“An extraordinary businessman and promoter of Anderson development.”
City Directories and History: 1905 & 1909 – J.J. Fetwell residence listed at #131 East Church Street.
Tugallo Creek and Tugallo River may refer to a place at the forks of a stream. It may also represent the cry of a species of wild goose. Both explanations are of Cherokee origin. (Letter from A. L. Pickens 6/27/63.) Fretwell Spring, also known as Crystal Spring was named after the Fretwells on whose land the spring was located. The J.J. Fretwell home was named Sunset Forest. (see 1897 map to the left.)
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
The Anderson Co. Township Map of 1896-97 included a listing for #70 “Property of Joseph J. Fretwell” as shown on the map this page.
J.J. FRETWELL, was the son of Joseph Younger and Nancy Louisa Russell Fretwell, husband of Mary Catherine Bleckley.
“John Joseph Fretwell, son of Joseph Y. and Nancy Louisa Russell Fretwell, was born at Anderson, South Carolina, March 21, 1849. His father was a farmer, a captain in the state militia prior to the war, and a man noted for honesty and truthfulness.
In boyhood Joseph Fretwell was blessed with perfect health. He passed his early life in the country, amusing himself with outdoor sports, hunting, fishing, and riding, and also assisting in feeding stock on the farm and often working as a hand. He had little time for reading, but biographies of great men interested him most. He attended an “old-field” country school, and later took a business course at Bryant and Stratton’s college in Baltimore, graduating about 1874.
After the close of the war, Mr. Fretwell’s father, then over sixty years of age, turned over his farm to his son of sixteen, placing upon him the responsibility of making the crop with the help of three or four hands. He made and gathered two crops and was well contented with his work. But one day, while in the field gathering corn with a negro boy, a buggy drove up and he was summoned to Anderson, a village of less than two thousand inhabitants, to clerk in a store. Upon his arrival he was employed as a helper in a general merchandise store, conducted by Mr. Sylvester Bleckley. Nothing was said about salary, but the youth entered upon the work before him with great interest and enthusiasm, working day and night with the determination to succeed.
Five years later Mr. Bleckley made partners of three of his clerks, including young Fretwell. From that time the business flourished, and in the three years following the partners made considerable money. In the meantime Mr. Fretwell had married Miss Mary Catherine Bleckley, the second daughter of his former employer. He now asked for an increased share in the business, and from that time on the firm was composed of Messrs. Sylvester Bleckley, Elijah W. Brown and Mr. Fretwell, all equally interested. Fifteen years of business success followed, the trade becoming very large, when Mr. Brown withdrew from the firm, leaving Messrs. Bleckley and Fretwell in charge. They now discontinued the sale of general merchandise, taking up live stock, vehicles and harness. For thirty years Messrs. Bleckley and Fretwell were in business together, their relations being most harmonious. Mr. Bleckley was a man of strong impulses, generous, but a strict disciplinarian, hewing to the line. Coming from ancestors who were alike rigid in their ideas and honesty of purpose, Mr. Fretwell easily fell in with the business views of his senior partner; and, since the death of the latter, has tried to follow, in every respect, his teaching and example.
At the death of Mr. Bleckley, Mr. Fretwell, who was made his executor and the trustee of the Bleckley estate, bought out the interest of his deceased partner and continued in business. He organized the Peoples Bank of Anderson with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, and was made its president. He was president of the Anderson Hardware company; a director of the Peoples Furniture company of Anderson, and of the Isaqueena Cotton mills at Central, South Carolina; president of the Peoples Oil and Fertilizer company, the Fretwell-Hanks company, the Oconee County Railway company, and of the Anderson Guaranty and Trust company, which he has recently organized.
With one exception, Mr. Fretwell has taken an active part in promoting all the mills that have been organized in and around his city, subscribing to their capital stock and giving them encouragement in other ways. The first cotton mill built in Anderson, the Anderson Cotton mill, was largely indebted to the interest taken by Mr. Fretwell’s firm, and he was one of eight committeemen who laid the plans by which the mill was organized in one day’s time.
Mr. Fretwell has assisted many young men in taking part in different enterprises of his city and county, and is proud of their success. He has also assisted in all public enterprises of his town and county. He is not a club man, neither is he an officeholder, except that, in 1876, he was captain on Governor Hampton’s staff.
He owns the old homesteads of his father and grandfather, on one of which he is maintaining in comfort the old slave who “toted” him in childhood.
Mr. Fretwell warns the young men of the South to avoid the use of whisky and tobacco in every form, and the practice of lying. These three evils he regards as the curse of the country. “If,” says he, “our Southern young men want to forge to the front in agriculture and manufacturing, they must learn to load light and come often.” He advises close application to business, punctuality, honesty, and temperance. The liberation of the slaves meant, in his judgment, the liberation of the South.
Having already accumulated more than a hundred thousand dollars, and being in a fair way to become a millionaire in the next ten years, Mr. Fretwell takes a pardonable pride in the degree of success he has achieved, and believes that, being the husband of a contented and happy wife, with a family of eight happy children, he can easily take the first place among his neighbors in true happiness.
Mr. Fretwell is a Democrat in politics, and a Baptist in religion. His address is Number 737 Church street, Anderson, South Carolina.”
Published in “Men of mark in South Carolina; ideals of American life: a collection of biographies of leading men of the state”
“The Fretwell Carriage business has now been restored and incorporated into The Bleckley Hotel and event center in downtown Anderson. The carriage building has been beautifully restored into a wedding venue. One side is a courtyard. The walls and ceiling of the carriage house have been left rustic. Prior to its restoration it was used to house the Budweiser Clydesdale horses for a historic celebration in Anderson.” – Robert C. Peurifoy, 2012 Information via Find A Grave Data
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