Francis Cabot Lowell

public profile

Is your surname Lowell?

Research the Lowell family

Francis Cabot Lowell's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Francis Cabot Lowell, Sr.

Birthdate: (42)
Birthplace: Newburyport, Essex, MA, USA
Death: August 10, 1817 (42)
Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
Place of Burial: Boston Common, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Judge John Lowell and Susannah Lowell
Husband of Hannah Gardner Lowell
Father of John Lowell, Jr.; Susan Cabot Lowell; Francis Cabot Lowell, Jr. and Edward Jackson Lowell
Brother of Susanna Cabot Gorham
Half brother of Anna Cabot Lowell; John Lowell, III; Sarah Champney Lowell; Rebecca Russell Gardner; Rev. Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Francis Cabot Lowell

Francis Cabot Lowell (April 7, 1775 - August 10, 1817) (Lowell 1899, pg 59) [1] was the American business man for whom the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, United States is named.

He was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the son of John Lowell (1743-1802) and Susanna Cabot (1754-1777), and a member of the prominent Boston Lowell family, which included statesman John Lowell, Harvard University president Abbott Lawrence Lowell, civil war general Charles Russell Lowell, astronomer Percival Lowell, and poets Robert Lowell and Amy Lowell.

Lowell attended the Roxbury Latin School in Roxbury, MA and later graduated from Harvard College in 1793, and on November 2, 1798 married Hannah Jackson in Boston, Massachusetts, daughter of Jonathan Jackson and Hannah Tracy, with whom he had four children; three sons and one daughter.

On a visit to England in 1810[2][3] at age 36, Lowell carefully studied the textile industries of Lancashire. He was not able able to buy drawings or a model of a power loom, however, he memorized the workings of British power looms.

Upon his return to Boston in 1813, he joined his brother-in-law, Patrick Tracy Jackson, and Nathan Appleton and established at Waltham the Boston Manufacturing Company, the first textile mill in America where all operations for converting raw cotton into finished cloth could be performed in one mill building. With Paul Moody he devised an efficient spinning apparatus and a power loom, based on the British models but with technological improvements.

To raise capital for their mills, Lowell and partners pioneered a basic tool of modern corporate finance by selling $1000 shares of stock to the public. This form of shareholder corporation quickly became the method of choice for structuring new American businesses, and endures to this day in the well-known form of public stock offerings.

In 1814, the Boston Manufacturing Company built its first mill beside the Charles River in Waltham, housing an integrated set of technologies that converted raw cotton all the way to finished cloth. This Waltham mill was thus the forerunner of the 19th century American factory. Lowell also pioneered the employment of women, from the age of 15-35 from New England farming families, as textile workers, in what became known as the Lowell system. He paid these "mill girls" lower wages than men, but offered attractive benefits including in well-run company boardinghouses with chaperones, cash wages, and benevolent religious and educational activities.

Although he died early at age 42, only 3 years after building his first mill, Lowell left his Boston Manufacturing Company in superb financial health. In 1821, dividends were paid out at an astounding 27.5% to shareholders. In 1822, Lowell's partners named their new mill town at the Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimack River "Lowell," after their visionary leader. One of his sons, Francis Cabot Lowell Jr., continued to work in his father's footsteps.

view all

Francis Cabot Lowell's Timeline

April 7, 1775
Newburyport, Essex, MA, USA
May 11, 1799
Age 24
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
February 14, 1801
Age 25
January 5, 1803
Age 27
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Age 29
August 10, 1817
Age 42
Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
Boston Common, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States