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"Chartered 1828; opened 1836. Jonathan Worth, N.C. governor (1865-68), its president. Supplied clothing for Confederate war effort. 2 mi. N." The beginnings of the textile industry in North Carolina are generally traced to the building of the Schenck-Warlick Mill in Lincoln County in 1814. Cotton manufacturing grew slowly, with six mills established in the 1820s, twenty-five in the 1830s, and thirty-two in the 1840s. Randolph County, in the center of the state and the heart of the Piedmont textile belt, had five cotton mills in place by 1860, each of them water-powered and situated on the Deep River. The first of these was Cedar Falls Manufacturing Company, chartered by the state legislature in 1828 as “The Manufacturing Company of the County of Randolph.”
Jonathan Worth (1802-1869), North Carolina governor from 1865 to 1868, was chiefly responsible for securing the charter and remained a principal investor throughout his life. At the time of his death he was president of the company. A subscription campaign followed the securing of the charter for his grist mill. The original frame building was replaced with a brick structure in 1846.
By the late 1850s the “Cedar Falls” name was known throughout the state due to astute marketing of the brand. During the Civil War the Cedar Falls mill was the state’s principal supplier of soldiers’ shirts and drawers. Once the Confederacy began conscription, Worth took steps to keep his mill employees out of the army, certifying that their work in Randolph was essential to the war effort. The mill escaped damage by Gen. William T. Sherman’s federal troops. Part of the antebellum factory survives to this day and is incorporated within a larger mill building.
Diffee W. Standard and Richard W. Griffin, “The Cotton Textile Industry in Antebellum North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review (January and April 1957): 15-35, 131-164
Elizabeth Y. Webb, “Cotton Manufacturing and State Regulation in North Carolina, 1861-1865,” North Carolina Historical Review (April 1932): 117-137
Richard L. Zuber, Jonathan Worth (1965)
Randolph County, 1779-1979 (1980)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.