INTERSTING FACTS ABOUT RICHMOND COUNTY IN 1883
Richmond County was laid off in 1779, of that part of Anson which was east of the Pee Dee River. It is situated southwest
of Raleigh, about 90 miles, and bounded north by Montgomery, east by Moore, Cumberland and Robeson, south by South Carolina
and west by Anson.
In the northern portion of the county it is undulating and even broken near Mountain Creek and other streams which flow
through it. The soil is partly slate and partly red sandstone, in the section referred to, and the timber oak, hickory, short-
leafed pine, maple, etc., which considerable long-leaf pine beyond Little River. It is not sandy, however, as in some other
parts, the soil being such as is usually found over-lying the red sandstone. In this part much cotton as well as small grain
is raised, and the quality is equal to any upland cotton produced in the country. The productions and quality of articles are
such the same all along the river near which there is much clay and some decomposed granite-the formation being generally the
same as that to be found near Raleigh and in Franklin County and west Raleigh, nearly as far as Chapel Hill.
The central part of the county, except near the river and the creeks, is sandy, and was covered originally, and now is where
the forests remain, with long leafed pine. It is naturally unproductive, but by heavy and judicious manuring, yields fair crops.
It is well adapted to sweet potatoes. The staple of cotton is inferior. Indeed this is, I think, unusual in the sandy soils of
the eastern part of the State. In the broken sand hills it is not so good as in the flat lands of the lower part of the county.
Land is cheap in this section, and can be had in any quantities from 50 cents to $2 per acre, depending upon improvements. There
is no healthier region in the world. This belt comprises half the territorial extent of the county-say 350 square miles. The other
half is divided about equally between section 1, as described, and the lower, or level part of the county.
The lower part is generally quite level, and is sand formation, with a clay substratum a few inches below the surface. Farms
in that section are worth from $8 to $25 per acre. Crops are cotton, corn and oats. By the use of fertilizers and good cultivation
the yield of cotton per acre runs from 1000 to 1500 pounds in the seed. It is healthy and the water pure, having an average temperature
of about 65 degrees Fahr. The wells in the centre and northern belt afford cooler water, none of it, however, being less than 58
decrees, and but little so low as that.
The Carolina Central Railroad passes through the county about 32 miles, and the Raleigh & Augusta, which connects at Hamlet,
six miles below Rockingham, about 14 miles.
Many streams which have their sources in the sand hills afford water power, because of the constancy and equability of their
flow. However heavy the rains, the water sinks in the soil, and keeps up the supply, instead of running off as in the up country
and producing floods. We have neither "feasts" nor "famines" in these streams; and hence, when sufficient fall can be had, much
power for machinery is within reach, and this has been and will be utilized.
There are now in operation in the county five mills engaged in making cotton goods. All of them spin and two of them weave also.
Besides there another is in process of construction, three miles northeast of Rockingham on Hitchcock's Creek, a bold stream, and
never failing. The dam is of stone twenty-two and a half feet high.
Malloy & Morgan's mill is in Gum Swamp (Little Pee Dee) two miles east of Laurel Hill station, C.C. Railway. It has about 1,000
spindles and makes warps only.
Leak, Wall & McRae's mill is on Hitchcock's Creek, one mile southwest of Rockingham, and immediately on the line of the railroads.
It has 1,000 spindles, and makes warps only.
Ledbetter's mill is five miles northeast of Rockingham on Hitchcock's Creek, has 1,000 spindles, and makes warps only.
The Great Falls mill is just on the western outskirts of Rockingham, on Falling Creek. The head of water is forty feet. It has
4,109 spindles and 140 looms. It makes plain sheetings, 7,000 yards daily.
The Pee Dee mill is on Hitchcock's Creek, just outside of the town. The head water is 18 feet. It has 4,000 spindles and 120 looms,
with 18 more ordered and 12 more in contemplation. It makes plaids, 5,000 yards daily.
The new mill, before alluded to, will, when complete, have 6,000 spindles and 200 looms, and make sheetings. Its productive capacity
will be about 10,000 yards daily. It will commence operations in November with 3,000 spindles and 100 looms.
On Hitchcock's Creek, three and a half miles west of Rockingham, and one and a half miles from the Pee Dee, Robert S. Ledbetter
has a grist mill and cotton gin. This is a splendid site for a cotton mill, being on the line of the railroad. A head of water 12 feet
can be had, which will afford ample power for 5,000 spindles and 100 looms. The same is the case with the mill of T.B. and J.L. Ledbetter.
Besides these mills, sites for other small ones, from 1,000 to 4,000 spindles, can be had on Naked and Mark's Creek, as well as Joe's
Creek. And at the Grassy Islands, 12 miles northwest of Rockingham, power can be had for 20,000 spindles. These are on the Pee Dee. Other
sites on the river cane also be had. The only trouble would be that the locations might be unhealthy.
There are over 100,000 acres of land in the county well studded with long leafed pine, a large part of which, however, has been
subjected to turpentine operation. Besides this timber there is a large quantity of persimmon, which would make the best of shuttles and
bobbins. We have also quite a quantity of dogwood, which is unsurpassed for this purpose. Then our sandhill swamps contain excellent poplar,
and quite a quantity of the trees familiarly called juniper.
A good deal of the water in the upper end of the county, where the formation is red sandstone, is somewhat brackish, as is usually
the case in this formation. Farms are worth $5 to $20 per acre.
The population of the county is now quite 20,000, of whom about 9,000 are whites. In religious views they are nearly all Baptists,
Methodists and Presbyterians, and, in numbers, probably in the order named, though there is no great difference in the first two denominations.
Most fruits succeed well. Owing to climatic causes, apples of the later variety are not suited. We can raise as fine peaches, pears
and grapes as any one need to want, and on a high range of hills between Mountain and Buffalo Creeks, in the northern part of the county,
the peach crop does not fail one year in ten. The same can be said of a high range near the Grassy Islands. These locations are rather
remote from the railroads for profit in fruit raising.
According to the census returns, the cotton crop of the county is about 12,000 bales. The cotton mills consume about 5,000, of them,
and when the Roberdell is completed the consumption will be fully 7,500 bales.
The construction shops of the C.C. Railway are located at Laurinburg, twenty-two and a half miles southeast of Rockingham. This is a
flourishing town of about 1200 inhabitants. Rockingham has about the same population. W.L.S.
Source: Fayetteville Observer, November 1st, 1883 Issue (From P.M. Hale's Coal and Iron Counties.)
Go to Richmond County Mill Index
Return to Richmond Co. Home Page
Return to What's New in Richmond County
©Copyright September 28, 2011 by Myrtle N. Bridges