Graniteville Company | South Carolina Public Radio

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“G” is for Graniteville Company. Chartered by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1845, the Graniteville Company was one of the earliest and most successful textile manufacturing operations in the South. The guiding light behind its creation was William Gregg, a successful Charleston jeweler-turned-manufacturer who became a leading proponent of southern industrialization during the antebellum era. The company’s initial capitalization was $300,000. The company commenced operations in 1849, in a massive granite factory located on the banks of Horse Creek in southern Edgefield District [now Aiken County]. Most pre-Civil War southern manufacturers employed slave labor, but Gregg employed free white laborers—mostly women and teenagers. It was one of the few southern manufacturing companies to survive the Civil War intact. After the war, it expanded, building new factories in neighboring Vaucluse and Warrenville and acquiring mills in Augusta. After World War II, the Graniteville Company pioneered the production of permanent-press textiles.