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art, he went one day to the office of the superintendent-Mr. George Sargent-and asked him to be allowed to try his hand at carving, saying that if his work proved to be of no value he would charge nothing for it, he would pay for tools and stone used. Mr. Sargent kindly consented, put him into the carvers' shed, gave him a good sized stone, and told him if he desired any information or advice at any time, he being a carver himself, would gladly give it. He went at the work and completed in sixteen days, a job that would have taken one of the old carvers a longer time to do. He did little plain work after that. He soon received an offer of employment with the Concord Granite Co., from Supt. Horace Johnson, which he accepted and did carving and other difficult work for that company. While there engaged Mr. David Blanchard, owner of a large quarry and cutting sheds at West Concord, came to the Concord Co.'s sheds, and inquired of some of the older cutters whom he knew, who among all the men was a cutter whom they could recommend to him to take charge of the thirty-five or forty cutters whom he employed, the man whom he then had in charge proving unsatisfactory. All joined in recommending Mr. Sullivan, who was soon after sent for and engaged by Mr. Blanchard. He did not make the change for increase of pay, merely, but because of the opportunity to learn how to handle. men, and the business end of the granite trade. He spent three years with Mr. Blanchard, and then formed a partnership with Mr. Simeon Sargent, in the granite business, under the firm name of Sargent & Sullivan. They sent out their cards through the country, and their first order for a monument came from John Noble of Stuebenville, O. They started in a small shed near the Claremont R.
R., not far from Ferry St., and soon had twelve men at work. Soon after they built a shed where the New England sheds were later located, made farther additions and set up a large derrick, so that they were able to handle 40 or 50 cutters. Their granite, in the rough, came from the quarry of Fuller, Pressey Co. They soon bought Mr. Pressey's interest and the quarry company became known as the Henry Fuller Co., Sargent & Sullivan being half owners.
When the erection of the U. S. Government building in Concord, for the accommodation of the Post Office Federal Courts and Pension Office, was determined upon, and the general contractors-Mead, Mason & Co.-called for bids for the granite for the same, the firm put in its bid, which was found lower than any other. No move being made to award the contract, complaint was finally made to Washington. An agent of the Treasury Department soon came to town, and after due investigation the general contractors were ordered to award the contract to
this company. They soon appeared
with a contract that called for a $50,000 bond. This was promptly furnished, however, and the stone for the building came from the Fuller Company's quarry. The building, when completed, was pronounced the finest granite building in the country, and is even now generally so regarded. Mr. Fuller's interest was soon bought by Sargent & Sullivan, who then became sole owners. The granite from this quarry was considered the best in the city, and monuments made from it thirty-five years ago, are bright and clean today. The firm furnished the granite for the new Concord Railroad station, for the contractors-Head & Dowst.
Mr. Dowst liked the work for the Concord depot so well that he told Mr. Sullivan if his firm would not give a bid to any other contractors.
Head & Dowst, who were bidding for the new government building in Manchester, would take no bids for the stone from any other granite firms, and there is good reason for the belief that Head & Dowst really secured the contract, as they finally did, on account of the fine appearance of the Concord government building.
The Sargent & Sullivan firm were sending monuments and other work to all parts of the country, as well as granite in the rough state, and soon found it advisable to add
another quarry to their property. This quarry had been owned by a Quincy firm, which had got into financial difficulties, and was heavily mortgaged to Boston parties, whose interest was purchased, and after the necessary legal procedure, the entire property was owned by Sargent & Sullivan.
FEDERAL BUILDING, CONCORD
When plans were accepted by the Government for the Congressional Library building in Washington, samples of granite from all quarries in the country were called for, to be sent to Washington. Sargent & Sullivan, knowing their granite to be of
superior quality and the supply abundant for all purposes, prepared a good sized sample, showing the different classes of cutting as well as the rock face and forwarded the same, Mr Sullivan himself soon after following the sample to Washington, determined to secure the contract if possible. It has been since asserted that New Hampshire statesmen in Washington who had secured the Library contract for their state, were bound to get everything possible for New Hampshire. The simple truth is, however, that no particle of assist
ance was rendered Mr. Sullivan by any member of the N. H. Congressional delegation, one of whom merely asked him if he had any conception of the magnitude of the work called for in the building! Maine parties up to that time had done most of the granite work for the government, and it was taken for granted that an unknown man from New Hampshire would stand little or no chance of success and he was accordingly left to "go it alone." He made his way, however, to the office of the chief architeet, informed him whom he was, told him he had sent
in a sample of granite and asked to see his plans. He was courteously treated, shown the plans, and, accompanied by the architect, amined all the samples that had been sent in. The examination convinced him that his Concord granite was the finest in color and in strength of material among the entire lot.
When bids were finally called for on the work, Sargent & Sullivan sent for a set of plans and specifications. The stipulations concerning bonds were such as to preclude bidding by many firms. It was provided that the bidder should own the quarry; should give bonds of two property owners in $400,000 in order to have his bid read, and agree to furnish bonds in $800,000 if the work was awarded him.
Mr. Samuel Sweat, of the firm of Runals, Davis & Sweat, granite contractors of Lowell, Mass., had long been a friend of Mr. Sullivan. After the receipt of the plans and specifications, Mr. Sullivan spent three weeks at the residence of Mr. Sweat, in company with a son of Mr. Runals and one of Mr. Davis, in going over the matter and making an estimate, and it was arranged that the firm would furnish the required bonds for Sargent & Sullivan in case they were given the contract. About this time, James G. Batterson, of Hartford, Conn., president of the New England Granite Co., at Westerly, R. I., for whom Sargent & Sullivan had furnished a large amount of granite, having seen the specifications, sent for Mr. Sullivan, for a conference. He said that he was satisfied the granite called for was Concord granite, and it was arranged that Sargent & Sullivan should give Mr. Batterson a lease of one of their quarries, in order that he might be qualified to bid. The Lowell firm proposed to put in a bid, on the Fuller quarry granite, but on advice of Mr. Batterson, who said there would be work enough for all if
he got the contract, and that if two bids went in, both for Sargent & Sullivan granite, neither might be considered, they decided not to do so.
After the bids. were all in and considered, it was announced by Chief Engineer, Maj. Gen. Robert L. Casey of the U. S. Army, who was authorized to erect the building, at an expense of $6,500,000, that the contract for the granite was awarded to James G. Batterson, the stone to come from the quarries of Sargent & Sullivan of Concord, N. H. Mr. Sullivan states that there is no quarry of any size in the country whose granite is white, with a bluish cast, except those in Concord, and he is of the opinion that the government made tests of all granite samples, as to color and strength, before the specifications were made. The building, it may be said, when finally.completed, was generally pronounced the largest and handsomest granite building in the world.
After the contract was awarded, it was decided that Bernard R. Green should be general superintendent for the construction of the building, and that before the work was begun Mr. Sullivan should travel with him showing buildings in different cities. constructed of Concord granite. They saw in Philadelphia, the permanent Museum, erected for the Centennial Exposition from Concord stone; also several buildings in New York; then went to Providence, R. I., and inspected the new City Hall, two fronts of which were of Westerly granite, and two others, as well as all the columns, of Concord. They then came to Boston, and to Portsmouth, N. H., where the Custom House, built in 1855, and still a handsome building, is of the same stone, as is that at Portland, Me., which they also inspected. Coming up to Manchester they saw there the new U. S. Post Office building, the stone for which, as has heretofore been said, was from Sargent & Sul
livan's quarry; also the Soldier's Monument on Merrimack Common, also made of the same stone, the coloring of which Mr. Green greatly admired. Coming finally to Concord, the appearance of the old State House, also made of Concord granite, gave Mr. Sullivan some worry; but he explained that the house was built in 1816, before the quarries were really opened, and there were no skilled cutters; but the columns and corners, still of fine appearance, were cut in 1864, and Mr. Green said he had never seen any columns of their age that looked so well. They then went to the rear of the State
House, and, leaning against the wall, gazed for some time at the new Government building. Finally Mr. Green said it was the finest granite building he had ever seen, and, if there had ever been any doubt, it settled the question of the material for the Congressional library.
When Mr. Batterson had secured his contract and perfected his plans, he proposed to buy the entire property-quarries and cutting sheds-of Sargent & Sullivan. They fixed their price, he accepted the same, and the transfer was made. He then engaged Mr. Sullivan to take charge of the work, as general superintendent. A new
cutting plant was constructed, at a cost of over $75,000. Quarrymen and cutters came in rapidly and within eighteen months more than 450 men were at work on the job. It was up to Mr. Sullivan to make the enterprise pay, and he was kept exceedingly busy, day and night, between the quarries and sheds, till he finally became ill with a heart trouble, and had to give up work. He resigned and went abroad, spending nearly three months in travel through Ireland and England, and returned to Concord entirely cured. He consulted Dr. Walker as to what his illness had been and was told that his
dyspepsia, brought on by anxiety, and that he would not have lived three months if he had continued his work.
Some time after his return Mr. Sullivan met Senator Chandler on the street, who informed him that he had secured an appropriation for a granite dry dock at Portsmouth, and desired him to go down there as an inspector, and see that the government got what it was entitled to. Mr. Sullivan did not care for the job, but the Senator insisted, and he finally consented to go. A civil service examination had been ordered-the first ever held at Portsmouth. It was said
the examination was ordered for the purpose of shutting Mr. Sullivan out; but although there were seven competitors he was the successful man and got the job. His work was simply on the cut granite,, and had nothing to do with the masonry. The dock was completed in was completed in about three years and a half, when he desired to go home, but persuaded to remain and act as a general inspector at the yard, looking after all building operations, which he did for a year and a half longer, when he had to resign. on account of sciatic rheumatism, and return home where he spent three months in bed.
Soon after he was able to be about Mr. Sullivan was called to inspect the granite work for the basement of the new Senate office
building in Washington, which was being cut in Concord, by the New England Granite Co. This he was able to attend to, and was engaged about eight months in this work. No sooner was it done than he was asked to go to Proctor, Vt., to inspect the marble being cut there for the exterior walls of the same building. This he declined to do, as he was not a "marble man;" but the government insisted, and he finally went. During the first six months a large amount of stone was condemned, and an engineer came on from Washington to advise him what stone he should not condemn; but Mr. Sullivan said if he did not know what cracked marble was he should never have accepted the position, and informed the company that he would not condemn a stone that was up to the specifications, and if they sent one that he had condemned and the government accepted it, he would not remain 48 hours. Not long before the work was completed Fletcher Proctor, governor of Vermont, and son of the Senator, thanked Mr.
Sullivan for his careful inspection, as it had insured for them the credit of having provided the finest marble building in in the United States. Soon after his return from Vermont, Mr. Sullivan heard of the proposed gift of a fine new building to the N. H. Historical Society, by Mr. Edward Tuck of Paris, the same to be of granite, and the report was that a Maine granite was to be used. The building committee consisted of Messrs. B. A. Kimball, S. C. Eastman and H. W. Stevens, and it appeared that Eastman and Stevens disliked the idea of using Maine granite for a historical building in Concord, when the best granite in the country was to be had in Concord quarries. Mr. Sullivan was seen by Mr. Eastman, who desired him to see and talk with Mr. Kimball about the matter. He declined to do so except upon the invitation of the latter, which soon came, and an interview was arranged. at which a sample of the proposed Maine granite was shown. Mr. Sullivan had a good knowledge of the various kinds of granite in the country, and the buildings constructed of the same, and referred Mr. Kimball to a building in New York, built of this particular granite, which had become discolored and unattractive in a few years. Mr. Kimball immediately started for New York to see the building. He soon returned, evidently much disgusted, and thoroughly displeased with the Maine people, who had recommended the granite in question. The committee met after Mr. Kimball's return, when he informed them of the result of the trip, and his conclusions, and it was determined to use Concord granite for the building.
The Committee then desired Mr. Sullivan to take charge of the work of construction, which he was loath to do, in view of his past experience