Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Business, legal, political, and personal correspondence of the founders, officers, employees, and legal counsel of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt company in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
William Dickinson and Joel Shrewsbury founded Dickinson & Shrewsbury in 1814. The company had been proceeded by several other corporations based on land first purchased by Colonel John Dickinson in 1784 along the banks of the Kanawha River, Virginia (later to become West Virginia). John Dickinson conveyed his land to his sons-in-law, Samuel and John Shrewsbury. They settled there and established farms, bought more land, and started a salt business. They invited their brother Joel Shrewsbury and his business partner and brother-in-law William Dickinson to come to Virginia and join their business enterprises. Joel Shrewsbury and William Dickinson began to purchase property, rented a salt furnace, and moved their business to Kanawha in 1814. The firm of Dickinson & Shrewsbury was a large user of slave labor in their salt works and mines often using enslaved people "hired out" from enslavers in the area. Enslavers would often "hire out" their enslaved people to others, which could earn the enslavers more money; they would even take out insurance policies on the enslaved laborers at times. In December 1865, William Dickinson initiated dissolution proceedings against Joel Shrewsbury. At the time, the company owned four salt furnaces and fifty-nine parcels of land in Kanawha County and Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and the company claimed ownership of 130 enslaved laborers. The dissolution proceedings lasted until 1882, long after the founders' deaths. The Dickinson family was later involved in the founding of the Kanawha Valley Bank, and in 2013, descendants of the Dickinson family re-opened the salt mines under the name of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works.
55.54 Linear Feet (33 boxes and 8 oversize folders)
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.