News Stories & Columns
Marker commemorates beginnings of textiles here
By Bonnie Davis
Daily Courier Staff Writer
May 10, 1990
CLIFFSIDE – A historical marker honoring the pioneers of the textile industry in Rutherford County was dedicated here Wednesday.
N.C. Senator Marshall Rauch, the keynote speaker for the dedication, called Raleigh Rutherford Haynes and Simpson Bobo Tanner “the fathers of textiles in Rutherford County.”
Rauch recounted the history of textiles in the county, beginning with the first attempt, in 1816, by William Bates to begin a spinning mill. That ended quickly when the mill was forced to close. Other attempts were made — like the spinning mill that was started in 1874 by a man named Holmsley, which burned in its first year and was never rebuilt. The textile industry was not a success until Haynes and Tanner came onto the scene in the late 1800s.
Rauch said 1885, when Haynes built his first plant in Henrietta, marked the time when textiles became a mainstay of the county’s economy. Tanner built the Florence plant in Forest City and soon had the largest spinning mill in North Carolina, with 5,000 spindles.
Now, “the textile industry is the largest employer of the state of North Carolina. These forefathers and pioneers still have their families operating these businesses today,” Rauch said. “We will continue to reap and profit from their efforts and foresight.”
“These two sons of Rutherford County gives us an example of what you can do with hard work, imagination and a goal to strive for.”
—S. B. Tanner III
The unveiling of the marker was attended by a few dozen descendants of Haynes and Tanner. Walter Dalton, great-grandson of Haynes, and S. Bobo Tanner III, Tanner’s grandson, spoke about the occasion and the marker itself.
Dalton said the marker wasn’t meant to honor just their forefathers and families.
“This marker is a tribute to all of those who have worked in the textile industry,” he said. “This marriage between textiles and communities will continue.”
Tanner said their forefathers were “modest men with little education and few advantages in life,” but that “these two sons of Rutherford County give us an example of what you can do with hard work, imagination and a goal to strive for.”
The marker will be erected on Harris-Henrietta Road, near where the first textile mill built by Haynes was located
Clipping provided by Phillip White. Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.