By October 5, 2012 6 Comments Read More →

How HEMP Built America

Becca Wolford, Contributing Writer
Waking Times

Early this morning, on my routine act of browsing the net, I came across a link about a new 3-episode show hosted by (my favorite!) Mike Rowe – yes, he’s the Dirty Jobs host – and the title of the show is, “How Booze Built America.”  It appears to be very interesting, with lots of historical content. Here is a blurb about the show:

“Did you know that the Puritans landed the Mayflower early on Plymouth Rock … because they ran out of beer? Or that Johnny Appleseed was actually creating farms to sell hard apple cider? Mike Rowe does, and he’ll walk you through all of this and more. He’s proven that dirty jobs can be fun. He’s ready to do the same for history.” ~

Now, this caused me to fire off some neurons…booze was only ONE aspect in the history of our fine country. What about HEMP?

Hemp was a critical component of our history, agriculture, economy, and environment.  It was used for food, clothing, shelter, fuel, and so on.

Let’s look again at this phrase: “Did you know the Puritans landed the Mayflower early on Plymouth Rock … because they ran out of beer?”

Do you know HOW they were able to sail to Plymouth Rock? HEMP! It was used for the ship’s rigging and sails, because hemp was stronger and more hardy than other materials.  AND….how did hemp arrive in America?

Hemp arrived in Colonial America with the Puritans in the form of seed for planting and as fiber in the lines, sails and caulking of the Mayflower. British sailing vessels were never without a store of hemp seed, and Britain’s colonies were compelled by law to grow hemp.

Hemp was the fiber of choice for maritime uses because of its natural decay resistance and its adaptability to cultivation. Each warship and merchant vessel required miles of hempen line and tons of hempen canvas, which meant the Crown’s hunger for the commodity was great. Ship captains were ordered to disseminate hemp seed widely to provide fiber wherever repairs might be needed in distant lands.” ~

An interesting side note: Some of the early colonists came to American in the hopes of finding their wealth with silver and gold, then returning home with their riches. They did not arrive with the intent of growing hemp. However, English rule served a proclamation that they were to farm hemp.

By the mid-1600s, hemp had become an important part of the economy in New England, and south to Maryland and Virginia. The Colonies produced cordage, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper from hemp during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Most of the fiber was then destined for British consumption, although at least some was used for domestic purposes. Ironically, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were penned on hemp paper.

Hemp fiber was so important to the young Republic that farmers were compelled by patriotic duty to grow it, and were allowed to pay taxes with it. George Washington grew hemp and encouraged all citizens to sow hemp widely. Thomas Jefferson bred improved hemp varieties, and invented a special brake for crushing the plant’s stems during fiber processing.” ~

Later on in our history hemp was used for fuel, as well as in automobile components, thanks to the genius of Henry Ford (who also grew his own hemp).

Today we see hemp in many more applications – plastics, paper products, construction, shoes, infant clothing…the list is almost unlimited as to how hemp can be used.

So you see, this wonderful plant was an integral part of our colorful history and continues to be an important component for industry, health, environment, and economy.

About the Author

Becca Wolford is a writer, entrepreneur, artist, reiki practitioner, and hemp activist. She has experienced first-hand the nutritional and healing benefits of hemp and her passion is learning, writing, and educating others about the benefits of hemp – benefits that encompass nutritional health for humans, a healthy environment, and a healthier economy. Becca also distributes Versativa, an amazing raw, clean, hemp-based nutritional supplement and Restoration90, a raw, clean, nutritional product with marine phytoplankton, hemp, and essential nutrients for optimum health. Please support her at her excellent blog

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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  • Burton Hughes

    Congratulations on your success with hemp products.One demand has virtually disappeared. S

    • Burton Hughes

      Congratulations on your success with hemp products. One demand for it that is gone was a massive demand for rope in the days before steam ships. Sailing vessels required huge amounts of rope each. In promoting the production of hemp oil as a motor fuel, you may have a winner. Ethanol alcohol is used used as a fuel blend here in the U S. Thanks to lobbyist corn is being used as the feed stock and it is costing more to produce per gallon than is yielded as a fuel. The process now exist to make it from any cellulose,grass garbage and Etc.I think you need to give some information about the amount of hemp fuel oil that would be needed to produce a 42 gallon barrel of hemp oil from the start of cultivation. How does it compare to diesel fuel? there are other methods to produce synthetic fuel oil. I hope your idea proves to be a viable alternative to crude based fuel oil.

  • cos seven

    i bet hemp was in America waaay before the mayflower (wonder what flower that is anyway. A hemp flower perhaps?)

  • Jabez

    “Later on in our history hemp was used for fuel, as well as in automobile components, thanks to the genius of Henry Ford (who also grew his own hemp).”

    Zeus outlawed this gift God gave us, through Reefer Madness,
    only because he had previously reduced mankind to accidental apes, through the theory of evilution.

    Now that the DNA has exposed the accidental ape theory as a Darwinian Brain Fart, at the same time confirming Christ’s words (spoken over 2,000 years ago)

    “The very hairs of your head are all numbered”

    “I give to mankind, every seed bearing herb on the face of the whole earth” and the oily serpent seed made the fake Herb War, and THEY suck poisons from the earth and suppress
    the natural cures for cancer etc … and we pay.

    Only 7 more years, (2,520 days) from the confirmation of the covenant,(after this coming middle east war is over)
    till this SCAM ends.

    Zeus “will be chained, and dropped into the bottomless pit,
    and will no longer deceive the nations, for a thousand years”

    The deceiver HATES truth, because he IS condemned, that IS the truth. ALL paths/religions lead to the eternal Lake,
    Christ came to his creation, and redeemed it with his blood.
    It is a gift of God, He alone IS worthy.(religion hates the true Christ to this very day.)

    Christ will restore his earth, and all herb will be ours again. No herb nazi’s, no for profit cancer complex, etc …


  • Joe

    If growing hemp were to become legal again it would put a huge dent in DuPont’s profits.
    That is why it is illegal … It competes with the DuPont products … The company that lobbies against it

    Wake up … It is not pot it’s hemp … And it’s seeds have a ton of nutrition … Plus it stops cancer from spreading

    Good job America …. Drink your flouride and STFU … Me needs my corn syrup

  • but the currency printers and crackwhores in Congress “represent” us and our “good” friends…like Talmudia.

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