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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

The great tobacco manufactories,   pp. 511-532


Page 515

A. H. MICKLE & SONS-WILLIAM E. LAWRENCE.
ever have become popular. When Mrs. Miller commenced the manu-
facture of Fine Cut, there were not more than six persons in the country
engaged in the same business, and those that were so engaged, made
only an inferior article. The Tobacco manufacture of that day con-
sisted, with these few exceptions, of the most ordinary specimens of
Plug Tobacco, the various brands bearing titles as ordinary as the ma-
terial of which they were composed, and she was obliged to contend
not only with the difficulties usually incident to the development of a
new art, such as imperfect knowledge, poor machinery, want of experi-
ence, and public prejudice, but also with numerous and wealthy com-
petitors in the other branch of the trade. Talent and energy, how-
ever, enabled her to overcome all opposition, and so popular did her
productions in a short time become, that for several years she had the
field almost exclusively to herself.
Her success gradually attracted the attention of others to the same
pursuit, the number of which has been constantly increasing, and now
Fine Cut Tobacco is one of the most important manufacturing in-
terests in the United States. Being a woman of remarkable social, as
well as business qualifications, 110 Water street early became a resort
of the most distinguished politicians and literary gentlemen of the
period. From the old Tontine Coffee House, where the celebrities of
the day were accustomed to assemble, and which was located on the
northwest corner of Wall and Water streets, to Mrs. Miller's counting
room was but a few steps, and thither, it was customary for the chosen
ones to repair daily to procure their supplies of Snuff and Tobacco, and
discuss politics and public topics generally.
Here might have been found, at almost any time, when not engaged
in their regular duties, such men as John Lang, editor of the old
New York Gazette, whose office was on the south-east corner of
Wall and Water streets, since occupied for so many years by the
Journal of Commerce newspaper, the Maxwells, Whitneys, Wickoffs,
Suydams, Irelands, and a host of other prominent old Knickerbockers.
It was on an occasion, when several of these gentlemen were assembled,
that one of the many brands of Snuff, for which this establishment is
celebrated, received its appellation. A customer entered and asked for
some " Irish Blackguard"-a kind of Snuff then, and now, extensively
used by some clases; whereupon, Mr. Lang inquired of Mrs. Miller,
why she did not have a distinctive name for the Snuff used by the party
present, to which Mrs. Miller replied, " I will," and instantly gave it
the name of the " American Gentleman," by which name it has been
known from that day to this.
The great fire of 1835, which destroyed so many memorable places,
515


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