When Paris was a Factory Town
Paris needs most, is some factories."
How often we have heard that remark.
But can't you remember when Paris was a factory town?
Don't you recall the old Woolen Mill, the pottery works, flour
mill, plow, wagon, and shoe factories and the tobacco warehouses?
Some of them are not buried so far back in the past that our memory
fails us. Was Paris a better
you will say, "modern industries would create a new Paris."
Well, were they not modern when they were being operated?
the benefit of our younger generations and to help freshen the memories of
our elders, we will publish a little account of "When Paris was a
the best developed industry Paris has ever had was the shoe factory
operated by Louis Rose. He
began the manufacture of footwear in 1869 and kept building up the
business until 1883 when he could no longer compete with the big factories
in the East. At first only
about five hands were employed, but, as the business grew, this number was
increased until there were thirty two men and boys on the payroll.
Machinery was added and agents put out in adjoining counties,
developing quite a demand for the Rose boots and shoes.
Prices for this footwear ranged from $5.00 to $16.50 a pair, and
one hundred and twenty pairs could be turned out in a day.
But in those days shoes could be made to last as long as ten years.
One of the features of Mr. Rose's factory was the "Cornfield
Gaiter," a patent plow shoe which was widely advertised and as widely
sold. In 1880, John Rose, now
in business in Marshall, was taken into the firm.
the memory of all our readers was the old Woolen Mill owned and operated
by the Broughton Bros. They first began business in 1865 and continued
until 1903 when competition forced them out.
The products of this factory were mostly yarns, casimers, flannels,
blankets, and all kinds of woolen goods.
In its best years, fifteen men were employed and articles to the
value of $20,000 annually were turned out.
W. H. Blackford, of Paris, was one of the traveling salesmen.
many people know that at one time Paris was a plow manufacturing center.
We had two factories, one owned by the Ashcraft Bros., the other
operated by Wilson & Davis, turning out from a thousand to twelve
hundred plows a year. Each
firm employed seven hands and their manufactured products were valued at
about $10,000 per year. These
industries were started about 1850 and were kept going till 1872 when the
new railroad brought cheaper plows from the bigger factories.
J. F. Matchett and Jerre Smith, both of Paris, were employed by
these two firms.
T. Wetmore began the manufacture of wagons, buggies and other vehicles in
1870, employing six men, three in the blacksmith shop and three in the
wood works. His products per
year totaled about $5,000.
W. Town and Sons used to supply the whole county with pottery, peddling it
from one community to another in wagons.
Their factory stood at the west end of Locust street.
Close by was a bed of fine potters clay.
Many Paris people still have jugs and crocks that bear this firm's
1855, W. E. Spaulding commenced making furniture, turning out beds,
chairs, bureaus, kitchen safes, tables, dressers, washstands, and coffins.
In 1875 M. W. Speed bought an interest in the factory and the two
men ran their plant until 1892 when they found they could buy the same
articles cheaper than they could make them.
At one time they were putting out $8,000 worth of furniture a year.
An old blind horse on a tread mill furnished power for their
George Seibert, our City Marshall, was in the brick making business in
1882, he employed fifteen men. His
shipments went all over this county and even to Moberly where the bigger
kilns eventually put him out of business.
The Baptist Church, the old Christian Church, the building in which
the Jackson Bros. grocery relocated, besides several others in Paris, were
all made from Seibert's brick. He
closed down his plant in 1886. During
the most prosperous years he put out $4,000 worth of brick in a year.
H. Dulaney was the first man to handle tobacco in Paris.
In 1860 Bassett & Eubank, a Madison firm, put in two warehouses
buying from 200,000 to 500,000 pounds of tobacco a year.
In those days this was worth from $20,000 to $50,000.
Tobacco raising gradually dwindled down during the war, however, so
that the warehouses were closed in 1866.
S. S. Bassett, of Paris, was the senior member of the firm.
old flour mill, too, can easily be recalled.
If you never saw it, surely you have heard others speak of it.
Flour was our biggest export, the local mill making big shipments
to Kansas, Texas, and other states, besides supplying the home demand.
It was about 1880 that Grimes & Withers went into the milling
business, putting in modern machinery and enlarging the mill's capacity to
200 barrels of flour a day. In
1889, Davis, Austin and Allen, the latter being Judge Jas. Allen, bought
the concern. In those days
the mill's average output was about 100 barrels per day or 31,200 barrels
a year. Flour sold for $5 a
barrel then, making the year's manufacture valued at $156,000.
Five men were employed and the mill at times was kept running day
and night until 1896 when it was destroyed by fire.
so, gradually, the industrial life of Paris has passed away, until now we
have left only one cigar factory and the custom mill.
But who could ask for a better town in which to live and be happy
than our own little Paris?