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Centennial Monograph: Cigar Makers of Maynard


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Centennial Monograph: Cigar Makers of Maynard


"Home Market Club", "Forester Guide", "Rosebud", "Middlesex" and the "Captor" are just a few names of cigars manufactured in Maynard through the late 1920's.


Ralph L. Sheridan





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A Maynard and Stow directory for 1887-1888 lists Edward McCraig as a cigar manufacturer on Harriman Court. Also lists William H. Irwin and William H. McGowan as cigar makers.

In 1900, John W. Connors was manufacturing cigars in his shop located in Lowe's Block (now the Pizza House) Nason Street. He advertised ”as the largest cigar manufacturer in Middlesex county", and made such name brands as "Home Market Club" (the cigar that made Maynard famous), 10¢. Also, 5¢ brands, "J.W.C." and "Forester Guide". His cigars were sold throughout Middlesex county. He had previously made cigars in a barn at his home on the comer of Sudbury and Park Streets. (Mr. Connors was also an outstanding baseball player, first baseman, and had a tryout with the Philadelphia Athletics under the late Manager Connie Mack.)

Edward T. McManus, brother-in-law of Mr. Connors, operated a cigar factory at the rear of his home on the opposite comer of Sudbury and Park Streets. He later moved the business to Nason Street (in the building recently tore down to enlarge the parking lot.)

An item in the Maynard News, dated Friday, May 26, l899: "At 3:35 Monday P.M., George Brown who was carting gravel on Sudbury Street saw smoke issuing from the side of the cigar factory of Edward T. McManus and notified him, who attempted to ascend the stairway, but was driven back by the dense smoke. He called to Bert Haynes, who was hitching up, to ring in the alarm. The fire department made a quick run and quickly extinguished the fire. Mr. McManus had about 33,000 cigars made up and a quantity of tobacco on hand, all being totally destroyed by water. The fire started in an upper room where the cigars were stored for shipment. Mr. McManus and a friend were upstairs early in the P.M. and he thinks the fire was caused by one of them throwing an unextinguished match on the floor. Loss on the stock, tools, etc., is about $2000. Unable to establish loss on the building. The loss was partly covered by insurance. Mr. McManus thanks the fire department and others who assisted for their efficient services.

He later moved to a location on Main Street (now where Stretch's Tavern is located). He operated a lunch room and pool parlor in the front of the building and manufactured cigars in the rear. His most noted brand was the "E.T.M.”. He drove a horse and wagon throughout the surrounding communities to deliver his cigars.

James C. Mahoney operated a shop on Summer Street in the building next to where the Gruber family live. (House now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. William A. Morrill, Sr.) He made such brands as "Rosebud" and "J.C.M."

George Morris operated this shop after Mr. Mahoney. He made the ”Roamer” and the the "G.W.".

In January 1920, Mr. Morris and James J. Tobin established a cigar factory at Paper Mill Comer (in the block where Speedy's restaurant is now located.) Mr. Morris conducted the business.

Cornelius J. Lynch purchased the business of Mr. Connors, and in May 1910, owing to rapid increase In the business was obliged to secure larger quarters and moved to the basement of the Smoke Shop on Main Street (under what is now the Laundromat in Masonic Block.)

September 16, 1910: "If one of the features of the aviation meet at Atlantic, Mass. was the presentation of a "Middlesex Cigar" to Claude Graham-White (one of the leading aviators of the time) by it's proud producer, Mr. C.J. Lynch. Mr. Graham-White, after trying the cigar, said the next airship meet ought to come off where the cigar was manufactured."

In 1913, Mr. George E. "Speck" White, who had been employed as a cigar maker in Boston entered the employ of Mr. Lynch. In 1916, Mr. White purchased the business and operated the factory until 1921. He continued the manufacture of the "Middlesex" at 10¢ and the "Captor" at 5¢. In 1921 he sold the business to Mr. William H. Irwin a real old timer among the cigar makers.

Mr. Irwin had been an employee of Mr. White since 1918, when he took the place of his son Chester Irwin, who had joined the United States Army. Mr. Irwin operated the shop until the late 1920's and produced "the Irwin Club”. No cigars have been manufactured in Maynard since.

"Chet" Irwin made cigars for a short time in a shop where the Pizza house is now located on Nason Street. Harry Ledgard also manufactured cigars in the shop on Summer Street.

Among the many cigar makers from Maynard was Edward P. Ledgard, who is still living and remembers well all the other cigar makers of this town. "Ed" got his start with Mr. McManus, who also had several women working for him. Others were William Ryan, Michael Maley and John Maley, who later opened his own factory In Marlborough. Some of
the foregoing men worked making such brands as ”7-20-4" and "Pippin" and "Elcho".

Note: In those days all brands were packed in wooden boxes and had a yellow ribbon band with the name of the brand printed in black letters. It was quite the fad for the women to save these ribbons to make pillow tops and seat covers by sewing them together in different patterns. Many of the canoeists had pillows topped with these ribbons.

All tobacco plants which employed just one man were called "buckeyes". No one was certain of the origin of the name, except the first one came from Ohio, the "Buckeye State".

Prepared by Ralph L. Sheridan

Credit given to the Maynard News

James J. Tobin, Edward F. Ledgard.