Telling Stories, Connecting Communities

Author: Jamie Bynum

The History of the Mandeville Mansion

Author: Jamie Bynum

The large, currently yellow and purple, Victorian-style historic home that stands in Carrollton, Georgia is known as the Mandeville Mansion or the Maple Street Mansion. This home was built around 1890 for the family of Leroy Clifton Mandeville, who was born in 1851. He and his wife, Carrie Richardson Mandeville, had five children: Leroy Clifton Jr., Eleanor, Eugenia, John, and Camilla. If you already know about Carrollton’s textile industry, the Mandeville name will be familiar to you: Mandeville Cotton Mills was arguably the most prominent textile mill within the Carrollton city boundaries. It was organized by Joseph Aycock, Henry Lovvorn, and Leroy Clifton Mandeville in 1902 as the combination of Carrollton Oil Mill and Mandeville Cotton Mill. As for the name of the street, it is said that Leroy’s father, Appleton Mandeville, planted maple trees for his wife from Vermont on the lot before the mansion was constructed. This house was the first in the area to have indoor plumbing and electricity.

L.C. Mandeville

This location served as a home until its conversion to commercial use in the 1960s. One of the most notable names from this building was the restaurant known as The Maple Street Mansion which catered to both Carrollton residents and students from the University of West Georgia. During its commercial usage, the house was expanded to include an event space, meeting room, and a sports bar inside of a 19th-century train car. In March of 2014, Mandeville Mansion was in danger of being torn down. Though the house had been purchased by a private individual in an attempt to save it, renovation funds were lacking and the owner feared that, without a thorough rehabilitation, the historic home would have to be razed. Many citizens of Carrollton were invested in trying to keep the mansion as a tangible part of Carrollton’s history and began raising money for the necessary renovations on the 123-year-old mansion. Since then, it has served as a few different restaurants, the most recent being 4 am Coffee Roasters Cafe and Bar. 

Eugenia Mandeville Watkins

With the popularity of the building, rumors have spread about its potential “resident ghost”. Eugenia, one of the daughters of Leroy and Carrie Mandeville, is rumored to have lept from a third-story window at the age of 18 and many claim she still roams the halls of the building. Her headstone in the Carrollton City Cemetery tells a different story: it puts her birth in 1878 and her death in 1915, meaning she would have been 37 years old at the time of her death.

The Mandeville Mansion, 2014

The Mandeville Mansion, the Maple Street Mansion, or “the large purple and yellow building” has been in Carrollton for over 130 years and is beloved by the residents of the community. It has a long history of initially serving the family of a textile mogul, then all of the citizens of Carrollton. 

The Uprising of ’34

Author: Jamie Bynum

LaGrange strikers detained by the National Guard. Photo Courtesy of the Troup County Archives

On September 01, 1934, a massive strike that would last only three weeks would begin in the southern United States. Officially known as The General Textile Strike of 1934, and unofficially as The Uprising of ‘34, this strike led to textile mills shutting down for a brief period, arrests, fights, and unfortunate deaths. This strike would be the largest conflict of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) of the Great Depression.

Unrest within the textile industry came from several places. A major factor that played a hand in all of this was the Great Depression, which caused wages to fall. Mill managers and owners would stretch a few employees to cover the work of many while working only 30 hours a week. The reduction in weekly hours from 40 to 30 came from the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). A Textile Industry Committee was set up to regulate the textile industry across the United States in favor of the workers, consumers, and business owners; however, it was quickly realized that only the interests of the business owners were taken into consideration.

Even before the Great Depression, the textile industry still faced “a period of declining prices, management cost-cutting, and frequent and largely unsuccessful strikes by workers.” The cotton textile industry faced especially significant issues with the decline of the cotton boom of World War I. When the war ended, the demand for cotton for wartime materials nosedived, leading agriculturalists out of their line of work. Textile mills moved now more than ever to the southeastern United States, where employees could be paid significantly less due to the large labor force of previous agricultural workers. Wages had already begun to take a turn for the worse, but the onset of the Great Depression caused even lower wages. 

Due to these difficult working conditions, mill workers began getting more and more restless. One year before the strike occurred, mill workers began organizing unions, such as the United Textile Workers of America (UTWA). In September of 1933, the member count of this union was at 40,000; it quickly rose to 270,000. In August of 1934, a special convention was called from the UTWA membership; their demands were a $12 minimum wage for a 30-hour workweek. When mill owners didn’t take these demands seriously, mill operatives began striking and walking out of their jobs.

Cars organized as “flying squadrons” drove throughout southern Piedmont in an attempt to get other workers to go on strike with them. In Georgia, 44,480 of the state’s 60,000 textile workers had left their jobs by September 14. The National Guard was quickly called upon by governors to help quell strikes. Governor Eugene Talmadge declared martial law and had 4,000 National Guard members come to the state, who then began arresting thousands of people thought to be associated with the walkouts.

One of the first communities within the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail region to see evidence of this strike was Trion. The vice president of Trion Mills, who also happened to be the mayor of the town, asked Governor Talmadge to send the National Guard, Talmadge refused. For the entire year before the strike began, employees held complaints of code violations, mostly relating to the extremely low pay they were receiving. Not only were the violations amended, but anyone associated with a union was harshly punished with eviction from the mill village. On September 05, the mill exploded in violence, so much so that local authorities had to swear in almost fifty special deputies to help protect the mill. Gunfire ensued, leaving two men dead and at least twenty men wounded.

Aragon Mills saw the death of a mill guard on September 15. A flying squadron of three cars drove past and shot at the mill, killing guard Matt Brown. A total of twelve suspects were rounded up and jailed. Before state troops could make it to Aragon, Rockmart’s deputy sheriff took it upon himself to deputize “loyal mill workers” and arm them with weapons to find where the squadron was believed to be camped. He claimed that he “intended to run every striker out of the county.”

In Newnan, no deaths occurred; however, 112 men and 16 women were taken into custody from East Newnan and transported to a detention facility at Fort McPherson. Flying squadrons set out on September 17 from Hogansville, Rockmart, and LaGrange to Newnan, where the mill workers were not for the strike. At Newnan Cotton Mills Number 1 plant, a group of picketers, sympathizers, and curious onlookers gathered around. Some of the picketers included heavily armed guardsmen and two planes circling overhead. A brief scuffle ensued, and the picketers were subdued. Those from Newnan were told to go home, while those from outside of Newnan were taken to Fort McPherson. Work quickly began in the mills of Newnan after the strikers were taken away.

In LaGrange, the uprising still took hold despite Callaway Mills ensuring every family had at least one full-time employee. Much of the trouble faced in LaGrange was hyped up by out-of-town flying squadrons. Strikers from this community began to travel with these squadrons to other communities to promote the strike. The National Guard detained picketers in this community. Unrest in this community did not stop with the General Textile Strike of 1934; they faced a second strike in 1935 in which martial law was again declared.

Columbus faced a completely different series of events. While there had been some violence in August, by the time the strike officially kicked off, there was none to be reported. This peacefulness was most likely due to the mills within the city closing their doors before things could get worse. Workers picketed outside of the mills, but they were generally good-natured. Dalton experienced no violence as well, even whilst keeping their mill in operation. 

In Carrollton, no evidence of the strike was present until September 11, when a flying squadron rumored to have originated in LaGrange arrived at the Mandeville Cotton Mills. This squadron forced the mill to close down, and it remained closed most likely due to more squadrons passing through. Talmadge called in the National Guard to help arrest strikers at the mill several times. This call for help was when Mandeville was able to resume operations. 

By the middle of the month, it was clear that no progress was being made to better the conditions of working within textile mills. The strike ended on September 23 when President Roosevelt intervened, asking the workers to return to the mills. The workers, however, were afraid to return to the mills and face retribution from the owners and managers. Many workers were fired from their jobs, forced out of the mill villages that housed mill workers, and “blacklisted” from working in any textile mills ever again. As for those held at Fort McPherson and county and city jails, they were quietly released, most of them never to face the charges of the strike.

Graduate student Allison McClure worked with ArcGIS Story Maps to create the map below outlining the impact of the General Textile Strike of 1934 throughout the rest of the United States.

“The Industrial Revolution in the United States of America bred multiple successful businesses and industries across the country. Investors and business owners saw great financial and commercial success from their factories and plants, but the people working hard manual labor suffered physically, mentally, and financially. The textile industry on the East coast boomed throughout the early twentieth century. The poor, working-class Americans who staffed these factories endured harsh working conditions for very little pay, but during the interwar period and the Great Depression, workers began to demand better treatment from their employers. 

The General Textile Strike of 1934, also called the Uprising of ’34, occurred as a result of workers organizing against their employers to demand better wages and work environments. Through the influence of unions, like the Textile Workers’ Association, employees of large textile conglomerates went on strike and faced police brutality and elitist government officials in days-long strikes that resulted in workers being injured and even killed. In Georgia, factory workers in Trion, Augusta, and LaGrange participated in movements that shaped the textile industry in the state forever. While individual strikes in some states ended in death and sadness, the strike led many factories to implement wage increases, safety measures, and even allowed workers to organize in some cases. Overall, the General Textile Strike is important to study and present in a format like ArcGIS StoryMaps because it shows how a major labor movement moved from Northern states to Southern states, and it shows how different states treated strikers and met their demands.”

Waterpower and Water Transportation in Textile Mills

Author: Jamie Bynum

Waterpower was crucial to the development of the textile industry in the southern United States, especially to communities at or above the fall line. Georgia Public Broadcasting defines the fall line as “a geologic boundary marking the prehistoric shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the division between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions of the state.” Aptly named, the fall line is known for its creation of waterfalls due to dropping elevation. This boundary was used to the extreme by textile mills, as early on all of their machinery was operated using exclusively waterpower. The southern United States had this advantage over the North since waterpower was not as efficient there. However, a major problem came along with the utilization of the waterfall for power: it was impossible for boats to travel directly from one point to another if there was a waterfall between the two points. Roads were not very reliable, especially in times of bad weather, which would cause some roads to become completely impassable. After the Civil War, waterpower and water transportation were relied on less and less as the implementation of railroads, steam engines, and electricity made its way into textile mills.

The main use of water for power came in the form of water wheels and turbines. Early textile mills relied on the types of water wheels that had been in use for centuries, but only had an efficiency of about 30-40%. Of course, with the early textile mills of the region opening at the peak of the Industrial Revolution, a more efficient manner of power production was sought out. By the end of the nineteenth century, water wheels had been upgraded to an efficiency rate of 80-90%. Alongside the development of more efficient water wheels was the implementation of water turbines. The main difference between traditional water wheels and water turbines was that water turbines were smaller and were placed horizontally, completely submerged in water. Soon, water wheels were replaced by water turbines that took up less space and were able to spin much faster. Some southern mill owners found these turbines to be so efficient that they continued to use them into the 1930s. The use of water turbines not only generated waterpower but electricity; by the 1880s, some mills used electricity from water turbines to operate all or part of their mill, light their mill, or light nearby cities.

Troup Factory was the first textile operation in Troup County. This photo shows the original grist mill (left), the cotton factory (background), and the wooden raceway flume (foreground); all built by Maxey Brooks. Photo Courtesy of Troup County Archives.

Before the introduction of steamboats and levies to this region, transportation via water was more difficult than in other parts of the southeastern United States. Due to the location of these communities relative to the fall line, all types of boats had a hard time navigating the waterways of west Georgia. Small boats known as flatboats and keelboats dominated waterways above the fall line before the advent of the steamboat. Flatboats were generally eight- to ten -feet wide and between thirty- to forty-feet long and transported both freight and passengers downstream. The keelboat, on the other hand, was designed to go upstream using manpower via poles, rowing, or dragging. Water transportation upstream without any assistance was costly and time-consuming, so the solution was to apply the power of steam to boats. After their introduction in the early 1800s, steamboats quickly replaced keelboats in most parts of the South; however, flatboats remained competitive in downstream transportation until the 1860s due to their cost and improvements made to the construction and operation of flatboats. The initial impact of steamboats on inland rivers was not significant due to their inability to travel north past the fall line but became irreplaceable once levies came along.

The S. S. Monroe being launched on her maiden voyage. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Troup Factory, one of the first textile mills in Georgia having opened in 1843, relied exclusively on waterpower. However, the rushing water used for waterwheels came not from natural waterfalls but a man-made log dam constructed in 1829 for the grist mill that eventually became this textile mill. With the construction of a cotton mill to accompany the original mill that operated wool carding machines, the owners of the mill had a second dam made of rocks constructed below the log dam. These dams used raceway flumes to guide the water down a narrow path where it would fall from the side of the dam, creating more turbulent waters to push the waterwheels. Water was not always beneficial to the mills; Troup Factory flooded several times over the years, which would have made the wagon road shown in the below map impassable. 

Photo courtesy of the Digital Library of Georgia.

West Point, another early textile community in the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, also relied on waterpower and water as transportation. The Chattahoochee Manufacturing Company and the Alabama-Georgia Manufacturing Company, both located along the Chattahoochee River, began operations on the same day in 1866. In 1888, after the Chattahoochee Manufacturing Company had become the Langdale Mill of the West Point Manufacturing Company, the family that owned and operated the mill established the Chattahoochee Navigation Company. The goal of this company was to operate barges for the transportation of goods to and from the mill. The only alternative at this time was to attempt the five-and-a-half-mile wagon ride to the West Point depot. The fate of this company shows why water transportation was difficult in this region: when the water was too low, the shoals would be exposed and stop barges in their tracks, while high water levels would cause extreme rapids that were too difficult to navigate. 

The former Alabama-Georgia Manufacturing Company, renamed Riverdale Cotton Mills, in the 1900s. Photo courtesy of Jarrett Craft.

Columbus’ textile industry utilized water the most out of any community throughout the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. Several of the early textile mills in this town relied heavily on the powerful Chattahoochee River, just as the mills near West Point did. Two notable mills here were the Eagle and Phenix Mills and Bibb Manufacturing Company. Eagle Mills opened in the mid-1800s and was re-established after the Civil War. Once reestablished, it absorbed a nearby mill, making it one of the largest mills in the state; this achievement was accomplished using waterpower and transportation to produce goods and rapidly grow the company. The other prominent mill along the river, Columbus Mill owned by Bibb Manufacturing Company, was established in 1900 around a dam site that could be used to power the mill. As seen in the below image of Bibb Manufacturing, the surrounding area was not suitable for boats to pull right up to the mill.

Photo of the Bibb Manufacturing Company and River Bank
Bibb Manufacturing Company and river. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Water was an incredibly important resource for early textile mills in the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, as it was used for both power and transportation. Early roads were often unsuitable for anything more than small freight loads going short distances. The use of water in many places allowed larger deliveries to be made to and from textile mills and was the best mode of transportation until the implementation of railroads throughout the state. Waterwheels were used to power the various mills throughout the region until steam engines and turbines were introduced. Steam, in the end, replaced water for both transportation and power.

Mapping for the Textile Heritage Trail

Author: Jamie Bynum

I began working for the Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia in January 2020. I have worked exclusively on the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail project performing a variety of tasks. My main task has been to create maps for the Trail to bring history to the public in a visual manner. To accomplish this, I have used two programs: Story Maps and ArcGIS. These maps also serve as my thesis project for my Master of Arts in History degree.

This is a view of creating one of my many maps in ArcGIS. For this specific map, I have added additional data to create an animated timelapse.

If you have looked through our community pages, you might notice almost all of them have an interactive map showing textile-related locations within that respective community; these were all created using Story Maps. As the name suggests, Story Maps allow us to tell a story. For this project, that would be each community’s textile history. While the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is a digital history project, it is also a tourism initiative. The use of Story Maps allows the public to not only learn historical information about a community’s textile industry but navigate to these places to see what they look like today.

The maps I have created with the ArcGIS program are more for historical research rather than tourism. These maps, unlike the Story Maps, are not interactive and remain stationary. My thesis topic centers around the importance of waterways and railroads to textile mills in the 1800s into the early 1900s. The maps I have created show the correlation between textile mills and waterways from the 1840s until about 1880; by this point, railroads were becoming more widespread and textile mills were ditching waterways and waterpower for railroads and steam power. To remain competitive in the textile industry, it was important that these mills upgraded their sources of power and transportation. By using maps, the transition through the various modes of power and transportation is very clear.

This map is the most extensive of all of the maps I created as it represents the entire Textile Heritage Trail.

I did not work on these maps alone. While what can be seen visually was created by myself, the data used to create them was a collaborative effort with fellow graduate research assistant Jarrett Craft. Without his help, the maps would not have been made. We worked together to gather mill coordinates, mill village boundaries, and mill histories. The two of us used both Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and textile directories to gather most of the information needed, with Google Maps being used to confirm coordinates and locations. 

This is an example of a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from the town of Tallapoosa.

By creating these maps, the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is able to bring the textile industry together in a visual manner. For visitors, that means an easy way to see the geographic impact of the textile industry, as well as a way to navigate it.