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"Textile, furniture, and wagon manufacturer and banker. A benefactor of Lenoir Rhyne College. His grave is 100 yards E." Daniel Efird Rhyne, business leader and founder of Lenoir-Rhyne College, was born on February 8, 1852, to Moses H. and Margaret Hoffman Rhyne. He grew up on a farm near Woodlawn in what was then Lincoln County, now Gaston. He eventually had a hand in renaming his hometown Mount Holly, after the textile town of the same name in New Jersey. Rhyne attended Lincoln County’s common schools and, from 1871 to 1872, he pursued studies at North Carolina College, a Lutheran institution in Mount Pleasant.
Rhyne entered the cotton mill industry at age twenty-two when he and his brother Abel built the Mount Holly Cotton Mill at the confluence of Dutchman’s Creek and the Catawba River. In 1887 he and his brother-in-law J. A. Abernethy erected the Laboratory Cotton Mill just south of Lincolnton, and then later the Daniel and Wampum Mills in Lincolnton. Their ventures are credited with bringing industry, business, and a population explosion to Lincoln County. Aside from cotton mills, Rhyne also owned and operated Lincoln Lithia Inn, a summer resort with celebrated healthful spring water, and he was an investor in the Piedmont Wagon Company in Hickory. His property holdings in western counties were extensive and he was an officer and substantial stockholder in several mills and banks.
Rhyne enjoyed sharing his wealth with Lutheran churches in areas near to his home and work. He is credited with significant gifts to at least twelve churches in Lincoln, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, and other nearby counties. Daniel Rhyne made generous contributions to the Lutheran-run Lenoir College in Hickory. In 1924, the school changed its name to Lenoir-Rhyne College in honor of their benefactor. Rhyne died on February 25, 1933 and was buried in the cemetery at Lutheran Chapel Church in Gastonia.
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V, 210—sketch by Frank P. Cauble
William L. Sherrill, Annals of Lincoln County, North Carolina (1967)
Jacob L. Morgan, and others, eds., History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina (1953)
Gary R. Freeze, The Catawbans: Crafters of the County (1995)
Lenoir-Rhyne College website: http://www.lrc.edu/hr/handbook/history.htm
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.