Ed Howell's Project on Dillon's Cotton Mills
If you have any family stories, documents or photos which might help preserve the
history of Dillon's cotton mills, please consider sharing what you have so that this
important part of Dillon County's history is not lost.
Ed Howell, a wonderful
Dillonite and "mill child" has a project underway to preserve
the history of the mills and mill family life, and I hope all of
you will lend a hand in any way you can. You may, of course,
send items for posting to this web site, but I encourage you to also share whatever data you
may have with Ed. Please read below and you'll understand why I make such an unusual
From Ed Howell, 25 Jan 2002:
"As any of you who have read the many historical reports about Dillon County
from before it was formed from Marion County until this day know, very little
has ever been written about the cotton mills and their people who were the
lifeblood of Dillon County. Billy Lee did write a very interesting piece
about the Hamer Mill in one of the special issues of The Dillon Herald that
was printed some months ago. I recall, as a cotton mill brat, that I was not
allowed to use the public library or to join the Boy Scouts, or to even get a
job delivering sale papers for Rogers Stores or any of the other merchants in
the "city". I suppose that is one reason I built up my own library of
technical and reference books in so many scientific fields, medicine, and
mathematics. My library would rival many small town libraries. When the mills
closed, the attitude of the merchants changed; they began to see from where
their bread and butter came, and conditions changed. Unfortunately, many of
us had moved away to get jobs or to go to college and failed to reap many
benefits from this changed attitude. Younger readers of this may find it hard
to believe but the oldersters who lived through it are now nodding their
heads in agreement.
A childhood friend and I have wanted for some time to put
together material on the personal experiences or recollections of cotton mill
people or of their children and grandchildren. Our lives were totally
different from those that other Dillonites lived, and the many stories should
be of immediate and historical interest to those who have lived in Dillon or
love it as we do and want to learn things that have never before been
printed. The history and experiences of Dillon cotton mill people have never
been told. My friend and I are requesting that anyone with recollections,
from personal experiences, or from tales told by their ancestors, about
cotton mill life, mill village living, hardships. food shortages, etc. relate
these to us so that we might include them in our little cotton mill people
history booklet. One does not have to be a great writer to submit material.
Some may want to relate their stories into a tape recorder to be transcribed
and written out for them. Others may have pictures they will allow us to
copy. We will accept anything at all so that we might preserve a history that
is now almost dead. It will be cherished, I am sure, by future generations
who would otherwise not even be aware that Dillon once had thriving cotton
mills with their honest, hard working people that have thus far been ignored
by historians and by those who have written and still write about Dillon
Anyone who has a story to tell, or knows someone who might, can
contact me by e-mail or call my childhood friend, James Baker, who lives on
Crown Street in Dillon.
Anyone submitting material, either real or heresay (and this will be
identified as such) will get a free copy of our effort once it is completed.
This project might never get off the ground but James and I have thought and
prayed hard about it and would like to see it succeed."
For more details, please contact
Back to Dillon County, SC Cotton and Cotton Mills
Dillon County History and Genealogy
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