Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

First Advisor

Sam B. Hilliard


Despite the South's defeat in the Civil War and the economic hardships occasioned by the conflict and its aftermath, Southerners possessed the resources and the enthusiasm to undertake an industrial campaign that greatly altered the economic course of their region. Industrial development in the South, centered largely on cotton textiles, focused on the Piedmont. The area possessed several advantages over other Southern subregions as a center of cotton manufacturing, but it failed to supply all of the raw material, capital, and labor needed by the rapidly-growing industry. This study examines the progress of cotton textile manufacturing in the South Carolina Piedmont between 1880 and 1940, and it assesses the attractiveness of the state's Piedmont to textile manufacturing interests and the importance of various source areas supplying of the mills. The nature and pace of the industry's growth are discussed, along with a multitude of positive and negative influences affecting it. The industrial rise of the state is placed in the context of regional and national developments, with special emphasis on the Southern capture of cotton manufacturing during the period. Through a detailed look at cotton production, tenancy, population, and property valuations for South Carolina subregions--the Piedmont, Midlands, and Coastal Plain--the relative attractiveness of the Piedmont to the textile industry is confirmed. Spearman Correlation Coefficient values reveal the changing relationship between cotton textile development and three of the locational factors in Palmetto State counties during the study period. Data from seven cotton mills in the South Carolina Piedmont indicate their sources of supply. Stockholding records reveal a mix of subscribers residing in three capital source areas--the Piedmont South, the non-Piedmont South, and the Northeast. Southerners accounted for most of the stockholders and the money subscribed to the mills, but the region lost ground to the Northeast as time went by. The majority of South Carolina contributors lived in the Piedmont, and the subregion's lead in shares lengthened during the study period. Residents in the local area purchased a large proportion of the mill stock, but their monetary influence waned prior to 1940.