“Someone stood up and started to speak in a foreign language…”

Suspicion ruled every corner of the quarry worker — employer wage and labor movement struggle in the 19th Century. And the Cape Ann Quarry workers & quarry owners were no different. The common language for the immigrant populations which streamed to Cape Ann seeking works was the language of the hand tool.

Not the words that came from their mouths.

Over the course of the several strikes related to hours and wages, the workers often could not even organize themselves enough to be able to get to a meeting at an agreed upon time. This resulted in great disdain on the part of the employers. Over time, as English was acquired by the immigrants, they became more efficient in presenting their demands. And this increased the violence of the response by the quarry owners. They were losing the upper edge in a business which in fact, had not produced a single millionaire quarry owner anywhere in the United States. The owners themselves then organized into the Granite Manufacturers Association, in which the Rockport Granite Company played a major organizational role.


“Someone stood up and started to speak in a foreign language…”
-Charles Rogers, on the occasion of the 1906 Babson Farm Quarry Strikeunioncard


Doctor, Doctor, Quick Run Quick, the Quarry Horns a-Blastn…

Some one is more than just a little sick.

July 17, 1874

Miss Lucy F. Corliss, daughter of Benjamin F. Corliss, a graduate of Vassar, universally beloved by the community, was instantly killed near the premises of the Pigeon Hill Granite Corporation. In company with a party of friends she was riding around the Cape, when a fragment of stone, weighing some four pounds, thrown from a blast in the adjacent quarries, came crashing through the top of the vehicle, striking her on her head and inflicting a fatal blow.

The Historyof Gloucester the Town and City,

James Pringle, 1892 pp.242-243


(Note to Peter Parsons, the names of the Drs. and dates can be found by reading the microfilm versions of the papers from 180s-1890s. It was a grim spectacle, kept away from the casual passerby.)