Amos Lawrence (1786-1852)

Amos Lawrence, Merchant & Philanthropist, of Boston, Massachusetts

He was born at Groton, Massachusetts, and having served an apprenticeship in the county store came to Boston in 1807 with his savings of $20. In 1814, he and his brother, Abbott, went into business together as A & A Lawrence, importing dry goods from England, and they quickly became one of the most prominent firms in Boston. As the years progressed they became better associated with representing firms in New England. In 1845, the brothers founded the City of Lawrence in Essex County as a textile town, building a complex of mills producing cotton and wool. 

In 1831, he retired from business on account of his health and devoted the next twenty years of his life to philanthropy, giving away an estimated $639,000 during that time. Through the donations from and his brother, Groton Academy changed its name to Lawrence Academy. He was also a significant benefactor of Williams College, Wabash College, Kenyon College and the theological seminary at Bangor in Maine. His private donations to various academies, libraries and societies were also numerous. He helped establish a hospital for sick children at Boston and gave $10,000 towards for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument. He was aid ot have taken a personal delight in handing out bundles of books as he drove through town on his sleigh or carriage. When he died in 1852, his fortune was estimated at $8.1 million (about $249 million today). 

In 1811, he married Sarah Richards and they were the parents of twos sons (William Richards Lawrence and Amos Adams Lawrence) and a daughter: Susanna, Mrs Charles Mason. After she died in 1819, two years later (1821) he married Nancy Means Ellis and by her he was the father of two further children: Robert and Mary Means Lawrence. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 08/11/2020 and last updated on 08/11/2020.