Singleton Silk Mill

Home Up


There has been several excellent published articles documenting the history of the Singleton Silk Mill Mfg. Co. located here in Wadesboro, NC, circa 1888 - 1927 written by the following: TD Burns of Charlotte, NC, Steve Bailey, local Genealogist and Mary Medley in her book The History of Anson County 1750 - 1976, whereas historically, there is very little to add to their writings.  This was the first silk mill in North Carolina and the first silk mill in the South if you go by their date of incorporation.

However, I am going to give a recap of the Singleton Silk Mill's history including hyperlinks of land purchases; e.g., deeds, land plat images not documented before, newspaper articles, photos and information from Sally Smith of Berlin, MD, granddaughter of Charles and Sarah Uren, last Superintendent of the Singleton Silk Mill and a personal account of information passed to me from my Grandma Della Coley who worked there from 1902 at age 8 until 1919 when she married my Grandpa Jesse McKnight "Mack" Coley on August 21, 1919.


The Singleton Silk Mill was located on property know as Carr's Mount consisting of thirty-four (34) acres, more or less of which 9.15 acres is currently occupied by The Wadesboro Housing Authority and a large water tank and the balance of the original track belonging to Dunlap & Mills, Inc.  Prior to that and going back to February 23, 1872, said property was conveyed from K. H. Strong to John Williamson Deed Book 16 Page 625, and said Williamson to Nathaniel A. Knight by Deed Book bearing date February 23, 1872 which is registered in Deed Book 18 Page 201 and by said Knight to James T. Bradley by deed bearing date July 19, 1876 and registered in Deed Book 20 page 334 and on May 1, 1879, land was deeded from James T. Bradley and his wife Emma A. Bradley to the Dixie Agricultural and Mechanical Association for $ 1,250.00 dollars registered in Deed Book 21 Pages 635 and 636.  Property was used as a fair grounds and hosted other local events; e.g. circus/carnival and used as a race track.


Below is a transcript of the sale of the Carr's Mount property listed in Anson Times February 16, 1882 page 3 as follows: Sale of Valuable Property. By virtue of powers conferred upon me as Trustee and contained in a Deed of Trust, executed on 2nd day of May A. D., 1879, by the Dixie Agricultural and Mechanical Association to James T. Bradley, and registered in Trust Book No. 14, pages 86 and 87 in the office of Register of Deeds of Anson County, I will sell to the highest bidder, for cash, at the Court House door, in Wadesboro, North Carolina, on the 5th day of June 1882, a lot or parcel of land just without the corporate limits of said town of Wadesboro, known as the "Carr's Mount place," and containing Thirty-Four (34) acres. The sale of the above described property will be had to realize the purchase money due thereon and now past due. Title warranted.  For further information apply to: James T. Bradley, Trustee, Wadesboro, N. C. Feb. 4th 1882.

Open this hyperlink to view a copy of land Plat Book 1 Page 48 done by Gray & Son which shows the Dixie Fair Ground in the upper left hand section of the map. NOTE: There are practically no structures shown between the Dixie Fair Ground going South West to Salisbury Road, now called Salisbury Street.  Use your view feature on Adobe to rotate the image as viewed in your browser


George Singleton of Morris County, State of New Jersey, Ebenezer K. Rose of Passaic County, New Jersey and Russell Murray of New York County in the State of New York formed a North Carolina Corporation called Wadesboro Manufacturing Company on May 1, 1888, for the purpose of manufacturing silk, whereas the amount of capital stock was six thousand (6,000) dollars with a total of sixty (60) shares at one hundred (100) dollars each and each owning 1/3 of the stock.  George Singleton and his brother Robert were already in the silk business and one does wonder why Wadesboro was chosen for the location of his new mill.

Carr's Mount property was ultimately transferred on December 29, 1890 to George Singleton of Dover, New Jersey, Ebenezer Rose of Passaic, New Jersey and Russell Murray of New York by James T. Bradley who was the Trustee of the Carr's Mount property recorded in Deed Book 28 Pages 221, 222, 223 and 224.  As stated above, they formed a corporation known as the Wadesboro Manufacturing Company, not connected to our current Wade Manufacturing Company.  John T. Patrick is credited with getting the investors to locate a silk mill here in Anson County.  You can read about the life of John T. Patrick at this link:

The above three investors, George Singleton, Ebenezer Rose, Russell Murray and their wives sold the Carr's Mount land consisting of thirty-four (34) acres to the Wadesboro Manufacturing Company for one (1) dollar and other valuable considerations on December 28, 1899 recorded in Deed Book 34 Pages 20  Page 21 and Page 22.

George Singleton, President and Russell Murray, Secretary of the Wadesboro Manufacturing Co. (Silk Mill owners) deeded 1/4 acre of land to the Wadesboro White Baptist Church "Trustees" on April 30, 1906 recorded in Deed Book 4 Pages 126 and 127.

On December 23, 1920, George Singleton and Russell Murray, Surviving Directors and Trustees of the Wadesboro Manufacturing Company, whereas their thirty (30) year corporate existence had expired, sold their interests to The Singleton Silk Mill Manufacturing Company recorded in Deed Book 59 Pages 194 and 195.  George Singleton was the President of the Singleton Silk Mill.

George Singleton invested heavily into property and housing here in Wadesboro for the silk mill employees, whereas my Grandpa Jesse McKnight 'Mack" Coley purchased a considerable amount of houses and lots known as the West Side Extension of which was an entire "Mill Village" that was owned by George Singleton per the 1915 Plat Book 1 Page 37 and deeded to him on March 9, 1921 from the Anson Real Estate and Insurance Company documented in Deed Book 59 Pages 261 and 262.  Most of the George Singleton properties were sold to the Anson Real Estate and Insurance Company beginning in 1915. George Singleton released the title to land to the Anson Real Estate and Insurance Company recorded in Deed Book 57 Page 347 on December 20, 1919.


George Singleton was also an inventor, whereas he was issued US Patent No. 340,631 on April 27, 1886 for a tension device for silk spinning machines.  I have two images hyperlinked for Figure 1 and Figure 3 which shows the device.  Patent application was filed in the US Patent Office on May 19, 1884 and takes about the same amount of time today to get a patent issued.

George Singleton was born on December 20, 1843 and died on January 28, 1931.  He was married to Abigail Condict who was born on April 9, 1856 and died on January 1, 1936.  Both are buried at the Orchard Street Cemetery in Dover, Morris County, New Jersey.


Robert Singleton, the brother of George Singleton married Mary Dabbs of Anson County on December 24, 1888 at the Episcopal Church here in Wadesboro, whereas Robert was 41 years old and Mary was 22 years old.  Robert Singleton was the superintendent of the Singleton Silk Mill and kept that position until sometime after 1905 when he was replaced by Charles C. Uren.  Robert deeded his wife Mary E. Singleton 10 acres of land on December 21, 1902 recorded in Deed Book 35 Page 582.  Mary Singleton sold tracks of land to the Anson Real Estate and Insurance Company on September 21, 1915 recorded in Deed Book 52 Page 335 and 336 with the exception of a 1.6 acre track of land.  Robert Singleton sold off several parcels of land recorded in Deed Book 44 Page 461, whereas he sold 1.6 acres of land adjacent Salisbury Street to The Singleton Silk Mill Manufacturing Company on April 10, 1908 which was the Colored Silk Mill, Plant # 2.  Robert Singleton went to Augusta, Georgia to manage the silk mill there until his death.


According to published information in the Messenger and Intelligence article dated October 28, 1897, quote, "The Silk Mill Will Double Its Capacity.  Enough machinery to double the capacity of the Wadesboro Silk Mill is now being received at the mill.  Mr. Robert Singleton, the efficient superintendent, says the mill is doing well now.  About 80 operatives will be required to run the mill after the new machinery is placed."   


Anson Times February 16, 1882 Page 3
Anson Times May 4, 1882 Page 3
Anson Times February 16, 1882 Page 3 copy 2
M & I September 27, 1894
M & I October 28, 1897 Page 3
M & I March 3, 1904 Page 3
M & I June 30, 1904 Page 3
M & I May 25, 1905 Page 3
M & I May 24, 1906 Page 5
M & I January 24, 1907 Page 1
M & I October 24, 1907 Page 1
M & I November 7, 1907 Page 1
M & I December 24, 1908 Page 5
M & I July 10, 1913 Page 1
M & I May 28, 1925 Page 5
M & I January 6, 1927 Page 5
M & I April 5, 1928 Page 7
M & I June 21, 1928 Page 1

The above article hyperlinks from the Anson Times and The Messenger and Intelligence are a good time line of the goals of George Singleton for his Silk Mill here in Wadesboro, NC and his influence and impact on the economy of Wadesboro.  George Singleton had some novel and unique ideas implemented about helping his employees to get educated, (night school), learn other skills and crafts and provide recreation for them, whereas a couple of the newspaper articles hyperlinked above go into more detail.   


The following obituary notice was placed in the Messenger and Intelligence on July 10, 1913 Page 1 as follows:  "Mr. Robert Singleton died yesterday morning at his home in Augusta, Ga., after an illness for several weeks. The funeral was held in Augusta today.

Mr. Singleton was well known and had many friends in Wadesboro, he having had charge of the silk mill here until about six years ago, when he moved to Augusta to take charge of a mill there.  He married Miss Mollie Dabbs, of Anson and survived by his wife and by six children: Messrs Sam, Russell, James, Robbie and May Singleton."

Robert Singleton is buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Augusta, Georgia.  Mary Dabbs Singleton, Robert's wife died on January 15, 1928 and is buried in the Singleton plot in the Magnolia Cemetery in Augusta, Georgia along with several of their children.  


Charles C. Uren married a local woman Sarah H. Flake on September 15, 1905, whereas they have her fist name spelled Sallie on the marriage license and remained here in Wadesboro after the closing of the Singleton Silk Mill sometime after 1927.  Charles and Sarah had three daughters; Daisy Ruth, Louise Crane and Rachel Marietta.  Sarah was the bookkeeper for the silk mill during this time.  Below is a picture of a picture of their wedding photo courtesy of Sally Smith, Berlin, MD their granddaughter: 

Charles and Sara lived in the Superintendents house located on the Singleton Silk Mill property until the mill was closed sometime in 1927.  During the time while living at the Superintendents home at the Singleton Silk Mill, they had three lovely daughters.  From left to right; Daisy Ruth, Rachel Marietta and Louise Crane; photo courtesy of Sally Smith, daughter of Daisy Ruth.  The Uren family later moved into the home purchased at 411 Leak Avenue.


Sara aka Sallie Uren purchased lots 12, 13, 31, 32 adjoining one another located between Leak Avenue and Park Avenue here in Wadesboro, NC on May 21, 1927 from T. L. Huntley recorded in Deed Book 68 Page 429 and Page 430

Charles C. Uren and his wife Sarah aka Sallie H. Uren owned a good amount of property in Anson County of which they started selling their land investments off as of May 29, 1920, no doubt experiencing a decline in the silk business brought about by several factors mentioned in TD Burns article.  Charles and Sarah Uren sold three (3) lots to the Anson Real Estate and Insurance Company on April 3, 1926 recorded in Deed Book 66 Page 198.  Sallie H. and Charles C. Uren sold T. L. Huntley 83 3/4 acres of land on May 21, 1927 recorded in Deed Book 67 Page 525.  On July 31, 1946, Charles C. and Sallie H. Uren sold lot No. 3 to Edward R. Little recorded in Deed Book 148 Page 336 Plat Book 1 Page 71 and Lot No. 4 to G. K. Little recorded in Deed Book 101 Page 560 Plat Book 1 Page 71.  On April 20, 1942, Charles C. & Sarah H. Uren sold a lot in Peachland adjacent the U.S. Post Office to J. R. Crowder recorded in Deed Book 91 Page 601 shown on Plat 1 Page 14.

On December 20, 1956, Sallie Uren is listed as a widow and living in Fairfax, Virginia and sold the four (4) lots to Demps K. and Frankie Sipe Moose recorded in Deed Book 122 Page 532.  The four lots in the last Deed reference are abutting one another and go from Leak Avenue to Park Avenue here in Wadesboro, NC and are shown on Plat Book1 Page 25 and Plat Book 1 Page 76On February 23, 1960 said lots were sold to James D. Redfearn and wife, Ruth Lowery Redfearn recorded in Deed Book 137 Page 119.  On January 29, 1996 said property was deeded to Clara Lowry, Executrix of the Estate of Ruth L. Redfearn recorded in Deed Book 378 Page 170 upon the death of her Sister Ruth of which James and Ruth Redfearn didn't have any children.  Upon the death of Miss Clara Lowry, the property was sold to BK Staton LLC recorded in Deed Book 859 Page 359 by Mark T. Lowe the Executor of the Estate of Clara Lowry on November 7, 2007.  Miss Clara left considerable funds to Duke University and Elon University as Miss Clara was never married and the last of the Lowry Klan.  The street address for the above property is 411 Leak Avenue.  The original long handle well pump sits atop the well casing and a concrete slab near the home which definitely was used before city wide water was available.  Below are current pixs of the home and the long handle well pump appears to be broken or partly disassembled.


My bride and several other care givers helped look after Miss Clara Lowry, an elderly Lady who lived in this home until her death in 2007.  The home was left to Miss Clara by her Sister Ruth Redfearn referenced above and it is sad that no one in Clara Lowry's immediate family had any children.  The front and side wrap around porch is one of the things my bride loved most about this home.  The house was well built for its time and had quality materials that went into its construction.   I have personally been in this home and listened to Miss Clara play her keyboard of which she was very musically talented playing several different instruments by ear.  Pix of Clara at our Halloween Party taken in 2004 and pix of Clara taken on 11-24-05.  To reiterate, none of Clara's Brothers or Sisters had any children.  

I have the 1940 Census Report for Charles and Sarah Uren hyperlinked here.  According to Sally R. Smith, their granddaughter, her grandparents lived a quiet retirement life at their home at 411 Leak Avenue here in Wadesboro, NC.

Charles C. Uren and his wife Sarah F. Uren are buried in the Eastview Cemetery here in Wadesboro.

Two of the Daughters of Charles and Sarah Uren are also buried in the Eastview Cemetery; Louise Crane Uren Brigman died on April 30, 1997 and and Rachel Marietta Uren Lawson died on October 15, 1987 and her husband John Patrick Lawson who died on September 6, 1968.  Daisy Ruth Uren Rosenberger and Clyde Kenneth Rosenberger are buried in Manassas, Virginia.


The Messenger and Intelligence on January 6, 1927 page 5 reported that Mr. Charles Uren, manager of the silk mill, has received instructions from the head office of the Singleton Silk Manufacturing Co. to close the mill down indefinitely, only a watchman being retained.  The closing of the mill was brought about by several factors mentioned by other writers; e.g., the trade interruption caused by WWI, some of the original Investors had died and the rest were of advanced age, Tuberculosis outbreak at the mill, whereas several employees had died and a decline in the demand for silk. 

This was definitely a set-back to the hundreds of people employed at the silk mill who depended on a regular paycheck just to survive.  Entire families were employed at the silk mill and The Great Depression was right around the corner.  Wages varied from about 5 dollars to 20 dollars per month depending on the specific job and of course the children employed didn't receive the same amount of wages as did the adults according to verbal information received from individuals that worked there and/or their family members.


Other than newspaper articles written, I don't know of anyone left to interview concerning Plant # 2 that was built just for people of color and never heard my Grandma Coley make mention of it.  That era was definitely a time of extreme segregation.  On 09-27-15, I noticed on the 1915 plat of the West Side Extension Property owned by George Singleton recorded in Plat Book 1 Page 37, there is a building symbol with the annotation Silk Mill and now we know where the location of the Silk Mill for people of color was located per the newspaper accounts of its construction and location which was not specific.  The ole cliché, "You can't see the forest for the trees" applies to myself on this late observation since the information was right under my nose the entire time!


Here is a transcript of the Messenger and Intelligence article dated May 25, 1905 page 3.  "The Wadesboro Manufacturing Company, the corporate name of the concern that owns and operates the Wadesboro silk mill, of which Mr. George Singleton of New Jersey is the lessee, has perfected arrangements for the erection of another large mill here.  The mill will be located just outside of town on the right hand side of the Salisbury road and will be operated exclusively with colored labor.

Mr. W. T. Brasington has the contract for the erection of a large frame building in which silk spinning machinery will be installed for the purpose of instructing colored boys and girls in its use, to the end that they may become efficient operatives by the time the mill proper is finished.  The permanent mill will be built of brick and will be 200 feet long by 45 feet broad.  The frame building is to be erected at once and is hoped to have the entire plant in operation by the first of January next. 

The location of the mill is an ideal one when it is considered that only colored help to be employed as that section of the town is inhabited exclusively by colored people.  The mill while it will belong to the same parties who own the present mill here, will be operated on an entirely independent basis and the help in the two mills will not in any way come in contact with each other.

The only silk mill in this country that has been successfully operated with colored labor is located at Fayetteville, this State.  The mill has been in operation several years and it has been demonstrated that colored boys and girls under proper restrictions can be developed into fairly good operatives.  Mr. Robert Singleton, superintendent of the mill here has made a study of the management of the Fayetteville mill and it is his purpose to conduct the mill here along the lines that have made that mill a success.

The mill when completed, will give employment to from 150 to 200 operatives."


I found Deed Book 53 Page 69 and Page 70 dated September 20, 1915 that detailed the sale of a parcel of land adjacent to Salisbury Street with the exception of 1.35 acres of land and reserved which fully described the silk mill for colored people as shown on the West Side Extension Plat Book 1 Page 37 with the meets and bounds listed adjacent the individual lots on said plat dated July 1915.

On 09-30-15, I searched through the Grantor and Grantee Index records at the Register of Deeds Office here in Wadesboro, NC and located deed transfers of the Plant # 2 property, whereas George Singleton sold the land and buildings to Anson Real Estate & Insurance Company on May 12, 1926 recorded in Deed Book 66 Page 367 and Page 368, whereas on Page 368 it states "said party of the first part has operated a Silk Mill which was run by the use of colored labor, said property being known as the Colored Silk Mill property." 

On July 7, 1928 said property was sold by the Anson Real Estate & Insurance Co. to B. J. Dargan recorded in Deed Book 69 Page 367 and Page 368.

On April 1, 1939, said property was sold by Paul J. Kiker, Trustee to Thomas Kluttz, Trustee, ET AL of Kesler's Chapel, A.M.E. Zion Church of Wadesboro, NC recorded in Deed Book 84 Page 154 and Page 155.

Sally Smith, Granddaughter of Charles Uren, the last Superintendent of the Singleton Silk Mill related to me "that according to verbal information from her Father, Charles Uren her Grandfather would deliver the weekly payroll by going down the hill through the woods in route to the "colored silk mill."  In all probability he would take the shortest route which would be accessing Maple Lane and walking down to Catherine Lane which did not extend all the way to Mill Street and was a well worn path even back in the middle to late 1950s.  Catherine Lane was later extended all the way to Salisbury Street and Mill Street was later named Silk Mill Street and Ingram Street.  Plat Book 1 Page 37 survey in 1915 of George Singleton's West Side Extension properties shows the location of the colored silk along with the older street names.  Several references have used the term; e.g., "at the foot of the hill" describing the location of the "colored silk mill" of which many in the past were thinking it was located in front of the Singleton Silk Mill there adjacent to Sikes Avenue which is incorrect.  It is easy to see why that description was used since the Singleton Silk Mill location off Sikes Avenue is definitely elevated in relationship to where the colored silk mill was located adjacent Salisbury Street.



Above 2010 satellite image of the colored silk mill property that is owned by the AME ZION CHURCH.  The vacant lot to the rear of the Church is also part of the original property that the silk mill was on.  Ingram Street now cuts through the center of the property that the colored silk mill was located at.  


Above is a copy of Plat Book 1 Page 37 of the property of George Singleton called West Side Extension circa 1915 which was the Singleton Silk Mill village at the time.  The colored silk mill is depicted in the lower left section of the drawing with two buildings annotated and the larger building labeled SILK MILL of which the property is approximately 1.35 acres more or less. 


In the Messenger and Intelligence on April 5, 1928 page 7, Messrs. H. B. Allen and W. Henry Liles have bought from the company which formerly operated the mill the old silk mill property in North Wadesboro, including the real estate, buildings and machinery.  The real estate was traded for some time ago and this week a deal was closed for the machinery.  Messrs. Allen and Liles have made no announcement as to their plans for the property, but it is expected that the mill will be in operation before a great while.  Deed Book 69 Pages 236 & 237 recorded the land purchase excepting the equipment, etc., on March 1, 1928 from the Singleton Silk Mill by George Singleton, President.

This is a transcript from the M & I June 21, 1928. WILL ERECT SILK MILL MACHINERY. Allen-Liles Silk Company Will Manufacture Silk Hosiery Yarns - To Be In Operation Soon - Jepson Company Fails to Materialize. The machinery for the Allen-Liles Silk Company has arrived and an expert is expected here today to erect it in the old silk mill which Messrs. H. B. Allen and W. Henry Liles purchased some time ago. The old mill building has been repaired and placed in first class condition. The machinery, which was bought some time ago, is the best of its kind and it is expected that the mill will be in operation in about 30 days or so.

Mr. Charles Uren who recently returned from the North, where he went to investigate silk mill machinery and who has had many years of experience in silk manufacturing, will be superintendent of the mill for Messrs. Allen and Liles. About 25 operatives will be employed and about 250 pounds of silk hosiery yarns will be manufactured each day. It is expected that the yarns will be sold to the full fashioned silk hosiery manufacturers in this state.

The Allen-Liles Silk Company will take the place of the Jepson Art Weaving Company which was incorporated some time ago but which never organized though no fault of the local men interested in the project. There is no connection between the two enterprises, one merely coming along where the other fell through.

NOTE: This was very bad timing to start a company of an already faltering industry as The Great Depression in the US began on August 1929 and with the stock market crash of October 1929.


On October 26, 1935 Fred H. Allen and Margaret H. Allen sold their 1/2 interest in the Singleton Silk Mill property known as Carr's Mount to W. Henry Liles recorded in Deed Book 78 Pages 15 & 16.  H. B. Allen died on July 31, 1932 leaving his 1/2 interest to Fred and Margaret Allen.

On September 23, 1938 W. Henry Liles sold timber rights from the Singleton Silk Mill property (Carr's Mount) to V. P. Scarboro of Montgomery County recorded in Deed Book 83 Pages 28 & 29.

On January 1, 1955 the original thirty-four (34) acres of which was resurveyed and was actually 38.28 acres was sold by Zeta F. Mills and others to Dunlap & Mills, Inc. recorded in Deed Book 123 Pages 289, 290 and 291.

On July 14, 1966 a portion of the above land, 9.15 acres was carved from the original track and sold to the Wadesboro Housing Authority, Inc. for the purpose of constructing public housing and recorded in Deed Book 156 Page 17.  The balance of the original (Carr's Mount) Singleton Silk Mill land is still in the possession of Dunlap & Mills, Inc. at this time.


Below is a hand line drawing of the Singleton Silk Mill received from TD Burns on 06-15-15.  There is a photograph in Mary Medley's book History of Anson County 1750 - 1976 of the Singleton Silk Mill but it is very poor quality of which I plan to get a copy of the picture in the future.  This sketch was made by James D. Lewis in 1976 of which I also got a copy from Risden Hill on 06-17-15.  You can barely make out the Lewis signature in the lower right hand corner of the pix of which I replaced TD Burns copy with the copy received from Risden Hill.  James D. Lewis apparently made his drawing from memory because the details as far as the end of the building, etc. do not match the 1900 photograph and still not a bad drawing from memory either.  I will check Ms. Mary Medleys book again and see how close the drawing is in comparison to the 1900 photograph taken.


Above oil painting I commissioned Iris Teff of Baden Lake, NC to do based on two photographs of the Singleton Silk Mill and the line drawing by J. D. Lewis in 1976.


Below is an actual picture taken by Professor Charles A. Young, Astronomer of Princeton University while doing Research on the Solar Eclipse of May 28, 1900 Mark Treadaway located the picture while doing his own solar eclipse research of the old archives at Princeton University and my Sister Susan Pettigrew copied the picture from his Facebook page and emailed it to me and I certainly do thank Mark Treadaway for posting the picture and also for donating a hard copy to the Anson County Library genealogy room.  The picture angle in my humble opinion doesn't give the true height perception of the ole Silk Mill as I remember it since the photograph was taken a good distance downhill with a predominant foreground from the Silk Mill, but then again, when we are younger things have a different visual perspective too!

Below is a pix that Dianne Welch scanned and emailed me from the photograph that Mark Treadaway donated to the Anson County Library which is cropped different and shows more hue and detail.  It appears the rectangular building in front of the larger building has some type of construction going on by the presence of a boom on the far right side of the building and they might be in the process of finish putting tin on the roof as evidenced by the horizontal layers with open spaces between them which is typical of tin roof construction; just a "guess at the best":

When myself, Cousin Johnny Ray Coley (deceased) and my brother Allen Porter were sneaking into the unlocked building back in the middle to late 1950s and through the middle 1960s until it was later torn down, the area wasn't as open as in this picture.  It appears that the area was freshly plowed up to the fence line and looks like the remnants of corn stalks in the plowed area.  There is a good elevation drop depicted in the picture from where the camera was set up to the fence line and the only area I remember close to the Silk Mill with the above elevation drop where the Silk Mill stood in the 1960s was facing toward Maple Lane on the edge of the Silk Mill property.  The woods back then was grown up nearly to the edge of the building on the left and there were large trees on the above property and no fence either.  There was at least one Catalpa aka Indian Cigar Tree on the property and I remember the long seed pods that would hang down and eventually dry out and burst open.  Young folks wanting to try their hand at smoking, would try and smoke the dried out pods and also smoke rabbit tobacco in home made acorn pipes.....grin if you must!  For some reason, I don't remember the front facade of the structure of the building and it appears there is a building in front of the main structure but that was over fifty-five (55) years ago.  The driveway coming off Sikes Avenue going up the incline to the Silk Mill was also about overgrown, especially on each side of the driveway but still passable with a vehicle and a smaller building was located on the right hand side of the driveway and a larger building further up the driveway if memory is correct which might have been the home of the Superintend and/or the persons running the mill.  The Stations lived in that house at one time per Aunt Mollie Bowers and others, however the image of the structure has faded from my memory or it was not there in the late 1950s.  There were several large Walnut trees near the old mill and this picture sure does bring back some wonderful memories from the past.   It was an amazing sight to a young kid being on the upper level of the ole Singleton Silk Mill looking out over the countryside taking in such a wonderful panoramic scenic view.  Above photograph added on August 13, 2015.  Aunt Mollie also remembers the reservoir near the silk mill and the one adjacent Maple Lane and stated they later covered it over with a tin roof of which that is what I remember for both of the reservoirs.  I do not remember any well located on the silk mill property and Aunt Mollie said they pumped water from the reservoir off Maple Lane and remembers the pipes going up the hill to where the silk mill was located.  She said there was a well worn path going from the reservoir to the plateau where the Singleton Silk Mill was located and definitely used since I doubt any of the laborers owned a vehicle at that time.  

I flipped the picture horizontally and the main building facade matches the line drawing and Mary Medley's picture more closely.  I believe the negative glass or film used to capture the above picture was flipped when they made a print from it; in my humble opinion.


If memory is correct, the west end of the building to the left had some type of inside stairwell that went up to the top floor and we could look out over the countryside.  The in ground depression in front of the small building (drawing) was a concrete and/or brick lined water reservoir which was in the edge of the woods in the 1960s and covered with vines, etc., and still had a metal roof over it.  There were some piping that went toward Maple Lane and there was a reservoir not too far off the road of which it appeared they might have pumped water from it to the Silk Mill in my humble opinion.  It also had a metal cover over it and was always filled with water; it could have been a hand dug well also.  The small building attached to the side/front of the mill and the smoke stack were not there in the mid to late 1950s, therefore it was torn down and removed.  In one of the newspaper archived articles in 1928 hyperlinked above, it mentions that the new owners had repaired the old mill and I am certain the power source for the mill was electricity versus steam power and the old power plant boilers would definitely not be needed or any structure associated with them external of the main building.  I am not exactly sure of the orientation of the mill as its location in relationship to Sikes Avenue at the crest of the hill.  At the time of this mill in 1888, they would have used steam power and that smaller attached building could have been their original power plant as evidenced by the smoke stack.  Many old mills of this type had one long power shaft that went the entire length of the mill supported on bearings and leather drive belts were fastened together at their ends with flat metal rings or hooks where they could be installed onto the main drive power shaft going to each bank of machines.  Imagine what kind of noise that would generate with all those leather drive belts making that plop, plop type sound ever time the belt made a complete revolution with the metal flat rings making contact with the power drive shaft and the machine drive pulley and that was long before OSHA.

Below pix from Mary Medley's book The History of Anson County 1750 - 1976


The above pix gives a more realistic visual as to the size of the structure from ground level.  As I stated earlier about the pixs posted on here, I only remember one long rectangular building with no other structures attached or near it in the middle to late 1950s through the mid 1960s. 


I am "guesstimating" that the Singleton Silk Mill was located somewhere near the south east side of the water tank of which the terrain was then sloping downhill on the left hand side as per the 1900 photograph was taken and the building would be facing more parallel or at an angle toward Sikes Avenue.  In the above satellite image; If you travel West from the water tank you will end up behind Grandma Coley's old home place at 910 Maple Lane.  Toward the end of this short story, there is a picture of Grandma Coley and Cecil Ackerman standing near the right front portion of the home of Grandma Coley and off in the background you can see the water tank that was constructed in 1968 to 1969 after the demise of the silk mill.  However, the angle of the camera lens compresses the background in the picture making it look much closer than it actually is and also by the size of the water tank itself.  The old driveway/road going to the Singleton Silk Mill in the 1960s was right at the crest of the hill at the beginning of the curve in the road of Sikes Avenue in the above pix.  I plan to walk that area in the near future when the temperature cools down some and see if there is anything recognizable around the perimeter of the current landscape.

I walked directly by the Singleton Silk Mill during the middle to late 1950s through 1964 as my short cut from Wadesboro Middle School on White Store Road and the Wadesboro High School on Camden Road, whereas I crossed highway 74 and went down N. Rutherford Street of which it is a steep uphill climb and crossing Wheeler Street.  I then went by the smaller City water storage tank going onto the property of Daisy Bell Wheeler and her Mother and there was a well worn trail through the woods that came out right below the crest of the hill there on Sikes Avenue.  I then climbed the red clay bank and/or went up Sikes Avenue to the left (depending on the weather) about 20 yards and accessed the old driveway toward the Silk Mill.  The flat open area had several large Walnut trees and an Indian Cigar Tree and the rest was grown over with broom straw until you reached the back side of the property which had various types of pine trees and hard wood trees growing.  It didn't take too long going down the back side of the property which was all down hill until I reached the small branch behind our home and then it was a short up hill walk to our back yard at 910 Maple Lane.  I am surprised that my memory has failed me on the exact orientation of the Silk Mill but memory has a way of doing that many decades later. 

Aunt Mollie Bowers related to me that as a young teenager she remembers climbing up the stairwell (circular stairs) to the top floor and she could look out and see their home directly in front of the end which would make the orientation of the mill with the long side more parallel toward Sikes Avenue than with the end facing Sikes Avenue.   Check this 1940 image of a map layout of Wadesboro which shows the orientation of the Silk Mill (A) in relationship to Sikes Avenue and the West Side Extension land (D) owned by Jesse McKnight "Mack" Coley.  UPDATED:  08-22-15.


Above pix of 9.1 acres of the original Carr's Mount property that was owned by the Singleton Silk Mill of which it is occupied by the Wadesboro Housing Authority and a County water storage tank.  The balance of the property is owned by Dunlap & Mills, Inc.


While doing further research at the Hampton B. Allen Library in Wadesboro, NC on August 17, 2015,  I found pictures in the Singleton Silk Mill file kept in the genealogy room that Ms. Sally R. Smith of Berlin, MD submitted to the library via Steve Bailey back in 2011.  I wrote Ms. Smith a letter and asked for additional information concerning the pictures and she emailed me back on 08-22-15 whereas, "When Mr. George Singleton visited Rose Hill (location of the mill), he brought his own bed and wash stand for comfort.  When the mill closed, he left these items.  I have his bed and my daughter has his wash stand.  As I understood it, Mr. George Singleton didn’t live at the mill house but when he came down from N.J., he would stay at the house because he felt more comfortable there instead of the boarding house."  Ms. Sally R. Smith is the granddaughter of Charles Uren who replaced Robert Singleton in 1905 as the new Superintendent of the Singleton Silk Mill and he stayed there until the mill closed in 1927.  Ms. Smith is going to take digital images of the items mentioned and other artifacts from the Singleton Silk Mill and send digital images of them to me when time permits.  View this clip of how silk is made.

Below is a pix of Sally Smith holding a certificate of appreciation, left in pix and County Commissioner on the right with most of the docent group of the Rackliffe House.  I have the certificate hyperlinked here.

I had a wonderful chat with Sally Smith on the morning of August 26, 2015 and she is the head docent at the Rackliffe House on Assiteague, Md. and very much interested in genealogy and history.  I look forward to receiving the pixs from her and sharing them with others.  We both are directly connected to the Singleton Silk Mill by the way of our relatives!

Below pix of George Singleton's wash stand:


Above pix of George Singleton's bed that he kept at the Superintendents home at the Singleton Silk Mill which is now in the possession of Sally R. Smith, Granddaughter of Charles and Sarah Uren.  A wonderful and lovely piece of history!  Sally Smith is a first class decorator for sure!

Pix above of a shop vise from the Singleton Silk Mill.

Pix of the inspection loupe used by the Superintendents of the Singleton Silk Mill for quality control.

Above a framed picture that belonged to George Singleton and was left at the Superintendent's house there on the Singleton Silk Mill property along with his bed, night stand and other things.

A very special thank you to Ms. Sally R. Smith and her husband Ray of Berlin, MD for getting those digital images to me and below a pix of them taken on board a cruise ship on September 6, 2015:

Aunt Mollie Bowers remembered the name Charles Uren (pronounced you ren) when I last talked with her and she stated that Grandma Coley personally knew Charles Uren aka "Charlie" as he would come through the mill doing daily inspections.  Grandma Coley worked at the mill from 1902 until she married Jesse McKnight "Mack" Coley on August 21, 1919 except for a couple years when they enforced the Child Labor Law.






Fond memories still linger of the many conversations Grandma Coley and myself had in the front living room with each of us sitting beside the oil heater in our own wooden rocking chair with Grandma telling me about how things were back when the lifestyle was much different.  I know many older generation people that said they would like to go back when things were much simpler but Grandma Coley had no such desire because life for her growing up was very hard and difficult.  As a young girl, she had to help support her invalid Dad and help look after the family, as her mother was deceased.  She worked 12 hour shifts as a silk winder at the ole Singleton Silk Mill (Circa 1888-1927) on Sikes Avenue to help support her family where now is located a housing development (Wadesboro Housing Authority) and a large water tank in the middle of the plateau or highest elevation on the property.  Grandma Coleys Father died from pulmonary tuberculosis in 1915 having the disease for 4 years; Her Sisters, Jennie Trexler Teal died from pulmonary tuberculosis in 1912 having the disease for 3 years and Lena Trexler died from tuberculosis in 1911 having the disease for 1 year.  There is a high probability that Jennie and Lena contacted the disease while working at the Singleton Silk mill since there was an outbreak of the disease during the time period they worked there of which they apparently transmitted the disease to their Father John H. Trexler.  Her younger brother James Clyde Trexler died of bilateral pneumonia and I personally know the house they all lived in didn't have any insulation and they heated with wood fireplaces and/or wood heaters which barely puts out enough heat for one room, especially in frigid weather.  There was no inside toilet at that time and the outhouse was located a good distance from the house increasing the odds of getting sick from the elements especially in cold, damp, rainy and frigid weather.  The term slop jar was most applicable back then.

I received a copy of Ellis Thomas Trexler's Certificate Of Death on 08-21-15, whereas he died in 1945 from secondary anemia due to hemorrhage from bowel due to Laennec Cirrhosis of Liver and had the condition 3 to 4 weeks.  He had an accident 5 or 6 weeks prior but no connection at autopsy.  Aunt Mollie Bowers said Ellis didn't drink, therefore according to the experts, children of malnutrition with a protein deficiency usually develop the disease later on in life, especially men between the ages of 40 to 60 and Ellis was 44 years old at his death.  

In all of the tragic events of loosing her immediate family members so close together, Grandma Coley continued to keep a positive outlook her entire life except for the period following the death of her first son Joseph Jullian in 1934 which I relate the full story in my Memories From The Past short story.  Of all the hardships she endured, she kept her trust and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and an example for all of us to emulate. 

It is a miracle any of the Trexler family members survived after being exposed to such a highly contagious disease and it was God's will that Grandma survived, otherwise I wouldn't be here typing this short story today.  The old silk mill was still standing in the early 1960’s and many times we would sneak into the mill climbing up to the third story (we counted the partial basement on one end as a story) looking out across the countryside.  There were Confederate Civil War uniforms and a sword on the 2nd floor (middle level) and a wooden casket as well in all the debris that was stored there.  Grandma Coley related to me how she worked as a child at the silk mill until the Child Labor Law was locally enforced.  She started to work when she was eight (8) years old and when they enforced the above Child Labor Law, she had to stay out of work a couple years until she was twelve (12) years old and the year would be 1904 if my GED math is working.  She said she wore shoes until the soles would literally fall off and would fasten the soles of the shoes in place with cord or wire and the walk to the Singleton Silk Mill which was mostly uphill either by the road (Maple Lane to Sikes Avenue) or short cut through the woods and about one half mile distance.  The supervisors at the Silk Mill showed no mercy to the child workers and would punch them in the side with a stick if they were caught dozing off and they were expected to work like adults.  Can you imagine what it would be like to work as a young child under those conditions and wear shoes that offered no warmth or protection from the elements in inclement weather such as snow, ice and rain traveling 1/2 mile to and from work while going to the Singleton Silk Mill which was mostly uphill for more than half the way? 

Aunt Mollie Bowers told me that Grandma Coley stated that a water bucket was brought around to the employees aka operatives and they used the same dipper to drink water from the bucket and that definitely was not healthy with such a high rate of tuberculosis as documented by the survey done in 1915 compiled over a twenty (20) year study of which the tuberculosis rate was eight (8) times the national average in the West Side Extension (silk mill village).

Leaving on a positive note, The Singleton Silk Mill Mfg. Co. did provide jobs and housing for families at a time when there was very little industry here in Wadesboro, NC and the income from those jobs sustained entire families until they could better themselves.  Sometime after 1923, The Wadesboro Mfg. Co. was operational bringing in the start of a new industry to the county, with cotton replacing the dead and/or dying silk industry and they also suffered a set-back during The Great Depression Era, however it is still going strong today with annual revenues between 20 to 50 million dollars.   

I have more personal accounts and stories related to my Grandma Della Coley on my web page titled:  Memories From The Past.   Below is a picture of my Grandma Coley and her first son Joseph Julian Faulkner around the time she married Jesse McKnight "Mack" Coley in 1919:


In closing, as long as there is someone left to document the story, tell the tale, events and memories from the past will continue to live on but it is somewhat paradoxical, being sad and yet happy at the same time to relive those events in one's mind’s eye when so many of our love ones are gone before us and time is definitely not waiting on any of us.  God Bless Each Of You!

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 08-26-15 and updated on 08-27-15, 08-27-15, 08-28-15,  08-29-15, 09-04-15, 09-05-15, 09-19-15, 09-22-15, 09-24-15, 09-26-15, 09-28-15, 09-30-15, 10-21-15 and 10-22-15.

This short story is dedicated to the memory of my Grandma Della Coley!


If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please take this moment to accept him by Faith into your Life, whereby Salvation will be attained.   

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Open this link of Bible Verses About Salvation, King James Version Bible (KJV).

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”


Home Up