Samuel Slater
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Samuel Slater (1768 - 1835)

Samuel Slater
Born in Belper, Derbyshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 2 Oct 1791 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 21 Nov 1817 (to 20 Apr 1835) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 66 in Webster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 5 Mar 2015
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The Father of the American Industrial Revolution

Samuel Slater was born at Holly House, Blackbrook, Belper, Derbyshire, England, on 9 June 1768 and was christened at Duffield, Derbyshire, on 4 July 1768.[1]

His father William (Alcock) Slater (1728-1782) was a farmer, who died as a result of an accident on the farm in August 1782. He left a house in Belper and £20 to his son Samuel, who was then 14. Samuel never occupied the house, but received rent from it throughout his life.[2]

Samuel had already been working in Jedidiah Strutt's new cotton mills in Belper for about two years when he was offered an apprenticeship by Strutt to learn about the operation of the mills. He signed a six year apprenticeship agreement on 8 January 1783. Unusually, no fee was paid, suggesting that Strutt had recognised Slater's potential.[2]

After the end of his apprenticeship, Slater secretly left for London and boarded a ship for New York on 13 September 1789, disguised as a agricultural labourer to evade the legal ban on the emigration of skilled mill workers or the export of cotton spinning technology.[2]

In 1790, he signed a contract with the industrialist "Moses Brown" (1738-1836) to replicate the British designs from memory. By December of that year, the shop was operational with about a dozen workers. In 1791, Slater had some machinery in operation, despite shortages of tools and skilled mechanics, and, in 1793, Slater and Brown opened their first factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This was the first successful water-powered roller spinning textile mill in America.

Slater Mill

In 1791, Slater married "Hannah Wilkinson" who invented two-ply thread, thereby becoming, in 1793, the first American woman to be granted a patent.[3] At Hannah's death he had six living sons, four other children having died young:[4][5]

Samuel Slater was a man of his time. Like other successful companies, he employed families, including children, to live and work at the mill site. In 1803, Slater and his brother John Slater built a mill village they called "Slatersville", also in Rhode Island. It included a large, modern mill, tenement houses for its workers, and a company store -- a small community where everyone has something in common . Slater's factory system eventually became known as the "Rhode Island System".

Hannah died in 1812, shortly after the birth of Thomas, and Samuel married the widow Esther Parkinson. [6] Because both of them were well off in their own right, they set up a pre-nuptual agreement.

Seal of Webster, Mass.

Samuel Slater died on 20 Apr 1835, in Webster, Massachusetts, a town which he had founded in 1832 and named for his friend Senator Daniel Webster. At the time of his death, he owned 13 mills and was worth USD $1.3 million, the equivalent in 2018 of USD $35 million.[7]


  1. Baptism: "Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812"
    Derbyshire Record Office; Matlock, Derbyshire, England; Diocese: Diocese of Derby; Reference Number: D 2402 A/PI 1/6
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry uk Record 61407 #4081649 (accessed 5 February 2024)
    Samuel Slater baptism on 4 Jul 1768 in Duffield, Derbyshire, England.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Slater Study Group, Milford, Samuel Slater: Hero or Traitor? (Milford, Derbyshire: Maypole Promotions (Milford), 2006)
  3. Marriage: "Rhode Island, U.S., Vital Extracts, 1636-1899", Original data: Arnold, James Newell. Rhode Island Vital Extracts, 1636-1850. 21 volumes. Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891–1912. Digitized images from New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts; Page number: 37, Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 3897 #85552 (accessed 15 December 2023), Samuel Slater marriage to Hannah Wilkinson on 2 Oct 1791 in North Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
  4. White, George S., Memoir of Samuel Slater (Philadelphia, 1836; reprinted Augustus M. Kelley, 1967), page 106
  6. Marriage: "Pennsylvania and New Jersey, U.S., Church and Town Records, 1669-2013", Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 240, Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 2451 #6512889 (accessed 15 December 2023), Samuel Hater marriage to Esther Parkinson on 21 Nov 1817 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  7. Death: "Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988", Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook), Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 2495 #6983438 (accessed 15 December 2023), Samuel Slater Esquire death 20 Apr 1835 (age 67) in Webster, Massachusetts, USA.

See also:

  • Vital Records From Brown Diary, Woodstock, 1777-1900 (Connecticut State Library) Page 109: "Slater, Samuel d. Apr. 19, 1835 in Webster, ae 70"

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This documentary has much info on Samuel Slater. More episodes are being made and slated to be out 2024. Might want to add to sources.
posted by S Gouzoules

Rejected matches › Samuel Slater (bef.1768-)

This week's featured connections are Fathers: Samuel is 14 degrees from James Madison, 19 degrees from Konrad Adenauer, 14 degrees from Charles Babbage, 16 degrees from Chris Cornell, 12 degrees from Charles Darwin, 16 degrees from James Naismith, 21 degrees from Paul Otlet, 20 degrees from Henry Parkes, 22 degrees from Eiichi Shibusawa, 23 degrees from William Still, 16 degrees from Étienne-Paschal Taché and 17 degrees from Cratis Williams on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.