Thursday, May 22, 2008

Robert P. Valentine

Robert Poore Valentine courtesy of the Elizabeth Valentine Meade Collection

After Marchant's death his responsibilities were divided. A son, Hampton S. Merchant, who had entered the company about five years before became superintendent of the manufacturing operations. Robert P. Valentine, the vice-president, was moved up to head the company.

Born and reared in Charlottesville, Valentine was fifty-eight when Marchant died. His father, a local merchant and, banker, had been ruined by the War of Secession. In the early seventies, Valentine broke into business with a successful coal company and then spread out into a variety of activities. Full of restless energy, daring and able, he became a "public spirited citizen" and a dynamic business leader. In the middle seventies he pulled a local paper out of financial troubles. Ten years later he was a prime mover behind a new street railway company and an electric light company. In the late eighties he helped form a land improvement company which he headed and into which he attracted leading men in the community. In 1902, with Marchant and others, he resurrected a bankrupted knitting mill and put it into profitable operation. By 1914 he was also involved in real estate and stock broking.--Harry Poindexter

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