The History of the Mill Part 1: Daniel Cragin

The History of Daniel Cragin, 1837-1922

Daniel Cragin's Great-Grandfather, John Cragin, or Cragon (Chraggon) was Scot by birth. At the age of 16, he was forced to join the Scottish army supporting Charles II against Cromwell. At the battle of Dunbar in 1652, he was taken prisoner, sold into servitude, and as a penalty for his political offenses was sent to America in the ship "John and Sarah."

The local legend "says" that on the voyage, John Cragin was stricken with smallpox, and he was about to be thrown overboard but was spared by the intercession of a young English woman, Sarah Dawes, whom he afterward married. They settled in Woburn, Massachusetts, and later generations made their way to southern New Hampshire.

In 1858, Daniel Cragin "attained his majority" (a colloquialism meaning he became twenty-one years of age) and rented a room in the Putnam Bobbin Factory. He began his "enterprising" by manufacturing knife trays and toys on a cash capital of ten dollars. Within two years, Cragin's company was profitable, and he purchased a small building on the site. In the autumn of 1878, Cragin began to manufacture dry measures which soon became the mainstay of his business.