Importance of Bivingsville's Industries in Earlier Times

It is not generally known how important the Bivingsville industrial complex was to the surrounding area during earlier times. The fact that the people of Spartanburg County depended heavily on Bivingsville is told in a diary and journal kept before, during, and after the Civil War. The journal was kept by David Golightly Harris who lived near the present communities of Pauline and Golightly. He and his wife, Emily, kept an account of the day by day happenings with their family, their slaves, their farm and neighbors from 1885-1870. Retired Wofford  Professor,  Philip N. Racine, has edited and compiled this interesting book titled Piedmont Farmer, the Journals of David Golightly Harris ; 1855-1870. The book was published by The University of Tennessee Press and is available from Amazon.com.



Probably 90 % of the book is about the weather and his crops. Even this part of the book opens a different view of an Upstate farm. He kept silk worms and produced silk. He grew indigo, peanuts, tobacco, had an ice house and raised sheep for wool. These are not what we usually associate with a Spartanburg County farm. However, the final 10% of the book is fascinating and should be of great interest to anyone wanting to know about life in Spartanburg County at the time of the Civil War.

The reader will be struck by the prominent part that Bivingsville plays in the life of the Harris family. He went to the "village", as he called Spartanburg, fairly often. However, his real interest seemed to be at Bivingsville, or "the Factory" as he called it, where he went sometimes once or twice a week. He took his wheat there to be made into flour. Sometimes, he took his corn there to be ground into meal. He took wool to the wool mill at Bivingsville to be made into yarn - not cloth. He sold some of his cotton to the cotton mill there. During the Civil War he went to the "Factory "often to buy quantities of yarn, not cloth, which he resold. Yarn from the mill was so scarce that it was used as "currency" in buying things in the area. Finally, he sometimes came to "the Factory" to meet with Mr. Bomar and borrow money from him. The Mill actually served somewhat as a bank for Mr. Harris. It seems that if Mr. Harris was anywhere in the remote vicinity of “the Factory” on any kind of business he would find a reason to stop there.

The Harris farm was close to where present day, Highway 56, crosses Fairforest Creek. The distance from his house to “the Factory” was about eight miles. This was no quick and easy trip in a horse and wagon but often he made the trip weekly. Sometimes, the roads were just too bad for him to make the trip. It is likely that the round trip to "the Factory" and conducting his business took all day. Nowadays, we could make the trip by car in about the time it took him to catch his horse and harness it up to the wagon.

He does not say the exact route he traveled to get from his farm to Bivingsville. It seems that the most likely route was for him to go to the vicinity of the Cedar Springs Baptist Church and then strike the Old Georgia Road that led to Bivingsville. The Old Georgia Road dates back to the Revolutionary War and was an old road even in David Harris’ time. He frequently took his family to the Cedar Springs church on Sunday.

Elsewhere on this website, the importance of Bivingsville to the Confederacy is discussed. They produced iron weapons and a variety of other things including wooden shoe soles. We see from the Journal that the yarn produced during the war was vital to the civilian population living in the area.

Bivingsville/Glendale has a long and varied history of service to the Spartanburg and Upstate area. There is no reason to believe that this will not continue in the future. One step to showing that this is true is the establishment of Wofford’s Goodall Environmental Center.

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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster.  Contact her at:
marylee@glendalesc.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.