Irons in the fire: the business history of the Tayloe family and Virginia's gentry, 1700-1860

Book Cover
Average Rating
University of Virginia Press,
Pub. Date:

Irons in the Fire chronicles the agricultural, industrial, and commercial activities of four generations of the Tayloe family of Northern Virginia, revealing a greater complexity in the southern business culture of early America than scholars have generally recognized. Through the story of one representative family, Laura Croghan Kamoie illustrates how entrepreneurship and a broadly skilled slave-labor force combined to create economic diversification well before the American Revolution. Contrary to general historical perceptions, southern elite planters were, at least until the 1790s, very like their northern counterparts.

The Tayloes were planters and businessmen who, crucially, saw no distinction or conflict between these two roles. In this they were not unique: diversification, combined with an entrepreneurial inclination among the elite of the planter class, formed the basis of the Chesapeake’s regional economy and contributed to its development.

This diversity was reflected in the slave community. Demonstrating a versatility exceeding later generations of slaves, and occupying a central position in the daily operations of the South’s business culture, the Chesapeake slaves made the planters’ relatively sophisticated enterprises not only profitable but possible.

Spanning more than a century of early American history, the story begins in 1700, when John Tayloe I managed the family’s concerns, and concludes with his six great-grandsons, who lived into the Civil War era. Through the generations, the Tayloes demonstrated the same essential qualities--enterprise, risk-taking, business savvy, innovation, ambition, and pursuit of profit--as their northern counterparts. As the eighteenth century ended, however, cotton plantation agriculture--and, in Virginia, the internal slave trade in support of it--increasingly began to take over, working against economic diversification.

Irons in the Fire provides an exceptional view of early American business, each generation of Tayloes approaching the family’s welfare within the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of their day. This business-family saga also contributes a pivotal perspective to contemporary debates about the economic modernity of the South.

More Details
Also in This Series
More Like This
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Staff View

Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 32788fd9-3538-6159-f3d3-31863a8206b0
Grouping Title irons in the fire the business history of the tayloe family and virginias gentry 1700 1860
Grouping Author kamoie laura croghan
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-10-03 04:49:02AM
Last Indexed 2019-07-20 04:56:26AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Kamoie, Laura Croghan.
author_display Kamoie, Laura Croghan
available_at_arlington Local History
collection_arlington Center for Local History Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlington Center for Local History Nonfiction
format_arlington Book
format_category_arlington Books
id 32788fd9-3538-6159-f3d3-31863a8206b0
isbn 9780813926377
item_details ils:.b1295827x|.i13460444|Center for Local History Nonfiction|VA 975.52732 K15i|||1|false|false|||||Library Use Only||van||
itype_arlington Hardback
last_indexed 2019-07-20T08:56:26.379Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington VA 975.52732 K15i
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
owning_location_arlington Local History
primary_isbn 9780813926377
publishDate 2007
record_details ils:.b1295827x|Book|Books||English|University of Virginia Press,|2007.|x, 222 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b1295827x .i13460444 Library Use Only Library Use Only false true false false true true
subject_facet Prince William County (Va.) -- Biography, Prince William County (Va.) -- Economic conditions, Prince William County (Va.) -- Social life and customs, Tayloe, John, -- 1687-1747, Tayloe, John, -- 1721-1779, Tayloe, John, -- 1771-1828, Taylor family
title_display Irons in the fire : the business history of the Tayloe family and Virginia's gentry, 1700-1860
title_full Irons in the fire : the business history of the Tayloe family and Virginia's gentry, 1700-1860 / Laura Croghan Kamoie
title_short Irons in the fire :
title_sub the business history of the Tayloe family and Virginia's gentry, 1700-1860