James Lovell Shute
James L. Shute was a carpenter by trade, and that is the type of work he did when he arrived in Gloucester. He began by taking care of the cemetery owned by the Universalist Church shortly after arriving in Gloucester. Later he repaired the church's Christopher Wren-style steeple. As a member of the Universalist Church he served on a variety of committees, and was influential in the decision to raise the church so a lower level could be added when more space was needed.
At some point he became acquainted with the Samuel Merchant family, joining Samuel in the fishing business. On Feb. 6, 1857, James married Sarah "Abbie" Abigail, Samuel's daughter, and they raised their family in Gloucester. After Samuel's death in 1860, James and his brother-in-law William T. Merchant continued in the fishing trade under the name of Shute & Merchant at a large wharf located at the place known as the Head of the Harbor.
He and Abbie had nine children:
|James Lovell, Jr.||1857 - 1862|
|Samuel Merchant||1859 - 1894|
|William Thomas||1861 - 1920|
|Abby Merchant||1864 - 1866|
|Frances Grover||1866 - 1956|
|Sally Merchant||1868 - 1952|
|Ada Marian||1870 - 1944|
|Edward Grover||1873 - 1883|
|Robert Thomas||1875 - 1920|
James L. Shute was not only a business man, he was also an inventor. He is credited with inventing several machines that helped to modernize fish processing operations, and which were then adopted by many other firms. Earlier in the history of Shute & Merchant, he conceived of the idea that it would be more efficient and cost saving to produce the wooden boxes needed for packing fish. As a result of his idea, what eventually became the Merchant box company began in a small building on the Shute & Merchant wharves.
(more about his life and family can be found by clicking the image)