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A Respectful Family Business

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Aurora Agricultural Works

I came to Aurora a green country boy, and I am proud to say a working mechanic.   After a few years, I concluded to start a foundry, and I have thought since it was the wildest conclusion that I could have arrived at. However, I built a shop and started to work, with two men and myself, an old horse power, a pair of fans and a grindstone; that was all the machinery I had. Now I find from that small beginning in 1860, that the number of men on our pay sheet today is 71, and that we have manufactured during this year, exclusive of what has been sold at the factory, nearly $82,000 worth of goods”  

JOSEPH FLEURY, AURORA BANNER, DECEMBER 26 , 1873
Foundry employees, c. late 1800s, Aurora Museum & Archives (81.65.94)
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE at the Aurora Agricultural Works was a good one. In December 1873, the employees of the Works expressed gratitude to Joseph that they were “blessed with plenty” at a time when “the late financial crisis” had left thousands of their fellow workmen out of employment. For his part, Joseph spoke about his “respect and esteem” for the men at the Works who had worked “in daily interview” with him, some for as long as eight or nine years: “They are men who have stuck to me through cloudy as well as fair weather, through adversity as well as prosperity; men whose advice and willing hands have assisted me in times of difficulty, and who have been willing to work fourteen or fifteen hours daily to enable me to fulfill my engagements” (Aurora Banner, December 26, 1873).
This feeling between employer and employees was likely fostered by the interdependence of people and their common interest to see the Works, and with it, the Town of Aurora succeed. Joseph was proud that the Works employed so many in Aurora, including some of its highly respected citizens, and also provided apprenticeships to sons of the Village who then grew to occupy responsible positions at the Works

“ There is such a good feeling between
Mr. Fleury and his employees.”

UNANIMOUS RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE EMPLOYEES OF THE AURORA AGRICULTURAL WORKS, AURORA BANNER, DECEMBER 26, 1873

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Aurora Agricultural Works

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