Like many towns big and small, Hawley, Pa. once hummed with silk and textile manufacturers, employing hundreds of people in mills large and small. One of the smaller knitting mills, Saxony, operated out of one of the grand homes on Hudson Street overlooking what would later be called Bingham Park.

HAWLEY - Like many towns big and small, Hawley, Pa. once hummed with silk and textile manufacturers, employing hundreds of people in mills large and small. One of the smaller knitting mills, Saxony, operated out of one of the grand homes on Hudson Street overlooking what would later be called Bingham Park.

Saxony Knitting Mill was operated by a German immigrant, Karl Edward Sachse. The factory opened in 1901 and apparently lasted until 1915, at 419 Hudson Street.

This building, and the ones immediately to the left and right, are among Hawley’s landmarks, noted for their two-story columns in front. What may well be these same buildings are indicated on the 1860 map of Hawley, when they overlooked not the park, but a water-filled canal basin.

Emigrated in 1891

Newspaper accounts that were found, gave Sachse’s first name as Edward. The ship manifest when he emigrated, as well as his death certificate, listed his full name as Karl Edward Sachse (as is used in this account); some references list his first name as “Carl.” His name is also seen as “Edward C. Sachse.”

His father was Gotleib Sachse; both Karl and his parents were born in Germany. Karl was born October 3, 1856; in 1885, he was wed to Theresa, who was born Feb. 11, 1865 in Weimar, Saxony, Germany. Heir Sache and his frau lived at Saalfeld in Saxony, Meiningen.

They crossed the Atlantic together, departing Hamburg, October 9, 1891, aboard the steamer, Normannia, under the flag of Deutschland. She was 26; Karl was 36.

Once in the United States, they settled in Honesdale, Pa., where he learned the paper-hanging and painting trade. They became naturalized citizens.

He later removed to Scranton and thence to Hawley where he and his wife conducted a small grocery store at 491 Hudson Street. This was also their home.

No information has been found that they had any children. The 1900 census, however, indicates that they had a nephew, Willie Lorenz, age 11, living with them. Willie was born in Germany and came to the U.S. in 1899.

Just down Hudson Street at the corner with Spruce Street, a new factory opened up in 1898. United States Knitting Company was established in a large brick factory, which continued as a textile mill under different owners and names until the 1980’s. The landmark was taken down in 1997 and has remained a vacant lot to this day.

Soon after the firm opened, Sachse went to work there and gained a good knowledge of the business. He went to Germany and purchased knitting machinery and in the summer of 1901 started a business for himself under the name of Saxony Knitting Co., or Saxony Knitting Mill. This was located at 419 Hudson.

He started with six machines. The 1910 edition of The Blue Book, a textile directory, recorded that Sachse manufactured sweater coats and cardigans. He used eight knitting and six sewing machines, and apparently did finished products. The listing says the factory had electric power. His merchandise was handled by J.B. Hirshfeld & Co., New York, selling agents. The listing also notes: “Buy 20-2, 26-2, Wd [worsted], 20-2 W [woolen] yarn.”

He had a different sales agent, Henry Schanzer Co., New York, in the 1912-13 book.
In January 1911, Mr. and Mrs. Sachse left on a trip to Germany with a friend from Honesdale, fellow German immigrant J. Edward Cook. He was a painter by trade, and a Civil War veteran. The Citizen published a detailed travel log of their trip. While there, Sacshe did some buying for his company.

A news story published in The Citizen (Honesdale), July 31, 1912, states that on the trip to Germany about 18 months before, he had purchased one of the most improved power knitting machines on the market.

“With the labor saving and up-to-date machinery he now only has to employ five girls and one boy besides Mrs. Sachse, who acts as forelady,” the article states.

Isaac Katz of Honesdale was on a business trip for Sachse’s knitting company in July 1912, a new brief states.

Fruit tree farm

By 1912, Sachse looked for an entirely new horizon from the textile trade.
He had decided to dispose of the business and go to California, where he proposed to run a ten-acre fruit farm. He had purchased the farm two years before.

“Mr. Sacshe is a genial, kind-hearted gentleman and he and his wife are highly regarded by all who know them,” The Citizen story added. “In their removal the community will lose two valued citizens.”

It appears they never moved to California, or if they did, they were not there for long.

Died three years after

Karl Edward Sacshe died suddenly of a heart issue, March 8, 1915. He was 58 and was in Hawley at the time. He was listed as a Hawley resident and as a “manufacturer.”

Theresa continued to live at 419 Hudson Street. She worked as a seamstress and later as a home finisher of knit goods.

Her passport application from 1921 from has been found. She was taking a steamer out of New York to visit Europe for six months.

The passport states her late husband resided at Hawley, 1891- 1915, hinting they may not have made California their home.

She lived to age 86 or 87, passing away in 1952. They were both laid to rest at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Hawley.

While Saxony Knitting Mill was in operation, there was another knitting factory next door to the right, in the large house with tall columns. A 1912 Hawley map list its “H. Wood Knitting Mill.” Harry Wood was the proprietor.

Other Hawley knitting mills besides Saxony and H. Wood in Hawley in 1912, were Bower Knitting Co., Bellemonte Ave.; Leonard & Pester (L&P), Hudson, corner with Spruce (successor to United States Knitting); and Max Wood, whose mill was at the “S” curve on Hudson Street.

In addition, in 1912 there were three silk goods manufacturers in Hawley: Dexter, Lambert & Co. (Bellemonte Silk Mill); Hawley Silk Co., which shared the building with L&P Knitting); and H.W. Kimble & Co., Paupack Street.

Main sources:
Vintage newspapers at
Census records, etc.,at (Hawley Public Library)