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February 7, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Business: Boom, 1919

$20 in 1920 is equivalent to about $200 purchasing power in 2019.

Following World War I, Buckingham County and other rural communities experienced an unusual influx of cash. In a society that had long relied heavily on barter, lots of people were “flush.” Some of the consequences may have been a bit startling.

Charlottesville’s the Daily Progress reported the phenomenon on April 15, 1919:


Money is handled more freely than ever before and some negroes and also some whites who are getting money, from the government cannot be employed for anything. One washwoman whose husband is in the army got a check at one time for $125, and some people have been getting money from relatives who were sent to war. One man who had never owned a home has bought a farm, expecting to pay for it with the insurance he gets ($57.50 a month) on account of the death of his son, who died in camp.

Other financial news included the fact that seed potatoes were selling for less than usual. Eggs milk and butter were plentiful. Not many people had “put up ice” over the winter. Perhaps this was, in part, because an ice plant was opening soon at Dillwyn.

Thanks to Phil James for sharing this “news.”


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