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Episode 1: The Mental Smugglers

Our story begins in Belper, England, the birthplace of Samuel Slater, who is known as the “Father of the Industrial Revolution” in America but a traitor to his native land.  After the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council connects with folks in the Derwent Valley, Belper artists who were once less than familiar with Samuel Slater find ways to creatively rediscover his story, while researchers dig up long lost information on the man they label “Slater the Traitor.”  After Samuel makes his way to America, he establishes a partnership with Moses Brown and William Almy in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and sends for his brother John with plans for greater expansion. (57 minutes)  

Episode 2: Controlling No Man's Land

When brothers Samuel and John find a location in northern Rhode Island to create and control their own village, they transform the landscape by building a whole new mill, utilizing water power from the Branch River, constructing houses, and forcing those in an agricultural lifestyle to conform to their time-punching needs for manufacturing.  John’s wife Ruth plays a prominent role over the villagers.  Through houses of worship, rules of temperance, and child labor, they struggle to control the lives of their rebellious workforce. (57 minutes)  

Episode 3: The Great Change

As factory life establishes a profound ripple effect throughout the Blackstone Valley and beyond, one of its most massive by-products is found in Lowell, Massachusetts, where Slatersville native Dr. Elisha Bartlett becomes the city’s first Mayor.  Following his life in politics, Dr. Bartlett writes prolifically about medicine, poetry and teaching, becoming one of the world’s most respected doctors of the era.  As brothers Samuel and John, and his wife Ruth, approach the ends of their lives, their excruciating hardships of loss are felt, as their village must adapt to changing times.  As French-Canadians immigrate to the neighboring city of Woonsocket during the Civil War, their population spills into to Slatersville, transforming its community into a foreign-sounding and multi-cultured village. (57 minutes)  

Episode 4: Conscience Money

After William Smith Slater and John Fox Slater have spent decades building their family fortunes in the second generation, the brothers make conscious decisions on the distribution of their wealth for both family and country.  Their presence is largely felt between Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island and Jewett City and Norwich, Connecticut.  The lives of their own children are heavily considered, while the education of African Americans following the Civil War is systematically weighed.  Despite the controversial means by which they built their estates, they each execute constructive paths for their monies to be spent, the ripple effects of which are still felt today throughout America. (55 minutes)   

Episode 5: The World According to Uncle Johnny

Upon inheriting his father’s fortune, John Whipple Slater, owner of Slatersville, becomes an absentee landlord and embarks on extravagance.  His excursions on multiple grand tours, big spending and bad behavior makes the national headlines, while his nephew Rufus Waterman III is invited to take over the family business and manage a mounting pile of problems on the home front.  Through Rufus’s thorough record keeping of diary entries and family letters (hidden for over seven decades), this period is dramatically reconstructed.  With dying relatives, striking workers and negligent supervisors, the village descends into chaos and ruin as the Slater and Waterman families struggle to hold onto the foundation built by their fathers, leaving the future of Slatersville in peril.  (75 minutes)       

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