Greenbrier Canning Co.1888 - 1898


     The Greenbrier Canning Company was located at the end of Lafayette Street and was the first section of the Old Tanyard that James Withrow, Jr. sold since his father, James Withrow, established his tannery in 1796. The lot was 110' square, just below the Worsham's home (now the Asylum location) and where the Montwell Commons Lafayette St. parking lot is located.


December 1888

     Incorporation papers for The Greenbrier Canning company are filed:

“. . . The undersigned agree to become a corporation by the name of the Greenbrier Canning Company, for the purpose of preserving and canning corn, vegetables, and fruit. . . .

The capital so subscribed is divided into shares of fifty dollars each, which are held by the undersigned respectively, as follows, that is to say: John A. Preston, 5 shares; E.D. Withrow, 5 shares; H.T. Bell, 5 shares; O.T. Sydenstricker, 5 shares; E.L. Bell and R.T. Rittenhouse, 5 shares; B.F. Harlow, 5 shares; D.R. Thomas, 5 shares; Thos. A. Handley, 2 shares; James Humphreys, 4 shares; F.R. Hunter, 5 shares; Austin Hanley, 2 shares. . . . “                                                   Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia, 1889 p. 648


February 9, 1889

     The Greenbrier Canning Company, of Lewisburg, lately mentioned as to start a canning factory, will also manufacture cans and boxes.                                                                                        Wheeling Register


March 20, 1889  Deed 41-492

     James and Edgar Withrow sell a 110' square lot to the Greenbrier Canning Company for $200: “ . . . all their right, title,and interest in and to a certain plot of land situated in the Town of Lewisburg W. Va. on the street known in the said town as Lafayette Street and joining the lot on which John Worsham now resides. (Now occupied by the Asylum.) The said lot of land to be 110 feet square . . .” (The Lafayette St. parking area now occupies that plot.)                                                                                          

March 13, 1889  Staunton Spectator

     The Greenbrier Canning Company wishes to contract for the product of 40 acres planted in tomatoes.                                                                                                                                                 

September 12, 1889    Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 15 p3

     The Greenbrier Canning Company which was located in Lewisburg is reported in this issue as having a successful season. 26,000 cans having already been put up with prospects for the tomato canning going to 50,000 cans.                                                                     


September 16, 1889  Wheeling Register

     A horrible accident occurred in the Lewisburg Cannery on Thursday of last week. Claude Turner, a son of Prof. Turner, of Lewisburg, and an employee in the Cannery, climbed up to examine the steaming vat where the skins are taken from tomatoes and, losing his foothold, fell headlong into the hot vat. Before he could be rescued he was terribly scalded. He lingered, suffering terribly, for several hours, when death relieved him. No blame can be attached to any one for the occurrence.  


October 26, 1889  Martinsburg Independent

     The Greenbrier Canning Company have closed their canning operations for their first year. The company has done well, having put up something over 45,000 cans, all told.       also  Wheeling Intelligencer 10/15/1889


January 9, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 32

      The Greenbrier Canning company sold 556 cases of canned goods to P.H. Noyes & Co. of Charleston. The goods were shipped yesterday. The Company has about 800 cases of extra goods left, which they expect to sell soon.                                                                                

February 13, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 35

     The Greenbrier Canning Co. proposes canning corn, tomatoes, peas, &c. The managers would like for those who intend to raise such things for the Cannery to inform the committee of the fact. We think it would pay our farmers, who are furnishing milk to the Creamery, to raise corn for the Cannery, as the corn will be pulled in its green state and they could make ensilage out of the fodder for their cows.                                                                                                                            

February 20, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 36

     We suggest that the Greenbrier Canning Co. put up an Evaporator this year, and evaporate apples. Also machinery necessary to put up cucumber and all kinds of pickle. It will find ready sales for these goods.                                                                                                     

April 24, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 47 p.3

     The Board of Directors of Greenbrier Canning co. have decided to have their cans manufactured here in Lewisburg. Thereupon Mr. D.H. Thomas, one of the Board, went to Baltimore and purchased all the machinery necessary for this purpose. He also purchased a carload of tin and secured the services of Mr. J.V. Supplee of Baltimore to superintend the the making of the cans and canning of the fruits. Mr. Supplee will be here about the 1st of May to begin work making the cans. The Board, we think, acted wisely in this - We should keep every dollar at home that we possibly can. This move will give employment to several men. The Canning co. starts out this season with bright prospects, and, having secured between 75 and 100 acres of ground to be put in tomatoes, corn, peas, &c., we see no reason why it should not succeed.                                                     


May 12, 1890

     Letter sent to Representative Alderson regarding a bill setting duties on various agriculture and other products including tin-plate:


     “Office of the Greenbrier Canning Company, Lewisburg West Virginia, May 12, 1890

     Dear Sir: We wish to say through you that we earnestly protest against any additional duty on tin-plate, and would be gratified to have the present duty removed, and if a higher duty is put on it we feel confident it will greatly damage, if not entirely destroy, the canning industry of our country.

Yours very respectfully, etc,

          Greenbrier Canning Company, Per D.R. Thomas, Treasurer

          Greenbrier Creamery Company, Per H.T. Bell, Treasurer”


     Representative Alderson proceeded to give a 15 minute floor speech on behalf of the company.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I personally know that the Greenbrier Canning Company and the Greenbrier Creamery are new industries, with fair prospects of success even under the existing law, which is not favorable to them, . . .                                Congressional Record – House Volume 21, Part 5 1890 p.5003


May 22, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 51 p.3

     The Greenbrier Canning co. have men now busily engaged in manufacturing cans. Some 5,000 have already been finished, and the tops and bottoms ready for about 15,000 more cans.                                                                                                                                               

July 16, 1890  Greenbrier Independent, Wheeling Register

     The Greenbrier Canning Company has a force of hands busily engaged in canning peas. They have already put up 5,000 cans, and will likely close operations in this line some time this week. The corn crop will be ready to can in a few weeks, and then comes tomatoes. The Company will have 27 acres of corn and 46 acres of tomatoes to put up.          


August 14, 1890    Greenbrier Independent vol 25 no. 11

     The Greenbrier Canning co. began canning corn last Thursday. The tomato crop will be ready for use by the first of next week. The Company will work about 40 hands for the next six weeks putting up the fruit.                                                                                                         

September 11, 1890  Greenbrier Independent vol 25 no. 15

     The Greenbrier Canning Co. is now putting up some fine fruit. On Tuesday the company received 25 bushels of tomatoes and yesterday 200 bushels, and a prospect for 150 bushels per day during the season. It has canned to date 22,000 cans all told. Mr. Aquilla Lipps of our town, has gathered from his 3 ½ acre patch of tomatoes 200 bushels, with a prospect for 800 or 1,000 bushels more.                                                                                                                                                

February 27, 1896  Greenbrier Independent vol 30 no. 40 p3

     A FINE OPPORTUNITY  At the recent meeting of the stockholders of the Greenbrier canning Co. an order was entered directing a committee – J.A. Preston, D.R. Thomas, and H.T. Bell- to let the Company's house with all its machinery and fixtures free of rent, for the coming season, to anyone who would agree to run the cannery this year – the renter to pay nothing but the taxes, cost of insurance, and to buy cans on hand. Here is a good chance for some enterprising man to make money. The product of the Greenbrier Cannery, whilst in operation, commanded the best market prices and there was never any trouble in disposing of it. Many believe that the unprofitable operation of this enterprise heretofore was caused by the attempt to grow tomatoes from the seed rather than from the plant, by which the maturing of the fruit was always delayed until endangered by frost. In no country known to us does the tomato reach higher perfection than here in Greenbrier, and, if we can always grow them in abundance in our gardens, where is the difficulty of growing them on a larger scale on the fertile grounds contiguous to the town? We believe it can be done and that the crop can always be matured in time to escape frost. Surely it is worth the effort, and if one or more enterprising men will take hold of the business we think they can make money.

     What is done must be done quickly, for if the committee cannot let out the property on the easy terms mentioned, then it will be sold. The close personal attention of one or two enterprising men we believe will insure the success of the enterprise and demonstrate the fact that a Cannery can be profitably operated here.                                                                                   


March 26, 1896  Greenbrier Independent

     Notice. If not sold privately, before that time, we will sell, on Thursday, the 2nd day of April, 1896, the following articles , of the Greenbrier Canning Co. All sums under ten dollars, cash; over that amount, 90 days time, secured by well endorsed negotiable notes:

         one forty Horse Coleman Boiler;                        one *Shriver Process Kettle;

         3 Box's, 14x20, Tin;                                               50 to 75lbs cut Tin;

         1 Can Tester;                                                         3 Wooden Tanks;

         1 Crayon, complete;                                              1 10 gal. Gasoline Tank;

         12,000 2-lb. Tin Cans;                                           400 2-lb. Packing Cases;

         1 set Stock and Dies, ½ to 1 inch;                       1 Four-wheel Truck;

         1 Pump and Piping and 14 years water right;

         1 House and Lot;                                                    About 100 delivery Cases;

         About 3,000 lbs. Scrap Tin;                                   About 100 lbs. Rosin;

         Complete Can Making Machinery and sundry other articles.

                 J.M Cunningham, D.R. Thomas - Committee


          *In 1874 A. K. Shriver of Baltimore invented a closed kettle or pressure cooker for processing the cans by superheating water with steam, thereby killing  dangerous bacteria and reducing  the processing time.                                                                                          

February 18, 1898  Deed 51-461 

     The Greenbrier Canning Co. lot was conveyed to John Preston: “. . . that certain lot of land . . . on the street known in the plan of said town as Lafayette Street adjoining the lot on which Mrs. Worsham now resides, 110 feet square"