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History of Washington, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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The cotton factory was a symbol of unity and gave hope and encouragement to the Saints. It was the life-line of the settlers in southern Utah, although as a business enterprise it was not a success. In 1871 Brigham Young sold the factory to the colonists. The local people purchased stock and the Rio Virgin Manufacturing Company was formed. However, factory problems were constant: a scarcity of cash, shipments of supplies indispensable to the operation of the factory (particularly dyestuffs and lubricating oil) delayed or lost, inefficient employees were hired and more cotton was carded and spun than could be woven.

The local farmers could make more money raising grapes to make wine sold to the mining camps or working in the mines, so many abandoned the cotton fields. With the advent of the railroad, the cotton industry was dealt a death blow. There followed years when the factory ran very little or was closed. In addition, the mines at Silver Reef ran out of ore and closed, so the outlet for produce was halted. Half of the people moved from Washington and the remainder suffered for sources of income.


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