MATHEWS’ TEXTILE MILL
There were three mills on streams recorded in New Braintree in 1793. Two mills were on Sucker Brook. One was a corn (grist) mill built by Solomon Mathews, the second was a saw mill was built by brother Daniel Mathews whose home was the site of the old “Webb Farm” at 531 Webb Road.
“Fulling,” as noted on the commemorative plaque (also known as tucking or walking), was a step in woolen cloth making which involves the cleansing of cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker, all of which have become common surnames.
Fulling involves two processes: scouring and then milling (thickening). Originally, fulling was carried out by the pounding of the woolen cloth with a club, or the fuller’s feet or hands. From the medieval period, however, fulling was often carried out in a water mill, followed by stretching the cloth on great frames known as tenters, to which it is attached by tenterhooks. It is from this process that the phrase being on tenterhooks (tenderhooks) is derived, as meaning to be held in suspense.