Skip to main content

Historical South Carolina Newspapers: Commerce & Industry

Delve into the rich content of historical South Carolina newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922 through suggested topics, important dates, interesting articles, and tips for searching.

Selected Articles Found in Chronicling America

Commerce & Industry Topics Guide

Suggested Search Terms:


Agriculture Cottonseed oil mills Railroads
Brickmaking Fishing and Shrimping Spinning mills
Carolina clay Forestry Steamboat companies
Cotton Gold mining Textile mills
Cotton gin mills Hydro-electric power Tobacco farming
Cotton mills Paper mills


Some Factory and Manufacturing Company Names:

Batesville factory Glendale Factory Reedy River Manuf. Co.
Buena Vista factory Graniteville Manuf. Co. Saluda Cotton Factory
Camperdown Mills Langley Manuf. Co. Valley Falls Factory
Cedar Hill Factory Olympia Mill Vaucluse Factory
Crawfordville Manuf. Co. Pendleton Manuf. Co. Westminster Mill
Fingerville Factory Piedmont Manuf. Co.
Fork Shoals Factory Red Bank Manuf.


Important Dates:


1860s In 1860, 17 textile mills and 1,200 manufacturing plants are in operation in S.C.
11 railroads connect the state in 1860.
The first commercial production of phosphate fertilizers begins in 1867.
1870s Sharecropping and small-farm tenant farming replace the former plantation economy.
Reconstruction-era railroad development puts down 350 miles of track by 1877.
1890s Tobacco is a successful crop in the Pee Dee region of S.C.
Phosphate mining industry is destroyed by hurricane in 1893.
Earliest hydro-electric power plants in S.C. are built in the mid-1890s.
1900s By the turn of the century, railroad development has laid down nearly 4,000 miles of track all across S.C.
In 1900, there are over 3,700 manufacturing plants in S.C.; 65% are located on the Fall Line and in the Upstate.
South Carolina and West Indian Exposition is held in Charleston, S.C., 1901-1902.
By 1906, 80 textile mills are in operation across S.C.
1910s Laurens Glass Works is established in 1910 in Laurens, S.C.
45,000 people are employed in textile mills across the upstate in 1910.
Commercial rice production declines due to crop damages from several hurricanes over the previous few decades. Corn, wheat, tobacco, sweet potatoes, peaches, and soybeans gradually replace cotton and rice.
John Gary Anderson founds an auto manufacturing company in Rock Hill, S.C. in 1916.
Beginning in 1919, boll weevil infestations of cotton crops damage the agricultural economy.
1920s Cotton production has increased 5 times since 1865.
In 1925, S.C. mills employ 70,000 people.

Images & Headlines Found in Chronicling America

Olympia Mill in Columbia, S.C., 1901

Horses, Mules, and Wagons ad in Sumter, S.C., 1892

Carolina Fertilizer, Phosphate ad, 1870

E.M. Lane & Co. grocery, Newberry, S.C., 1912

Hand Powered Cotton Press ad, 1867

19th century mercantile ad, 1894