JOSHUA BRITTON, a retired manufacturer of Stoughton, was born in Easton, Bristol County , Mass., November 27, 1819 , son

of Joshua and Nancy (Field) Britton. His grandfather, Joshua Britton, first, who resided in Easton , was a justice of the Peace, and settled

many estates. He married Cynthia White, of Mansfield, Mass., and had a family of nine children ; namely Joshua, Keziah, Thomas,

James, Fanny, Cynthia and Lucinda (twins), Phoebe, and Charles.  



Parents of Joshua Britton


Joshua Britton Sr.                 Nancy (Field) Britton

Wife of Joshua Britton

Mrs. Joshua Britton - Olive F. (White) Britton


Joshua Britton, second, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Easton; and when a young man he there learned the trade of a blacksmith. For some time he worked for General Leach in his native town, but later engaged in burning charcoal, and still later was employed in teaming and in other occupa­tions. In 1827 he moved to Sharon , Mass. His last years were spent in Stoughton , where he died November 6, 1866 . His wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Field, was a native of Mansfield . She was the mother of seven children, as follows: Nancy, who married Horace Weld, of Livermore, Me. (both deceased) ; Richard W., who died in 1840, aged twenty­ four years; Joshua, the subject of this sketch; Gilbert, who died young; Lucy J., who married Edward Holmes for her first husband and Hosea Y. Fuller for her second, and is now living in Somerville, Mass.; Phoebe and Andrew J., both of whom died young. Mrs. Nancy Field Britton died July 18, 1872 .  

Joshua, the second son, named for his father and grandfather, was bound out at the age of nine years to Consider A. and Amasa Southworth, cotton thread manufacturers, of Stoughton , for the term of seven years, during which time he attended school three months in each year. He then worked one year for them for wages and subsequently was employed in the Canton Hardware Factory for two years. He then worked at North Easton for the John Ames Knife Factory for a few months. Returning to Stoughton in 1838 he worked for Elijah Holmes in the Fisher Gay shop, at the manufacture of shoe tools, for about seven years. About 1848 he began business on his own account at the Fisher Gay water privilege in Stoughton , which in 1855 he purchased. He continued extensively engaged in the manufacturer of tools upon his own account for forty years, or until failing health caused him to abandon active business; and since 1888 he has lived in retirement. He gained a wide reputation as a maker of awls.

Joshua and Horace Britton Tool Holder Models

Further information on Patent # 516294




                 Joshua Britton Model                   J. Britton (top) lower H. Britton (lower)                   Horace E. Britton Model




       Joshua Britton Model with internal attachments                                 Joshua Britton Model with an attachment in place



Britton Awl Factory off School Street, Stoughton  

On October 2, 1839 , Mr. Britton was united in marriage with Olive F. White. She was born in Sharon, August 24, 1820, daughter of John and Sally (Mitchell) White, the former of whom was a prosperous farmer and lifelong resident of Sharon, and the latter a native of Easton, To this union were born eleven children; namely, Grenville C., Matilda L., Melissa L., Warren F., Henry W., Ellen, Horace Edward, Ellis F., Emery Clinton, Leander G., and Walter AGrenville C. Britton died at twenty-two years; Matilda L., Warren F., and Ellen died at the age of two years; and Walter A. at twenty-one. Melissa L. is the wife of Warren T. Morse, a native of Sharon , and now lives in West Medford , Mass. , and has one daughter, Marion T. Morse. Henry W., who is a banker in Stoughton , married Emma K. Corbett, Horace E. Britton is now manager of his father's factory; in July, 1875, he wedded Mary Mellison, a native of Indiana . Ellis F., who is engaged in mining at Cripple Creek , Col. , married Affa Linfield, and has two sons - Thornton E. and Warren L. Britton. Clinton E. Britton is engaged in the delivery and blacksmithing business in Canton . He married Lizzie Cobb, and has had two children ­ Marjorie O. and an infant deceased. Leander G. Britton, who is proprietor of a large sale stable in West Stoughton , married Blanche Bright.  

In his political views Mr. Britton is strongly Republican, and in his religious belief he is a Universalist. He was made a Mason in Rising Star Lodge, October 13, 1864 ; was given the Royal Arch degree in Mt. Zion Chapter, May 12, 1866 ; and is a member of Bay State Commandery Knights Templars, of Brockton . He is a Past Master of the Blue Lodge and a Past High Priest of the Chapter.  

House built in 1843 by Joshua Britton using timber from the house built by Dea. Isaac Stearns (1716).


Image of a Britton Tool patented in 1894 by Horace E. Britton  made in Stoughton

Source: Biographical Review - Volume XXV - Containing life sketches of leading citizens of Norfolk County Massachusetts . (Boston, Mass., Biographical Review Publishing Co., 1898), pgs. 434-436.  


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