The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years

By Thomas Pinney | Go to book overview

TWO
Nicholas Longworth
THE NECESSARY ENTREPRENEUR

GROWING RICH IN CINCINNATI

Dufour had an heir, in effect if not in law. This was Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, about fifty miles up the Ohio River from Vevay. He knew about Dufour’s work, was much interested in it, determined to carry it on, and did so with far greater success than Dufour could have imagined. For Longworth had two great advantages over Dufour: he was wealthy, and he had a better grape to use.

Take the matter of wealth first. Longworth (1782–1863) was born in Newark, New Jersey. His grandfather and father were both Loyalists during the Revolution and, as the price of their politics, had had their considerable property confiscated. His inheritance gone, young Longworth had his own fortune to make (it is sometimes said that he was put to the trade of shoemaking). He went south first, to work in an elder brother’s store in South Carolina; he also spent some time in Savannah, Georgia. But the South did not agree with his health, and, it may be, he had no liking for slavery. There was also an unhappy love affair. He returned to New Jersey and there began the study of law. In 1804, at the age of twenty-two, he determined to go west and chose Cincinnati, then a small village of log huts on hilly ground along the Ohio River. Like Dufour’s property downriver in Indiana, Cincinnati was in the newly opened Northwest Territory, the very frontier of the country at the turn of the nineteenth century and a free rather than a slave region. When Longworth got there, by flatboat drifting down the Ohio, it had only about eight hundred inhabitants, but it had the prospect of unlimited expansion.

Longworth completed his legal studies at Cincinnati by reading in the

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