Dillon County History and Genealogy, graphic by Victoria


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 request.

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 County.

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 Ed Howell

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Dillon County History and Genealogy

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