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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 27, 1866

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Grape Culture
(Column 01)
Summary: The editor praises the move to grape cultivation in the county, an enterprise that "will give profitable employment to many who are unfit for more laborious pursuits."
(Names in announcement: Kline, Beard)
Full Text of Article:

We are gratified to learn that many of our citizens are beginning to turn their attention to this profitable branch of industry. Our country is peculiarly adapted to the growth of the vine and the culture will give profitable employment to many who are unfit for more laborious pursuits.

We have been informed that our enterprising fellow-citizen, Mr. Kline, a German, who is familiar with vine culture, and wine-making, had bought a small tract of land about five miles, southwest of Staunton, and will, this spring, set out ten thousand vines. Other gentlemen are also, making their arrangements to go into the business.

From all we can learn on the subject, we are inclined to believe there is no crop which will yield so large a profit as the grape. We saw a letter recently from an intelligent gentleman of Pittsylvania, in which it was stated that the grapes from a single acre in that county last year yielded $900. From other sources, we learn that from $400 to $500 per acre may be confidently relied on. This is a larger return than the best cotton sugar lands of the South over yield, and the labor of cultivation is much less.

In the present disorganized conditions of our labor system, it behooves our people to diversify their pursuits, so as to meet the exigencies of the times. Orchards and vineyards furnish the means, to small farmers, of greatly improving their condition. We should be pleased, therefore, to see every farmer set apart a few acres of his land for apples, pears, peaches and grapes. Five acres thus applied, would yield more clear profit than a good sized farm, cultivated in the ordinary war.

Grape vines begin to bear the second year after the roots are puts in the ground. Roots can be bought at from $50 to $100 per thousand. The cultivation does not require as much labor as corn, and when the crop is ripe, women and children can gather it.

It would not be expedient for every one to attempt to make wine, because that requires skill and experience. Most farmers should sell the grapes, or the juice, and let those skilled in the processes of wine making, prepare it for market.

One great advantage of the grape crop, is its certainty. It never fails in this part of the country. We heard a gentleman, who has had some experience in managing grape vines, say he had never known his grape crop to fail in fifty years.

No apprehension need be felt about the want of a market. If our people will only produce the grapes in quantities to justify persons skilled in making wine to come among us, we shall certainly have them; and if they should not come, the crude juice can be barreled up and sent to one of our cities, where it will always command a high price -- say, from $2.00 to $3.50 per gallon.

In the neighborhood of Cincinnati, under the auspices of Mr. Langworth, the grape and wine business have been greatly extended, and is a source of very large profit.

We are not sufficiently acquainted with the subject, to give detailed instructions for either the planning or the culture; but we have been informed that a light, gravely soil is the best. The ground should be well broken up, and properly manured, and kept clean as a corn field with the plough and hoe. It is also advisable, in planting, to put some fragments of bones, cuttings of leather, or old shoes and rags, about the roots. These gradually decompose, and furnish the proper aliment to the vines.

Any one desirous of going into the business, can readily obtain information of the subject by referring to the March number of the farmer, or by enquiry to some of their neighbors, who have had experience. We have no doubt Mr. Kline would take pleasure in instructing any one who will apply to him.

Now is the time to begin operations. The vines should be set out during the month of April.

In two or three years they will begin to bear. As time is so important in pushing forward this business, all who propose to enter into it should do so at once. The delay of a few weeks is equivalent to a postponement for a year, because the planting season will have passed.

If there be any doubting Thomas among our readers, who requires the evidence of his own senses to satisfy him of the advantages of the cultivation of fruit-trees and vines, let him visit the farm of Mr. Beard, about seven miles south west of Staunton on the Greenville road, and he can there have the testimony of his own senses of seeing, touching, tasting and smelling, to remove every lingering feeling of incredulity, Mr. Beard's farm was originally one of the poorest and most unproductive in the county, and it would have been impossible for him to maintain his family on it by th ordinary system of farming. He had the good sense to see this, and turned his attention to fruit trees and vines, and we doubt whether his farm does not now yield as large a per cent. on the capital invested, and labor employed as say in the county.

Why should not others follow his judicious example?

Virginia Insurance Company
(Column 02)
Summary: Reports on a meeting of stockholders of the Virginia Insurance Company where members elected Directors.
(Names in announcement: H. M. Bell, Wm. H. Tams, Dr. B. B. Donagho, Wm. B. Isaacs, E. W. Bagby, B. F. Points, A. P. Bierne)
Fruits of Philanthropy
(Column 02)
Summary: Uses a bill providing for the freedmen in the vicinity of Washington as an opportunity to castigate emancipation and to suggest that the "negro population" has already decreased by one million since the end of the war.

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Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: A list of local delegates appointed to the upcoming Valley Railroad Convention.
(Names in announcement: Powell Harrison, George CochranJr., H. H. Peck, P. B. Hoge, E. M. Cushing, R. M. Guy)
Local News--Appointments
(Column 01)
Summary: Appointments made by the Governor, including the Notary Public in Augusta.
(Names in announcement: John Fulton)
Local News--Struck "Ile"
(Column 01)
Summary: Rev. David Rippetoe, who left Augusta for the oil regions of West Virginia, has struck a vein and is reported to be making $600 a day.
(Names in announcement: Rev. David Rippetoe)
Oil Near Churchville
(Column 01)
Summary: Shares are being sold to form a company to bore for oil on the farm of Isaac Myers, near Churchville.
(Names in announcement: Isaac Myers, William Waddell)
(Column 02)
Summary: William Spears and Mary Lancaster were married on March 22 by Rev. J. E. Armstrong.
(Names in announcement: William Spears, Mary Lancaster, George Lancaster, Rev. J. E. Armstrong)
(Column 03)
Summary: Andrew Cowan died of consumption on March 19. He was 54.
(Names in announcement: Andrew Cowan)
(Column 03)
Summary: Louisa Victoria Wheeler died on Nov. 15, 1865 of consumption. She was 25, and a devoted member of the M. E. Church for 11 years.
(Names in announcement: Louisa Wheeler)

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Letter from Staunton
(Column 03)
Summary: Letter sent to the Richmond Dispatch explores the ways the Valley is "regaining its pristine prosperity."
(Names in announcement: Job Turner)
Origin of Article: Richmond Dispatch
Editorial Comment: "We read with a great deal of interest the following letter to the editors of the Richmond Dispatch which breathes forth the true spirit of our people struggling to retrieve their shattered fortunes. We take pleasure in inserting it in our issue."
Trailer: Senex