Mailing List:1999-01-27 08, Whitneys and Cotton, by J. Barry Whitney, III

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Mailing List Archives > 1999-01-27 08, Whitneys and Cotton, by J. Barry Whitney, III

From: Barry Whitney <barryw -at-> Subject: [WHITNEY-L] Whitneys and Cotton Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 10:27:51 -0500 (EST) <<a href=""></a>; On Tue, 26 Jan 1999, W.G. "Bill" Whitney wrote: > Dear Whitney relatives: > > My son's History Professor told him that Eli Whitney didn't really > invent the cotton gin. It was invented by a woman. But women weren't > allowed to raise patents in those days, so Eli took the invention and This seems pretty preposterous, given that Eli was so well known as an inventor and also developed the concept of interchangeable parts for the successful firearms business in CT. In any case, once Eli showed that it could be done, so many people imitated the gin without honoring the patent that he didn't get much financial reward. I guess he didn't want to be taken wrong if he said "Keep your cotton picking hands off my gin!" > patented it instead. This must have something to do with the fact that > Eli was told about all the green river cotton that was unuseable by the > lady of the Plantation where he was a guest. The "truth" is that he took a job at Mulberry Plantation (up the river from Savannah, GA) as a tutor. Most likely he had never seriously thought about cotton before going there, but when he came to appreciate the great difficulty of removing the seeds by hand, the great inventor saw the need and thus came up with the solution. Without someone to present the problem to him, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to invent a cotton gin (while sitting in a classroom in New Haven, for instance). As is often true in life, every problem can be viewed as an opportunity. My Eli page at <<a href=""></a>; is based on a notebook put together by a group that is/was trying to restore the plantation as a historical site. The site has some links to some other Eli Whitney pages on the web also. Please do have a look. >From the page: In 1793, while staying at Mulberry Grove Plantation in Georgia, the inventor Eli Whitney developed a marvelous device for removing seeds from the cotton fibers. The Mulberry Grove Plantation, once owned by Royal Lieutenant Governor John Graham, was awarded to Major General Nathaniel Greene after the American Revolutionary War, and George Washington visited General Green's widow there twice. In 1975, the Plantation was designated a National Register site of national significance. The Mulberry Grove Foundation has had hopes of restoring the site. By the way, one of our Whitney cousins, Charles Barry Whitney, Jr., is still in the cotton business, in Georgia, as a cotton factor. Historically, cotton factors lent money to the farmers, provided them with fertilizer and supplies, and graded and warehoused the cotton and sold it to textile manufacturers here and in Europe. C. Barry <<a href=""></a>; is still a member of the Cotton Warehousemen's association and is one of the officers of the National Cotton Council <<a href=""></a>;. Our ancestor Seymour Murray Whitney <<a href=""></a>; came south from Philadelphia, NY, before the Civil War ("Great War of Northern Aggression" for you true southern-branch Whitneys), which caused great problems within the family, of course, and stayed and entered the cotton business afterwards. Seymour was famous enough to be listed in the "Memoirs of Georgia, 1895" <<a href=""></a>; which describes his capture at Sharpsburg and his later success in the cotton business. Yours, Barry John Barry Whitney III North Augusta, SC <a href=""></a> Augusta's Cotton Exchange Museum page <a href=""></a> Page with comments from CBWhitney, longtime cotton factor <a href=""></a> ==== our line: John-1 Whitney b. England 1589 d. 6/1/1673 ("John, the Immigrant") + Elinor __ b. 1599 Johnathan-2 Whitney b. England 1634 m. 10/30/1656 d. 1702 + Lydia Jones John-3 Whitney b. 6/27/1662 m. 4/10/1688 d. 1735 + Mary Hapgood Dea. James-4 Whitney b. 12/28/1692 m. 2/2/1715 d. 4/10/1770 + Martha Rice Dea. Micah-5 Whitney b. 6/4/1725 m. 1747 d. 11/29/1791 + Lydia Mason Mason-6 Whitney b. 12/16/1765 d. prob aft. 1833 (moved to NY from MA--Does anyone have any details?) + Dolly Rawson Erastus-7 Whitney b. 7/13/1797 m. 6/4/1826 d. 10/16/1854 + Betsy Chadwick b. 4/8/1805 d. 9/3/1872 Seymour-8 M. Whitney b 1/16/1829 m 12/31/1868 d 8/26/1900 + Sarah Jane (Sallie) Barry b. 6/2/1838 d 1/8/1924

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