Textile Factory - Salisbury Manufacturing Company
Builder: organized in 1839
Built: 1839 - 1840 Salisbury, NC
Owners: Several owners, including Maxwell Chambers
Specifications: Operational in fall 1840. The building was 3 stories of
brick and stone, tin roof; 125-feet long by 45-feet wide. Initially, there were
700 to 800 spindles in operation in November 1840, with more added bringing the
total up to around 1,200 by early 1841. There were 3,000 spindles and 70 looms
reported to be in operation by 1849.
In 1849, there were 120 workers, male and female. A 50 horsepower steam engine
ran the machinery. A spinning frame in use was from the Matteawan Machine
Company of New York.
Notes: The initial officers and directors were: William Chambers,
president & director; William H. Horan, treasurer; Directors (1838): Thomas
L. Cowan, Dolphin A. Davis, John Murphy.
The factory produced both cotton yarn and cloth.
In 1842, J. Rhodes Browne of Salisbury was acting as agent for the
company to merchants around the state.
In 1848, Salisbury financier Maxwell Chambers bought the
Salisbury Manufacturing Co. for $30,000 and renamed it the Rowan Factory. While
much of the factory's output was sold within the state, the factory did sell
cloth and batting shipped to Northern markets. During 1849, the mill
superintendent was J. G. Cairns.
the mill continued to struggle. Prior to his death, Maxwell Chambers sold the
factory to J. S. and P. B. Chambers. Maxwell Chambers died in 1855. Coming into
the possession of Davidson College, the facility eventually was
abandoned sometime between 1856 and 1860.
The mill and land was bought by the
Confederate government in 1861 and turned into the Salisbury prison for Union soldiers.
The facility was destroyed by Union troops in April 1865. A drawing from 1863 showed Union prisoners playing baseball one of the early depictions of
North Carolina Business History web site
to NC Textile Mills, pre-1860
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