City Directories and History: James Morrow Ivy (1836-1896) James Morrow Ivy came to Rock Hill from the Indian Land area of Lancaster County. His father was Rev. Adam Ivy, whose home still stands in the Indian Land area, and who was founder of several Methodist churches and farmed a 1,500-acre plantation. James Ivy
came to Rock Hill as a boy to study at the Rock Hill Academy and later Ebenezer Academy. He went to South Carolina College (now USC) and served in the Civil War, where he was badly wounded. He returned to Rock Hill in 1869 and started the J. M. Ivy Company. He became one of the largest cotton buyers in upper South Carolina. He is credited with inventing the cotton futures market as early as 1872. Because of his volume of
trading, he could offer better prices for cotton than any other dealer. This brought farmers to Rock Hill from a wide area. The town’s business in cotton went from 2,000 bales to well over 12,000 bales in just a few years. This level of trading helped many other businesses, as farmers were in town with money in their hands. Ivy invested in a number of other businesses, including a drug store, and the creation of the Lantern newspaper, which eventually became the Herald. With A. E. Hutchison, he helped create the first textile mill, the Rock Hill Cotton Factory, in 1888. Ivy served as Mayor for two terms. Many consider him the “Father of Rock Hill” because of the great progress the city made under his leadership. Two of the Ivy children are buried next to Mr. and Mrs. Ivy. The figures represent an exact likeness of the children. Their photos were sent to Italy, where statues were carved and shipped to Rock Hill. [Written and contributed by Paul M. Gettys with research assistance from Louise Pettus]
The Herald reported on Jan. 18, 1883 – “Ivy and Fewell ad featuring cloths, wagon and plows.”
The Herald reported on Sept. 10, 1885 – Reported J.M. Ivy and Co., has suspended operations due to Mr. Ivy’s poor health. This cotton and banking firm is better known than any other in South Carolina. The company deals in 20-30,000 bales annually and has extensive banking operations. The Herald furthermore reported on Sept. 17, 1895 on the death of Mr. Ivy. The Ivy Company was made up of principles: J.M. Ivy, J.J. Roach and R.T. May. (The Charleston News and Courier reported in 1890 – “The Rock Hill Herald was established in 1876 by J.M. Ivy and has grown to be a first class newspaper.)
The Herald reported on Nov. 4, 1886 on the sale of the estate of J.M. Ivy – It included 4,776 acres of land and four town lots, three with brick buildings.
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