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A New Job!

The Bedard family arrived at the train station in Laconia, tired from their long trip from Quebéc. They were excited to start a new life in New Hampshire. Mrs. Bedard's cousin Pierre met them at the train. He asked Mr. Bedard (Maurice) to go to work with him. The Mill needed many workers. Maurice said he would first help his family move into their new home. He would begin work at the Mill the next day.

Early the next morning, the Mill's bell rang loudly to signal the start of the work day. Maurice and Pierre walked together to the Mill. The Mill owner greeted them in French. Maurice knew very little English, so he was happy they spoke French in the Mill. They climbed the stairs to the second floor. Noises were everywhere.

Maurice learned that there were many jobs needed to make socks:

  1. The Supervisor was the boss.
  2. The Knitter took care of the knitting machines.
  3. The Machine Fixer repaired the machines.
  4. The Turner Boy turned the socks inside out so that the toes could be seamed.
  5. The Looper sewed the toes of the socks on a round plate.
  6. The Boarder put each sock on a wooden form in the shape of a leg. He put the boards into a steam chamber to shape the sock and remove wrinkles.
  7. The Finisher repaired the socks and packed them for shipment.

Maurice was hired as a Boarder. The Boarding Room was hot. He took off his shirt and worked in his tee shirt. He opened a window to cool down the room. Maurice learned that he would be paid by the piece. The more socks he boarded, the more money he made. He had to work 10 hours per day, six days per week.


Questions and Activity

  1. What job would you like to have at the Mill?
  2. Do you think Mr. Bedard’s job was easy? Why?
  3. Was there anything about Mr. Bedard’s job you did not like? Why?
  4. Why was the Boarding Room hot?
  5. If Mr. Bedard is paid 17 cents an hour, what would he make in a week?

Click here for the Answer Page

This story was written by educator, Chris Lewis, with funding from the Institute of Museum & Library Services. It is loosely based on records of the LaPlante family, who moved from Sainte Perpétue to Franklin about 1903. The images are from the Morin Collection, Belknap Mill.


Other Student Activity Pages:

Montreal to Laconia by Rail
Paul and Angelique Pack for Laconia
Be a History Detective
Hidden Word Puzzle & Pocket Watch Teaser
Paul & Angelique Bedard from St. Perpétue, Québec in Canada
Main Student Activity Page