Please note the new hours for the museum are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday — which are the same hours as the Treasure House.

As a follow-up to last week’s article, I continue with what became of the tomato canning factories in McLean County and how long they ran.

From the Evansville Press of July 23, 1920 — “Because of the scarcity of brick and other building materials, the Pocket Packing company of Evansville has purchased the old bricks and material of the church being torn down at Fourth and Cherry Streets (in Evansville), for the construction of its new plant at Calhoun, Ky. The company has shipped the bricks by barge to Calhoun. Construction of the new plant will be completed next month. It will have a capacity of 30,000 No. 3 cans daily, in tomatoes. There are 600 acres of tomatoes under cultivation there. The plant will cost $20,000.

“Had it not been for the destruction of the church in Evansville, Ernest Lovan, manager, said Friday it would have been virtually impossible for the company to obtain building bricks.

“Although the company is less than two years old, it now has under construction canning factories at Utica, Livermore, Hartford and Rumsey, Ky.; and Fairview, Birds-eye, Hatfield and Richland, Ind. There is a total of 2,000 acres of tomatoes under cultivation for the company’s ten factories, in addition to what will be purchased, officials say. Evansville men are behind the canning company.”

From the Evansville Press of Sep. 18, 1920 — “The Pocket Packing company consigned almost a (train) carload of tomatoes valued at $2,000 to the Ohio river. They were permitted to rot at the company’s plant at Livermore, Ky., according to a complaint made to Samuel McLeish, general agent of the Big Four, by a representative of the company.

“However, the dumping of these tomatoes was not the real grievance. It was the delay of shipment of (empty) cans. The cans left Indianapolis eight days ago and were held up near Washington, on the E. & I., by a wreck. This representative of the canning company estimated that the loss in tomatoes would reach more than the carload, or about $3,000 and over by Monday.”

From the Messenger of Oct. 16, 1920 — “Quite a sensation was created in Calhoun this week, when it was reported that the Pocket Canning Co., of Evansville, operating canning factories at Calhoun, Rumsey and Livermore had failed for two weeks to meet its labor pay roll, or to settle bills long past due to the farmers for tomatoes delivered to the plants, says the McLean County News.

“Several attachments have been sworn out, and there appears to be a general feeling of uneasiness among creditors of the company. The trouble is attributed to failure of parties who have agreed to finance the business failing to comply with their agreement and put up the money.

“It is alleged that the company has a quantity of canned products on hand here, sufficient to meet all obligations. It is hoped that the company will be able to adjust its financial affairs and, at an early date be able to meet its obligations to the people.”

From the Inquirer of Oct. 20, 1920 — “The Pocket Packing company of Evansville has filed a petition in bankruptcy in the federal court in Evansville, and has been adjudged a bankrupt by Judge Anderson, at Indianapolis. The unusual thing about the filing of the petition was that it shows about 1,000 creditors, most of them tomato growers from towns in the surrounding district, whom this firm had purchased tomatoes.

“The company’s liabilities are given at $182,209.86 and assets, $157,700. This company has plants at Calhoun, Hartford, Rumsey, Livermore and Utica, and has been operating canning factories at these towns this summer. It is understood the company owes farmers in and around Calhoun about $25,000 for tomatoes sold and grown on about 800 acres of land in McLean county. The assets of the plant at Calhoun are said to be about $15,000. Most of the farmers received pay for their tomatoes sold at the Utica plant.

“Creditors of the company in and around Calhoun filed an involuntary petition in bankruptcy in the federal court at Louisville on Tuesday, but this was after the federal court at Indianapolis had adjudged the company was a bankrupt.”

It seems that some poor business decisions, as well as some unfortunate occurrences, caused this canning company to go bankrupt. Per the July article, above, factories were already under construction in Livermore and Rumsey at that time, and the Calhoun tomato canning factory was to be completed sometime in August.

By the end of September the company couldn’t meet payroll, and they were bankrupt in October. Consequently, it’s not surprising that six years later, those farmers not paid for their tomatoes from the bankrupt company were not on board to grow cucumbers for a pickle factory — and such a factory never materialized.

Another thing that surprised me was that there was a shortage of brick and other building materials in 1920. Does anyone have any idea where the three tomato canning factories were located in Rumsey, Calhoun and Livermore? If so, please let me know.

The Museum and Treasure House are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and are closed most holidays), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Museum is at 540 Main St., Calhoun, and our number is 270-499-5033.

I wish everyone a great week ahead.

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