Handwriting on the back of the 54 Fletcher Street photo

According to Kate Knudsen, this is the handwriting of Catharine Woodworth Davis (1899 - 1990), whose father was Henry P. Woodworth (1867 - 1912).

Artemas Lucius Brooks (1803 - 1878)

Artemas Brooks arrived in the city in 1833 and established himself as a skilled housewright. By 1834, he established a planing mill on the first floor of Building 19 on Middlesex Company property, the first of its kind in Lowell, and he soon became known as an expert in planing machines. He resided at 5 Hurd Street, and also, during these years, on Green and Lawrence Streets. In 1841,he opened lumber business with Ignatius Taylor in the Mechanic Mills on Dutton Street.

Around 1846, he moved his residence to Fletcher Street, where he lived until his death in 1878.

In addition to being a businessman and entrepreneur, he was an inventor and an abolitionist who played an important role in Lowell's Underground Railroad network. His Fletcher Street house was a stop on the route to freedom for escaped enslaved people.

In 1850. Congress passed The Fugitive Slave Act.The act required that "slaves" be returned to their "owners" even if they were in a free state. It is estimated that 15,000 enslaved persons escaped to freedom, while 330 were caught and returned to the enslavers.

Artemas Brooks died on July 3, 1878 at age 74 and is buried in a family plot in Lowell Cemetery.


Brooks' story is another example of the ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, and social consciousness that made this city great in the 19th century and beyond.

Article from the Lowell Sun, June 14, 1901

Detail from 1850 map of Lowell showing Brooks & Tyler's on Dutton Street and the Brooks home on Fletcher Street.

Advertisement from the 1853 Lowell City Directory