Monday, March 26, 2012

Beginning and Ending in Granite

Thomas BROADFOOT by midgefrazel
Thomas BROADFOOT, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.

Westerly Granite Industry

To understand my paternal grandfather, we must go first to his gravestone. His wife died before him in 1934 and her stone is identical and is to the right in this photo.  It should be noted that his children bought these gravestone for their parents. I doubt if Thomas could have afforded them. He was not in very good shape, mentally or physically after his wife died.

The Broadfoot family came to Westerly because "Uncle Tom" came here first because of the fine granite quarried in this town. Westerly granite comes in white, pink, grey-blue and red. The Westerly City Directory in 1900 lists "Uncle Tom" as partner in one of the smaller monument companies.

The name of this company may have been different in 1896 as evidenced by this list of Quarries in that year's Westerly City Directory. [The location listed as Niantic is now Bradford, RI. where my grandparents lived.] Notice one name is Dalbeattie Granite Works named after the town in which my grandparents and great grandparents lived in Scotland. [Heart stone of Dalbeattie]

The occupations in this industry are quite varied as they are today. Many of my later ancestors were paving cutters who made sidewalk blocks and curbing. Monument making and carving are at the skilled end of the jobs.

My father told me that his father only liked making curling stones. What he did in the quarry was probably not a skilled job.

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