P. D. Gwaltney moved to Smithfield in 1870 and founded a business with his cousin O. G. They began a peanut business and Later they purchased a lot and built a store and their first smokehouse. In 1875 Gwaltney & Delk dissolve as P.D. Gwaltney buys out Delk. Around 1880 P.D. Gwaltney creates P.D. Gwaltney & Co, and constructs the first peanut cleaning plant and warehouse. The state-of-the-art complex featured the most modern technology for the time, some of which P.D. Gwaltney himself invented. In 1880, Gwaltney and his son, P. D. Gwaltney , Jr. went into business together. And began the sale of pork products. Then in 1897 they bought out Independent the Peanut Company of Smithfield thus expanding their peanut business and making them one of the most profitable peanut companies in the area
In 1902 he cured the first Smithfield ham and by 1906 had doubled the capacity of the curing and smoking facilities that were located behind the store.In 1914 P.D. Gwaltney resigned from his post at the American Peanut Corporation and passed away the following year. P.D. Gwaltney, Jr. took control of the family assets and sold off the last remaining peanut factories to American Peanut Corporation to buy into more of the ham business. By 1913 they had over 10,000 hams in their inventory.
P.D. Gwaltney Jr., was a marketing genius who in the age before home refrigerators made Smithfield synonymous with salt-cured pork, Gwaltney found a ham that had first been cured in 1902 but somehow eluded its original shipment and called the ham his pet. He put a collar around one end and promoted it as a symbol of Smithfield staying power. He even had the thing insured for $1,000 against fire and theft. The coverage was upped to $5,000 in 1932 after it was featured in Robert Ripley's "Believe It or Not" syndicated newspaper column. The claim was, no matter how old it was, it was still good enough to eat. After 100 years of being family owned, The business was sold in 1970 by ITT. In 1969 the year before they were sold the compnay employed 1,100 people and sold over 149,000,000 pounds of ham. In 1981 Smithfield foods bought gwaltney from ITT. In 2000 gwaltney bologna and Franks were named #1 in America
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