Laying the Hoe: A Century of Iron Manufacturing in Stafford County, Virginia (with CD-Rom)


With genealogical notes on over 300 families. For nearly a century, iron manufacturing dominated the economic, social, and political fabric of Stafford County, Virginia. In the mid-1720s Principio Iron Company, the eighteenth- century leader in American iron production, built a charcoal-fired blast furnace on Accokeek Run in Stafford. Accokeek’s furnace and store served customers within a six-county region. Employment opportunities at the furnace created a diversified economy and encouraged people from all walks of life to settle there. The late 1750s witnessed the creation of James Hunter’s Iron Works near Falmouth. Originally intended as a forge and multi-purpose milling facility, this operation quickly grew to be the New World’s largest manufacturing center, producing a wide variety of consumer goods as well as quantities of weapons and supplies for Continental troops. Until now, little serious research has been conducted on these two important facilities. The roles they played in eighteenth-century Virginia have been overlooked or underestimated. In addition to exploring the scope of each business and its impact upon the region in which it existed, the author has identified hundreds of people involved with or employed by Accokeek Furnace and Rappahannock Forge. The only known surviving business ledger from Accokeek Furnace is included as a CD-ROM in the back of the volume. A vivid illustration of life at a colonial iron works, the ledger also provides family researchers with a wealth of genealogical information from a region sorely lacking in such material.

Jerrilynn Eby

(2003), 2007, 6x9, paper, includes CD Adobe v5, 306 pp.

ISBN: 9781585498635