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News Link • History

Seceding from Secession

• NY Times
Wood County lay across the Blue Ridge Mountains from the plantations of Tidewater Virginia, far from the Chesapeake shores where black children were considered a cash crop. Slaves here – despite the holdings of a few men like Foley – totaled less than 2 percent of the population. Fortunes were made instead from the steamboats and barges that plied the nearby Ohio River, carrying Pennsylvania iron and coal through Parkersburg on their way down to Cincinnati, Louisville and beyond. A few farsighted entrepreneurs were beginning to see potential in the local “rock oil” – also known as petroleum – that had long been a nuisance to people drilling wells for drinking water.

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