Trade between Richmond and Tennessee

December 9, 1868


The Dispatch explains the trade between Tennessee and Richmond. Richmond trade with various regions of Tennessee is increasing. More sellers from Tennessee choosing to sell their wheat and corn in Richmond rather than other cities


Trade between Richmond and Tennessee. - During the present season, through the enterprise of one or two firms in this city, a large amount of wheat and corn has been brought to Richmond for sale from Northern Georgia, Tennessee, and Southwestern Virginia, which would otherwise have gone to Baltimore, Atlanta, or Savannah. In addition to this, we learn that quite recently several car-loads of live hogs have arrived here from Knoxville and points between that place and Bristol. That these branches of trade between Richmond and Knoxville can be largely increased, and that the profits now realized by northern merchants from traffic along the Virginia and Tennessee can be turned hitherward, we feel assured if our merchants will only turn their attention more earnestly and energetically to the subject. Baltimore to-day gets the bulk of the trade between Christiansburg, Va., and Chattanooga, Tenn., in the way of grain, flaxseed, cattle, and hogs, while Philadelphia chiefly secures the dried fruit, feathers, beeswax, etc. And now, why is this ? Simply because drummers from those cities are constantly out in that direction, not only buying and selling, but exchanging their wares for the articles we have enumerated. It is plain that the farmer or producer in the country finds it both advantageous and convenient to buy from those to whom he sells, and that he will much more likely deal with a man on the spot than through letter with a man at a distance whose face he has never seen. And all this trade is lost to Richmond notwithstanding that the difference in freight is in our favor. For instance, the freight on first-class goods from Knoxville to Richmond is $1.21 per 100 pounds ; while it is $1.40 to Norfolk, $1.60 to Baltimore, $1.80 to New York, and $1.00 to Philadelphia and Boston. The freight on wheat, too, is ten cents in favor of Richmond as compared with Baltimore ; moreover, the charges in Baltimore are higher than in Richmond in some respects. If our merchants, then, would, as far as practicable, take such steps for securing the trade referred to as Baltimore and other northern houses have done, backed up by the advantages in our favor, they could enlarge their business very materially. Of this view we have the proof before us in the fact that a gentleman connected with a house of this city, during two trips recently made, secured on the Virginia and Tennessee line large consignments of grain and other produce which he never would have got by any other means than a canvass in person. At Bristol this gentleman met five representatives of Baltimore houses, all of whom declared that he was the first competitor from Richmond they had met during the season. Not confining himself to the railroad towns, he penetrated into the country, and secured considerable trade from various country stores, and found that the people had little or no acquaintance with Richmond houses, while at the same time they were anxious to do business with us ; and they remarked that they thought Richmond didn't care about their trade, in as much as it didn't seek it. They were perfectly familiar, however, with firms in Baltimore and other northern cities, through their representatives who came among them. On the other hand, our Richmond merchants seem, as a general thing, not to have a due appreciation of the vast trade in the region alluded to ; in fact, it looks as if that part of the world was an almost terra incognito to many of them. In Knoxville and Morristown there are hog-packing establishments, and the people there and along the line expressed their surprise that there was no packing-house here. Many of our readers are probably not aware of the rapid progress being made in the construction of the Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap and Charleston railroad. This road, tapping as it does the Virginia and Tennessee, will carry to Charleston, in almost a direct line, the trade which, by timely effort, might be secured to Richmond. About twenty miles from Morristown, on the Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap, and Charleston railroad, is Clifton. This place, in February last, hadn't a single store ; now there are six - showing that the region is a richly producing one. There is, also, a railroad styled the Knoxville and Kentucky. This also taps the Virginia and Tennessee, and will bring the produce of southern Kentucky to that line, and thus place on it a large amount of trade for those who will seek it.
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Jacob Markman




“Trade between Richmond and Tennessee,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022,