Much of the information on this site details the day-to-day lives of the mill workers in that detail is given of how the workers in the late 1800s and early 1900s came out of the agricultural style of earning a living to being part of a manufacturing environment, working a regular schedule regardless of the season. Early in this history the mill companies presented a paternalistic lifestyle to their employees. As examples, the mill company provided community housing at affordable rates, operated mill stores where food and daily living supplies could be purchased with tokens purchased by the employee from the company, built churches and sometimes subsidized the pastor’s salary, provided recreation activities that included mill teams in baseball and basketball. In time this pattern changed as economic and competitive climates changed. This site will ultimately provide details of the realities of day-to-day millhill life on the manufacturing villages covered by this site, scmillhills.com.
Early settlers came from England where the art of spinning and weaving was well known in its rural communities. They brought with them hand looms and spinning wheels with which they made fabric for their clothes. New England became the center of the textile center in this country due primarily to the New England legislative enactments of 1643 which encouraged home industries. Development of textile manufacturing continued through the years with a major accomplishment being noted in 1788 with the start of production of the first cotton mill in New England at Beverly, Massachusetts, known as Beverly Manufacturing Company. Textile manufacturing continued to increase in New England until the Civil War period led the South to search for industry in its attempt to recover from the ravages of the War. Progress in the South was rapid. The textile development was astounding. By 1900 the South had acquired installed looms to a factor of one-third of those installed in New England. Greenville was a major part of the southern textile expansion. In the late 1800s thru 1914 Greenville saw an expansion of the industry to include the mills that are the focus of this website.