Proprietor of the Meade Rubber Company

James Meade is the proprietor of one of the important manufacturing enterprises of Stoughton, conducted under the name of The Meade Rubber Company. The establishment is devoted to the rubberizing of fabrics and hospital sheetings and to the manufacture of rubber heels and soles. The business was established in 1916 and although it is one of the newer productive industries of the city has already made for itself a substantial position in business circles. Mr. Meade came to the head of this concern with long experience gained in other connections. He was born in Stoughton on the 3d of March, 1868, and is a son of Richard and Mary (Shields) Meade, who were natives of Ireland. In early life they came to America and were married on this side of the Atlantic. After reaching American shores they established their home in Stoughton and Mr. Meade was employed in shoe factories throughout his remaining days, his death occurring in 1885. His widow survived him for about six years, passing away in 1891.

James Meade spent his youthful days in Stoughton, where he attended the public and parochial schools and thus acquired the education which fitted him for life's practical and responsible duties. When his textbooks were put aside he sought employment in rubber factories and has continued in the same line of work to the present time. One element of his success is the fact that he has always remained in the field of activity in which he embarked as a young tradesman. He has mastered every phase of the business and for a long period he was superintendent of the Plymouth Rubber Company at Canton. When he resigned his position there to return to Stoughton and establish his present business, the employees of the plant, numbering two hundred, met to offer their kindest felicitations and show their respect to him. They were joined by many of the leading citizens of the town, who made the event one of unusual interest. Oh that occasion the factory employees who had long known Mr. Meade as their boss and overseer, presented him with a handsome gold watch suitably engraved, and this possession he prizes most highly. In The Sentinel Observations, published at Canton, appeared the following editorial concerning the occasion and indicating the spirit in which it was held: "That was a wonderfully interesting and peculiarly satisfactory affair on Saturday evening when the workers of the Plymouth Rubber Company of Canton paid their tribute to their retiring superintendent, James Meade, in Foresters Hall. Nothing just like it has ever been held in this town. Here were some two hundred men of all nationalities, working men gathered to pay tribute to one who had been for fifteen years their boss and overseer. In that time it is reasonable to presume that Mr. Meade, had he been a good superintendent as there is no doubt that he was, had been obliged to be strong and strict in his application of efficiency and business principles to the work that he was called to do. Such efforts are usually conducive to the inculcation of jealousies and hard feeling that are constantly the result of misunderstanding of attitudes in an establishment and the lack of appreciation of the requirements of the place which such a position requires. It is a position that often leads to hard feeling and grudges for honest decisions made and for admonitions that may be and usually are just and warranted. When therefore one sees in place of bitterness and ill-feeling such a unanimous and hearty expression of goodwill, yes, even loving respect and hearty commendation given without the expectation of favor in return, then we may well say that the occasion is rare and unusual. To attain such an end one must be a rare man and well equipped with those kindlier and unusual attributes of good-heartedness that deserve mention and attention. The man himself must be a man of broad sympathy and real good-heartedness to have won all these men and these tributes. Such a man we know Mr. James Meade to be and the personal friends of Mr. Meade, leading citizens of the town, who were privileged to be present in large numbers on this evening, were unanimous in their appreciation of the splendid meaning of this recognition of him on the part of the men of whom such fine sentiments were hardly to be expected. In these days of the harsh snapping of the line that is apt to be drawn between the employer and the employee it is indeed refreshing to see so fine a showing of respect and regard between the front office and the work bench and machine. It was only made possible by the fact that here we find a man who is broad minded, generous in his sympathies and helpful in his attitude. It is given to few men to be endowed with those virtues in a degree such as is vouchsafed to Mr. Meade and we are glad that Stoughton is able to boast such a man as its home product, that we are to have him as one of our leading employers of labor in the future and that he has definitely decided against other influences to settle his future in the town. His decision I believe bodes well for Stoughton as a growing town. That he will succeed we have no doubt and also that in his success he will give to the community a large share not only of increased business prosperity, but also the benefits that such a man of kindly attributes can add to the community welfare. Not much danger of labor troubles when such a man goes out to do business."

With his return to Stoughton, Mr. Meade established The Meade Rubber Company and began the manufacture of rubber heels and soles and also the putting of a rubber surface upon fabrics and hospital sheetings. He has a well equipped plant supplied with the latest improved machinery for doing work of this character, and already his business has grown to substantial proportions.

In July, 1891, Mr. Meade was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Mahoney, a daughter of John and Barbara (Crawford) Ma-honey, who are natives of Ireland and of England respectively. The father, born on the Emerald isle, was brought to America during his infancy by his parents. He became a leather heel manufacturer in Stoughton, devoting many years to that business, but for the past seven years he has been retired. His wife also became a resident of the new world during her infancy and she, too, is yet living. Mr. and Mrs. Meade have become the parents of four children, namely: B. Evangeline, now twenty-four years of age; Mary Elizabeth, aged twenty-two; Evelyn, eighteen years of age; and J. Miles, a youth of sixteen years. The family are communicants of the Catholic church and they reside at 53 Sumner street, where they have a pleasant home. They have gained many friends during the period of their residence in Stoughton and the hospitality of the best homes is freely accorded them. Mr. Meade is a democrat in his political views and has served for twenty years on the democratic town central committee. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Columbus and with the Catholic Order of Foresters and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He is a man of kindly spirit and genial disposition who wins friends wherever he goes. In his business, justice and consideration for others are evenly balanced qualities and both in business and private life he is continually extending a helping hand to those who need assistance. All who know James Meade speak of him in terms of the highest regard and are proud to count him as a friend.

Source: History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918 (New York, S. J. Clark Publishing Co., 1918), 2:291-294.  


Meade Family Gravestone at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Stoughton - photo courtesy of Bob Rubel



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