Volume 19 Issue 2, Summer 2012
Part 5: The Ketchins’ Tobacco Business
With their construction business growing, Andrew and William Ketchin had an increasing need for workmen. In his memoirs, William explained, “Here is where I got interested in tobacco as a business.” He wrote this brief account of his cigar tobacco ventures:
The firm of A. J. K. & Son [was] doing a special class of stone building. They called it “Rock Faced Hammer dressed” and no matter how good a stone mason was, it took about a season to break him in to the firm’s method of stone building. As soon as fingers got cold in November, masons left for the city to pick up any inside job where they could keep warm. In the spring they scattered, compelling the firm to school new men. So my father and I conceived the idea of buying enough tobacco from the neighboring farmers to keep some of the best men through the winter season, assorting and packing tobacco. This arrangement was carried out successfully.
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