7. Edward Damon Assumes Control, 1854
When Edward Damon was fifteen years old, he wrote to his cousin, Henry F. Smith:
"You want to know how I get along. I work in the cotton room tending drawing. It is very clean work for the factory. I go to work at seven and work half an hour, then half an hour for breakfast, then work again from eight o'clock until half-past twelve. Commence again at one o'clock and work until half-past seven. I like it very well."
Edward's semesters at Groton and later at Phillips Academy were punctuated by periods of time spent working in various roles at the mill. He worked in the counting room, keeping the books, but also spent time on the floor, learning all aspects of textile manufacturing. Such a comprehensive apprenticeship served him well, because he was not yet eighteen years old when he was called on to take over the business upon his father's death in 1854.
Despite his youth, Edward stepped in with knowledge and maturity. He maintained and then increased production, made extensive repairs on the mill, and purchased new machinery. In 1861 Damon Mill was contracted by the U.S. government to produce fabric for the United States Army. Business boomed as a result, but the boom was cut short on June 19, 1862 by a fire that completely destroyed the mill. Adding tragedy to difficulty, Edward had planned to take his brother William as a partner in the business, but William died on August 8, 1862 serving in the Army at Harrison's Landing, Virginia.
This photograph of Edward Carver Damon was used to illustrate his biography by Henry F. Smith in the Fourth Series of Memoirs of Members of the Social Circle in Concord (1909).