaft was installed which traversed the entire room. All machines were powered by belts which were connected to overhead shafts driven by steam. In that same year a matched plank floor was installed in the basement.

Another addition 50 x 50 feet, was constructed in 1913 and new machinery installed. In 1913 and again in 1914 the company was re-organized to provide sufficient capital for the increasing war-related business. The force now stood at about fifty persons and the main building was extended 100 feet. During the same period the office and hardening room were enlarged.

By 1916 with the increasing threat of war, the employees were working ten hours a day, five days a week, earning thirty cents an hour. Another addition 20 X 40 feet was built that same year. Production was also controlled by the availability of supplies. The extent of the business was indicated by the arrival of a railway tank car of oil on August 25 at the Wrentham center railroad siding. Four days later new machines were being connected and the lavatories and sinks were connected to the steam heating. Two big new lathes arrived also by rail, with a new milling machine.

In September ten new automatic machines were brought in to increase production and a new cutting machine was purchased. Another four automatic machines were added in the following month and an automatic fire sprinkler system installed to cover the entire production area.

After the many leaks of the new sprinklers were corrected the automatic machines went into production on October 9, 1916 and in that same October a new electric motor was installed to power the pulley.

On November 14. 1916 another new milling machine arrived for Winter Brothers at the Wrentham railroad station. By December 1916 more automatic machines were set up and the cut-off, threader and milling machines were moved to new floor space. Now the volume of work required a work force of about 200 hands.

On September 9, 1918 the new Winter Brothers building was almost complete, slightly before WWI ended. New orders dropped off but the backlog provided continuing work for months. Nationally this was a period of very low employment, yet no comments have been found to date of regular workers being terminated.

An unusually heavy snow storm required the machine shop employees to stop work on February 9, 1920 to dig out the streetcar tracks in town so people could go to and come from work. Winter months were slump month; peace came, and December 22, 1920 saw the plant close until January 5. Again on December 27 of 1921 help was laid off until January 4th.

In the spring of 1929 three brick additions were added to the Winter Brother's complex. Each had a cement floor and wood tops, standard mill construction with automatic sprinklers. One of these building was on the Minot Street side. The hardening room was taken down and a new one, 120 x 40 feet, constructed.

At the start of the depression "The 165 employees was fifty less than sometimes employed, however the efficiency of todays machines assures a larger output. The ingenuity of Murray and Charles C. Winter has made possible contrivances by which this well known tap and die business stays fully abreast of mechanical threading requirements. Contractor Samuel U. Steeves was in charge of the building operations, which was not completed until the fall of 1929.” So wrote Coralynn Daniels for a Franklin weekly. The outstanding quality of Thistle Brand products was their speed. Faster machinery could be used, production time cut and profits increased.

The nation wide depression hit Winter Brothers on March 9 1933. The bank had no money and the help were laid off. Again in January 1936 the shop was shut for a week.

An advertisement published on May 30 1934 listed the Winter Brothers as a Division of the National Twist, Drill and Tool Company of Rochester, Michigan. How long prior to that date the affiliation was made is not known.

The list of taps manufactured by Winter Brothers consisted of: Hand, Machine Screw, Chip Driver, Pipe, Nut, Stove Bolt, Pulley, Tapper Taps (Straight and Bent Shanks), Serial Sets, Interrupted Threads, High Speed and Alloy Steel Taps and Ground Thread Taps. Dies shown were: Round, Adjustable, Square, Hexagon, Re-threading Dies and Pipe Dies.

A by-product of the purchase of steel stock was the 8’ X 1” X 6” boxes. These boards were semi-finished wood and were given to employees for the construction of sheds and garages on nearby properties. The shed in the rear of 28 Archer Street and the garage at 21 Archer Street were made from that wood as were many others. Frank MacLean built his garage on his property in Foxboro from these boxes. Carl Youngdahl, the owner of Wrentham Steel Products, did the same with Winter Brothers boxes. Although the contents came from Pittsburg Steel Co., the wood in the boxes was marked Canada.

By May of 1937 business allowed improvements to be made and saw-toothed windows were installed on the roof to increase natural lighting. The small recovery was short lived and by July 14 the business was failing.

In September of 1937 there was no work for days and finally on October 14, the shop closed, except for the tool room. Willard H Bennett, the author of the diaries from whence much of this data was taken was an employee of the tool room, and on October 27 he entered, "There isn’t much work, very dull."

One Melbe, resident of 112 Beech Street, was boss of the tool room. The "tools" they made were used over and over to form the products being sold. Jim Wignall, Sr. also worked there. His son states Charlie Winter told Jim to build a certain tool and Jim claimed it would not work. Charlie told him to make it anyway, and when it was used, it broke. Jim was then allowed to make it his own way and the tool was put in production. Jim Jr. claims these tools were expensive and sometimes cost $35,000 to make.

The last diary entry regarding poor business was on February 1938, but by December 1, Winter Brothers was building a new addition to their shop. Again the Search for war materials had come to Wrentham. By September 7, 1939 Willard Bennett triumphantly wrote, “Enough work for five years."

A floor plan of the facilities is included with the Crosby files.

From the time this concern was a very small shop it had been recognized as a maker Of high quality taps and dies. One of their trademark names was, “'Thistle Brand,” and the sets of taps and dies were packed and shipped in wooden boxes with sliding covers. Made from hardened and tempered steel, these tools were principally for cutting screw threads. Builders of machinery, electrical fixtures, users of structural steel, makers of plumber’s and steam fitters supplies, automobile and aircraft factories, railroad car shops, and others, require large quantities of taps and dies. Approximate yearly payroll reached about $250,000.-

During WW Il the Winter Brothers products were considered so critical to the war effort that measures were made to protect the plant from sabotage. A high chain link fence was erected around the plant, equipped with surveillance lights and guards posted in towers. All employees were required to wear identification badges and access to the plant was limited. Uniformed guards wore Winter Brothers Security badges. The worry was that something might stop the production, for these studs and other products were critical to the assembly on military engines. The work force increased to nearly one thousand persons.

Wally McQuestion, a resident of Dedham Street, ignored the signs and ventured into the restricted area. A guard fired a round and got his attention. (Dan MacLean)

The war caused a tremendous need for threaded studs, a double ended bolt used to hold engine blocks together. Harold Issler, who was later an employee of Crosby Valve, stated lengths of steel were put into a bin which fed into a center-less grinder, the slugs brought to the proper tolerance and then threaded by being pressed between rollers in one quick rotation before being hardened for use. This process eliminated the time consuming lathe operation of tuning one thread of one bolt at a time. This was state of the art in 1945.

When the need for tap and die products fell off at the end of WWII he parent company consolidated the work in other plants. In 1948, the Winter Brothers Company closed its doors for the last time.

JJM (Joe MacDougald) July 8, 1999

Harold Issler, Jim Wignall, Dan MacLean, Dick Sabin were contributors.

Written by Joseph J. MacDougald

From St. Petersburg Times, June 9, 2009.
Joseph James MacDougald, Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, Ret'd. 91, of Wrentham, MA and St. Petersburg, died peacefully at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, on June 7, 2009. Joe was born in Providence, RI on March 22, 1918, to Joseph M. and Loretta Reynolds MacDougald. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design before enlisting in the Army in 1941, serving in the Field Artillery with the 659th Artillery Battalion in France and Germany during WWII, and later in the Military Police Criminal Investigations Detachment (CID) for the remainder of his 25-year career. He served in Germany, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Utah, Maryland, Korea and Louisiana, before retiring in 1966, as a Chief Warrant Officer. He married Ruth Louise Marsden in 1941, his devoted and loving wife for their 60-year marriage. Ruth died in St. Petersburg, in 2001. Joseph and Ruth settled in Wrentham, MA after retiring from the Army, where he founded the Wrentham Historical Society. Joseph was an endlessly inquisitive learner with a passion for preserving information about the past. He spent 35 years researching and creating historical archives, which he donated to the town of Wrentham. The MacDougald Archives are housed there at the Fiske Memorial Library. Joseph's legacy leaves a strong impression on the many lives he graced. He will be dearly missed. Joseph is survived by his son, James Edward MacDougald; his daughter Kathleen MacDougald Jacobs; his sister Loretta MacDougald Lapierre and his brother James Austin MacDougald. He had 4 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1376 Snell Isle Blvd., at 10 am on Thursday, June 12. Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes

 

Articles below probably from Wrentham or area newspaper.

WINTER BROTHERS, FEBRUARY 3, 1927

Winter Brothers Company, a partnership, was organized in 1889, and was conducted as such until May 25, 1901. On that date the present fIrm was incorporated. Re-organizations took place in 1913 and 19l4 to provide sufficient capital to take care of the constantly increasing business. During the first few years of the business, only part of the first floor of the wooden building now occupied by the die department was used,there being only nine in the employ of the company in 1901.

In 1903 the building was purchased and remodeled. In 1906 the first addition, a 20 x 20 foot building, was erected to be used for hardening, tempering and grinding. In 1910 a new fireproof building was put up for an office and packing room, and a small room was added in the rear to hold a 25 h.p. oil engine. An electric generator and lights were then installed.

In 1913 and addition 50 x 40 feet was erected and some new machinery installed. This allowed an increase in force to about fifty persons.

In 1914 the main building was extended 100 feet and the office and hardening room enlarged. The tremendous volume of business set in motion by the World War quickly eroded the factory, and another addition 120 by 40 feet was built in 1916 This was quickly fill with machinery enabling them to employ about 200 hands.

From the time this concern was a very small organization it has been recognized as the maker of very high grade tap an dies. Made from hardened and tempered steel, these are used for cutting screw threads. Builders of machinery, electrical fixtures, users of structural steel, makers of plumber' and steamfitters' supplies, automobile factories, railroad car shops, and others, require large quantities of taps and dies. Approximate yearly payroll varies from $150, 000 to $250, 000.

WINTER BROTHERS ARE ENLARGING THEIR SHOP May 9. 1929

Three additions are being built to Winter Brothers' factory. The annexes will be 100 by 40 feet. 120 by 40 feet, and 80 by 50 feet. The structures will all be of brick, with cement floors, and wood tops, the regular mill construction with automatic sprinklers. Already the first addition, 100 by 40, is well along with the foundation laid and the window-frames in place. This annex is on the Minot street side.

Excavations have been started for the new stock room, 80 by 50, on Kendrick Street, parallel with the office. The present hardening and tempering room will be taken down, and a new building erected, 120 by 40. When complete, the whole factory will be quite a building, permitting a re-arrangement of the work, which at present is crowded. The sequence of operations is now burdened. All work will be taken from the floor of the old wooden building, and there will be a real stockroom well-fitted up. The facilities will be vastly improved, not for the employment of more men, but for the securing of larger and better results. At present there are about 165 operatives in the factory, and, although business is excellent and orders are plentiful, the present number of workmen is fifty less than sometimes employed.

The efficiency of machinery today assures a larger output. The ingenuity of Murray Winter and Charles C. Winter has made possible contrivances by which this well-known tap-and-die firm can effect a larger volume of business, and keep threading practice fully abreast of mechanical requirements.

Contractor Samuel U. Steeves is in charge of the present building operations, which may not be completed until fall.

It had been learned that the Winter Brothers sought to secure a strip of land, about one-half an acre, from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Corporation, in order that the factory additions might be effected at a saving of thousands of dollars to the firm. However, the railroad officials refused to sell. The railroad property comes to within fifteen feet of the factory. There is not much use being made of this land at present. It is assessed for $500 an acre. It might be worth while to have the town assessors look into the matter. However maybe the New Haven corporation is farsighted, for in the near future there may be active developments at this railroad center, with either electric or motor bus service greatly augmented.

The Winter Brothers began to make taps and dies in 1900. The company was incorporated in 1903. The Winters and their associates have spent their lives in doing one thing: studying the problems of threading. Threading is everywhere recognized as a complex matter, and an essential factor in the rapid advance of our mechanical civilization.

The Wrentham firm uses daily the analyses of the chemist, the experiments of the physicist, the investigations of the metallurgist, and the tests of threading all sorts of pieces under every condition. They have original devices for measuring accurately lead, form, pitch diameter, and relief; original instruments for determining hardness and torsional strength; and the skill to interpret the significance of these findings.
All this information is stored, tabulated and kept for use, a reservoir of knowledge under intelligent control for the benefit of the trade.

Comments by Locals about Winter Brothers

In the interview of WW II veteran, Carlson, of Norfolk we find the following information.
Winter Bros made thousands of taps for the Russians in 1942 when Carlson was employed in the quality control department. They were about the thickness of an A cell flashlight battery and were the only metric taps made in Wrentham until then. The equipment was called “rolled thread tap” machines The process went something like this. A piece of soft metal rod was placed vertically between two plates which had the horizontal thread cut into their flat surfaces and the plates were moved horizontally pressing the desired thread into the soft metal. This newly threaded piece was hardened after several other procedures were preformed to make a finished tap.( A tap is generally used to hold two pieces of metal together.) (What is meant here is the tap threads a drilled hole in an object, a threaded bolt is put through a hole in another object then screwed in the taped hole.—Mel Oakes)
This eliminated the slow and costly process of lathe cutting each thread one at a time. A worker, Charlie Sharon of Dedham Street, (Sharon Duck Farm) Wrentham accidentally put his finger through the process one night but it did little damage because it was set about 5/8ths apart.
Winter Bros employees would take obsolete Brown & Sharpe grinders and redesign them into top grade machines.
Nov 10, 1998 JJMacDougald

Tap and die company undoubtedly made components for many uses, but some say they made bolts for aircraft wings while others say they made headless bolts for engines. Talked to one of the Winter brothers at the Pond Home on Sep 22, 2002 and he said the company made bolts for Pratt & Whitney engines.
Joe MacDougald

Jim Wignall said his father was supervisor of the stud plant and because of that he was given a priority to buy a Chevrolet coupe to get to work. He was also allowed a telephone so as to be able to go to work when there was an emergency. They owned a house on Bennett Street.

Jim insists the studs made there were not for engines but for attaching wings to aircraft. The stud plant was built new on the railroad end of the existing plant because there was a pool of manpower here. The operation was to cut the rod to the needed length, drop it into a loading. He said he wasn’t sure about the process, if there was a heat treating stage. The building was two stories tall with the offices on the second floor.

Jim’s mother was presented with a gold plated stud on a necklace. They were always desperate for help and when servicemen came home on leave they were hired to work 12 hour shifts, especially when they knew how to operate the machinery.
Sep 3, 2002 J. J. MacDougald

The table below is a list of Winter Brothers employees glaaned from the census records and personal contributions.

Winter Brothers Employees
Name of EmployeeJob Description
Anderson, George F. Inspector
Batchelor, Charles A. Fireman
Bennett, Charles A. Machinist
Binney, Henry. ?Machinist
Bowman, Peter L. Machinist
Brown, Doris Unknown
Brown, Elton Unknown
Brown, Lois Unknown
Burt, Charles Machinist
Carlander, Edward Hardener
Carlander, Harold Unknown
Clark, Richard Unknown
Cobb, Jeremiah A. Watchman & Fireman
Collete, Gustavis Machinist
Collette Jr., John Machinist
Collette, John Machinist
Cox, Vernon Machinist
Coyle, Edward Grinder
Cress, George C. Machinist
Cummings, Arthur Millwright
Curtis, Francis Tool Grinder
Dart, Edward Temperer
Decker, Samuel ?Machinist
Erlandson, Klas A. Hardener
Fitzgerald, James A. Hardener
Floyd, Robert K. Machinist
Floyd, Summer Grinder
Fuller, John A. Machinist
Fuller, Bertha Clerk
Fuller, George Clerk
Gilmore, Edwin Machinist
Gilpatrick, Arey Hardener
Goulette, Lewis Machinist
Grover, Benjamin Lathe Hand
Grover, Elmer Lathe Hand
Guild, Frank Tap Parker
Hall, James E. Filer
Hatt, Jane J. Clerk
Hawes, Clarence R. Maccinist
Hoffman, Arthur Unknown
Hoffman, George Machinist
Howden, Charles Foreman & Machinist
Humer, Albert J. Laborer
Jamieson, Albert Machinist
Jamieson, Calista Stenographer
Janes, George E. Machinist
Jenkins, Clifford Lathe Hand
Jenkins, Clifford P. Mechanic
Jennes Jr., Leroy Machinist
Jennes, Leroy Machinist
Kennedy, David Clerk
Kennedy, Thomas Machinist
Kerressey, Frank L. Machinist
Kirkton, Donald Clerk
Kirkton, Lawrence Clerk
Lacklin, Albert Lathe Hand
LaFrery, Mark Machinist
Larsen, Magnus Machinist
Larsen, Sigurd Machinist
Leakey, Dennis Machinist
Leiter, Clarence Latte Hand
Lynam, Walter Machinist
Manchester Jr., Franklin Machinist
Manchester, Franklin Packer
McNamara, Thomas Machinist
McNamare Jr., Thomas Machinist
Melby, Ole A. Machinist
Metcalf, Harry Unknownt
Miller, Bruce H. Machinist
Miller, John Machinist
Miller, Kenneth Threadroller
Mitchell, Donald Grinder
Mitchell, Edmund. ?
Mullen, Paul Unknown
Nickerson, Alice Stenographer
Olsen, Eleanor R. Clerk
Olsoen Leonard Assistant Foreman
Parkhurst, Norman Machinist
Parquette, Adelard Machinist
Parquette, Albert Machinist
Power, James B. Machinist
Redding, Edgar H. Machinist
Redding, Elizabeth Tap Threader
Riley, Ada Evelyn Typist
Riley, Arthur Machinist
Roby, Lewis Machinist
Roby, Lonnette Stenographer
Roderick, Charles M. Machinist
Rowell, William Machinist
Russell, Frederick C. Shipper
Sake, Hans Die Fitter
Salemme, Raymond Machinist
Sanford, Edward C. Machinist
Spaulding, Martin R. Machinist
Stewart, Earl Clerk
Stewart, Walter H. Foreman
Stringer, Harry B. Factory Rep.
Swenson, Oscar Foreman
Sying, Charles W. Filing Clerk
Turek, Frank E. Machinist
Wade, Dorothy Secretary
Walton, Richard Machinist
Watson, Wilber Laborer
Wheeler, George W. Machinist
Wheeler, Howard Machinist
Whipple, Ralph Unknown
Wignall, James Tool Maker
Winter, Charles C. Draftsman
Winter, Charles F. Machinist
Winter, Murray Superintendent
Winter, Robert S. Mechanical Engineer
Wood, Samuel F. Machinist
Wyllie, Hugh Lathe Hand
Wyllie, Robert H. Grinder
Young, Doris Bookkeeper, Secretary to Owner
Young Jr., Walter Machinist
Young, Russell Machinist
Youngdahl, Carl Grinder
Youngdahl, Emil Foreman

 

History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 1622-1918, Volume 2 edited by Louis Atwood Cook

MURRAY WINTER.

Murray Winter, a well known manufacturer of Wrentham, established business there in January, 1900, as a member of the firm of Winter Brothers Company, their output being taps and dies. With thorough understanding of the trade in every department, Mr.Winter has been active in the building of a business of extensive proportions, in which he operates a splendidly equipped plant:
A native of Massachusetts, he was born in Mansfield in June, 1875, a son of Patrick Murray and Isabella Ednie Winter. He attended the public schools of Mansfield and throughout his entire business career has been identified with industrial activity. At length he became active in the organization of the Winter Brothers Company for the manufacture of taps and dies and the Wrentham factory was opened in January, 1900. They sell their products throughout the entire United States and also have a large foreign trade. Their business has reached extensive proportions. They have a well equipped, modern factory, supplied with the latest improved machinery for work along that line, and their business has now reached gratifying proportions, something of its extent being indicated in the fact that they have more than two hundred people in their employ.
On the 2d of October, 1915, Mr. Winter was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Black Kirkton, and to them has been born a son, Wilfrid Murray. Mr. Winter gives his political allegiance to the Republican party and is serving as a member of the Republican town committee. He is also filling the position of secretary of the Water Commissioners. His fraternal relations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and his religious faith is indicated in his membership in the Congregational church, of which he is serving as the treasurer. His aid and influence are always given on the side of progress and improvement, of reform and advancement, and thus he has contributed to many other interests of public worth aside from his business.

 

 

Winter Brothers Memorabelia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tie owned by Loel and Marie Raymond. Appears to say “Handpainted by DeLane.” Can find no one by that name with a connection to painting.

 

 

 

 

This picture was in one of the Winter Brothers catalogs, shared by Loel and Marie Raymond. They look like thread files which you would use to clean up threads, both inside and outside threads.