1778 Dec. 22
Inclusive dates
1778 Dec. 22
Articles of incorporation, 22 Dec. 1778, for Ross, Shore & Company, a mercantile partnership based in Richmond, Virginia. The principal partners were David Ross (ca. 1739-1817), Thomas Shore (d. 1803), Thomas Pleasants, Christopher McConnico, Mark Freeman, and John Hay. Within the articles of incorporation, the partners assign the purpose of the business and its intended duration. They also set the rights and liabilities of the partners as shareholders and define the duties of the partners as employees of the business. Attached to the articles of incorporation are the strategic plans of the business put forth by the partners at a meeting, 26 July 1779
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Biographical or historical data
  • Ross, Shore & Company was just one of the many business ventures undertaken by David Ross (ca. 1739-1817), a wealthy businessman and landowner based in Richmond, Virginia. Perhaps his business acumen and presence convinced the other partners to assign Ross the role of director of Ross, Shore & Company.
  • Ross was one of the richest of all merchants and planters in Virginia in the 1780's. Born in Scotland circa 1739, he had immigrated to the United States in the mid-1750's. By the time of the American Revolution, Ross had established himself as a leading tobacco merchant and shipowner in Richmond and Petersburg. He also owned and managed a large plantation at Point of Fork at the junction of the James and Rivanna Rivers. By the late 1780's, when his wealth had reached its peak, he had amassed over 100,000 acres of land scattered across twelve Virginia counties. Ross also owned more horses than anyone in the state; owned the second most amount of cattle; and claimed ownership of 400 slaves, the fifth highest amount in the state.
  • Early in the Revolutionary War, Ross had to defend himself against loyalist charges; though, he successfully subverted all attempts to slander his name, in part by supporting patriot troops financially. In late 1780 Ross began a tenure as commercial agent for Virginia, a position whose responsibility was the supply of state troops with clothing, weapons, and ammunition. As commercial agent, Ross drew heavily upon his own wealth to suffice the troops' demands, resigning his post in April 1782. (Ross resigned in order to take a position in the Virginia General Assembly.) Despite his monetary input during the Revolution, Ross found after the war that he was quite stable financially. He expanded his investments and further developed an important industrial property he had acquired during the war years, the Oxford Iron Works. This pig-iron juggernaut was located south of the James River eight miles from Lynchburg. Ross had acquired the Works around 1776 and began almost immediately to exploit the wartime demand for iron. By the early 1780's, Thomas Jefferson estimated that the Works produced more pig iron than any other industrial furnace in Virginia. Yet for several reasons Ross, the Works, and his estate fell on hard times in the early 1800's. The provisions of his will and the necessity of settling his debts were the prime factors behind the sale of the Oxford slave force following Ross' death in Richmond on 4 May 1817.
  • Thomas Shore (d. 1803), already a Petersburg merchant shipper, was appointed by the partners of Ross, Shore & Company to management of the company's business at Petersburg and ordered to establish a trading house there. Prior to Ross, Shore & Company, Shore had attended Donald Robertson's School in King and Queen County from 1767-1769, and in 1776 he was appointed purchasing agent for the James River district by the commissioners of the Navy Board in Williamsburg. Shortly after the Revolution, he built a home "Violet Bank" on a hill overlooking the Appomattox River in Colonial Heights, Chesterfield County. Shore also was an avid rider and owned membership in the Petersburg Jockey Club. On 25 June 1793 he married Jane Gray Wall in Greensville County; they subsequently had three daughters.
Cataloging source
Form designation
Articles of incorporation
  • The Library of Virginia
Immediate source of acquisition
L&T Respess Books
Type of unit

Library Locations

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      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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