Patrick Tracy Jackson

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Patrick Tracy Jackson

Patrick Tracy Jackson (14 August 1780 – 12 September 1847) was a United States manufacturer, one of the founders of the Boston Manufacturing Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, and later a founder of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company whose developments formed the nucleus of Lowell, Massachusetts.


He was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the youngest son of Jonathan Jackson and his second wife, Hannah Tracy Jackson who was the daughter of Irish born merchant Patrick Tracy.[1] At the age of fifteen, Jackson was apprenticed to William Bartlett, a Newburyport merchant. After a career at sea on behalf of both Bartlett and his elder brother Henry Jackson from 1799 to 1808, Jackson established himself in Boston as a merchant specializing in the East and West Indies trade. Despite curtailed shipping interests during the War of 1812, Jackson collaborated with his brother-in-law Francis Cabot Lowell (1775–1817) to establish a textile factory in Waltham, Massachusetts, and with him founded the Boston Manufacturing Company in 1813. The Waltham factory was the first to integrate all the steps of converting raw cotton into cotton cloth into one mill building.

By 1820, the limited waterpower of the Charles River led Jackson and his colleagues to establish the Merrimack Manufacturing Company [to produce printed calico cloth] at the Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimack River. Incorporated as the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1826, it was named for Francis Cabot Lowell. In 1830, problems of transportation and communication by canal and turnpike convinced Jackson to oversee the construction of the Boston & Lowell Railroad, the first railroad to receive a charter from the Massachusetts General Court and established the standard American rail gauge. Despite a desire to retire after the railroad began operating in 1835, a restless nature and some poor business decisions kept Jackson active in business until his death in 1847.


Jackson was the father of Anna Cabot Jackson Lowell, a writer. He was also the brother of Charles Jackson, grandfather of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. Holmes' father was a student of another brother, physician James Jackson.