BROOKE  COUNTY, WV  

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EARLY BROOKE COUNTY INDUSTRY


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Early Brooke County Industry
EARLY BROOKE COUNTY INDUSTRY
Contributed by the Brooke County Genealogy Society

The Upper Ohio River Valley was virtually the industrial frontier of the United States for more than a century. The very earliest settlers in the region in the decade of the 1770's were followed almost immediately by fledgling industries running the complete gamut of products.

Not only were there immediate needs for local consumption to be supplied but the developing lands to the west and south needed supplies that could be provided by industries located along the main thoroughfare, the Ohio River. Transportation for industrial materials from the Eastern seaboard was not only almost physically impossible but also prohibitively expensive. As a result, many and varied were the industries that developed in Brooke County.

As early as 1776 there was a powder mill at the mouth of Panther Run and from this mill gunpowder was being supplied both for local use and for shipment to other parts of the frontier. In 1794 a Mr. GRANT was operating an iron foundry on Kings Creek near the present steel center of Weirton. This iron foundry passed into the hand of one PETER TARR shortly thereafter and is better known by that name today. A portion of the Peter Tarr iron works has been restored by the Hancock County Historical Society.

In 1815 an iron foundry was established in Wellsburg.

The glass industry, very prominent in Brooke County throughout its history began with the Duval Glass house in 1813. There have been over 40 different glass houses in Brooke County in the intervening years, with several of these mentioned in the Bicentennial History of Brooke County.

During the period of 1791 to 1794 there are records of local industries such as shoemaker JACOB HOOVER, hatter ABRAHAM FULTON, tanners, JAMES PERRY and NATHAN REEVES, carpenter ELIJAH COLE, tailor JOHN SMITH.

Several flour and saw mills were in operation before 1797 with one on virtually every creek in the county. The products from these mills were loaded onto flat boats on the Ohio River and frequently made their way to New Orleans with the crews returning to Brooke County overland.

The manufacturing of paper started in Wellsburg in 1835 and has been one of the principle industries ever since.

Other local industries were coal and candle factories, potteries, cotton mills, marble yard, silversmiths, furniture, boat yards, carpet factory, hat manufacturers and cigar makers. A cannery was located in the upper end of Wellsburg and a broom factory was established on Cross Creek. A broom making machine of very early vintage is among the items on display at the Brooke County Historical Museum.

ROBERT T. MOORE operated a tannery and general leather business in the 1790's and also produced saddles, bridles, horse collars and harness.

No frontier community was complete without a distillery and several were located in Brooke County to produce spirits for the local population as well as for export on the Ohio River.

In various letters and diaries are mentioned such occupations as chairmaker ISAAC JONES, cord winder JAMES SHANKLIN, cooper JOSHUA EVERETT, blacksmith JOSHUA SMITHFIELD, and JOHN HUGHES, wagon maker GEORGE AMICK, clothmaker DANIEL JONES, fuller SAMUEL WILLIAMSON, stiller JAMES MORAN. All of these were listed in a ledger book dated January 20, 1809 kept by the above mentioned ROBERT T. MOORE.

Meat packing was also a prominent industry in early Brooke County utilizing the cattle, swine and sheep raised in the county. Pickling and salting were the principle processes employed in the 18th and 19th centuries with refrigerated shipping being in the then far distant future. Records exist of flat boat shipments leaving Wellsburg with these products aboard for shipment down the Ohio River.

With the development of the modern iron and steel industry in the United State, Brooke County became the location of several industries related thereto. Plants of Wheeling Steel Corporation, Follansbee Brothers Steel, and Weirton Steel were located in Brooke County and by the mid-20th century became the largest employers in the county.





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Copyright by Janet Waite and Dale Patterson 1997 - 2004; Julia A. Krutilla - 2004-2008.Barbara Campbell 2011

1997-2011 Hancock County,WV Genweb Project. Content initiated in 1997 by Janet Waite and Dale Patterson 1997-2004; Julia Krutilla -2004-2011; Barbara Campbell June 2011.The Subject matter within these pages are not be used for financial gain. We respect free genealogy and hope that you do to. All contributions and donations will become apart of the Hancock County Genweb Project but remains the property of the submitter with full rights reserved for the origional submitter. The submitter has given permission for Hancock County, WV. Genweb Project to store the information permanently at this website for all researchers to access freely. The information submitted will not be removed without permission from the submitter.
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