City Directories and History: The Yorkville Enquirer on Nov. 9, 1887 reported – “Work on the cotton factory in Fort Mill has resumed. It is thought that the looms will be in operation by the end of the winter. The boilers and engine are now being installed, the brick work completed, the roof nearly complete, and the cottages almost finished.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Feb. 21, 1889 – “The Fort Mill Manufacturing Co., started its spinning mill on Thursday morning. It has a capacity of 7,500 spindles, this is in addition to the weave mill which turns out 8,000 yards of gingham daily. The officers are: Pres. Capt. S.E. White, Sec – Tres. J. M. Spratt, and Supt. M. M. Mauney, recently of Cleveland Co., N.C.”
The YV Enquirer reported on Feb. 3, 1892 – “Mill operatives from Chester have been looking for work at the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company.” (The Chester Mill had recently burned and employees were needing work.)
The YV Enquirer reported on an accident in the mill as of Feb. 3, 1892 – “Mr. G.L. Sewell a loom fixer at the factory, got his hand caught in some gearing and it was badly cut.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on June 8, 1892 – “The addition to the main building of the Fort Mill Manufacturing Co., is progressing satisfactorily and will soon be ready for the placement of machinery. The factory will have about 400 looms upon completion.”
The Yorkville Enquirer as of Sept. 13, 1893 reporter that John M. Spratt, who has been Sec. and Treasurer of the Fort Mill Manufacturing Co., since its organization, has resigned on account of ill health. Mr. B.D. Springs was elected as his successor.”
The Herald reported on Feb. 8, 1896 -“Mr. J. B. Streaker, Supt. of the Fort Mill Man. Co., will move his family from Petersburg, Va., and will occupy the dwelling recently occupied by Mrs. R. H. Fullwood, above the mill.”
The Herald on March 2, 1901 stated, “Most of the new spinning machinery recently ordered by the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company has arrived and is being installed this week.”
The Herald reported on April 9, 1902 – “The Fort Mill Manf. Co., has engaged Miss Essie Marcus of Lake City, S.C. to teach a school in the village for the benefit of the operatives.”
The Fort Mill Times on Dec. 8, 1910 – “A special meeting of the Savings Bank of Fort Mill board increased the stock form $20,000. to $25,000. It is one of the town’s oldest and most substantial institutions. First opened in 1889 – the town has grown since then from 500 to 2,000. Weathered the panics of 1893 and 1907. In 1902 it was robbed of $4,500., Capt. S.E. White has been President since beginning and has had only two cashiers: J.M. Spratt and W.B. Meacham.”
The Herald reported on Sept. 26, 1918 – “A new firm has been organized in Fort Mill, the Fort Mill Gin Company, has a capital stock of $20,000. and will take over the cotton gin property formerly owned and operated by the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company. The gin has recently been renovated, and the new company plans to erect a cotton seed oil mill.”
The Fort Mill Times reported on Dec. 7, 1922 – That both the mills of the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company were closed Tuesday on account of low water in the Catawba River, curtailing the amount of electric power the Southern Power Co., was able to generate.”
William Hugh Close, son-in-law of EWS, took over the mill at the death of EWS. (Hugh William Close was born November 18, 1919, in Philadelphia, the son of Dr. Hugh William and Marian Lucy Crandall Close. He served during World War II as a lieutenant in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier Franklin, the most battered ship in United States Navy history. A degree in business from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1942 provided Close with a foundation for his life’s work, but he learned the fundamentals of the textile business in the sales offices and on the plant floors of Springs before moving into supervisory, technical, and executive positions. During Close’s leadership, Springs had its greatest period of growth. With a $250 million program of modernization and expansion, the company grew from eight plants and sales of $186 million in 1959 to 22 plants and sales of $293 million in 1969, when Close became board chairman. During that same period, Springs built a 21-story sales headquarters building in New York, listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange, and consolidated its sales and manufacturing organizations into one company called Springs Mills, Inc. He was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1987.)
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