In 1929, Boyle County was in the middle of a tobacco boom

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, December 9, 2017

The tobacco business in Boyle County was booming in 1929, according to articles in the Kentucky Advocate archives.

“The tremendous growth of the Danville Loose Leaf Tobacco Market is being recognized by the giant tobacco corporations, both in the United States and foreign shores.”

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Ike M. Dunn, president of the Three Peoples Houses, predicted that arrangements will be made for the holding of two sales at the same time next year, which means the two sets of buyers will be locating here.

Few people in Danville realize what a big impact the tobacco market means to the town and the money it brings into the community.

Seven hundred people are employed in the tobacco business and the weekly payroll is in excess of $21,000.

The Danville Redrying plant is one of the biggest institutions in Danville, giving employment to 250 people. It is operated by the G.F. Vaughn Tobacco Co. of Lexington and Littleton Ellett is resident manager.

Buyers also include the R.J. Reynolds Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C., which makes Camel cigarettes; American Tobacco Co., which makes Lucky Strike cigarettes; Lilliard, makers of Old Gold cigarettes; Liggett Tobacco Co. makes Chesterfield cigarettes; W.L. Petty Co., Southeastern Tobacco Co. exports, and Edwards Brothers of Winston-Salem.

Pounds on the rise

Since the markets opened in 1928, Dunn said businesses had cashed $400,000 in checks for the tobacco growers.

Peoples Tobacco Warehouse No. 1 sold 97,000 pounds of tobacco for a record breaking average of $35.20 per hundred pounds. Some of the single crop acreages went above $40 per 100 pounds.

In January 1929, tobacco sold over the Danville Loose Leaf Warehouse floors and the 3,000,000-pound mark was reached. This represents about half as much of the market it will sell this year.

Last year, the market sold 4,500,000, but the wise ones say that it will easily go over the 6,000,000 mark this season.

Highest averages

Campbell and Jones of Lincoln County had the highest average with 1,210 pounds that sold for $489.42, for an average of $40.48.

Fogle and Fogle of Casey County was second with $40.31 and prices ranged in the high 30s down to $36.67 for the tobacco.

The Advocate called the bidding as never so “spirited, each basket being fought for with a rapaciousness that equals that of dogs fighting for a bone.”

“The Danville market was selling $5 per hundred higher than the Lexington market.”