Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thomas Jethro Brown Tobacco Warehouse

The following is from Cameron, J. D. A Sketch of the Tobacco Interests in North Carolina. Oxford (NC): W. A. Davis & Co., 1881.

Brown's Warehouse

In 1872, Mr. T. J. Brown was encouraged by the increasing cultivation of tobacco in this section to venture upon the enterprise of opening a warehouse in Winston, which he did in an old barn of small size, 30x40 feet. The sales were advertised to take place daily, but supplies were irregular and small, and sale days were few and far between. There was then only one plug factory in the place, whose yearly output was not more than twenty thousand pounds. The culture in the surrounding country was small, conducted in primitive methods, without the use of artificial fertilizers, and curing was effected by the air or the sun or by wood fires. The introduction of coal curing, and more recently of flues, has completely revolutionized the whole system, the result of which is the abundant production of fine yellow tobacco, as well as a very superior article of dark grades. The increase of production compelled an increase of accommodations, and Brown's warehouse is now a building 70x200, with full skylight and abundant convenience within and without. The sales take place daily during the season. The house is known under the name of T. J. Brown & Co., and is formed by Messrs. T. J. Brown, W. B. Carter and J. R. Pearce. Mr. R. D. Mosely is auctioneer and Mr. P. A. Wilson bookkeeper.

Mr. Brown reports that the condition of the growing crop is very superior, and greatly increased in quantity. Many new men have gone into the business this year, and older planters have enlarged their operations. In characterizing peculiarities, he describes the tobacco of Stokes County as remarkably rich and waxy. He estimates the sales of Winston for the current year at seven millions of pounds, of which home manufacturers take about one-half; the remainder is bought on orders for Canada, the Western cities, Baltimore, etc., some large houses in the latter city, such as Gail & Ax, obtaining a large proportion of their stock here.

Mr. Brown adds that when he embarked in business in 1872 there were no banks in Winston, and no facilities whatever to aid a struggling enterprise. All this is now changed, there being ample bank accommodations, and also the convenient addition of a revenue office. The growth of the town in size and in business is more marked within the past five years than at any previous period.

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