Grayson County TXGenWeb
Denison Peanut Company

 
 

Denison Peanut Company

The Griffin Wholesale Company, which purchased the Denison Grocer Company Building in 1930 and the Waples-Platter Building in 1941, also operated the Denison Peanut Company for over 36 years.

The peanut factory was established in 1910 on the south side of West Morgan Street between Austin Avenue and Rusk Avenue, by a Virginia-born pioneer named Mr. Woody. After less than a year in operation, Barnhart Mercantile of St. Louis, Missouri, bought the operation. George O. Morgan was manager of the company during the Barnhart’s twenty-four years in operation at the plant. On Labor Day, 1930, one of Denison’s worst fires swept the site, heavily damaging the main structure and wiping out some of the other structures. Repairs were made, and business resumed without much delay.



Barnhart Mercantile Employees
23 February 1931

In 1935, Griffin Wholesale, already operating the two other companies in Denison, bought the peanut company and added a number of new products, including peanut butter and oil. George Homer became manager during the Griffin operation, and eventually he purchased the firm, which became known as Griffin Leake.

Denison Peanut Company
200 block West Morgan St.
Staff, Pecan Department
February 8, 1938
Source: Collection of Grayson County Frontier Village

A 1939 publication described the factory in this way: "A peanut processing company, in addition to the manufacture of peanut butter, oils, and dairy feed, engages in the processing of pecans, 7,500 pounds of which are handled daily in season. Shelling by mechanical methods is developing an additional industry, with numbers of farmers planting pecan trees in former waste space on their lands." (United States, Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration in the State of Texas, The Denison Guide. American Guide Series [Denison, TX: Denison Chamber of Commerce, 1939], page 19).

Louise Musmecci Meek and Katherine "Katy" Musmecci Miller, sisters, worked at the peanut factory during the 1930s.

Griffin-Leake began expanding in 1964, building a big new warehouse on the property.

George Morrow, born in Alabama but raised in Graceville, Florida, moved to Durant, Oklahoma, and did a term as mayor. In 1947, he purchased the Durant Cotton Oil Company, which he sold to Gold Kist in 1966. He took over as manager of Griffin Leake in 1969 and bought the firm in 1971. At the time, the company moved away from peanut butter and expanded more into the seed peanut business. In 1975, the company had seventy-five employees, and a new office structure was built across the street, on the southwest corner of Morgan Street and Rusk Avenue. In 1979, the Wilco Company took over the peanut plant. Charles Workem was president of the company, which continued operations for another decade before closing the historic plant.

 

1984 Denison Peanut Factory



 
 

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