City Directories and History: York was just like many Piedmont towns wanting to jump on the growth of cotton mills in the region. The town had several including those pictured here.
The Herald reported on March 7, 1896 – “That the corporators of the York Cotton Mill met at the offices of Finley and Brice to elect officers and make final arrangements for construction of a mill. On March 11, “the Yorkville Cotton Mill site has been changed to a lot formally owned by Mr. Withers Adicks, about one mile from the O.R. and C. Depot. They have purchased 125 acres on the railroad. E.B. Beard is Pres., and J. R. Ashe is Sec. – Treasurer.”
The Herald reported on May 30, 1896 – “That the cottages for the Yorkville Cotton Mill will be completed in a short time, and the factory will be put up as soon as the bricks are ready. They hope to complete the factory by Nov. 1.”
The Herald reported on Feb. 11, 1899 – “The York Cotton mills is building 15 new houses, some of which are for two families.”
The Herald reported on April 1, 1899 – On an accident at the Yorkville Cotton Mills. “R.C. Wallace was unloading a rail car when he fell off and suffered head injuries and a broken ankle.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on March 28, 1900 – “The York Cotton Mill has granted a 3% wage increase for its operatives. The Pres. is J.R. Ashe and the Supt. is Mr. Grimes.”
The RH Herald carried an article from the Gastonia News stating that Mr. R.L. Hollybough and Mr. J.H. Neal have a contract to build a large store for the Yorkville Cotton Mill. It will be two stories high and will require 300,000 brick.”
The Herald reported on Aug. 1st 1900 – “The Sutro Cotton Mill in Yorkville has gone bankrupt which has caused the bankruptcy of the Loan and Savings Bank of York. The proprietor of the mill is Mr. T.B. McClain.”
The Herald reported on Dec. 19, 1900 – “Mr. G.W. Thurmond and wife of Baltimore, have arrived in Yorkville. He will take charge of the grocery dept. of the York Cotton Mill store.”
The Herald reported on May 15, 1901 – “The bond holders of the Sutro Cotton Mill Co., in Yorkville have taken charge of the corporation. Mr. W.W. Lewis, Trustee took the action. The mill is standing ideal and will be put up for sale.”
The Rock Hill Record on April 1, 1907 – “T.M. Whisonant of Poag Realty has sold ten lots in the Whisonant addition of Yorkville to J.R. Killian of the York Cotton Mills.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Sept. 7, 1907 – “Mr. John R. Logan of the Firm of the Firm of K.K. Keller and Co., and Sutp. John F. Gordon have a large force of brick layers and other workman quiet busy with the construction of the new $100,000. cotton mill in Yorkville. The Lockmore Mill is just below the Southern Railroad Depot. Col. Thomas P. Moore is Pres – Treasurer, the mill will run on electricity provided by Catawba Power Company and will be the first mill in S.C. to have a system of electric motors. This will allow the machines to run with no belts and shafts. The building will be 300-75 feet. The Southern is building a side track to the mill.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on July 23, 1908 – “By the end of July, the Lockmore Cotton Mills at Yorkville, will be ready for operation. The mill is capitalized at $100,000. and will manufacture fine yarns from Peller and Egyptian cotton. The building is 75-300 ft., and is one story and the mill has 6,500 spindles.”
In August 1896, construction began on the York Cotton Mill, of which Ashe’s brother Col. John R. Ashe was general manager. W. N. Ashe served as contractor for the construction of the mill and also made the brick for the mill building on site.[vi] John R. Ashe led the mill until his death in March 1901.[vii] (Contribution via P.M. Gettys – 2016)
Mr. Ashe died in March of 1901 and was written up as as “Sad Tragedy in Yorkville.” (Herald March 20, 1901) On March 27, 1901, the Herald reported that the board of the York Cotton Mills has met twice since the death of Mr. Ashe. They have called in outside financial experts and plan to reorganize the operations. Several stock holders have resigned and new board members appointed, including: W.R. Carroll, S.L. Miller, W.W. Lewis, and M.C. Willis. The mill may need to issue bonds to meet their obligations.
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