FREDERICK PACKARD, late of Brockton, was not only one of the best known men in the line of shoe manufacturing in that city but also one of its most honorable and respected citizens. He ranked among the city’s most successful business men, one whose start in life was obtained by his energy and push, and these traits, combined with excellent business acumen, had long secured for him a position of affluence, and caused the firm of which he had so long been the head to become one of the best known in its line in the country. Mr. Packard was born Dec. 11, 1836, in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), son of the late Josiah and Betsey D. (Bolton) Packard, and was descended from old and sturdy New England ancestry. The following history of his branch of the Packard family is given in chronological order from the American progenitor.
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Samuel Packard came from Windham, near Hingham, England, with his wife and child in the ship “Diligence,” of Ipswich, in 1638, John Martin, master, there being 133 passengers on board. Samuel Packard settled first in Hingham, Mass., where he was a proprietor in 1638. Later he removed to the West parish of Bridgewater, where the first interior settlement in the State was made. He was constable in 1644, and licensed to keep a tavern in 1670. His will was probated March 3, 1684-85, from which it appears that the Christian name of his wife was Elizabeth. His children were:
- Samuel, Jr.,
- Deborah and
Zaccheus Packard, son of Samuel, married Sarah Howard, daughter of John Howard, who was one of the first settlers of Bridgewater, in 1651. His children were:
- Zaccheus, Jr.,
- John and
The last six of whom settled in the North parish (now Brockton). The father died Aug. 3, 1723.
Israel Packard, the eldest son of Zaccheus, was born April 27, 1680, and married in 1703 Hannah; their children were:
- Zeruiah and
- Israel, Jr.
The mother of the above died, and Israel Packard married (second) Nov. 20, 1735, Susanna Field, daughter of Daniel Field.
Seth Packard, son of Israel, was born in 1703, and married Mercy Bryant, and their children were:
- Seth, Jr.,
- Jonathan and
Jonathan Packard, son of Seth, was born Sept. 27, 1751, and married in 1778 Susanna Alger, and their children were:
- Isaac and
Isaac Packard, son of Jonathan, was born in 1779, and died in North Bridgewater Jan. 17, 1856. In early life he was a tanner and later became a boot and shoe maker. For a number of years he was sexton of the First Congregational Church, and upon the organization of the Porter Congregational Church, in 1850, he went with that church, filling the same position therein until his death. He also for a number of years drove the town hearse. His tanning pits were located on the land at the corner of Belmont street and Warren avenue, adjacent to where now stands the First Baptist church. In 1801 he married Susanna Edson, who was born March 31, 1780, daughter of Josiah and Reliance (Fuller) Edson, of North Bridgewater. She died Jan. 15, 1855, aged seventy-four years, the mother of the following children:
- Josiah, born March 22, 1802, is mentioned below;
- Melvin, born Jan. 1, 1804, married Emily Merriman;
- Sidney, born Jan. 23, 1806, married Elmira Thompson;
- Liberty, born July 29, 1808, married Mary Dodge;
- Arvilla, born Sept. 7, 1810, married Lucius Gurney;
- Israel, born Feb. 23, 1813, married Mary Jane Morton;
- Alpheus, born July 19, 1815, died March 18, 1833;
- Henry H., born April 22, 1818, married Louisa Braman and (second) Matilda Dunham (he was for many years one of Brockton’s leading dry goods” merchants, and was also mayor of the city);
- Susanna, born May 6, 1821, died May 23, 1840;
- David Cobb, born April 30, 1824, died in infancy.
Josiah Packard, the eldest son of Isaac, was born March 22, 1802, in North Bridgewater, now Brockton, where his life was spent and where he died April 18, 1864, aged sixty-two years. Mr. Packard was one of the early shoe manufacturers of the town, and for a time was engaged in manufacturing in a building on Main street which stood where the Home National Bank building is now located, shipping his goods to New Orleans in hogs-heads. He was a genial, social man in disposition, and one who enjoyed meeting his friends, and it was a pleasure to meet him. He resided at the corner of Belmont street and Warren avenue. In early life he allied himself with the Free-soil party, later becoming a Whig, and upon the organization of the Republican party allied himself therewith and ever afterward supported it. He was one of the original members of the Church of the New Jerusalem and took an active part in the organization of the church in North Bridgewater. In 1824 Mr. Packard was united in marriage to Betsey D. Bolton, daughter of John Bolton, of Bridgewater, and of Revolutionary ancestry. To Mr. and Mrs. Packard were born the following children:
- Sidney Henry, born April 16, 1825, died Aug. 7, 1827;
- Elizabeth Ann, born May 15, 1828, married Nahum Johnson, of West Bridgewater, who later became a shoe manufacturer in Brockton, where they both died, leaving two sons, George P. and Warren E.;
- Louisa, born Nov. 29, 1829, married Ahira S. Porter, of Stoughton, who is mentioned elsewhere in these volumes; Josiah Edson, born Nov. 24, 1833, was engaged for many years in the practice of dentistry in Brockton, where his death occurred in 1903 (he married Maria Foster Stoddard, and had children, Alice Maria, who married Frank M. Hauthaway, Addie P., who married Morton F. Copeland, and Emily’ Foster, who is the wife of Dr. Frank E. Constans);
- Eveline Augusta, born March 27, 1835, resides in Brockton, unmarried;
- Frederick, born Dec. 11, 1836, is mentioned below;
- Reuben Merriman, born Dec. 31, 1839, died May 15, 1855;
- John Denny, born June 22, 1844, is a shoe, cutter by trade, residing in Brockton. He married Enna Packard, and they have become the parents of five children:
- Abbie M.,
- John F.,
- Walter B.,
- Henry H. and
- Evelyn E.;
- James Willard, born Nov. 29, 1846, who is a practicing dentist in Brockton, married Mary Alice Cary, and they have become the parents of:
- Bessie C. (who married Henry Stiff),
- Nathan C. and
- Mary L. (who died young) and
- Alice Maria (who became the second wife of Henry Stiff).
Frederick Packard, son of Josiah and Betsey D. (Bolton) Packard, was born in the Packard homestead which stood at the corner of Belmont street and Warren avenue, and in the district schools of his native town acquired his early educational training. At the age of eight years he began to assist his father in making boots and shoes, the stock for the same being obtained at the factories and carried home, where the boots and shoes were made up, the product being returned to the factories ready for the market, as was then the custom. He continued thus employed at home until he was twenty years of age, when his father gave him his time, and he set about making his own way in the world. Hiring a small shop of his grandfather, Isaac Packard, he started a “gang” at work on shoes, being one of the first to start gang work in the town. Thus he continued until his marriage, after which he went to live on his father-in-law’s farm, which he successfully conducted for a period of seven years. The first year he had charge of this farm he cut but five tons of hay, and during the time he conducted it he greatly improved the land, so much so that at the end of the seven years, in selling it to George L. Knapp, he guaranteed to the buyer that one hundred tons would be cut therefrom, and to the surprise of the buyer the yield was 125 tons.
Being of an energetic and persevering nature, during the time that he was conducting this farm Mr. Packard was also engaged in manufacturing boys’ and youths’ boots and shoes, and upon retiring from the farm had accumulated $10,000 in cash. With this capital Mr. Packard built a small factory on Pond street, now Warren avenue, where he engaged in manufacturing blackings, and shortly thereafter purchased the blacking business of Elisha Washburn, which business he removed to his Warren avenue plant, and until 1873 was engaged in the manufacturing of blackings, together with boots and shoes, adding to his factory as his business grew. In the latter year he disposed of the blacking department of the business, selling the same to Charles B. Lincoln. Mr. Packard then branched out in the manufacture of shoes, taking into partnership with him S. Gardner Jones, under the firm name of Jones & Packard, this partnership lasting for about two years, at the end of which time he purchased the interests of Mr. Jones, and for about a year he was engaged in business on his own account. John W. Burt, of New York, then became his partner under the firm name of Burt & Packard, and this partnership continued for about eight years, the firm meeting with remarkable success. Mr. Packard then purchased his partner’s interest in the business, and continued to conduct it alone, though he retained the name of Burt & Packard. In 1896 the business was removed to Montello, on Emerson avenue, and the firm of Packard & Field was established, Mr. Packard taking into partnership with him his son-in-law, Fred F. Field, and Perley G. Flint, which firm is now engaged in manufacturing the Burt & Packard shoes, known as the “Korrect Shape” shoes, which enjoy a world-wide reputation; their manufacturers have ranked for years among the representative shoes concerns of the city. Mr. Packard was the oldest manufacturer in the city, having been in the shoe business continuously since 1863. Fortune had smiled upon all his undertakings and in spite of clouds upon the financial horizon of this country, he never was obliged to make an assignment nor was his credit ever questioned. The firm of Burt & Packard was builded on as firm a foundation as any in the country and has always had. the reputation of manufacturing the finest shoes. Mr. Packard was esteemed for his integrity of character and his upright dealings. He was of genial disposition and numbered his friends by the hundreds.
Mr. Packard, with his wife, was identified with the Church of the New Jerusalem, which they supported liberally. Politically he was a stanch Republican. He cast his first Presidential vote for Fremont in 1856.
Having been devoted to his business all his life, he had always declined public office of any kind. Fraternally he was a prominent member of the Masonic bodies, holding membership in Paul Revere Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Satucket Chapter, R. A. M., Brockton Council, R. & S. M., and Bay State Commandery, Knights Templar (being the first to be initiated into the latter body), all of Brockton, and he was also a member of Aleppo Temple, A. A. 0. 1ST. M. S., of Boston. He was also an original member of the Brockton Agricultural Society and a charter member of the Commercial Club, of Brockton, which is composed of the leading citizens of that community, and in which he remained an active member until his health began to fail. Mr. Packard was fond of sports in the open and much of his leisure time in the summer was devoted to fishing. He was one of the earliest summer residents to erect a large summer home at Monument Beach, and to purchase a yacht. He was well acquainted with the late Grover Cleveland, whose summer home was not far distant. During the course of his life he had traveled extensively about the country and in 1885 took a trip abroad for pleasure, visiting England, Ireland and Scotland. A few years ago he made a trip to Cuba. A man well informed on most important questions of the day, he could talk in an interesting, informative manner to friends, and he was held in much esteem by those favored with his friendship. “Big Fred” was the title by which he was affectionately known to intimates. It was given to him because of his splendid physique, Mr. Packard being tall, erect, deep of chest and broad-shouldered.
On April 25, 1860, Mr. Packard was united in marriage with Mary Eliza Ramsdell, who was born at Salem, Mass., daughter of William Ramsdell, of Marblehead, Mass., who was a ropemaker, and his wife Hannah A. Kenny, of Salem, Mass., and this union was blessed with two children:
- William Frederick, born March 8, 1861, who died in infancy; and
- Lizzie Kenny, born March 24. 1864.
The daughter married Feb. 20, 1884, Fred Forest Field, of Brockton, who is one of the leading shoe manufacturers of that city, where they reside. They have had the following children:
- Fred Packard, who died when twenty-two months old;
- Fred Forest, Jr., born May 25, 1889 (Harvard, class of 1911), who married Feb. 15, 1911, Ruth Witherell Bunten, daughter of Frederick E. Bunten, of Cambridge, Mass.; and
- Marjorie and Katharine Field, twins, born Oct. 1, 1897.
On April 25, 1910, Mr. and Mrs. Packard had rounded out fifty years of happy wedded life, and the occasion was befittingly celebrated at their home, where gathered their near relatives and immediate friends to assist in the observance of the day. A feature of the occasion was the exhibition of the wedding cake, which was prepared for the event fifty years before.
Mr. Packard lived in a pleasant home which he erected on Bolton place, which street he opened up, naming it in memory of his mother, and was devoted to his home and its surroundings. He was possessed of an unpretentious nature, and though one of the most successful business men of the city was also one of the most democratic, enjoying the respect and esteem of the community where his life had been spent. He was generous in his impulses, loyal in his friendships, and possessing the courage of his convictions had made a record for himself of which he could justly feel proud.
Mr. Packard passed away at his home, No. 17 Bolton place, Brockton, Mass., May 16, 1910, after an illness which extended over a period of about five years, during which time his health had been gradually failing. In all circles the news of his death was sufficient to inspire comment which reflected the general regret at his death, and his funeral, which was characterized by dignity and simplicity, out of respect for his wishes, was largely attended. The services were conducted by Rev. Dudley Hays Ferrell, pastor of the Church of the Unity.