Select Packard Miscellany

Here are some Packard stories and accounts over the years:

Packard Towns and Villages in Suffolk

Woodbridge today is a town of 11,000.  It lies east of Ipswich on the river Deben, approximately eight miles from the coast.  Bramford is a medium-sized village three miles west of Ipswich.   Some eighteen miles north of Ipswich is the small market town of Saxmundham, set in the valley of the river Fromus.  Middleton is situated eight miles northeast of Saxmundham.  

Also north and east of Ipswich is Framlingham, commonly referred to by the locals as Fram.  This ancient market town with its population of 3,000 was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and has a castle
.  Stonham Aspal is near to Framlingham.

Grove House in Bramford, Suffolk

Grove House on Papermill Lane in Bramford was built in 1825 towards the end of the Regency period by Edward Packard who was Alderman and Mayor of Ipswich.  It was then occupied for 67 years by his son Sir Edward Packard, his wife Ellen, their twelve children and five servants. He founded the business that eventually became Fisons and was a renowned Suffolk painter whose most famous work Battle of St. Vincent can be seen at the Ipswich Museum. 

The size and importance of the Packard family led to the house being extended in 1895 with the addition of a ballroom and two further bedrooms.  The house was split in about 1927 and The Grove was formed, being a third of the original three story house plus the two story extension. 

The house has a peace and calm that reflects its history and has retained its rural feel with a large garden teaming with wildlife. Watching the blue tits nest by the pond or the deer accompany their fawn, it is easy to forget that the centre of Ipswich is only three miles away.

Packard Family Associations

On August 19, 1888 there was a grand gathering of the descendants of Samuel and Elizabeth Packard at the Agricultural Ground in Brockton, Massachusetts.   The year marked the 250th year anniversary of their arrival in America.  The local newspaper included a Packard poem relating to Samuel and his children and a long list of the attendees at the reunion.  They numbered 650.  What followed was the Packard Memorial Association. 

The Packard Association became defunct around. 1946.  It was revived in 1987 under the name of the Packard and Allied Families Association (PAFA).  Packard’s Progress was a family newsletter published for its members from 1987 to 1998.  The best articles were those supplied by PAFA President Karle Packard and its historian Alan Packard who died in 2004

Alpheus Spring Packard at Bowdoin College

Alpheus Spring Packard may be the longest serving faculty member to any American college through his 65 years of dedication to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.   Trained as a minister, educator, librarian, he was acting President of Bowdoin College for the year before his death. 

He died in fact away from home in Decatur, Illinois.  The Daily Republican reported there on July 14, 1884: 

“Professor A.S. Packard, Acting President of Bowdoin College, was found lying face downward on the beach at Squirrel Island yesterday noon, where he and his wife, his son, daughter and niece were spending Sunday.  He was taken at once to the hotel.  He lived only forty-five minutes.  He was conscious at the time of his death. Heart disease was the cause.  His age was eighty five. 

His remains were brought to the Bath by special steamer and the party left at once for Brunswick, Maine."

Warren Packard in Warren, Ohio

Warren Packard moved to Warren in 1846, carrying on his back, as one family history noted, “everything he owned in a cotton handkerchief.” A relative helped him get a job with Milton Graham who owned an iron and hardware business in Warren.  That first year it was said that he worked long hours as a clerk. On Saturdays he would drive a team between Warren, Niles, and Youngstown, buying nails and iron for Graham’s store. 

In 1851 he started out on his own, forming the Warren Packard Company.  His business grew and by 1863 he was the owner and operator of the largest iron and hardware business between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  He had begun to diversify by this time, adding a lumber business and expanding its operations into western Pennsylvania and New York. 

He had married his second wife Mary Doud in 1856 and she was the mother of the automobile pioneers William and James Packard.

The Packard Car - from First to Last

The last Packard car – the classic American luxury car with the enigmatic slogan Ask the Man who Owns One – rolled off the assembly lines in Detroit on June 25, 1956. 

James Ward Packard and his brother William Dowd Packard built their first automobile, a buggy type vehicle with a single cylinder engine, in Warren, Ohio in 1899.  The Packard Motor Company earned fame early on for a four-cylinder aluminium speedster called the Grey Wolf released in 1904.  With the 1916 release of the Twin Six with its revolutionary V-12 engine, Packard established itself as America’s leading luxury car manufacturer. 

In the 1930’s General Motors’ superior financial resources saw Cadillac overtake Packard in the luxury car stakes. Packard diversified by producing a smaller more affordable model, the One Twenty, which increased the company’s sales. 

Packard struggled in the post-war world.  The company merged with the larger Studebaker Corporation in the hope of cutting its production costs.  But both companies were finding the going difficult.  In 1956 the decision was taken to end Packard auto production in Detroit.

Return to Top of Page
Return to Packard Main Page