251. THOMAS8 ALMY (Thomas7, Holder6, Joseph5, William4-3, Christopher2, William1),b. Tiverton, RI, 28 Feb 1819; d. San Rafael, CA, 7 May 1882.
He m. 1 Oct 1846, HANNAH T. ALMY (Almy Descendant No. 1252-9713), b. Fall River, MA, 1823; dau of Langworthy and Edith (Macumber) Almy.
|i||MARY E.9, b. about 1847.|
|ii||WILLIAM, b. about 1848.|
|390||iii||ARTHUR P., b. NY, Feb 1870; m. LILLIAN B. FELLNER.|
No write-up on the lives of men who have contributed to the upbuilding of the social and material growth of Fall River, Massachusetts, would be complete without mention of Thomas Almy. He, more than any other citizen, must always be associated with the history of journalism in Fall River. His life spanned almost the entire period in which Fall River journalism grew from fitful and spasmodic ventures into a permanent and powerful influence in directing the thought and energies of the community.
Thomas Almy's life was spent in Fall River, or within a few miles from it. He was born in the neighboring town of Tiverton, RI, and his early life was spent on a farm in his native State, where he developed that strong character and sturdy manliness which distinguished him in his mature years. He enjoyed such advantages and education in his youth as substantial New England fathers there gave to their children. His affectionate disposition and amiability of temper made him popular with his youthful associates, and many of the friendships made when he was a lad were maintained all his life. His willingness to work and unwillingness to shirk his just share of the labor such as was then incidental to the life of a boy on a farm were exhibited throughout all his boyhood and youth, and afterwards, even under trying conditions and in ill-health, were distinguishing characteristics all his life.
When Thomas left the farm he went to Bristol, Rhode Island, where he became apprenticed in the printing business at the office of the Bristol Phoenix. In this establishment he learned thoroughly the printers trade. His next change was made by a removal to Providence, Rhode Island, where he was engaged as a compositor at the office of the Providence Journal. The country lad soon was recognized as having much promise. His fidelity, integrity, and energy were manifested in both cities, and in later years he would speak with affectionate admiration of his early employers and those who befriended him in his youth. After Thomas attained his majority he decided to start in business for himself, and his attention was called to Fall River, which had then acquired some prominence as a manufacturing town. He came to that city before 1840, and after working for a short time in the office of the Patriot, a small weekly paper, he associated himself in business with Louis Lapham, and commenced the publication, in 1841, of the weekly Archetype. This journal was subsequently followed by the Weekly Argus, of which Thomas Almy and Jonathan Slade were the publishers, but, like its predecessor, this paper had a fitful existence, and the young publisher had the misfortune of losing his office and material in the great fire of 1843. He was not disheartened by his loss, and soon after commenced the publication of the Mechanic, and still later the Wampanoag.
In all these ventures there was much hard work and anxiety, but the earnest, ambitious young printer was not easily discouraged and was constantly making friends. In 1845, when the Whig and Democratic parties were wrestling for control of the country, a number of leading Democrats in Fall River decided to start a weekly newspaper which was to represent the principles of that party in that city. These gentlemen employed Thomas Almy and John C. Milne, also a young printer at that time, to manage the printing and publication of their paper.
In this way was born the Weekly News, with which paper all of Thomas Almy's subsequent years were most intimately associated. The enterprise was arduous, laborious, and difficult. One by one the original proprietors sold their interest to the firm of Almy & Milne, until they become the sole owners of the journal. The Weekly News remained an adherent of the Democratic party until that organization became fatally entangled in the uses of slave power, and the publichers, after adopting the principles of the anti-slavery movement, became identified with the rising and growing Republican party. The increase of population in Fall River demanded a daily paper, and in 1859, the year before the outbreak of the Civil War, the Daily News was started.
The partnership of Almy & Milne was never dissolved until the death of Mr. Almy. In 1864, it became Almy, Milne & Co., by the addition of Franklin Lawton Almy (1233-518A), who had been an employee in the office from the very beginning. With gathering years, Thomas Almy's character became rounded and he constantly grew into the universal respect and esteem of the community, and became known as a stanch, earnest, and true laborer in every cause. He identified himself with the manufacturing interests of Fall River, and served as a director in the Osborne and Wampanoag Mills. He was also a director of a number of banks.
Thomas Almy's death occurred at the house of his brother, Judge Joseph Almy, at San Rafael, California. In search of health and needed rest, and in fulfillment of the dream of years, he, with his wife and his partner, Mr. Milne and wife, had joined an excursion party for California the month previous. Thomas' health had been feeble for some time, and the long journey was too much for his weakened physical condition. He died shortly after reaching his brother's house. His remains were brought to Fall River and interred in Oak Grove Cemetery.
The Thomas Almy household is in the Federal Censuses for Fall River, MA, as follows.
1850: Thomas Almy 35, printer, b. RI; and Hannah T. 27, b. MA.
1860: Thomas Almy 40, printer, b. RI; Hannah 37, wife, b. MA; Mary E. 16, b. RI; and William 12, b. RI.
1870: Thomas Almy 51, newspaper publisher, b. RI; and Hannah T. 47.
1880: Thomas Almy 61, publisher; Hannah 57, wife; and Arthur 11, son. Also living in the house was Charlotte Almy 53, single, b. RI (Hannah's sister).
REFERENCES: FAMILY RECORDS; FEDERAL CENSUSES; BRISTOL p. 382; RIHS/MS.