This chapter summarizes the development of the peppermint oil industry under the leadership of three families of peppermint kings that were prominent during distinct moments in the economic history of the United States. It recounts the earliest commerce in peppermint oil in colonial America and peppermint's culture and distilling in the early republic. It also analyzes the rurality of the peppermint kings as the common element that describes their attitudes and actions. This chapter describes the agency of the peppermint kings that confutes the widely accepted depiction of peripheral agriculturalists that was increasingly dominated by centralized economic power. It also examines the initiative of rural people and the ways they resisted mainstream American trends, which contributed to the understanding of rural America.
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