Monday, September 3, 2007

early Meriwether mill and dam

Conceivably, the events of the period from 1820 to 1846 ran in this fashion: The Meriwether family had begun the carding of wool and cotton cloth sometime after the start of the War of 1812 which cut off America from British manufactures, a trend quite common in the United States. This small business, set up to supply only a local market but providing several types of service, was first located at Moore's Creek where a crude dam could be made to furnish the needed power. As the 1820's wore on and Charlottesville began an era of business activity, the enterprise showed signs of prosperity. With the Rivanna River so near, the Meriwethers in 1830 turned to that source, moving their machinery across the neck of land to the southern abutment of the Rivanna dam. There the enterprise was rented to others to operate until 1846 when the land, water rights, dam, and factory passed out of the hands of the Meriwether family. Such conjecture is fraught with difficulties. Only the barest outlines can be seen today. Yet, in view of the fact that the Meriwether family was running a crude textile factory and a saw mill in the vicinity of "Pireus" in 1820 and certainly on that site by 1840 and since the same property passed in 1846 to persons whose connection with the history of the present woolen mill can be proved satisfactorily, this surmise has extensive foundations.--Harry Poindexter



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