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North Carolina Paper Mills
   Paper mills were created in North Carolina by entrepreneurs who recognized a local or state need. The North Carolina paper industry today is one of the largest in the country. Paper mills were first founded in Hillsborough, Salem, Raleigh, Lincolnton and other towns during the Colonial and early statehood period.




    
Colonial Period & Revolutionary War
   The first paper mill in North Carolina was built in 1777 near Hillsborough in order to relieve a paper shortage during the Revolutionary War. 
   Note: changes and additional information will be posted to this page as more research and information become available.


1777 - 1781?— Hillsborough, NC
   In November 1777, an advertisement appeared in the North Carolina Gazette (Nov. 17, 1777): "The proprietors of a paper mill, just erected near Hillsboro', in Orange County, give notice to the public that their mill is now ready to work, and if a sufficient quantity of rags can be had, they will be able to supply the State with all sorts of paper."
   John Holgan was the proprietor of the paper mill — located 1.5 miles northeast of Hillsborough. Holgan built the paper mill during 1777 in response to the North Carolina government offering incentives for such an enterprise. In 1777, the state offered £ 250 for any paper mill in the state that within 18 months would produce 30 reams each of brown paper, white paper and writing paper (90 reams; ream equaling 500 sheets). Holgan successfully petitioned the General Assembly to extend the incentive beyond August 1778 until February 1779, because of the dry weather during 1778.
   This small-scale paper mill operated for an indeterminate, but short, time. For example, Cornwallis invaded Hillsborough in February 1781 affecting many businesses in the community.

1790 - 1879+ — Salem, NC & Winston, NC
   A paper mill  or paper factory was constructed in the original Moravian settlement in North Carolina — Salem — in 1790 by Gottleib Shober. The Board of Overseers of the Moravian Church at Salem approved the venture on July 7, 1789. He had been the Salem store assistant, as well as a leather and tin craftsman.
   To learn the art of paper making, Shober sent Christian Stauber to Ephrata, PA, to learn from Pennsylvania Dutch (German) paper makers. To construct the paper factory, Shober appealed in November 1789 for funding assistance from the North Carolina General Assembly, which was granted (£ 300). Construction of the mill pond and paper mill occurred during 1790. It was located on Peter's Creek south of the main road leading west out of Salem (today, where Academy Street crosses Peter's Creek).
   By early 1791, the mill was producing paper; by July 1791 it was producing paper with watermarks of S or NC.
   The paper mill was operated by Stauber, who became half-owner in Fall 1791. But the partnership lasted about a year. 
   By 1793, Shober was the sole owner. Around this time, Johann George was running the paper factory. George died in December 1800. His wife remarried  in May 1801 to Joseph Gambold, who apparently took over running the paper mill.
   In 1836, the paper mill was sold to John Christian Blum, who printed Blum's Almanac and various newspapers in Salem, but Shober's son, Emmanuel, resumed ownership and operated the factory until 1846. The factory was leased and operated from 1846 to 1863 by Francis Fries.  In 1863, Robert Gray bought the factory and put in new machinery and steam power. In Branson's Directory in 1872, it was reported that Gray's paper mill was in Winston, NC. In 1873, the building was destroyed by fire.
   In 1860, another paper mill the
Salem Paper Mill was run by Rufus L. Patterson & Co., which he had started some time in the mid or late 1850s. His mill employed four workers in 1860 producing about $4,000 of paper each year. After the death of a partner, he sold the mill in October 1861, apparently buying it back. After the war, this mill was co-owned by Patterson and Henry W. Fries, along with their joint ownership of textile mills. This paper mill was still in operation in 1879 when Rufus Patterson died. 
  
   
1808 - 1865 — Fayetteville, NC (Cumberland County)
   Isaac T. Cushing, a Northern visitor passing through Fayetteville, helped construct in 1808/1809  the
Fayetteville Paper Mill owned by David Anderson. Cushing also helped Anderson construct a nail factory.
   The Fayetteville, NC, paper mill apparently continued operating at least until the 1830s. In 1820, this paper mill had 8 workers producing printing paper for newspapers, with some writing paper. The annual sales were approximately $2,000 in 1820. The mill probably changed ownership sometime in the 1830s. The mill is not listed in the 1850 census of industry.
   In 1857,
David Murphy owned a paper mill in Fayetteville, which may be the successor to the Anderson mill. The 1860 Census reported that the Murphy paper mill employed 10 workers and produced half-a-million pounds of printing and wrapping paper.

1809 - 1896 — Raleigh area, NC (Wake County)
   North Carolina generally led the South with the most paper mills (40%) in the antebellum and Civil War period. During the War Between the States (1863 survey), there were eight (8) operating paper mills in North Carolina
  — 3 in the Raleigh area, plus a paper mill in Concord, Fayetteville, Lincolnton, Salem and Shelby.
   At this same time (1863), South Carolina had 5 paper mills (Greenville and 4 others), Georgia had 3 such mills (Athens, Columbus, Marietta), Virginia had 2 paper mills (two at Richmond), one one paper mill in the following states: Alabama (Spring Hill), Tennessee (Knoxville).
   Over the decades, there have been many paper mills in the Raleigh area.

   In 1809, Joseph Gales built and operated the first paper mill near Raleigh, which supplied his newspaper — the Raleigh Register  — during the first three decades of the 1800s. 

Raleigh, NC
Gales' Mill (1809 - 1833), later known as the Raleigh Paper Mill (1833 -1841+), and still later known as Crabtree Paper Mills  (<1861-1865)  —   
   Joseph Gales learned the plans for building and operating a paper mill from Isaac T. Cushing, a Northern visitor passing through Raleigh. Gales constructed his first paper mill in 1808, apparently located two (2) miles north of Raleigh, although other sources place the mill at six (6) miles south of Raleigh at John Whitaker's millsite. 
   In any event, paper began being produced in early October 1809.
   Later, the mill was moved to the Rocky branch east of Raleigh on property formerly owned by Willie Jones of Halifax. Finally, the paper mill was relocated on the Crabtree Creek slightly north of Raleigh at Isaac Hunter's millsite. When he sold the paper mill in 1833, it was known as the Raleigh Paper Mill.
   The paper mill was damaged by fires twice in 1841.
   Owners included: William N. Schauck, Sater family members, the Manteo Manufacturing Co. in 1850, E. B. Sater (around the beginning of the Civil War >1862), and Waterhouse & Bowes during the Civil War.
   Edmund Mather ran the mill between 1852 - 54. 
   E. B. Sater, proprietor of the Crabtree Paper Mills (-1861-); Agent in Raleigh was J. J. Litchford; the factory produced a variety of paper, including wrapping paper. Burned by Union forces in April 1865.
Milburnie, NC
Milburnie Paper Mill
(<1852 - 1865)  — Sion H. Rogers was the president of this mill; H. H. Husted was the treasurer. James D. Royster was the mill superintendent. The mill was owned by the Neuse Manufacturing Company.
   By 1860, this paper mill annually produced 520,000 pounds of paper, employing 31 workers (19 males, 12 females). This paper mill was burned by Union troops at the close of the Civil War (April 1865). The mill supplied several North Carolina newspapers, as well as supplying all the paper it could to The New York Times.
Falls of the Neuse Manufacturing Company (1855 - 1896)  — 
   Just outside of Raleigh, NC, the Falls of the Neuse Manufacturing Company constructed a paper mill beginning in 1854. the Raleigh Register visited "the splendid mills in progress of construction at the Falls of the Neuse... the Paper Mills are built of substantial and beautiful granite of which there is extensive quarry upon the spot." Edmund Mather helped built the mill (see Raleigh Paper Mill) during 1854-1855. He operated it for the Manteo Manufacturing Company in 1855, before leaving the area due to sickness.
   In operation in 1855, the firm began production at its three-story mill factory. It was a significant paper manufacturer producing as much as 3,400 pounds of paper a day. 
   The Manteo Manufacturing Company briefly owned the paper mill, followed by the Forest Manufacturing Company in the late 1850s. That company owned and operated the paper mill during the Civil War. By 1860, this mill was producing about 520,000 pounds of paper a year, supplying many North Carolina newspapers.
In 1859. the paper mill superintendent was Dr. W. S. Miller.
   See the following advertisement in the Augusta [GA] Daily Chronicle & Sentinel, July 2, 1861, p. 1, c. 2 — 
North Carolina Paper
Forest Manufacturing Company,
Forestville, N. C.
Manufacturer of Superior Book and Newspaper, &c., &c. Respectfully solicit Southern dealers to send them orders.  Samples and prices will be sent (postage paid) by applying to  W. B. Reid, Supt.
   At the close of the Civil War and with Union troops advancing on the city,  the mill's machinery was dismantled and hidden. 
   The mills were owned and operated by W. B. Allegre, Forestville, NC, by 1866.
In 1871, the Forest Manufacturing Company was run by President R. Y. McAden and Secretary-Treasurer G. Rosenthall.
   The paper mill burned on March 15, 1871.
The Raleigh Sentinel reported: "The paper mill of the Forest Manufacturing Company near Forestville was totally destroyed by fire Sunday night. We have not ascertained the amount of loss, but understand it to be covered by $15,000 insurance. Two previous attempts were made to fire this property but were fortunately frustrated. On this occasion the flames gained such headway before being discovered that nothing could be done to extinguish them."
   The paper mill was rebuilt and owned by the Falls of the Neuse Manufacturing Company, still run by President R. Y. McAden and Secretary-Treasurer G. Rosenthall. The mill operated until 1896, when a flood collapsed two floors destroying the machinery. The mill was closed and put in receivership.

1832 - 1890s — Lincolnton, NC (Lincoln County)
   A paper mill was constructed in 1832 on the South Fork about 4 miles below Lincolnton by George Mosteller. The Lincoln Paper Company was operated by George & David Mosteller until March 4, 1848, when the partnership was dissolved. George Mosteller continued to operate the paper mill until about 1857. Apparently, William J. Hoke owned some of the land and paper making machinery, according to sales advertisements in newspapers. In 1860, the census reports that Thomas Robinson owned the paper mill, employing 3 workers and producing 40,000 pounds of wrapping paper annually that was worth an estimated $2,000. Reportedly, Samuel R. Oates took over the paper mill operation and ran it for some period of time. In 1867, James Banister and a Mr. Grady took over the paper mill. 
   In 1868, A. C. Wiswall of Massachusetts joined with William Tiddy to own and operate the mill. In 1872, William and Richard Tiddy took over the ownership of the paper mill. The Tiddys apparently operated two other paper mills, including one on Buffalo Creek in Cleveland County (see Shelby below). The Tiddy partners also owned the Long Shoals Paper Mill.
    The Lincoln and Long Shoals paper mills were deeded in March 1889 that authoirzed M. P. Pegram as trustee to sell the mills. As a trustee for the First National Bank of Charlotte, Pegram held a sale of the properties and mills on Jan. 4, 1892.

1851 - 1882 — Shelby, NC (Cleveland County)
   An antebellum paper mill — the Buffalo Paper Mill — and iron foundry was in operation near Shelby, owned and operated by David Froneberger & Co.. The Buffalo Paper Mill started operations on June 1, 1851. It was run by Samuel R. Oates. It was located 4 miles northeast of Shelby, NC, in the eastern portion of the county, along with a iron forging mill. In 1860, the paper mill had 12 workers, producing 187,200 pounds of paper worth an estimated $18,720 annually.
   Between 1873 and 1876, the paper mill was bought by William & Richard Tiddy from Lincolnton and renamed the
Buffalo Paper Mills. The paper mills were abandoned around 1882.

1863
—  Concord, NC (Cabarrus County)
   Although an 1863 Southern newspaper reported a paper mill in operation in Concord, NC; there is no confirmation of such a mill according to our research.

Late 1850s
—  Wilmington, NC (New Hanover)
   Prior to the Civil War, John Judge (1830 - 1885) of South Carolina reportedly tried to operate a paper mill at Wilmington, NC, but not successfully. He owned numerous business interests in North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

1890 — Graywood, NC (Craven County)
   S. H. Gray Manufacturing Company had mills producing paper, wood pulp and wood plates.
   





     The Star, Raleigh, NC,  March 2, 1809



     The Star, Raleigh, NC,  Oct. 12, 1809

 

 

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