Sunday, June 22, 2008


Robert Poore & Ida Payne Valentine center, Bessie Valentine Walker (rt) Virginia Seymour Walker (on lap) Mrs Robert Valentine (lt) Elizabeth Valentine (Garnett-on lap). Courtesy of the Elizabeth Valentine Meade Collection

Valentine first appeared on the mill directory in 1890 and after the death of Hotopp he became vice-president. His wide business experience and twenty years on the company board made him a good choice for the presidency, but the board refused to give him the complete authority Marchant had enjoyed.

The year 1911 was stormy for the management because the board removed the general manager from Valentine's effective supervision. In this case two heads did not prove wiser than one and a prolonged period of bickering and lack of coordination followed. In 1912 the board tried unsuccessfully to remedy the situation, but at the outbreak of war there had been little improvement.--Harry Poindexter

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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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