South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Mayo Mill — Cowpens, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Spartanburg County  |  Mayo Mill

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Mayo Mill

We would like to know more about this landmark, which is now in ruins, and are actively seeking additional information. If you can help, please add your knowledge below. Thank you!

Located near Cowpens in Spartanburg County, the first mill at this site – called Island Creek Mill – was built around 1885 (1). In 1899, B. E. Wilkins purchased the cotton plant, which by then had stood empty for a number of years (2).

Mayo Mill Ruins

Pete Lawrence of Sumter, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

From at least 1901, it operated as the Mary Louise Mill. During that year, its capital increased from $20,000 to $50,000. The mill, which already operated 1,040 spindles, was set to be significantly enlarged (3). We are unsure whether or not that occurred.

In 1903, the original building was destroyed by a flood that took out two other mills and killed at least 51 people (4). Mentions of the mill in local newspapers attest to the fact that it was again up and running by 1907 (5). It continued to operate until at least September 1936 (6).

Mayo Mill opened in 1940 (1) and is said to have closed in 1976 (7). A fire in the basement of Mayo Mill caused the plant to temporarily close in late 1967, and 160 people went without work (8). Mayo Mill burned again in 2000, and 20-year-old Aric Lee Auman was arrested for arson. According to a local newspaper report, “More than 100 firefighters worked for 12 hours to fight the fire that destroyed the 90-year-old textile facility” (7).

At some point, it may also have been known as Huckleberry Mill (1).

The following information comes from W. Hayne Neisler, the Vice President of Dicey Mills, Inc. in Shelby, North Carolina. He submitted it as a comment on another website back in 2011. Although it differs in minor regards to the information above, which we found in local newspaper articles as sourced, it provides some of the best information about Mayo Mill that we have yet come across, and we are reproducing it here as it is invaluable in filling in some gaps in dates and ownership.

My family purchased the Mayo Mill in 1938. The mill had been owned by Whitman Textiles from Boston, MA. The Mayo Mill had been closed for about two years when Neisler Mills of Kings Mountain, NC purchased the mill at a bankruptcy auction at the Spartanburg County Courthouse. The Neislers owned seven other textile mills in North and South Carolina and used the Mayo Mill to supply cotton yarn for its weaving mills that made upholstery, tablecloths, and napkins. Neisler Mills was well known in the textile business as the weavers of the famous gold satin curtain at the Radio Music Hall at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In 1955 Neisler Mills sold all eight of their mills to Horvath, Inc. of Lowell, MA. The Horvaths became involved with [the] Teamsters union in some unsavory loans and kickbacks and the mill was closed in the early 1970s.

Mayo Mill: Our Sources

1. Retrieved November 7, 2018.

2. The Bamberg Herald: Bamberg SC. August 31, 1899.

3. The Davie Record: Mocksville, NC. November 13, 1901

4. The Charlotte News: Charlotte, NC. June 9, 1903.

5. Yorkville Enquirer: York SC. March 8, 1907.

6. The Greenville News: Greenville, SC. September 5, 1936.

7. The Index-Journal: Greenwood, SC. March 3, 2000.

8. The Times and Democrat: Orangeburg, SC. December 5, 1967.

Mayo Mill: Help Us Learn More

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Mayo Mill Info

Address: Springdale Road, Cowpens, SC 29330
GPS Coordinates: 35.08642,-81.84523

Mayo Mill Map

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2 Comments about Mayo Mill

SC Picture Project says:
April 18th, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Thank you so much for this incredible information!

William Neisler says:
April 16th, 2019 at 8:59 pm

Neisler Mills owned Mayo Mill from 1938-1955. The Mayo mill had approximately 5,000 spindles to spin cotton yarn. Nearly all this spun yarn was shipped to Margrace Mill in Kings Mountain,N.C. to be package dyed various colors. In World War II Neisler Mills made 30,000 yards of cotton duck per week. Most of the yarn spun at Mayo Mill was used to weave this cotton duck. The duck fabric was used for parachutes, and body bags. Cotton from Mayo Mill was also used to weave tablecloths and napkins for the Navy Department.


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