“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Piedmont in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Henry Phickney Hammett

Henry Phickney Hammett Monument image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 3, 2011
1. Henry Phickney Hammett Monument
[West Inscription]
This monument
is erected by the
Manufacturing Company
in commemoration of
Henry Phickney Hammett
its originator and for
eighteen years its
President and Treasurer

[South Inscription]
Born December 31, 1822
Died May 8, 1891

[East Inscription]
"An honest man is the
noblest work of God."

[North Inscription]
Trusted by the stock
holders, beloved by his
employees, and respected by all.

Erected by Piedmont Manufacturing Company.
Location. 34° 42.25′ N, 82° 27.617′ W. Marker is in Piedmont, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on County Road 182, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Piedmont SC 29673, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. William Edgeworth Beattie (here, next to this marker); James Lawrence Orr (within shouting distance of this marker); Joe Ronnie Hooper (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Luther Samuel Payne
Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -<br>West Inscription image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 3, 2011
2. Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -
West Inscription
(approx. 1.2 miles away); Pepper School (approx. 3.8 miles away); Pelzer Presbyterian Church (approx. 4.3 miles away); Big Creek Baptist Church (approx. 5.7 miles away); Donaldson Air Force Base / Captain John O. Donaldson (approx. 5.7 miles away); Williamston Municipal Center (approx. 6 miles away); Confederate Skirmish (approx. 6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Piedmont.
Also see . . .  Piedmont Number One. Piedmont Number One is a former textile plant and former National Historic Landmark in Piedmont, Greenville County, South Carolina. (Submitted on February 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
Additional comments.
1. Piedmont Manufacturing Company
The most significant development in the history of Greenville County's cotton textile history is undoubtedly the founding of Piedmont Manufacturing Company by Henry P. Hammett. Scholar Broadus Mitchell noted the degree to which Hammett's undertaking influenced the future of the South: "It is clear that Hammett's
Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -<br>South Inscription image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 3, 2011
3. Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -
South Inscription
Piedmont Factory...was a 'critical experiment.'" and that "the success of the mills of the south depended upon Piedmont."

Henry P. Hammett, business manager, apprentice and son-in-law of William Bates, bought 567.6 acres on the Anderson County line at Garrison's Shoals between September 1862 and January 1873. He started organizing a company in early 1873 and hired Amos Lockwood in the same year to design the cotton factory, planning for a mill to be complete by the next year. The Panic of 1873 delayed construction, however. Piedmont Manufacturing Company was charted in February 1874. In June, Hammett bought a right of way from John F. King to build a dam across the Saluda River. Construction began in late 1874. After some delay, the factory was completed by early 1876. A trial run of the machinery was held on the ides of March. Water powered up the spinning frames. The first bale of cotton, bought from merchant Silas F. Trowbridge at Grove Station, was opened by W.J. McElrath and his son. Finding the cotton up to standard, they then spun it into yarn and wove it into thirty-six-inch sheeting. Trowbridge bought the first bolt cloth to sell at his store.

The mill had five thousand spindles and 112 looms starting up, which was more than doubled in 1877. Before the stock subscription was completed, Hammett obtained machinery from John G. Whiten's Machinery Company
Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -<br>East Inscription image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 3, 2011
4. Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -
East Inscription
of Massachusetts. Between 1875 and 1877, Whiten provided over $80,000 worth of machinery, granting Hammett two years to pay off his note and accepting stock in the company as partial payment, likely the first time in Southern textile history this type of transaction was done. This pattern of business established a pattern and encouraged Northern investment in the Southern cotton textile industry.

Piedmont was a success from its beginning, an example spurring investors across the South to establish similar factories. In August 1881, Hammett addressed the State Agricultural and Mechanical Society at the state Grance meeting in Columbia. Speaking of mill building, he noted investors could expect 15 to 20 percent net profit. Piedmont had paid a 50 percent stock dividend in January 1881. News of this astounding return on cotton mill investments attracted Southern capitalists to the cotton textile business, most without any knowledge or experience in factory management or operations. Two years later, Hammett less enthusiastically reported that already, too many yarn mills had been set up, overstocking the market with coarse yarn, the easiest product to produce.

Piedmont was a boon for the county in many ways. It provided general economic stimulation, created jobs and increased the value of manufacturing goods in the county from $350,000 in 1870 to $1,400,000 in 1880.
Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -<br>North Inscription image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 3, 2011
5. Henry Phickney Hammett Monument -
North Inscription
Piedmont expanded three more times by 1895. It was a model enterprise and center of learning. A Piedmont apprenticeship was like a college education for aspiring mill men. By 1900, Piedmont had produced a class of thirty-eight superintendents at mills in the Southeast. (Source: Greenville County, 1817-1970: From Cotton Fields to Textile Center of the World by Ray Belcher (2006), pgs 30-32.)
    — Submitted February 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 446 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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