Laying the Foundation
Events connected with R. J. Reynolds's removal to Winston in Forsyth County, North Carolina, and his early years there as a manufacturer of chewing tobacco are seriously obscured by a paucity of documentary evidence. Nevertheless these early years may be partially reconstructed from records concerning his plant, the laborers, purchases of leaf, brands of chewing tobacco, sales, and capital. Reynolds's business progressed so rapidly during the first twelve years of its existence that its management demanded more than one man. During this period, R. J. constantly enlarged his plant, managed his sales through wholesale outlets, and obtained capital on a piecemeal basis largely from his family and wholesale tobacconists of Baltimore. Notwithstanding the multiple problems that confronted the young manufacturer as he went about organizing his new venture in business, he early became interested in and played an important role in the life of the community, particularly in its economic development.
At the age of twenty-four R. J. Reynolds headed south from Nobusiness Mountain to an area that he evidently knew rather well. His association with tobacco must have brought him in contact with the Old Bright Belt and its superior leaf. In fact Patrick County, Virginia, is adjacent to Stokes County, North Carolina, and Henry County, Virginia, both in the Old Bright Belt. His choice of a new base of operations, sixty miles almost due south of Rock Spring, was Winston in the western area of the Old Bright Belt next to Salem, which had served as the seat of the Moravian church in