{ SC's March Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

March 28  |  Columbia  —  This year's March Calendar of SC Events is brought to you by the South Carolina Cornbread Festival, where you can celebrate a cornerstone of South Carolina kitchens while raising money to stop domestic violence. 2015's SC Cornbread Festival will feature music by perennial Southern favorites, The Tams, as well as a mind-boggling array of attractions, including amusement rides, a 5K run/walk, a petting zoo, karaoke, a cow-milking contest, line dancing, skateboarding, the "Cornbread Classic" (an official Cornhole championship), Cornbread Lane, the Little Miss Corn Muffin pageant, and most importantly – a Cornbread Cook-off and Cornbread Eating Contest!

{ Remembering South Carolina's Textile Heritage at Newry Mill }

Though many may not remember, the South ruled the American textile industry from the late nineteenth century through the late twentieth century. In 1892, for example, 51 mills operated in South Carolina's Upstate alone (the textile industry was by far more prevalent in the Piedmont than elsewhere in our state, excepting Richland County). After the Civil War, northern industrialists flocked to the South to scoop up cheap labor amidst the wreckage a stricken economy, and the absence of unions and regulatory laws (including minimum wage and age restrictions) only made the transition that much more attractive.

( William H. Myers, III of Seneca, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

For nearly a century, these mills and their employees rode the waves of war, flood, disease, and suffering, though the communities they created often flourished, facilitating deep bonds among families and neighbors. As cotton manufacturing began to be outsourced to third-world countries – where labor was even cheaper – South Carolina's textile industry declined significantly. Most mills have now closed, as Newry Mill (shown here) did in 1975. Today, throughout the Upstate, one stumbles upon the ruins of abandoned factories and the once lively homes, stores, and churches that surround them.

( William H. Myers, III of Seneca, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

In this month's 150th edition of SCIWAY News, please join us as we explore one such mill, Newry, whose haunting remains rest along the banks of the Little River in Oconee County. Founded in 1893 and functional by 1894, Newry serves as a more benevolent example of Southern mill life, in that its owners saw value in providing clean homes and other conveniences, as well as steady pay, to attract the local workforce – primarily sharecroppers who had hitherto been engaged in a form of indentured servitude, toiling endlessly in another man's fields. The mill is also unusual in that it was established by a native South Carolinian, Confederate captain and former Charleston mayor William Ashmead Courtenay.

( William H. Myers, III of Seneca, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

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