Workers in 1840

Powder yard workersWORKERS
Employees who worked all of 1840: 132
Workers hired: 4
Departed workers: 43
Temporary / non-yard workers: 42
Total employed by DuPont in 1840: 220

Average pay: $19.40

Total paid to employees: $41,189
Non-yard workers: $1,055

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How did workers spend their money in 1840?

Employee spending chart. 50% savings, 36.5% cash, 9% board, the rest other expenses.


Gilbert Matthewson, Jr. | Powderman 1836-1904

Gilbert Matthewson, Jr. was born in September 1822 in one of the worker's communities near the DuPont powder works. His father was a powderman who began working for the company in the 1820s, and Gilbert, Jr. became a DuPont employee in 1836 at the age of 14. He worked through the ranks during the 1840s and by 1850 was an established cooper who made barrels and kegs for the company.

Matthewson, Jr., his wife Elizabeth (b. 1828), and their seven children lived in the Henry Clay community near the DuPont powder works. The family lived in or near this community for the rest of their lives.

During the Civil War, Matthewson worked for DuPont as a powderman and supplemented his income by varnishing kegs and collecting the income of his children. He neither joined any of the Brandywine militia companies nor served in the military during the war.

Matthewson remained with DuPont after the Civil War, and ultimately became a yard foreman and served in administrative roles.

Matthewson was one of 248 employees who signed a "Centennial Resolution" to the company in 1902. At this point he was among the longest-serving DuPont employees, and he was one of several generations of his family to proudly work for DuPont.

Gilbert Matthewson, Jr. retired from the DuPont Company not long after the centennial celebration. He died as his son's home in the Henry Clay community on July 27, 1904.

Image: Matthewson stands center with the white beard, ca. 1900. Main Cooper Shop is far right. Pancake Run is in the foreground.