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History of Textiles | Making Fabric in Kings Mountain

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History of Textiles | Making Fabric in Kings Mountain

Manufacturing Textiles in King Mountain, NC

Kings Mountain and it's Textile Mills:

The city of Kings Mountain located in Cleveland County, North Carolina is no stranger to history. During the struggle
for Independence some 240 years ago, one could say the battle of Kings Mountain was one of the most pivotal
victories for the Patriots--a battle that helped to "turn the tide" away from the stronghold of the British.
Textiles have been a big part of the lives of the citizens of Kings Mountain and Cleveland County for the past two
centuries. Prior to the Civil War, most fabrics were still made at home out of wool from sheep, or cotton grown on
single family owned farms. Cotton was hand carded and spun into yarns for weaving simple fabrics. Clothing the
family of the 1830s was an important task, and most of the work was the responsibility of the women. Every stitch of
the sewing had to be done by hand. Wool and linen fabrics were most common with cotton and silk being more
expensive options. Often the whole family helped to produce the cloth used for their clothing, especially in rural
locations. Sheep were fed and sheared by the men of the household. Wool cleaning and carding was done by the
younger children while spinning yarn on the high wheel, dyeing it over the cooking fire, and loom weaving of
"homespun" fabric were done by the unmarried daughters and aunts. Mothers, sisters and grannies sewed up
trousers, coats and dresses; all the women and young boys and girls knit caps, mittens and stockings. Several sheep
could provide enough wool for the needs of the average family each year.
In 1888, the first cotton mill opened in Kings Mountain and the mill era had arrived. This mill, named "The Kings
Mountain Manufacturing Company" was owned by Capt. Freno Dilling and members of the Mauney family. In 1900,
the Mauney family built the Bonnie Mill, named after W. A. Mauney's daughter. This was primarily a yarn
manufacturing facility. An 1897 Annual report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of North Carolina listed the
Enterprise Mill as being in Kings Mountain (see image).
At one point, textile mills were the number one employer in Kings Mountain. The largest mill in Kings Mountain was
Neisler Mills. One of the reasons why they were so successful was due to a contract they had with the Southern
Railroad to supply all of their tablecloths and napkins. David Neisler said his grandfather built Dicey Mills in Shelby
near the Broad River in 1956, because he needed access to water and couldn’t get that in Kings Mountain. According
to the Shelby Star, "The Neislers are among the last pre-Civil War textile families left in North Carolina. The great-
great-grandfather of the current owners opened a mill in Cabarrus County in 1860 and produced fabric for uniforms for
the state government during the conflict."
STI began producing upholstery fabric in Kings Mountain in 1964. From these humble beginnings, STI has persevered
through many market fluctuations and has thrived while many jobs went overseas during the early 2000s. According
to CEO Sean Gibbons, "[The Revolution Fabrics] brand is what’s really driving our growth. We believe this growth will
continue because consumers love these fabrics and the fact that Revolution will always be made in the United States.”

 

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  • Greetings,

    Please feel free to send us any materials, samples, or vintage pieces from your collection that we might archive and share them with our visitors to the Textile Heritage Museum in Burlington, North Carolina.

    Mailing Address:

    Textile Heritage Museum, Inc.
    2406 Glencoe Street
    Burlington, NC 27217
    www.textileheritagemuseum.org
    336-270-6374

    John Guss on

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