This is a continuation of older posts about seedsman F. B. Mills.
An example of Mr. Mills penchant for taking a plunge, and sometimes inviting others to take it with him, is illustrated in this February 1905 inquiry to the periodical, United States Investor.
F. B. Mills' Ginseng Farm.
14T80. (Fall River, Mass.) Would you advise or recommend a purchase of stock in the Ginseng Farm of F. B. Mills. Rose Hill, New York, at 80 cents per share, par value $1? Are the chances good of the farm paying at least a 7 per cent dividend before the year 1905, and 500 per cent dividends in five years' time?
Ans.: We should hardly care to advise a purchase of stock In F. B. Mills' Ginseng Farm at 80 cents per share. We are told that the farm referred to consists of only about one acre in extent, and that it is capitalized for $100,000.
Mr. Mills Is a successful dealer in seeds and has branched out into other enterprises, among them the "ginseng farm" or garden. The future of the business is so problematical that it is all guesswork as to the outcome, but the opinion is that the demand for ginseng seed and plants comes principally from small dealers and growers who anticipate great profits in the future, and that when that demand is filled, prices will drop. Mr. Mills expects the shares of stock to be worth $100 "at a very conservative figure" and to "reach dividends of $5 each in five years' time," - statements which are considered absurd. We do not recommend a purchase of the stock.
At various times there have been rumors that Mills, of Rose Hill, N.Y, was planning to move his business to some point where he could better transportation facilities.
Mr. Mills does a large business in seeds and plants, and very successfully, but “the wine of success is often intoxicating,” and Mr. Mills has, at sundry times, been under the influence.
He has tried his hand at various schemes outside of his seed and plant business, such as railroad building, the raising of fancy fowls, the making of incubators, the growing of ginseng, and finally, took a plunge into the general merchandise business along the lines followed by the Sears-Roebuck Company, but none of these ventures has been a pronounced success, and one or two have been rather costly failures.
It is true he is still growing ginseng but just how successful from a financial point of view cannot be learned. Considering that Mr. Mills never spent an hour's apprenticeship at any seed house before embarking in business for himself, his great success in this business is all the more creditable to him, as he is the son of a poor farmer, and had scarcely been out of his father's dooryard before his first catalogue was issued.
Returning to the question of his removal, it can be said that while he contemplates establishing a branch in the West, his headquarters for the present at least, will remain in Rose Hill, as his investment here must have cost him at least $100,00, and is altogether too large and expensive an outfit to be abandoned without most urgent reasons and compensating advantages.
Horticulture, Volume 5,June 22, 1907