Honored and respected by all, Thomas Stretton occupies an enviable position in the business and manufacturing circles of Stoughton , not alone by reason of the success which he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward business policy which he has ever fol­lowed. It is true that he entered upon a business already established, but in developing and enlarging this he has shown initiative and enterprise and is today president and treasurer of the Charles Stretton & Son Company, controlling one of the most important manufacturing interests of Stoughton,

    Mr. Stretton was born in England, November 12, 1852, and is a son of Charles and Priscilla (Warren) Stretton, who were also natives of that country, where they resided until 1853, when they brought their family to the new world, establishing their home in Philadelphia, where they remained until 1866. They then removed to Canton , Norfolk county, Massachusetts , where the father was employed in the woolen mills until 1869. In that year he established a knit goods business on his own account and admitted his two sons, Thomas and John, to a partnership in the business, which was located at Canton. There they remained until 1891, when they removed the factory to Stoughton . At Canton they had made hand-knit goods but on locating in Stoughton they began the manufacture of underwear exclusively. It was at this time that the father retired from active connection with the business, which was then taken over by the two sons. The father continued to reside in Canton throughout his remaining days and there passed away in January, 1908, having for many years survived his wife, who had died in 1856.

      Thomas Stretton was less than a year old when brought by his parents to the new world. He pursued his education in the schools of Philadelphia and of Canton and when but nine years of age began work in a factory. He has been identified with factory interests for fifty-six years and for a long period was associated with his father and brother in the conduct of the business of which he is now the head. His brother passed away in 1907, leaving Thomas Stretton as the sole proprietor of the business, which, however, is conducted under the name of the Charles Stretton & Son Company. In January, 1909, the factory was destroyed by fire and in the same year he erected his present factory, which is a large and very modern building three stories in height. It is light, well ventilated and has every safeguard. With the building of the new factory the business was incorporated, at which time C. W. Jones became associated with Mr. Stretton as assistant treasurer and manager of the new company. Their output includes one hundred and twenty‑five dozen garments per day, mostly union suits. The company is represented upon the road by five traveling salesmen, who cover the entire country, selling to the large retail and department stores. Their business is constantly growing, a large force of workmen being continually employed in the factory, and they also have a considerable number of hands in other towns who are making fancy hand-knit goods.

    On the 2d of November, 1880 , Mr. Stretton was united in marriage to Miss Sarah F. Gay, a daughter of Ellis and Laura (Sinclair) Gay, who were natives of Canton , Massachusetts , and of Vermont respectively. The father was a fisherman and engaged in that business during the greater part of his life. His labors, however, were ended in death, January 21, 1903 , and his wife passed away in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Stretton became the parents of three children: Charles E. and Dorothy, both of whom died in infancy; and Marion S., the wife of Paul A. Esten a chemist in the employ of Mr. Stretton in Stoughton .

    Mr. Stretton, aside from his manufacturing interests, is a director of the Stoughton Trust Company. He belongs to the Universalist church and he gives his political endorsement to the republican party but does not seek office as a reward for party fealty, preferring to concentrate his efforts and attention upon other interests. He belongs to the Chicatawbut Club and fraternally is a prominent Mason, having attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, while with the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine he has crossed the sands of the desert. He is widely known in this as well as in business connections and he ranks with the representative and honored residents of his city. Step by step he has advanced, never fearing to venture where favoring opportunity pointed out the way. In other words he has never manifested that hesitancy which so often blocks progress but has been alert to the chances of the hour and his activities have largely been of a character that have not only contributed to his individual success but have also promoted the prosperity of the community.

 Source: History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918 (New York, S. J. Clark Publishing Co., 1918), 2:158-162.


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