Ohio Cultivator, August 15, 1845
MT. VERNON, O., July 26, 1845.
M. B. BATEHAM, Esq.: - I send you a few specimens of wool, from the flock of Messrs. Perkins and Brown, near Akron, Sumit [sic] county, O.
It makes me proud of Ohio to know that such wool is grown within her limits. I have a variety of suggestions awakened by conversation with Mr. Brown, which I should like to present; but I doubt not, if you should visit the Reserve, the beautiful residence of Mr. Perkins, two miles west of Akron, will entice you to his secluded fields to see one of the finest flocks of fine wooled sheep, this side of Saxony.
The extreme modesty of Mr. Brown, at whose house I was a guest, restricts my commendations to a bare reference of the public to the records of the Middlesex company at Lowell, for a correct estimate of his flock. But what I have writen [sic] I have written. In Mr. Brown’s mind, the question is fully settled in favor of fine wooled, over coarse wooled sheep. The arguments which move him to this decision, I hope you will elicit from himself. He considers it clear, from experiment and otherwise, that from a given number of acres and expense of keeping, the return will be greater from fine than from coarse sheep; and surely the method of estimating the value of flocks by the number of pounds and price of wool, if fallacious, unless due heed is given to the cost of production. He tells me, that they have very nearly succeeded in breeding the gum out of their flocks; and he is sedulously directing his attention to the obliteration of horns from his sheep. He says that with care he can soon effect both objects. His horn tax, he says, has been higher some years than his land tax, meaning, I suppose, his rent for land, as for some years until his copartnership with Mr. Perkins, he has rented land for carrying on his business. The number of horned sheep is rapidly diminishing in their flock, while the quality of wool is improving.
There will be a few fine bucks for sale, out of this flock this season, at very reasonable prices, I should like to have my friends, and all who wish to improve their flocks of fine wooled sheep, apply in season; though I have no more interest in this recommendation, than any traveller who likes to see any and every branch of husbandry carried on towards perfection. Nor do I mean to disparage the flocks of other wool-growers by what I have just said. There must by selections, mutually, among breeders of improved sheep, in order to perpetuate and enhance good qualities, in their deeds.
REMARKS: We had at several times seen commendatory notices of Messrs. Perkins’ and Brown’s sheep, in the newspapers, but we paid but little attention to them, supposing they were too highly flattered. The samples of wool received with the foregoing, however, and more especially the opportunity for personally inspecting the sheep, which we have enjoyed since, has removed that impression entirely, and we can assure our readers, that too much cannot well be said in praise of these sheep, and especially in praise of the care and skill displayed by Mr. Brown. We shall speak of this in our next. - ED.
Ohio Cultivator, Sept. 1, 1845
In our late rambles in the northern parts of the State, we had the pleasure of visiting the farms and inspecting the justly celebrated sheep of Messrs. Perkins & Brown, of Summit county, and Mr. Adam Heldebrand of Stark county, (of the latter we shall speak in our next.)
Of Messrs. Perkins & Brown’s sheep we need say but little in addition to the remarks of a correspondent in our last. Their flock consists of about 1300, mostly pure saxony and are without doubt the finest in staple of any large flock in Ohio, if not in the Union. By this we do not mean to assert that they are the best or most profitable sheep, all things considered - we leave that point to be settle by those more competent to decide. Many sheep farmers are of the opinion that the Merinos are of a hardier constitution and require less care than the Saxons; and in a country where men are averse to care and labor this is quite a consideration, though no farmer, ought to think of keeping fine sheep of any kind, who is unwilling to give them proper care and attention.
The following letter from Mr. Lawrence, the well known extensive purchaser and manufacturer of fine wool at Lowell, which Mr. Perkins reluctantly permitted us to copy, is conclusive testimony as to the very high character of these sheep. It was written to Mr. Perkins, on the reception of their clip of wool at Lowell where it was taken by Mr. Brown last year:
LOWELL, July 22, 1844.
S. PERKINS Esqr. - Dear Sir: - I have regretted that you were not here at the opening of your and Mr. Brown’s wool, as it was a treat of the highest order to an amateur. Mr. Brown’s wool has ever been of the highest character, since he first brought it here; but this year it has amazed us. The blood is superior, and the condition in harmony with the quality. The show in our wool house, of this parcel of wool, I never saw equalled. I have said to Mr. Brown, what I sincerely believe, that if he will go on a few years more, he will have a better breed of sheep than are now in existence. Many fleeced are up to the finest German wools, and the staple considerable longer. Your flock is now far superior to any in old Spain, and there is no reason why it should not surpass the Germans.
Very Respectfully, &c.
Some fleeces of this wool were sent to the exhibition of the American Institute at New York, and also, to that of the Massachusetts Mechanics Association, at Boston, last fall, at both of which gold medals were awarded to the producers.
In addition to its remarkable fineness, the beautiful appearance of this wool was in a good degree attributable to the very excellent manner in in [sic] which Mr. Brown washes his sheep, and puts up the fleeces. It is here that most Ohio farmers are sadly difficient [sic] in care or skill. Mr. B’s mode of washing he informed us is as follows: - He has a dam erected in a creek where there is sufficient fall of water for the purpose, beneath which the sheep are taken and first held just sufficient to completely wet their fleeces; they are then let go in a pen for about an hour; by which time the dirt on the wool has become softened by the wetting so that on being again placed in the falling stream it is very quickly and perfectly washed out. Sometimes advantage can be taken of a time when the sheep are well soaked with rain, so as to dispense with the wetting process. After washing care is taken to keep the sheep in a pasture that is free from dirt, black logs &c., until shearing.
Mr. Brown informed us that his sheep had been much troubled by the gad-fly this summer - producing worms in the head. The usual remedies and preventives had not proved effectual with him, and a number of sheep had died. He showed us the worms taken from the head of one that had died a day or two before - they were of all sized from those just hatched to full grown; showing that the evil had been continued during the whole season. Mr. Brown informed us, that he was trying some experiments in reference to these insects, the result of which we shall be happy to publish when known.
Ohio Cultivator, April 15, 1846.
M. B. BATEHAM, Esq. – Dear Sir: - I noticed your call upon me, in the Cultivator, (Dec. 15th,) but, as I very much dislike the too common practice of undertaking to enlighten the world with the result of experiments not fully made, and of undertaking to instruct others before we half understand what we write about ourselves; I had concluded to wait till I felt an entire confidence in regard to the remedy we have been trying for grubs, or worms, in the heads of sheep. The use of tobacco water is no discovery of ours, and all we hope to do in addition to what has been before said and written, will be to give some facts in reference to the destructive insect in question, its habits, and the best time and mode of administering the remedy. The fly is not very correctly described in the Cultivator. It is of a light drab color, when seen hovering about flocks, and deposits a crawling maggot at the nose of the sheep. We have often taken hundreds of them, alive and active, from a single fly, sometimes after the fly was dead; and in catching the flies in our hands, we first discovered that they were literally filled with the moving worms, ready to pass directly into the head, the moment they were lodges at the nose. One of my sons had them twice deposited at his own nose, while at work among the sheep, last fall. The act of depositing is done almost as quick as lightning. The flies are at work during the summer and fall, till the weather becomes cold.
The worms, when somewhat matured, will live for several hours, in tobacco water as strong as ley, and in spirits of turpentine. The only chance of expelling them, is during their infancy, and before they advance high into the head; which they do not do, under five or six weeks after they are first deposited at the nose. There are two, if not more, sets in a year; we are certain of two, from finding matured ones in the heads of lambs not over four months old. We are not yet certain that two sets are not matured into flies, from deposits of the same season.
We commenced using the tobacco water about the last of July, in the following manner: In the first place, we used the tobacco upon all but a part of the fat sheep which we intended to kill, marking those we did not use it upon, so as to distinguish them at once from those upon which it had been used. We only found a single worm in one of many heads we examined, of those to which we applied the tobacco; and that one, was found in the cavity about the eye - I mean but one living one, - we found a number of dead ones in those heads - a thing we had scarcely ever met with before. We also found the membrane which lines all the cavities that connect with the nose, had a very clean and healthy appearance. The noses of the whole flock immediately became clean, and have ever since continued to be more so, than any sheep I ever say; and, in fact, the entire countenances of the flock are changed for the better. We next commenced killing the fat sheep, to which no tobacco had been applied, and found in several of their heads, a number of living worms of different sizes, though not matured. The membrane, or lining, in those heads where worms were found, was inflamed, and swollen to three or four times the natural thickness, and the cavities filled to some extent, with pus, or mucus, or a mixture of both. Where no worms were found, the membranes appeared precisely as where the tobacco had been used. We took, about this time, one of those to which tobacco had been applied, (some days before,) and charged his nose with hundreds of the little maggots, which we took out of some flies we had caught for the purpose. We killed this sheep about four weeks after this, and found his head swarming with the little worms; but not one of them was above the eye. They were about three or four times as large as when we put them into his nose. We went over our store sheep, applying tobacco to all of them, three times during the season; and as we have lost none of consequence since we began to use it, we begin to think it about time to recommend the practice to others. Our flock are unusually healthy. We use a liquor as strong as one pound of strong tobacco will make a gallon of water when it has been boiled - that is, a pound will make a gallon of tea fit for use. In using it, we turn the sheep on their backs, into a little trench dug in the ground, to help hold them still; and with the head held back on the ground, we inject, with some force, about a table-spoonfull [sic] of liquid into each nostril, pointing the syringe so as to have the liquid pass into the cavities in the head, instead of falling into the windpipe, or the throat. If the animals appear to be sick, and are not able to stand for a little time, there need be no alarm; we have never injured one, in going over all our young and old, three times. Two persons will go through with several hundred in a day.
I am inclined to think, that the fly is much more numerous some seasons than others; and that, when they once get themselves quartered upon a large flock, they will be likely to stay with it, till they are destroyed in some way. I would recommend the burning of all the heads of sheep that die in warm weather, immediately, as the worms crawl out and become flies. I would use the tobacco twice, at least, between spring and fall; and, without fail, about the last of October. To use it through the summer, will prevent the increase of flies, and assist the flock to commence the winter in full vigor, and in better condition. Many are destroyed during the warm season; and many more, by being enfeebled, are doubly exposed to the fly in the fall, and are prepared to sink under it the next winter. I think every shepherd must have noticed the fact, that some sheep would remain unusually thin and poor during the whole of the warm season; and fail to get in order by the use of the best of feed. It may be found, that tobacco will relieve some of them entirely; such has been the result with us.
Large flocks are much more exposed to the fly, as well as other evils, than small ones; which has led to the foolish prejudice against the constitution of fine sheep. [A.] It may be seen all over the country, that those who keep fine sheep, are generally pretty full stocked, for what land they occupy; and, that those who are partial to coarser ones, generally keep but a few, for the land they work. Only reverse this, and another story would be heard, about bad constitutions, want of size, and weight of fleece, in fine sheep.
You are barking up the wrong tree, Mr. Editor, when you advise your readers to go to Mr. Jewett, of Vermont, or to Mr. Blakesley, of Connecticut, for good sheep: for, much better flocks than those of either of these gentlemen, can be found all over Washington and Beaver counties, Pa.; Brook [sic] and Ohio counties, Va.; and in Jefferson, Columbiana, and Stark, counties, in this state. This, I know to be a fact, and I am prepared to prove it. I have had a personal knowledge of the true character of the two flocks I have mentioned, for years; and I do not mean to contract them with Saxony flocks at all, on account of your strong prepossession in favor of Merinos. [B.] It is not worth the trouble of going to Vermont or Connecticut, for good Merinos, merely because they will be dear bought, or far-fetched. More than half of all the choicest wools grown in the United States, are grown within a circle, whose centre is at, or near, Steubenville, Ohio; and will be found without going, in any direction, more than 120 miles from that place. If any one has doubt of this, let him give but a tithe of the attention to the subject which I have given, and he will be convinced of its truth. The good flocks of the section I have named, have heavier fleeces of real wool, than those eastern flocks, about which there is so much puffing. Farmers of Ohio should look to this matter, and examine, and judge for themselves, before they buy abroad to improve their flocks.
England and France would both take our best Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio wools, at this time, could they get them separate from the poorer lots; and the very kinds they want, are more of them to be found within the section I have named, than any where else in the country. I will give the names of a few owners of flocks (not called Saxony) within the territory I have named, where better Merino sheep [C.] may be found, than those eastern sheep that have had so much puffing, and much cheeper [sic] too. I mean where the fleeces will average more weight of clean wool, and bring, in any cash market, more money per fleece. I have taken great pains to investigate this matter; and have sent different kinds of wool to England, (an account of which I may, perhaps, hearafter [sic] give,) and I have, within the last ten years, traveled many thousand miles, spending from one to four months at a time, in examining flocks, visiting factories, and large wool dealers, in different cities, for information respecting these matters. The portion of the wool-growers that I would name, are the following: Messrs. Patterson, Cole, Brownlee, McKeever, McDowell, Wier, Rankin, More, and Brackens, of Washington county; Messrs. Smart, Hull, Long, Armstrong, and others, in Beaqer [sic] [Beaver] couhty, Pa.; Messrs. Edgington, Hammond, and others, in Brook [sic] county, Messrs. Morgan, Purcell, Ridgley, Yates, and others, in Ohio county, Va.; Messrs. Helderbrand, Noble, and others, in Stark county, Ohio. Many others, who possess very superior flocks, I have not named;* but those named, are quite sufficient to pay any one fairly on the track.
Akron, Ohio, March, 1846.
*We think Mr. Brown should have mentioned, also, the flocks of Messrs. Ewing, McFarland, and Huff, of Washington co., Pa., and Mr. Atkinson, oh Ohio co., Va.; for, if we have not been misinformed, these are equal, if not superior, to most of the others. - ED. O Cult.
Remarks. - The last part of the foregoing communication of our friend Brown, is written in more of a controversial style than we approve of; and one or two points seem to demand a word of editorial comment.
[A.] The ‘foolish prejudice against the constitution of fine sheep,’ is quite too common among farmers throughout this and other countries to be attributable to the cause referred to by Mr. Brown, though we have no doubt but that this cause may have had an influence in creating or strengthening the prejudice in some minds.
[B.] In reference to our ‘strong prepossessions in favor of Merinos,’ we would say, we never owned, or were in any way interested in any sheep in our life, and our readers can judge whether we or the owner of a flock of Saxons would be most likely to be prejudiced! We are at a loss to conceive what remarks of ours can have been the occasion of this cut from friend Brown; unless it was, when speaking of a visit to his flock last summer, after complimenting him and his sheep, we said (what all know is true) that ‘many sheep farmers are of the opinion that Merinos are of a hardier constitution, and require less care than the Saxons.’ That this is a common opinion among sheep farmers and writers on sheep husbandry, we presume Mr. Brown will not deny. Even Mr. Morrell, who is well known as a warm advocate of the Saxons, and has the best large flock of that breed that we ever saw, admits the prevalence and general correctness of this opinion. With what justice then can we be censured for speaking of its existence?
[C.] This is the first time that we have ever known a real sheep-farmer call these flocks Merinos. We do not say that Mr Brown is in error, but we think we have traveled as much, and seen as many sheep as he has, and we will venture to assert that a majority of acknowledged judges of the breeds of sheep, would agree with us in saying that the finest flocks among those named by Mr Brown bear more resemblance to Saxons than to merinos. It is well known, that the justly celebrated flock of Messrs. Wells & Dickinson, from which most of these are descendants, were a cross of Saxon and Merino. From what we have seen of them, we think they are a most excellent variety for this country, and far better than we had expected to find in such numbers in Ohio. - ED.
P. S. Since the foregoing was in type, we have received a letter from Mr. Brown, dated at Wellsburgh, Va., April 8, 1846, in which he states that he has recently examined a number of additional flocks of fine sheep, and he wishes particularly to mention those of Messrs. James, John, and Andrew McFadden, near Cadiz, Harrison county, O.; also, Mr John Martin, near the same place, and Mr Daniel Hickman, near Bolivar, Tuscarawas county, Ohio. Mr Brown says that some of these sheep produce the heaviest fleeces of fine wool that he ever saw. He urges us to visit that portion of the state, and inspect the sheep, before shearing time. We shall endeavor to do so some time in May. - ED
Ohio Cultivator, July 15, 1846
Important Meeting of Wool Growers.
At a meeting of Wool-growers, holden at the office of the Middlesex Company in Lowell Mass., on the first day of July, 1846, representatives from the eight following States being present, viz: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio, Samuel Lawrence, Isq., of Massachusetts, was called to the chair, and G. Dana, of Ohio, appointed Secretary. After opening the meeting, an important and very interesting discussion took place on the relative properties of the Saxon and Merino sheep, and more especially of their fleeces, in which Mr. Brown, (of the firm of Perkins & Brown of Akron, Ohio,) as advocate for the excellence of the Saxon breed, and Mr Jacob N. Blakeslee, of Connecticut, advocate for the excellence of the Merino breed, largely and most interestingly participated. The gentlemen, after various propositions, with the aid and approbation of the meeting, came to, and agreed upon the following manner of testing, and as far as could be done, settling the question of the relative value of these two important breeds of sheep.
Perkins & Brown, in the presence of Guy Walcutt, of Summit County, Ohio, are to select forty lambs, which said Walcott is to see shorn, and is to certify that they were of the flock and bred by said Perkins & Brown, and that they were shorn at or about one year of age, and at the clip of 1847. The said Blakeslee, is to select a like number from his flock, which are to be shorn at the same age, in presence of N. B. Smith, of Connecticut, at the clip of 1847, who is to make a like certificate as the one above described - which certificates are to accompany the wool of the said lambs to the Middlesex Company, and to be placed in the hands of Samuel Lawrence, Esq., who is to be the umpire to decide upon the merits of the two lots - and it is understood that the wool is to be stapled and scoured, and the value of each fleece placed against it - and to give to the gentlemen competitors and the world, his decision and his views at large on the comparative excellency of the two kinds of sheep and their fleeces; and the wool-growers throughout the United States are respectfully and earnestly invited to participate in this competition, the results of which are deemed important to the wool interest, and to shear at the clip of 1847, a like number of lambs, (and if there be any variation from one year in the age, have the certificate state that variation particularly) and to obtain the proper and well-authenticated certificates, and send them with the clip to the above named umpire, who will report the whole, and award the meed of honor to whom it may be due, and make the report public.
It was unanimously voted that this report be signed by the Chairman and Secretary, and that the papers friendly to the wool interest throughout the country, be requested to copy.
SAMUEL LAWRENCE, Ch’n.
GEORGE DANA, Sec’y.
Ohio Cultivator, Sept. 1, 1846.
From the Springfield Republican.
At a meeting composed of twenty-two representatives of the wool growing interest, from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio, held at Springfield, Mass., 8th month, (Aug.) 18th, 1846, Alexander Campbell, of Virginia, was called to the chair, and Wm. H. Ladd, of Ohio, appointed Secretary.
The object of the meeting being briefly but forcibly set forth by the chairman, the following resolutions were severally discussed and unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the ostensible object now before us, is to ascertain, from time to time, the real value of our wool, both at home and abroad, in order that we may dispose of it more intelligently, and consequently to better advantage.
Resolved, That in pursuance of the object set forth in the first resolution, Samuel Patterson, of Pennsylvania, Jesse Edgington, of Virginia, John Brown, now of Massachusetts, Wm. H. Ladd, of Ohio, and L. A. Morrell, of New York, be appointed a committee, to solicit contributions in the way of information upon the whole subject of wool growing and manufacturing in the United States, and also contributions in the form of wool and money for the furtherance of the object in view.
Resolved, That said committee report to a general meeting of wool growers, to be held at Steubenville, Jefferson county, Ohio, on the second 4th day (Wednesday,) of second month, (February,) 1847.
Resolved, That the Secretary is hereby requested to see that a suitable address to the wool growers, setting forth the advantages that will accrue from the carrying out of the object proposed in the above resolutions, be published, together with a notice of the meeting, to be held at Steubenville, at a suitable period previous to that meeting.
Revolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be forthwith published in all papers favorable to the agricultural and manufacturing interest of the community.
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, of Va., Chairman.
WM. H. LADD, of Ohio, Secretary.
Ohio Cultivator, Jan. 15, 1847
To be held at Steubenville, O., Feb. 10th, 1847.
In our papers of Sept. 1st we published an account of a meeting of wool growers, many of them from this State, convened at Springfield, Mass., in August last, at which it was resolved that a general meeting of wool growers should be held at Steubenville on the 10th of next month, for the purpose of hearing a report from the committee appointed at that meeting, &c. The following letter has been sent to us by Messrs. Perkins & Brown, in reference to this subject:
M. B BATEHAM, Esq.
Dear Sir - We write to ask you to stir up the Farmers all over the country to attend the Wool Growers’ meeting at Steubenville, on the 2d Wednesday of February next, as much information will then be given as to the best manner of preparing wool for the market - the way to secure fair prices, regularly, and foreign competition for American wools - that state of manufacturing in the country generally, and the machinery by which prices are manufactured yearly.
The true course of farmers will be clearly pointed out; and we hope that all who have any interest in this growing trade will be on hand, as we will certainly tell them something new. We shall expect to meet you there without fail. We are preparing matter for a report that can hardly fair to give a deep interest to persons connected in any way with the wool trade. We have no Saxony or Merino disputes to settle at that time.
Respectfully, your friends,
PERKINS & BROWN,
of Akron, O.
Springfield, Mass., Dec. 30th, 1846.
Ohio Cultivator, March 1, 1847
In compliance with a call of a meeting held at Springfield, Massachusetts, in August 1846, a convention of Wool Growers assembled at Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, February 10, 11 o’clock, A. M., at the Court House.
On motion of Samuel Patterson, Alex. Campbell was appointed Chairman, and Wm. H. Ladd and Jacob Perkins Secretaries.
The object of the meeting was briefly stated by the Chairman to be, to take into consideration the wool producing interest in all its bearings, including the breeding of sheep, the production and preparation of wool, its prior disposition and the means of securing the best markets, and an adequate remuneration.
On motion of James D. Ladd, it was
Resolved, That a committee of six, two from each of the States of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio, be appointed to prepare business to be laid before this convention, and report in the afternoon.
On motion, the following gentlemen were appointed members of said committee:
Samuel Patterson and Samuel McFarland, from Pennsylvania, J. J. Jacobs and Alex. Campbell, from Virginia, Robert George and Aaron Johsnon [sic], from Ohio.
On motion of Mr Mitchell. - Resolved, that John Brown and S. Perkins of Akron, (O. be added to this committee.
On motion, the convention adjourned to meet again at the same place, at 1 o’clock P.M.
The convention met pursuant to adjournment, at 1 o’clock P. M., and was called to order by the Chair.
The report of the committee appointed in the forenoon, being called for, Samuel McFarland, on the part of said committee, remarked that they had concluded to propose as the business of the meeting the reception and consideration of the report of the committee appointed at Springfield, to report to this convention, thinking that it would probably supercede the necessity of a more formal report on the part of the present committee.
The Springfield committee being called upon to report, Samuel Patterson, after remarking that the committee in question had not prepared a joint report, but proposed to report individually to the meeting, proceeded to say, that he had circulated the paper drawn up upon the occasion of the meeting at Springfield, soliciting subscriptions to sustain an Agent to visit Europe and investigate the state of foreign wool markets, upon which paper he had obtained some names, which he laid before the meeting. He further reported that he had received a written communication from Mr Morrell, of New York, another member of the committee, which he proceeded to read as the report of that gentleman, as follows:
LAKE RIDGE, Tompkins Co., N. Y., Jan. 21, ‘47.
Samuel Patteson, Esq. - Dear Sir - After your departure from my residence, in August last, my reflections were cast upon the subject which occupied a portion of our attention while you were here, and which was suggested and promulgated by the Convention of Wool Growers, held at Springfield, Mass.: - viz: “To ascertain from time to time, the real value of our Wool, both at home and abroad, in order that we may dispose of it more intelligently, and consequently to better advantage.”
It is with regret I inform you, that I have not been able to collect any information of a definite character bearing upon the subject. Indeed, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do so, for the reason that to determine the real value of our wool, it was necessary to know accurately the cost of manufacturing the various styles and qualities, and the prices obtained for the same in market. This is a piece of information manufacturers are quite too shrewd to impart, especially to the wool-grower. Hence you can readily see, for this reason, and the remoteness of my residence from large manufacturing establishments, and of the principle markets for the disposal of their commodities, the difficulties which beset me. That the really fine wools grown in the United States, have been sold much below their true value, for a number of years past, is a well known “fixed fact,” and not susceptible of any doubt. This is proved by the large profits or dividends declared by a number of fine woolen manufactories, and among others the Middlesex Co., which recently announced a dividend of 16 per cent. for the last year; which is probably less than the real profits of that establishment, as with nearly all incorporated companies, there is a reserve fund permitted to accumulate from year to year to cover or meet contingencies. Making due allowance for the skill and talent at the head of that establishment, the inference is legitimate, that the wool grower has been the sufferer: for you and I very well know, sir, that we can declare no such dividend as that above stated. But I will not waste words to show further that the manufacturers, especially of fine wools, have treated us very badly. Is it not, however, very much our own fault? Is there not something wrong in the manner the wool grower disposes of his wool? Let us inquire into this.
It has been common in this section, and I believe everywhere, for the proprietors of small flocks, to carry their wool in blankets to the nearest market towns, without previously having ascertained the prices offered for the qualities they respectively grow, and thus throwing themselves upon the tender mercies of one, two or more greedy speculators who often combine, or at all events buy only at very reduced prices - buy, for instance, at 25 cents what in reality may be worth at least 25 per cent. more. - The farmer, rather than return home with his wool, sells it. His example is followed by another and another,; and thus for a series of years past, by this undue haste to sell, a low market in the beginning of the season has been established, which is sure to operate unfavorably upon the prices of all descriptions of wool for the residue of the year. It is very true, many wool growers are compelled to dispose of their woo[l], from pecuniary necessity; but still the number is comparatively small who could could [sic] not borrow a little money for a short period, and which would be far wiser, than to make the sacrifices accompanying undue haste in selling. When all rush simultaneously to market with a certain product, no matter what, the market becomes more or less glutted; and on the rule of supply and demand, prices must fall. This is a fact generally well understood.
Another mode of disposing of wool, and very generally practiced by the proprietors of large flocks is, to bide their time, and wait for the coming of itinerant agents of manufacturers and speculators. These are a class of men very properly designated as “wool sharks,” and there are few of us who have not felt their fangs. They are sent forth armed with orders “to buy as cheap as they can,” to buy wool worth 50 cents a lb. for 30, if possible; in no instance to exceed a certain limit, &c. Their humbug stories, to practice upon the credulous, are cut from whole whole [sic] cloth. If one kind of stuffing will not suit, their ready ingenuity suggests another. Indeed, a detail of their arts, and language used to “come it over us,” would form a highly amusing chapter. Let us not waste further words upon them but keep out of their way if we can.
There is yet another mode of disposing of wool - namely: forwarding it direct to the manufacturer. Does not the same objection already stated, of taking wool to market towns, and throwing ourselves into the power of buyers, apply in this case? In all instances where it is done, the wool must be unsacked, for particular examination, and should not the price offered be satisfactory, the trouble of re-packing and re-transportation somewhere else, must be submitted to, and which rather than do, the proprietor accepts what is offered. In many instances, this mode, when the manufacturer is honest, justice may be done. But do we not put ourselves wholly in his power? And how often does it result in chagrin and disappointment, to say nothing of the minus of dollars and cents. - Is there a manufacturer anywhere to be found so very liberal and just, as not to feel and act for his own interest first, and the wool grower’s next? Human nature is the same the world over.
How then shall we best secure and protect our rights? How shall we “dispose of our wool more intelligently, and consequently to better advantage?”
After considering the matter, and that most carefully, I have come to the conclusion that the true course, is the establishment generally, throughout our widely extended country, of Wool Depots.
Permit me to convey briefly, how, in my opinion, such establishments should be conducted.
The head or superintendent of a Wool Depot, should be a man of unquestionable integrity, in order to secure the general confidence of manufacturers and especially of wool growers.
He should be a critical and discriminating judge of wool, and should make himself thoroughly informed of the state of the wool market, both at home and abroad. In order to determine the home market from time to time, it should be his business to ascertain, as near as may be, the cost of manufacturing the various styles and qualities of wools and the prices the fabrics command in the principal markets. He should employ agents in the chief wool markets abroad, to forward to him small parcels of stapled wool, adapted to combing and for cloth, and the prices attached which each quality will command. This could be effected with trifling expense, as the quantity needed would not exceed a few pounds. In this way only, can he be kept accurately informed of the state of the foreign wool market. By following these suggestions, he will be able to exempt himself from imposition by the manufacturers, and do full justice in his sales to his customers.
He should have a sufficiency of capital at command to enable him to advance a reasonable amount in anticipation of sales when required; by so doing he can mantain [sic] independent ground, of which the manufacturer cannot take advantage, by forcing sales.
His duty should be to sort carefully each lot of wool in his charge, and no instance to mingle lots where there is a disparity of condition. Great injustice to the man who washes his fleeces carefully will thereby be avoided.
After a sale has been effected he should promptly forward the amount of sales, and furnish every facility in the transmission of funds. Let it once get abroad that he is dilatory in this particular, and confidence will be seriously impaired. Confidence is the motive power to complete success in every undertaking of this kind; and confidence, with farmers particularly, is a plant of slow growth, and easily withered. Let superintendents, of wool depots, then, look well to their doings.
I will not weary your patience by dwelling further on this subject. So fully satisfied have I became that wool depots will afford the fairest and easiest mode for the wool grower to dispose of his product, I shall hereafter adopt this course with my own clips. For further information on the subject, as well as much else of useful character to the wool farmer, I refer you to a series of letters written by the able Secretary of the N. Y. State Agricultural Society, J. B. Nott, and which I forward to your address, by this day’s mail. I respectfully urge their reading before the contention.
It was my intention to have proposed the formation of a society, to be called the National Wool Grower’s Society. But my time will not permit me to enter into details, respecting all the objects it should embrace; I therefore merely suggest it for the consideration of others.
I respectfully recommend the publication in cheap pamphlet form of the whole proceedings of the convention.
As a brother wool grower, permit me through you, sir, to tender my respectful regards to those that may assemble, with the assurance that my humble services may be commanded to carry our the resolutions of the convention so far as it is individually practicable.
Very Respectfully yours&c.
L. A. MORRELL.
Wm. H. Ladd, a member of the committee, next arose and stated verbally the action he had taken in pursuance of that appointment. He had circulated a copy of the subscription paper referred to by Mr. Patterson, but had obtained but few signatures, wool growers generally having preferred to await the action of this convention upon the subject. - He urged the employment of a commission house to sell wools, and concluded by reading some extracts of correspondents on the subject.
John Brown read a written report on the best mode of preparing wools for market and kindred subjects, which is appended:
Preparing Wool for Market.
The best mode of preparing wool for market is as follows: First, before washing, remove carefully with the shears all locks containing dirt in a hardened state. Then wet the sheep in every part, and let them stand crowded together for an hour or two. They should be taken out of the water (when first put in for wetting) as quickly as may be after the wool is fairly wet, in order to retain a soapy substance the fleece contains, which acts upon the dirt and gum in the wool while the sheep stand before washing. This soapy substance is the first thing to escape as washing is commonly done. The best mode of washing is to use a fall of three feet or over, turning the sheep in different ways under the fall, till the action of the water brings every part of the fleece to an almost snowy witeness [sic]. A much less fall will answer as well if the sheet of water is 8 or 10 inches deep. If the water under the fall is not deep enough to remain clear while the sheep are in, a plank bottom should be provided to prevent any sand or earthy substance from getting into the wool by stirring up the water. A clear rock bottom is just as good. When a fall cannot be had, a clear running stream should be found, and the dirt worked out perfectly from all parts of the fleece with the hands after first soaking the sheep as before.
To wash sheep immediately after a soaking rain will answer very well, instead of wetting as above.
The sheep when washed, should be driven to a clean grassy field, free from bare spots of earth, and avoiding muddy and dusty roads on the way after washing. The shearing should be done as soon after the washing as the wool is dry, which will be in two or three dry days. When confined for shearing, the flock should be kept well littered, and the floors or tables, or whatever place they are sheared upon, should be kept thoroughly clean. The fleeces must be kept whole by the shearers, or they (the shearers) are wholly unfit for their business. After the fleeces are taken off, they should be placed on a smooth clean floor, or table with the outer ends upwards, and be carefully examined all over by patting with the hands to find every burr, which should be taken out without fail. The fleece should then be rolled up snugly, and tied with a small twine. If farmers would not suffer a burr-bearing plant to live in their sight, it would be vastly better and would cost but very little, yearly. Of this we speak from experience. A disregard of these little things, (the whole cost of which is but little, in addition to the expense of putting up wool) is the greatest hindrance to the sale of American wools in England or France, and our farmers have generally no idea of the injury they suffer by a neglect of these matters, together with the shameful, dishonest practise of tying up their fleeces with ten and even twenty feet of small rope, or with strips of bark two or three inches wide, instead of two or three feet of small twine - wrapping up coarse and unwashed wool inside of some of the finest fleeces, - putting in dirt balls, dirty sweepings of barn-floors - doing up their fleeces wet so that they often mould. The laws of England are said to make such things a penal offence, and would our farmers put their wool in such a condition yearly, as some now do, and as a good farmer would be proud of doing with his wheat, pork, butter, &c., we should soon have enough of English and French competitors in our wool market, which would do much more for the trade than any protective measurers we can ever hope for. Our slovenly dishonest habits, deprive us of foreign competition, and leave us entirely at the mercy of our large manufacturing companies, bodies without souls. The qualities of American wool are such as to overcome in some small measure, all the disadvantages under which they must be sold in a foreign market for want of reputation, and small shipments of American wools have been made the past season with a small profit to the shipper. Every pound that we can export not only brings so much money into the country, but improves the market at home.
Some very judicious wool-dealers recommend keeping out of the fleeces, small scattering locks. But we are, on the whole disposed to advise that all clean locks be put within the fleece to which they properly belong; it appearing to us, to be more properly the business of the grader and wool sorter to separate them from the fleeces, than for the farmer, who in many instances is under no advantages for using them, or of disposing of them for their value. We do not think the remarks of English wool-brokers in reference to Fribs, applicable to farmers. At any rate this has been our uniform practice and we have yet to hear the first word of complaint about the condition of our wool either in this country or England. The wools put up in first rate order and stored away in a clean secure place, the next thing is for the holder to become informed in regard to its value. This, he may generally do through some disinterested source if he will not be in too great a hurry, which by the way is all wrong, as the throwing of such an immense quantity upon the market at once, has the most certain effect to reduce the price, as money is not to be had to buy all the wools of the country at once, unless they are sold so low as to give the profits of the business to other than the growers. If the wool is to be sold at home, the grower need have no anxiety about losing a sale by letting wool-buyers go away two or three times without it.
Jesse Edgington the remaining member of the Springfield committee was not present and no communication was received from him.
Samuel McFarland here remarked that he had been in the wool trade to some extent, and wished to say a few words upon the proper preparation of it for market, as referred to in the report of the committee. He believed the time would soon arrive, if it has not already come, when the foreign trade would regulate the prices of wool at home. Growers should be ready for that time, by having their wools prepared properly for an European market. Were our wools put up perfectly clean, as the wools of Saxony are, they would inevitably find their way to a good market. The fibre of American wools is highly extolled abroad, but the condition has generally been so bad as to ruin the sale. He was ready to do what he could to carry into effect the recommendations which had been made by the committee, in regard to the improvement in the condition of wools, and would move before the convention adjourned that a committe [sic] be appointed in each township represented in this convention, where a large proportion of wool is made, to endeavor to secure its being put up in better condition.
Mr. Brown remarked that the English manufacturers have highly praised the American wools. The cloths made from them are fully equal to those manufactured from any other wools in the world, and in despite of the bad condition in which they have been put up, they have to some extent been sent abroad, and prices have of late somewhat improved, not so much he thought, from any improvement in the wool-trade as from a better classification and preparation at home.
Some conversation here took place from various gentlemen upon a motion of W. H. Ladd, that an agent be sent to Europe to investigate the state of the wool markets, and the wool trade. Finally, however, upon motion of Samuel M’Farland, it was resolved that the reports of the Springfield committee be referred to the original committee appointed to prepare business to be laid before this convention, and that they report further at six o’clock in the evening.
On motion of Dr. Campbell, the committee were directed to take into consideration the propriety of establishing wool depots for the sale of wools, and their location and number.
On motion of Chas. D. Hostetter, it was resolved that a committee be appointed to consider the propriety, and manner of securing a general and permanent organization of wool growers, and report hereafter at some suitable time.
The following committe [sic] were appointed by the Chair: Charles D. Hostetter, Samuel M’Farland, Samuel Patterson, Thomas Noble and W. H. Ladd.
Various suggestions having been informally made proposing subjects for the consideration of the committee to report in the evening. On motion, the convention adjourned to meet again at 6 o’clock in the evening.
The convention reassembled, pursuant to adjournment, at 6 o’clock in the evening, and was called to order by the Chair.
Samuel M’Farland, on the part of the committee appointed to prepare business to be laid before the convention, submitted a written report which he proceeded to read. On motion of W. H. Ladd the report was accepted, and directed to be read, and considered in detail.
After a long and interesting discussion in which a large number of gentlemen participated, and which resulted in some alterations and amendments of the report as first submitted, it was finally adopted in the following words, to wit: -
Whereas it has been most satisfactorily ascertained by the wool-growers of western Pennsylvania, northwestern Virginia and eastern Ohio, in a very general convention assembled in Steubenville, Ohio, Feb. 10, 1847, that the medium and fine wools grown in this section of the United States, is regarded by the woolen manufacturers of the United States and England, as fully equal in quality to any wools grown in any country in the world; and whereas, it has not commanded the prices in the New England markets, nor in any American markets usually given for European wools of the same quality, nor at all in any due proportion to the prices for which the clothes manufactured out of it are sold by the manufacturers; and whereas in fixing the prices of the different grades of wool according to their quality and condition, there is not a just and reasonable discrimination made; and whereas the consequence of this state of thing is such as not to compensate the wool-grower; therefore be it resolved:
1. That it be duly impressed upon all wool-growers that is a matter not only of justice and honesty to manufacturer, but of vital importance to the wool-grower himself, that his wool be thoroughly washed and cleansed from every sort of impurity and foreign materail [sic] whatever, in order to secure a good market.
2. Resolved, That it would be of essential advantage to the wool-growers of the west, that, in order to have the wool fitted for any market, a committee be appointed in every county represented in this convention, to have sub-committees appointed in every township or wool producing district in said county, to urge upon their fellow wool-growers the necessity of having their wool so well cleansed and prepared for market as to entitle it to that character which its qualities so richly merit.
3. Resolved, That inasmuch as it is asserted by manufacturers that the supply of wool exceeds the demand in the United States, in consequence of which there is a surplus in the market, it is of the utmost importance that a committee be appointed to ascertain the best foreign markets for that surplus.
4. Resolved, That it would be of much advantage to the wool growers to have an eastern and western depot to which to send their wool for sale on commission.
5. Resolved, That the Eastern depot contemplated in the above resolution, be established at Springfield, Massachusetts.
6. Resolved, That the Western depot contemplated in the same resolution, be established at Wheeling, Virginia.
7. Resolved, That the house of Perkins and Brown be recommended to wool growers as the depot contemplated at Springfield, in Massachusetts.
8. Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to make the necessary arrangements for the establishment of the western depot at Wheeling, and to have the power of selecting or appointing the agent or agents to take said depot in charge.
9. Resolved, That it would be desirable to have woolen manufactories established on the Western Reserve; and that it would be for our interest to encourage those that are erected, and to favor the erection of new ones.
The following committees were appointed under the second resolution in the preceding report, to endeavor to effect the better preparation of wool for market.
For Washington county, Pennsylvania, Samuel Patterson, Samuel McFarland, and Col. Lee.
For Ohio county, Virginia, Robert Wilson, John J. Jacobs, and John Farris.
For Brook [sic] county, Virginia, Joseph Applegate, Basileel Mills and Samuel Orr.
For Harrison county, Ohio, Wilson Mattock, James McFadden and W. B. Beebe.
For Jefferson county, Ohio, Samuel Griffith, Mordecai Moore and John Cunningham.
For Columbiana county, Ohio, Chas. D. Hostetter, David Aster and John Ferall.
For Fairfield county, O., T. B. Ashbrooke, Mr Tallmadge and James Allison.
For Carroll county, O., Judge Spears, Thomas Lee and Fredrick Brandt.
For Perry county, O., Wm Reames, Jas. Law and Aaron Johnson.
For Belmont county, O., Jacob Houser, Alex. Henderson and George Page.
For Stark county, O., Mr Hildebrand, Thomas Noble and Henry Eberhart.
For Summit county, O., V. R. Humphrey, F. Woolcott and Jonathan Starr.
For Turcarawas county, O., James Patterson, Reason Pritchard and David Hance
For Trumbull county, O., Frederick Kinsman, C. Bosworth and Chester Bidwell.
For Marshall county, Virginia, John J. Yarnall, Andrew P. Woods and Robert Buchanan.
The following committee was appointed under the 8th resolution, to make the necessary arrangement for a depot at Wheeling:
H. W. Chaplain, John J. Jacobs and Isaac W. Mitchell.
The following committee was appointed under the 3d resolution, to procure an [sic] public information in relation to a foreign market for our wools:
Samuel McFarland, John Brown, W. H. Ladd, Alexander Campbell and H. W. Chaplain.
On motion, Samuel Patterson, John Brown and Samuel McFarland were appointed a committee to prepare an address to wool growers on the importance of having their wools properly prepared for market.
On motion, Resolved, That all the papers in the vrrious [various] counties represented in this convention, and the Ohio Cultivator be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.
On motion, Alexander Campbell and Samuel McFarland was requested to confer with Seth T Hurd, who was present in the capacity of a reporter and through him secure and cause to be published a more elaborate report of the proceedings of this convention, than the Secretaries would be able to prepare.
On motion the convention adjourned.
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, Ch’mn.
WM. H. LADD, JACOB PERKINS, Secretaries.
Ohio Cultivator, May 15, 1847.
Numerous liberal minded persons, interested in the wool business, having placed funds at our disposal for the purpose hereinafter mentioned, we shall, on the first day of October next, award and pay the following premiums, viz:
Ten gold medals, worth ten dollars each, for the ten entire clips of most valuable fleeces for clothing purposes.
Ten gold medals, worth ten dollars each, for the ten entire clips of most valuable fleeces for combing or worsted purposes.
Ten premiums, of ten dollars each, for the ten best conditioned entire clips of Saxony wool.
Ten premiums, of same amount, for the ten best conditioned entire clips of Merino wool.
Ten premiums, of same amount, for the ten best conditioned entire clips of Merino grade wool.
Ten premiums, of same amount, for the ten best conditioned entire clips for combing fleeces.
All wool growers throughout the United States are invited to compete for them.
We would again invite the attention of wool growers to our remarks on the subject of preparing wool for market, as published in the reports of the Wool Growers’ meeting, at Steubenville, Ohio, the 10th of February, 1847. [Published in the Ohio Cultivator of 1st March last.]
All bales of wool designed for our care should have the name of the owner or grower plainly written or printed on them in full, together with our address, as follows: PERKINS & BROWN, Springfield, Mass.
All lots of wool intended to compete for the premiums, should reach us by the first of August next. Growers may receive premiums, if their wool be put up and marked separately, even though their wool come through the merchant or other wool dealer. Any farther contributions from wool growers, or other public spirited persons, will be expended in preparing the medals, publishing a report, and in additional premiums. All editors of periodicals throughout the United States, friendly to agricultural pursuits, are respectfully requested to publish.
PERKINS & BROWN.
Springfield, Mass., April, 1847.