John G. Jackson hires workers at Alexander McKim’s factory

John George Jackson, WV Regional and History Collection

On February 4, 1814, John George Jackson arrived  in Baltimore at the factory of Alexander McKim. A prominent Virginia politician, lawyer and land-owner, Jackson had recently started to develop a substantial industrial community near his home in Clarksburg, Virginia. As a keen observer of the growth and development of Baltimore and Pittsburgh, Jackson knew he could find support for his new venture in the city. At McKim’s factory, he hired skilled workers, including millwrights and blacksmiths, a joiner, saddler and other artisans. He also purchased heavy machinery for his new mill, iron furnace and tannery.

Business from men like Jackson helped Baltimore’s industrial economy expand in the early 1800s. In 1814, Robert and Alexander McKim built a new iron-works, one of the first factories in the city driven by steam power, on French Street in Old Town. Just a few days after his arrival in Baltimore, Jackson received authorization from the Virginia state legislature to convert a former grist mill on Elk Creek into a cotton and woolen mill. Virginia also granted Jackson’s request to lay out a town for his workers known as “Mile’s End” near Clarksburg. In a letter to his wife Mary Sophia Meigs, Jackson anticipated the new factory and saltworks to bring, “a pretty smart revenue to me, or it would be idle to go on the way I do.”

Learn more about John George Jackson from the West Virginia Encyclopedia or about the history of Mile’s End from this short essay written by Bob Stealy for the Connect-Clarksburg Local News.

Source: Voice of the New West: John G. Jackson, His Life and Times, Stephen W. Brown, p. 120.

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