Lincoln Cotton Factory (1819 - 1863),  also known as the Lincolnton Factory
Organized: 1818
Operational: 1819
Location: South Fork, Catawba River; south of Lincolnton, NC
Owners: Michael Schenck (ownership interests from 1819 - 1835), Dr. James Bivings (1819 - 1835) and John Hoke (1819 - 1845) were the initial owners. Bivings tried to sell his interest in the mill during 1834 and apparently Schenk and Bivings sold their interests during 1835, when the ownership firm was renamed Hoke, Schenk & Bivings. In 1845, Hoke's son-in-law L. D. Childs acquired the mill and operated it along with John F. Hoke for some time. In 1860, the census indicates that the cotton mill was operated by Pixley & Sachrist, apparently until it burned in 1861, followed by the destruction of the wool carding mill in 1863.
Specifications: water-powered; the mill was a 3-story building plus a garret. The building was 45 feet by 31 feet. The first floor was built of rocks/stones and contained the water looms. The water wheel was placed on the south side of the building where a water trunk of 60 - 70 feet off a dam, which the owners had built, fed the machinery.
Notes: Known as the Lincoln or Lincolnton Cotton Factory, this mill was a successor to the Schenck Mill. 
In the 1820 census of manufactures, the Lincoln County surveyor reported " 1 Spinning machine, employed in manufacturing cotton yarn." This probably meant that the mill had in operation 180 spindles.

In 1825, a newspaper reported that the mill had in operation 288 spindles, but the owners were in the process of of soon being able to operate 612 spindles.

In late 1827, the mill offered cotton yard and cloth for sale (cash or produce barter with set value for produce):
Yarns No. 5 & 6 — 32 1/2 cents per pound
Yarns No. 7 & 8 — 35 cents per pound
Yarns No. 9 & 10 — 37 1/2 cents per pound
Yarn No. 11 — 42 1/2 cents per pound
Yarn No. 12 — 47 1/2 cents per pound
Yarn No. 13 — 52 1/2 cents per pound
Yarn (under 5 lbs.) Nos. 5 - 10 — 37 1/2 cents per pound
Cloth (made by No. 9 yarn) by bolt (about 1 yard wide) — 20 cents per yard
Cloth less than a bolt — 25 cents per yard

The Lincoln Transcript reported the factory had 1,280 spindles and twelve looms reportedly in a story published on August 19, 1831.

By 1835, improvements in the equipment had lowered prices:
Yarn No. 5 — 25 cents per pound
Yarn No. 6 — 26 cents per pound
Yarn No. 7 — 27 cents per pound
Cotton Shirting, 4-4 (made by No. 10 yarn) — 14 cents per yard

During 1848, the cotton factory was supervised by James Cobb. In 1849 and early 1850s, the superintendent of the mill was Georger W. Williams from Curtisville, MA, and the assistant superintendent was John Farrer originally from England.

In the 1850 census of industry, the Lincolnton Cotton Factory was owned and operated by L. D. Childs & Co. 
Invested capital was estimated at $20,000. 
The mill had an estimated 1,284 spindles (from other sources). 
The mill employed 6 men and 25 women for cotton yarn production and 1 man for the wood carding operation. Wages amounted to $3,072 annually.
Producing cotton yarn and carding some wool, the mill's annual raw materials cost an estimated $12,250 for cotton and $1,250 for wool. The mill's output was valued at $21,000 for cotton and $2,250 for wool — leaving a potential profit of $6,750.
This factory complex had grown to also include a blacksmithy, machinists and oil mill, as well as a boot making operation. 

In the 1860 census of industry, this mill apparently may have been operated (at least in part) by the firm of Pixley & Sachrist — N. H. Pixley (manufacturer of woolens) and Charles Sachrist (manufacturer - cotton?) — but perhaps still owned by L. D. Childs. There is no listing for L. D. Childs in the census of industry, as in 1850, although in the regular 1860 census he still is listed as a manufacturer.
Pixley & Sachrist employed 5 men and 12 women, with annual wages of $2,436.
Producing carpeting, linens, wool and cotton goods, the mill's output was valued at $8,500.

Apparently the cotton mill was destroyed in 1861 and L. D. Childs traveled to Columbia, SC, were he lived for a time and sought to buy needed machinery.

On Jan. 12, 1863, the wool carding mill at the Lincoln Cotton Mill site was burned. Its site became a medical manufacturing site for the Confederacy late in the Civil War.

After the war, the site was purchased by Daniel Rhyne and James Alonzo Abernethy, who built and operated the Laboratory Cotton Mill in the 1880s.

  The February 22, 1825, issue of the Western Carolinian (Salisbury) contained this report on the Lincoln Cotton Mill:
" The Lincolnton cotton manufactory is situated in the county of Lincoln, a little over two miles south of Lincolnton, on the south side of the river, at what is called rattling shoals. On the north side is an excellent mill (our note: grist?) belonging to Philip Cancellor. The company and Cancellor have united in building a dam across the river near the head of the shoals; with immense labour they have opened a forebay through a solid ledge of rocks, where they have built a house for their wool carding, moting, and picking machines; at the same place they have a mill to make oil; under the house is run their water wheel to turn their machinery, after the cotton is picked it is carried to the moter, the moter takes all the motes our and prepares it for the cards. The water is conducted under the house in a trunk 60 or 70 feet long, empties into a race which conducts it on to the principal manufacturing house, about 60 or 70 yards below the others; this house is 45 feet by 31, three story high, the first story is built of rocks, which contain the water looms and necessary preparations; in the south end of this house runs the water wheel which turns the whole machinery, 13 feet high 96 wide wide, with a cast-iron upright shaft, which goes through all the floors on which beveled wheels are fixed at proper places, which work in others, which turns the drums, and by bands turns the different machinery; on the 2nd floor is placed the spinning frames, reels and turning lathes, and a loom which weaves cast up cloth, with two treddiesm by a very ingenious contrivance; on the 3rd floor, are placed their cards, speeders and drawing, &c; on the 4th floor (which is the garet, lighted by dormant windows) is placed the mule, containing 180 spindles, the whole number of spindles when they are all in operation, will be 612, of which 288 in operation, and shortly will have the whole."

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