City Directories and History: 1908 (Woods M. Steele, Pauline B. – 376 East Black), (422 East Black – Bottling Works) Steele’s Spring Bottling Works, Mr. Woods M. Steele – Pauline B. (Manager of Western Union Telegraph Co., and prop. of Steele Spring Bottling Works, lives at 376 East Black.)
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on July 29, 1891 – “Rock Hill is becoming a summer resort. There will be more visitors when the mineral springs near here are developed. Mr. Steele the owner is expecting an analysis of the water. He has been assured by the chemists that it is a mineral water without impurities. On Aug. 5th the paper also stated, “Steele’s Springs are rising to prominence. The analysis of one spring was received by the owner a few days ago, and it was found that it possesses mineral qualities of a high quality. The water is being sold daily all over Rock Hill by Mr. Steele at .10$ per gallon. He delivers it to each purchaser and from the large number of vessels he must have a host of people drinking it. Besides the delivery, numbers of people drive or walk out to the springs every morning and afternoon.”
The 1908 Rock Hill City Directory has an add for Steele’s Mineral Water – “It cures indigestion, stomach, liver, kidney and bladder diseases and is prescribed by leading physicians. Delivered daily from a wagon. Woods M. Steele, Prop.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on April 4, 1907 – “Mr. Woods M. Steele has bought the noted Steele Mineral Spring near the city and will put it in first class condition. It was formerly operated by his father John G. Steele. The spring was discovered by the Catawba Indians many years ago. Mr. Steele will also improve the road to the springs.”
The Record reported on Oct. 10, 1907 – “Mr. Woods M. Steele, owner of the famous Steele Springs, has begun a building on East Black Street and will install a bottling plant to bottle his celebrated mineral water. He will also bottle all kinds of soft drinks made from the same water.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on Jan. 10, 1908 – “That Mr. E.M. Robbins who for some time held a position with S.H. McManus as salesman, has resigned and will accept a position with the Steele’s Mineral Springs Bottling works. Mr. Woods M. Steele, who is proprietor of the plant has erected a building on Black Street near the Graded School building, and will bottle all kinds of soft drinks with the celebrated Steele’s Mineral water. He hopes to begin operation Feb. 1st, he will also bottle coco cola.”
The RH Record reported on Jan. 16, 1908 – “The Record has a correction to our article on Steele’s Mineral Springs. They will not be bottling Coca Cola. This should have read that they will bottle, Koca Nola, the Rock Hill Coco Cola Bottling Company has the exclusive right to bottle Coca Cola.”
The Record reported on April 13, 1908 – “Haddon Mitchell, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Mitchell of this city, broke his leg. He works at the Steele Mineral Springs Bottling works. He feel from a wagon while making a delivery of a load of crates to Lando. He was taken to the home of Dr. J.N. Gaston for treatment. Later Mr. Woods Steele went down and brought him home in a surrey.”
The RH Herald contained an ad entitled – “Free Picnic Ground” – The public is cordially invited to use Steele Spring Park as a picnic ground. Comfortable seats and a picnic table have been placed in the grove near the spring for the use of the public. Spend your evenings at the spring. Steele’s Mineral Water is a positive cure for all stomach, liver, kidney and bladder disorders, Woods M. Steele, Pro.”
The RH Herald contained an article on Aug 15, 1908 – Steele Spring a Popular Place – “Steele’s Mineral Springs and the beautiful grove nearby have been fixed up and it is now a favorite place. The road leading to the spring has been put in good condition and many Rock Hill people are going to fill up on the delightful water. It is a mile and one half from the Post Office and a good road all the way. Near the spring is a ravine through which a stream runs and Mr. Steele contemplates making a pond there. The water is known far and wide and is being shipped to several states. The spring is hundreds of years old and has been used for drinking by many generations.”
The Rock Hill Record of Feb. 15, 1909 reported – “Ms. M.R. Garnett of Washington DC is wintering in Rock Hill to drink Steele Spring mineral water.”
The RH Record reported on Fe. 18, 1909 – “Mr. Woods M. Steele has sold to Mr. J.C. Lindsay of this city, the Steele Spring Bottling Works, located on East Black Street near the Graded School. Mr. Steele wants to spend more time with the spring and the sale of mineral water and developing the grounds around the spring.”
The RH Record reported on Nov. 22, 1909 – “Dr. Backstrom and his mother Lucy Backstrom, who is also the mother of Mrs. Wood Steele, have been visiting the Steeles in Rock Hill and left last night for their home in Tutwiller, Mississippi.”
Family History Chart: Woods Montgomery Steele, the owner of the Bottling Works, was the great-great grandson of Capt. Joseph Steele, whose son was John (married Margaret Barry), who had a son, Joseph Alexander Steel (married Elizabeth Kirkpatrick), whose son was John Gillam Steele (married Mary Susan Atkinson), it was John G. Steele who began the bottling works, followed by his son, Woods M. Steele. *** Information courtesy of Steele family member Millard Stafford – 11.27.2017
Obituary of Woods M. Steele – The Rock Hill Record carried the following article on May 27, 1912 reporting on the death of Woods M. Steele.
Citizens learned yesterday morning that Mr. Woods M. Steele had passed away during the night. He had been critically ill for some time. Until his recent illness, he was manager at this place of the Western Union Telegraph office, which position he has held for a number of years, with the exception of about a year because of illness. He was considered one of the most efficient employees of that company.
About 35 years of age, Mr. Steele was the son of Capt. John G. and Susan Atkinson Steele of this city, having been born and reared at the old homestead just outside the corporate limits. Surviving are his wife, the former Pauline Backstrom of the Richburg section of Chester County and two sons. Also surviving are two sisters, Mamie and Orrie Steele of Rock Hill and brother Gill Steele of Charlotte.
The funeral was at First Presbyterian Church yesterday, with burial at Laurelwood Cemetery. Pallbearers were W. A. Douglas, C. D. Cunningham, Fred Bell, S. H. Hay, T. A. Moore, D. C. Stevenson. Mr. Steele was also a member of the Oakland Lodge, Knights of Pythias.
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