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.
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.