Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Conestee in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Reedy River Factory

 
 
Reedy River Factory Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 4, 2008
1. Reedy River Factory Marker
Inscription.
1820
The South preferred to send its raw cotton to New England for spinning and weaving when Vardry McBee and his Mill Right John Adams built this Dam at Conestee to power a paper wood and cotton mill.
The mill supplied the news print for the papers of Greenville, Spartanburg, and Charlotte. When J.W. Grady and David O. Hawthorne took over the mill in
1862
they worked around the clock to make uniforms for the Confederate Army. The Reedy River Plant was replaced by the Conestee Cotton Mill in 1898, running 12,000 spindles and 370 looms. It employed 225 persons, many of them grade school age.

 
Erected 1972 by Conestee Historical Society.
 
Location. 34° 46.167′ N, 82° 20.817′ W. Marker is in Conestee, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on Conestee Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is mounted on the white building that sits at the intersection of Spanco Street and Conestee Road, just south of the river. Marker is in this post office area: Conestee SC 29636, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. McBee Chapel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lake Conestee in Transition
Reedy River Factory image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 4, 2008
2. Reedy River Factory
(approx. 0.7 miles away); Beaver at Lake Conestee (approx. 0.7 miles away); Donaldson Air Force Base / Captain John O. Donaldson (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Donaldson Air Force Base / Captain John O. Donaldson (approx. 2.3 miles away); Mauldin United Methodist Church (approx. 2.4 miles away); The History of the Gosnell Cabin (approx. 2.4 miles away); Mauldin (approx. 2.5 miles away); Laurel Creek Church (approx. 2.7 miles away); Herbert C. Granger Interchange (approx. 4.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Conestee.
 
Also see . . .
1. Detailed History of Conestee. Little is known about the Conestee area before the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. (Submitted on October 6, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Approximate Boundary of Reedy River Factory in 1900. (Submitted on October 6, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. Vardry McBee. Vardry McBee is often called the "Father of Greenville." (Submitted on June 27, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Reedy River Factory image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, June 6, 2009
3. Reedy River Factory
 

4. Rebirth: Conservationists Launch Quest for Conestee's Future. March 4, 2005 article from the Greenville Journal on the movement to revitalize Lake Conestee and the mill area. (Submitted on June 27, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. McBee's Conestee Textile Mill
Vardry McBee's textile mill at Conestee on the reedy River was a small, but significant, part of his holdings in the Greenville District. He first built a yarn mill to which he added wool carding. At first McBee hired experienced superintendents to operate his mill. Colonel Leonard Allen was a skillful manager, but he died about 1843 and was replaced by "first one and then another incapable man," according to a young worker. Then in 1844 McBee enlisted his son, Alexander, to supervise the mill. Both father and son were unhappy with the arrangement. The elder McBee wrote to his son, Pinckney: "Alex is in trouble now and I am low spirited [as] it is now divulging that the factory has been loosing money and I suppose a good deal." Alex McBee and John Adams, the overseer, had allowed the river to undermine the waterwheel. "All my children can subtract but none can add and continue to take from the mountain and you will remove
Reedy River Factory and Conestee Dam image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 4, 2008
4. Reedy River Factory and Conestee Dam
the whole at last." The father refused to permit Alexander to build a house at Conestee in order to have his family nearby. "Surely after doing a very disagreeable business almost night and day for 13 years," Alex wrote his, "I am entitled to some sort of house to stay in." According to his son, Vardry McBee did not believe his children could "do anything." (Source: Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont by Archie Vernon Huff (1995) pg 85.)
    — Submitted June 27, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. Vardry McBee
Vardry McBee was perhaps the most pivotal figure in the history of our city and Greenville County as a whole. thanks to his business acumen and impressive foresight for how the community could grow and prosper.

A product of the Carolina frontier, McBee was born in 1775 on the eve of the American Revolution, a conflict that would prove formative in his early years. Both his father and older brother fought with the Patriots, at King's Mountain and the Battle of Cowpens. McBee himself never fought for American independence, but instead used his considerable fortune to improve the lives of his fellow citizens, appropriating his land and fortunes to public projects.

McBee opened
Reedy River and Conestee Dam image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 4, 2008
5. Reedy River and Conestee Dam
the first textile mill on the Reedy River, but he saw value in a diversified economy. In his private business life, that meant he owned two flour mills, a cotton factory, and wool and paper mills. Publicly, even as he approached his 80s, it led him to champion the construction of a railroad line that connected Columbia and Greenville. In 1853, this line became the first rail to serve the community, and it would eventually become a turning point in the economy of the town. (Source: G: The Magazine of Greenville, Jan/Feb 09, pg 66.)
    — Submitted July 27, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. AgricultureAntebellum South, USIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesMilitaryNotable BuildingsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,695 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4, 5. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement