Builders, craftsmen and tradesmen in Montgomery County, Virginia, between 1850 and 1900

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to identify, through historic documents, the craftsmen of a specific region, Montgomery County, that may have contributed to the construction of area buildings between 1850 and 1900. Data from Population Census reports and Birth Registers were used to create a matrix of craftsmen names, their trade, location, and length of service. This list was used to place in perspective different kinds of craftsmen by attempting to relate various trades to one another, to area resources, and specific sites. For this well-timbered region, carpenters represented almost half (437.) of the craftsmen identified. The identification of 1,028 craftsmen and presence of apprentices indicated that skilled labor was available to residents and that some level of formal training did exist. Through the use of bills, receipts, and letters, the study also revealed individual and collaborative works as well as labor and material costs. Although these craftsmen were found throughout the county, the majority resided in Blacksburg and Christiansburg.