Donaldson or Battle's or Rocky Mount Mill (1820 - 1996)
Organized: 1816 - 1818; construction began in 1818
Location: Falls of Tar River, Edgecombe County, NC
Owners: There were four initial owners of this cotton mill Henry A. Donaldson (1816 - August 29, 1825), Joel Battle (1816 - 1829), Peter Evans (Battle's brother-in-law) (1816 - 1821), and John Hogan (1816 - 1817). The group began assembling land around the Falls of Tar River in 1816 - 1817. Joel battle bought our Hogan's share in 1817. In 1821, Henry A. Donaldson bought our Evans' share.
Notes: In the 1820 census of manufactures, Henry A. Donaldson, who supervised the building and operation of the mill reported: "The business has been lately commenced(.) the demand for the yarn has been very good & promises to continue & the Factory may be said to have fair prospects but from the time it has been in operation it will be readily seen that the above are mostly estimates which may vary much particularly should the ensuing be a dry year so that a Want of Water to operate may be felt."
Invested capital was estimated at $25,000.
The mill had 288 spindles.
The mill employed 5 men, 3 women and 12 boys and girls. Wages amounted to $2,800 annually.
Producing cotton yarn - "principally coarse," the mill's annual raw materials cost an estimated $2,500 and the mill's output was valued at $7,500 leaving a potential profit of $2,200.
Battle and others received a legislative charter to create the Edgecombe Manufacturing Company in late 1828. The intent was for the new joint stock company to purchase the existing cotton mill. Whether this actually happened is still subject to research, as Joel Battle died in 1829. After his death, his son William S. Battle took over the mill's operation. However, it is clear that by the mid-1830s, the Battles owned and controlled the mill.
On Jan. 3, 1839, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill incorporating the Rocky Mount Manufacturing Company. The incorporators were William S. Battle, Amos J. Battle, Benjamin D. Battle and Christopher C. Battle. The mill was authorized to manufacture cotton and woolen goods, as well as various milling activities at the industrial complex. The company was authorized to issue up to $500,000 in stock, with a minimum of $100,000 in subscribed stock for the company to become active.
In 1848, James Smith Battle bought the Rocky Mount Mill. His son, William, managed the facility.
In the 1850 census of industry, Battle & Co. owned the cotton mill. There
also was a saw mill and a flour/corn mill.
Invested capital in the cotton mill was $40,000.
The mill employed 20 men and 50 women.
Producing 312,000 pounds of spun cotton yarn, the mill's annual raw materials cost an estimated $35,000 and the mill's output was valued at $53,040.
In the 1860 census of industry, W. S. Battle owned the cotton mill and
complex of other businesses.
Invested capital in the textile mill was $55,000 estimated.
The mill had 1,716 spindles in operation in 1860.
The mill employed 28 men and 22 women.
Producing 363,125 pounds of cotton yarn, the mill's annual raw materials cost an estimated $40,000 and the mill's output was valued at $55,250.
The mill was destroyed in a Civil War raid in July 1863. After the war, it was rebuilt, burned and rebuilt. The mill(s) operated until 1996.
In 1887, Thomas H. Battle was elected president, serving in that position until 1899 when he assumed the treasurer position. As treasurer, he actively managed the mill until after 1908. Thomas H. Battle served as a director of the company from 1885 until his death.
North Carolina Business History web site
Industries Laureates Contact Us Home Return to NC Textile Mills, pre-1860
2006 Copyright. CommunicationSolutions/ISI for web site & content.