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The Wool Market in Wheeling, 1886

- from The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, September 14, 1886.


Drawing in the Clip from the Finest Producing Area in America

For fifty years Wheeling has been a wool market of peculiar interest to manufacturers of woolen fabrics. This she owes to her favored location in the heart of the finest wool-growing territory in America. Within a radius of fifty miles, embracing a region tributary to Wheeling, is raised the largest quantity of high grade wool produced anywhere in the country. Wool-growing has reached its highest development in Southwestern West Virginia and those counties of Eastern Ohio which lie opposite. The composition of the soil, the broken character of the country and the bountiful supply of pure water, have made of this environment a natural sheep pasture not surpassed in the world. Nowhere has a higher intelligence been applied to this important pastural industry, and in no other equal area has so much capital been invested. The constant aim has been to improve the breeds of stock with a view to their wool-bearing qualities, and the result has been a celebrity which commands for these wools the highest market price. They stand at the head of the list and sell when there is any demand at all.


Since George Wilson, half a century ago began to buy wool on a large scale, the business hereabouts has steadily increased with the progressing yield of the clip. Manufacturers know the value of the fine Saxony and the heavier Marino wools of this vicinity, and about the middle of May in every year send their agents to look the field over. About June 1st the agents from the East begin their campaign in earnest, buying and shipping millions of pounds.

Besides these buyers from the East there are local dealers who take up very large quantities. Henry K. List, long identified with the wool interest, has bought as high as $300,000 worth in one season. Horkheimer Bros. are among the most active and extensive dealers. This season they have handled 800,000 pounds. S. Horkheimer & Son are also heavy dealers in wool. Both of these houses add to their wool business a large export trade in ginseng. Wheeling draws in the wool clip from so large a territory because of her facilities for handling, and also because she has become known as paying full value to the wool-grower.

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