Tuesday, October 23, 2007

new creation

A NEW START: 1865-1881

On December 18, 1868, Judge E. R. Watson of the Circuit Court of Albemarle County, Virginia, granted a charter incorporating the Charlottesville Woolen Mills as a stock company for "the manufacture, purchase and sale of woolen, cotton, silk and other fabrics." Sired by the union of the Merchant factory with banking and commercial interests of the community, the new creation took its place as one of the earliest and most enduring products of an industrial-minded South.
The times and the environment were hardly propitious for survival. With its basic economic props recently washed away by the tides of war and with its social structure under heavy and vicious attack, the South offered little nourishment for the infant company. In fact, it narrowly escaped falling victim to the high mortality rate of Southern woolen mills for a dozen years, the battle was often seriously in doubt. Like the germs of some fatal disease, a deficient circulating medium, insufficient capital, and the disruptive whims of weather produced crisis after crisis which sapped the strength of the struggling firm. Yet, under the able administration of Henry Clay Marchant and his associates the company successfully responded to treatment. By 1881 it had achieved such vigor that it could suffer a second disastrous fire and yet rebound with renewed strength.
--Harry Poindexter

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