William Jarvis brought merino sheep to America. While serving as United States consul to Portugal, he acquired large numbers of merinos that were highly valued for the quality of their wool, and shipped them to America. He moved to Weathersfield, Vermont in 1812, purchasing 2,000 acres of land on the Connecticut River.
This farm was famous not only for its sheep, but also for its pigs, horses, and dogs. Jarvis believed in scientific agriculture. He also felt the federal government should impose tariffs on imported goods such as raw wool and textiles, providing economic protection for American producers. When these protections failed in the late 1830s and the bottom fell out of the wool market, even a wealthy sheep farmer like Jarvis suffered.
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