Biography of Cecil C. Gamwell

CECIL C. GAMWELL, prominent coal merchant and real estate operator of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, rose from office boy in a shoe shop to one of the largest coal merchants and property owners in Pittsfield, as well as stockholder in banks, and holds an important place in the business and financial life of Berkshire County, Mr. Gamwell is the son of Lorenzo H. and Emeline (Varney) Gamwell, and was born in Pittsfield July 22, 1854.

He attended the public schools of his native city, and his first employment after leaving school was as office boy at the Robbins & Kellogg Shoe Company, later going to Rice, Robbins & Company as bookkeeper. In 1887, when he was twenty-three years of age, he bought a horse and wagon, hired a small place at the rear of the present array of fine buildings, of which he is the owner, and made a start in the coal business. He had little capital in those days, but he was long on credit. That was in 1877, today he is the owner of many business blocks, three branches and yards of his coal business, and gives employment to fifty persons. He covers a large territory with the distribution of his products, which include, besides coal: brick, lime, cement, sand, gravel, plaster, wagons harness, horse goods, fur coats, trunks, baggage, etc. Mr. Gamwell was one of the first residents of Pittsfield to have a telephone installed in his place of business; today he has his own private exchange with switchboard making connections with all departments of his business. Mr. Gamwell built the first brick building on Railroad Street (now Columbus Avenue); today he is owner of many fine brick structures the larger ones being 50 by 150 feet, 40 by 135 feet, 70 by 105 feet, and So by 120 feet, each three stories in height. Besides the business of dealing in coal, etc., which he has conducted in his own name for forty-eight years, he has vested interests in manufacturing concerns and banks. He is a trustee of the Berkshire County Savings Bank. Mr. Gamwell now has under contemplation an ambitious plan looking toward extensive improvements on a fifty-acre tract of land within the corporate limits of the city of Pittsfield. When this plan is brought to fruition Mr. Gamwell will have added a very large amount of valuable real estate to his present large holdings, and the city itself will have materially benefited through additional revenue derived from increased assessable improved property.

Mr. Gamwell is a member of the Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce; Mystic Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Berkshire Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Berkshire Council, Royal and Select Masters; Berkshire Commandery, Knights Templar; the Park Club; and the First Baptist Church, Pittsfield.

Mr. Gamwell married Virginia Church, of Pittsfield. They are the parents of five children:

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  1. Clarence L., married Bertha Metcalf, and they have two children, Elaine and Sumner.
  2. Cecil C., Jr., married Madelyn Worth, and they have four children; Barbara, Rosemary, Virginia and Cecil C. III.
  3. Mabel, married W. H. Rockwell.
  4. Florence Virginia, married Howard Coggeshall and died in 1908, leaving two children, Cecil Calvert and Virginia.
  5. Pamelia, married William Oliver, and they have two children, Pamela and William.



Holland, Josiah Gilbert. History of Western Massachusetts Springfield: S. Bowles and company, 1855.

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