The Industrial Revolution
AS PREDICTED BY THE FOUNDERS of West Virginia, development of her natural resources converted her into a great industrial state. The possibilities of such a development had been foreseen before the Civil War; but, owing to unsettled conditions during the War and the Reconstruction, little progress was made, except in the petroleum and iron industries. Other developments had to wait improved transportation and adequate financing. The New State was thus left in the domestic stage of economy. In this stage each county had its gristmills, sawmills, and carding machines; woolen mills made cloth, jeans, linseys, and flannels; and more than worth of these goods, including blankets, hosiery, and carpets, were produced in homes. Except the carding, every operation from the shearing of the wool to its conversion by the loom was performed within the family circle. Cities and towns were few and far between, and each village or community had its tannery, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and general store. Farmers slaughtered their own hogs, sheet, and cattle; cured and preserved their own meats; and fabricated their own tools and farm implements. From maple sap and sorghum juice they produced syrup and molasses, while their wives were equally efficient in soap making, baking, knitting, weaving, and tailoring. Granaries bulged with grain; barns were filled with hay and fodder; and cellars were storage places for canned fruits and vegetables. Money for taxes was usually secured through the sale of farm products, particularly cattle, hogs, and sheep, and, in the more remote parts, through the sale of ginseng, poultry, and peltry.
By 1870 West Virginia had made a beginning in manufacturing. In that year the state had 2,444 industrial establishments employing more
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Publication information: Book title: West Virginia, the Mountain State. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Charles H. Ambler - Author, Festus P. Summers - Author. Publisher: Prentice-Hall. Place of publication: Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Publication year: 1958. Page number: 423.
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