• Cotton Mills, Toxaway Villiage, Anderson South Carolina

        Critical to the success in the early 20th century southern textile industry were the mill villages. Like coal camps and mining towns that supported their respective industries, mill villages supported textile and cotton mills, and consisted of company-provided worker homes, schools, a church, and of course, the company stores. And like the coal camps, mill villages were a way that companies could exert a watchful eye over their workers, as well as indirectly manage their lives during non-working hours.

        As with coal towns, housing was supplied to workers for nominal rent. In exchange for the nominal rent, however, for each room that a house had, a worker was required. That is, for a five-room house, five occupants were required to work in the mill; for a three-room house, three were required. Naturally, since most homes were occupied by a family, and exceeded two rooms, children often were occupants who were used to meet the company's occupancy requirement. In South Carolina at the time, children were permitted to work at any age in the summer months, provided they attended school for at least four months each year and could read and write.

        The Toxaway Mill was incorporated in 1902. By 1906 it had 16,128 spindles, 484 looms, 2,400 bales of cotton, and created a product with a value of $265,000. It employed 150 operators with a payroll of $42,000 -- or about $5.38 per week per worker. The village which supported the mill had a population of 500. 110 were under the age of 12.

        Below please find several Toxaway Mills scrip. Each is approximately very fine to fine. They were redeemable at the Toxaway Mills Company Store. All specimens were photographed using axial lighting with clear glass angled at 45 degrees.

        The Toxaway textile mills operated for most of the 20th century, until closure in the 1980s.

        - Cheetah


        The Library of Congress
        The Independent, Volume 82, April 1915