William Gregg (1800-1897), who introduced the cotton textile industry into South Carolina, was born near Carmicheals, West Virginia, where he received no formal education. During his youth, he held an apprenticeship in watch making and silversmithing. In 1824, he came to South Carolina and established himself as a silversmith in Columbia. In 1845, using native materials and labor as much as possible, he established a textile factory in Graniteville and a surrounding village in the Edgefield District that became a model for others in the industry (See The Graniteville Mill). Houses, classrooms, books, teachers for children ages six through twelve, a library, and health and recreational facilities were provided in the village that Gregg developed for the workers. This factory provided employment for many of the poor whites who could not find employment in the plantation economy of the state. The portrait is from a painting by Keyohei Inukai.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.