Biography of Thomas Hersom
Bristol County, MA Biographies





Hersom, Thomas, son of John and Acenith (Shorey) Hersom, was born in Lebanon, York county, Maine, August 17, 1836. His father was a millwright and repaired and built saw mills in the lumber districts of Maine. Thomas Hersom, during his boyhood, attended the common schools of the vicinity about five months of the year and during the balance of the time worked at farm work and in cotton mills. When fourteen years old he went to Great Falls (now Somersworth), New Hampshire, where he was employed in the cotton mills of that town for two years, and then went to Boston, but was unsuccessful in gaining a foothold and returned to his home. In the next year he again went to Boston, and after a short time to Randolph, where he found work in a stable, of which he became foreman in less than two years. He remained in that capacity about five years and then began to drive a stage for the same stable, from Randolph to the Randolph depot about two miles. He drove this route for about three years and was then given a route from Randolph to Milton, driving six horses in winter and four in summer. At the end of four years he came to New Bedford and, with his savings and money borrowed from a friend, bought the Acushnet stage line, from New Bedford to Acushnet, then owned by M. H. True, also at the same time, buying a small opposition line, thus having a clear field. In three years he had entirely paid his obligations and had also nearly doubled his stock. Later he put on stages to run to Long Plain and Rochester Center, in connection with his original route, and his stage lines gained a wide reputation. He now began at his stable in Acushnet to do some livery business, increasing largely his stock of wagons and horses, and he also bought of H. M. Brownell the city stage line. Mr. Hersom's success was due entirely to his own indefatigable industry and courteous interest in the comfort of his patrons. In 1876 he disposed of his stable and stage lines to Andrew E. Hathaway, and at once bought the soap manufacturing plant of Otis A. Sisson, located at the foot of Middle street, taking as a partner in the enterprise N. L. Bryant, the firm name becoming T. Hersom & Co. The work of the factory had previously been done in the old fashioned way, and they at once began to install new machinery, beginning the manufacture of soaps and washing powder on an extensive scale. In 1878 Charles R. Tucker, jr., was admitted, the firm name being changed to Hersom, Tucker & Co., but in the next year Mr. Tucker retired and it became Hersom & Bryant. Later Mr. Tucker desired to reenter the business and Mr. Hersom sold his interest to him. With characteristic energy, he at once leased property on Fish Island and started in business alone under the name of T. Hersom & Co., which he has ever since continued, on account of the reputation his brands, which had been before the public for some time, had gained in connection with this name. He greatly improved and added to his plant on Fish Islaijd up to 1890, when the lease expired, and he purchased the paper mill property on Acushnet avenue, north of Lund's Corners, a two story building, 105 by 50, but this soon became inadequate to the growing needs of the business, and in recent years additions have been built, which nearly double the capacity. Work is given to an average of fifteen employees, and the trade extends all over the New England States. Among the brands manufactured are Italian Sapone Washing Powder, Hersom's Best, Northern Belle, and various other brands of common laundry soaps. Mr. Hersom is a member of Acushnet Lodge of Odd Fellows, and Eureka Lodge of Masons, holding membership in the Chapter, Council, and Commaudery, and is also a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. In 1862 he married Almeda T. Bryant, a daughter of Nathan Bryant of Bedford, Mass., and they had five children, three of whom survive: Annie M., wife of J. B. Ashley, jr., of New Bedford; Clara, wife of Arthur Weeks of New Bedford; and Thomas Hersom, jr.. associated with his father as traveling salesman.

From:
Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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