Petersburg Cotton Industry

It never eclipsed tobacco, but for almost a century the manufacture of cotton products was one ofPetersburg’s most important industries. Beginning in the 1820s Petersburg became the northernmost city in the UnitedStates where cotton was received from nearby fields and then processed into manufactured goods. Leading the way was the Petersburg Manufacturing Company which opened in 1826. This industrial growth was enhanced by the invention in 1829 by Francis Follett and Jabez Smith of the cotton seed huller. Their machine separated the cotton seed kernels so oil could be extracted and products fabricated from it.
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Petersburg Harbor and Port

It is the falls that made the town. The cataracts of the Appomattox, similar to those at Richmond, Raleigh, and Columbia, prevented westward waterborne transportation. It was logical that first a fort and then a thriving commercial town should spring up at the location where deep-draft shipping could no longer pass. Petersburg became one of the most important trading centers in the South.
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Old Towne Petersburg – II

By the first half of the 20th century, Petersburg, Virginia, was a vibrant industrial and commercial city. Even as late as the 1930s, the harbor boasted substantial river freight and passenger traffic. In 1915, the top four Petersburg exports were tobacco, cotton yarn, luggage and peanuts. The Seward Trunk and Bag Company was the largest producer of trunks in the world at the time, and in World War II it supplied foot lockers for thousands of troops.
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Old Towne Petersburg – I

The expansion of Virginia into the colonial heartland began in earnest soon after the European settlements had been secured following years of bloody warfare with Native Americans in the 1620s and 1630s. That development soon reached the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers in the region south and west of modern- day Hopewell. Part of the military system of forts set up to guard this growing move westward was Fort Henry built on the south side of the falls of the Appomattox in 1645.
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Nat Turner Slave Rebellion I

Lead: In August 1831 the southside Virginia county of Southhampton was convulsed by the deadliest slave rebellion in North American history. One of roots of the rebellion was southern white ambivalence about slavery.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Despite the growing economic dependence upon slave labor in the American south after the Revolution, there was powerful ambivalence among many Southerners about the institution of slavery. It mocked the philosophical foundation of the republic itself, violating the principles animating the Declaration of Independence. Many religious groups were increasingly vocal about the immorality of slavery. Quakers, anti-slavery Baptists, and before 1800, Methodists vigorously denounced the practice and encouraged slave owners to manumit their slaves. In the north, slavery was gradually eliminated by custom, sentiment and legal prohibition, so that the south became increasingly isolated in the national debate.

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