Sunday, December 2, 2007

the price of wool

The Riverview Cemetery Company was incorporated by a group of local businessmen on December 29, 1892 with a mission to establish a cemetery "near and convenient" to the City of Charlottesville. Marchant was a trustee and vice-president of the cemetery and took a leading role in its formation-Lara Day

In addition to an oscillating economy, the woolen industry had problems of its own. The prosperity which had enticed Marchant in 1865 was short-lived. In 1868 a combination of factors brought widespread depression. First the high price level broke with a fall in the price of gold. Then the federal government dumped large quantities of surplus cloths on the market. When prices failed to climb after the tariff of 1867 had extended protection to the industry, importers unloaded huge stocks of cloth purchased the year before in anticipation of a price rise. At the same time uncertainty was generated by wide fluctuations in the price of raw wool, an item which amounted to half the cost of manufacturing A low level existed from 1867 to 1871 when raw wool skyrocketed until it reached a peak in 1872 of seventy-five percent above the price of 1871. Just as suddenly the bottom dropped out in 1873 and a slow decline continued until 1880. In that year another sharp rise in wool temporarily shook the industry. The most severe impact, however, came from the 1873 crash.--Harry Poindexter

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