D.E. Converse Co. & Glendale Mill Presidents

1870-1957

The following story was furnished by Rev. Clarence Crocker, a life long Glendale resident.

(Although some of these men are referenced in  other articles which I have written relating to the  Bivingsville/Glendale Mills, I feel it would be beneficial to list the Presidents collectively in one story for history’s sake.)

According to the records which I have, the Bivingsville Manufacturing Company, Bivingsville, S.C., having fallen into bankruptcy, was sold to John Bomar Jr. and his associates at a Sheriff’s sale for $19,500 in 1856. The plant operated under the name of J. Bomar & Company until the death of Mr. John Bomar in 1868. Following his death, Dexter Converse, Albert Twichell and J.C. Zimmerman, having bought the stock of all other owners, reorganized the company in 1870. The name was changed to The D. E. Converse Company with Dexter E. Converse being named President.
                     

When Dexter Edgar Converse came to Bivingsville in 1855, his salary was set at $50 per month plus free board for himself in the “Bivings Mansion” which had been turned into a boarding house. After he married, he was required to pay board for his wife out of his salary. From those humble beginnings, his ingenuity, business expertise and textile knowledge moved him from the title, “mill operative” to becoming the major stock holder of the mill and the house he had lived in as a boarder as well as becoming the first President  of the company.

The newly organized D. E. Converse Company consisted of the Glendale plant  only. By 1875, in addition to the cloth manufacturing plant, the company was operating a grist mill, a cotton gin, a saw mill, a machine and carpenter shop. Glendale was being called, “the showplace of the county“.

At the proposal of Mr. Converse, the Clifton Manufacturing Company was organized in January of 1880 for the purpose of building a cotton mill plant. Dexter Converse was chosen as President. In 1881 Clifton Mill #1 went into production. Clifton Mill #2 was built in 1888. The D. E. Converse Company, consisting of two divisions, Glendale Mills and Clifton Mills, was incorporated in 1889. Mr. Converse was chosen as President of the Corporation. In 1890 Glendale added the second plant. Clifton Mills added a third plant at Converse in 1896 and Glendale was in the process of adding its third plant at the time of the untimely death of Mr. Converse.

Records tell us that Mr. Converse was a Republican with regards to national affairs but supported Democratic policy in local matters. Though he had been ill for a short while, his death on October 4, 1899 was unexpected. He was laid to rest in the Converse Square in the Oakwood Cemetery in Spartanburg. S. C.



Click-on the following links Mill Story and Mill Superintendents for more details about Mr. Converse.

                        



Albert H. Twichell was elected President of the D. E. Converse Company, Inc. following the untimely death of his brother in-law, Dexter Converse. Albert, the son of Mr. Window and Anne Carroll Twichell, was born February 13, 1841 in New York Mills, N.Y. He came to Bivingsville in 1859 at the age of 18 following the invitation of Mr. Converse to work as a bookkeeper and clerk in the mill store which was under the control of John Bomar & Company. He continued in that position until August 1861 when he enlisted in the Thirteenth S.C. Regiment as a soldier in the Civil War.

Shortly after the war, The John Bomar Co. having been  dissolved and the D. E. Converse Company organized, the name of the village was changed from Bivingsville to Glendale, S. C. Postal records listed Albert Twichell as Postmaster of the newly opened Glendale Post Office in 1878. Having bought stock in the Company, Mr. Twichell became a partner in the firm and was named Secretary and Treasurer of the D. E. Converse Company. He served in that position until he was elected President of the Corporation in 1899, making him  head of both Glendale Mills and Clifton Mfg. Co. The Corporation continued to grow under his leadership. Plant No 3 at Glendale was finished in 1902.

                   

Unfortunately the flood of 1903, doing extensive damage to all  the mills, resulted in great loss for the Corporation  and it’s employees. Fortunately, Glendale did not suffer the loss that Clifton did. Their mills were devastated, homes were washed away and lives were lost. Reportedly, four to five hundred thousand dollars, perhaps much more, was reinvested in the Company and under the capable leadership of Mr. Twichell, all plants were rebuilt and expanded.
 
Mr. Twichell married Miss. Mary Bomar of Charleston, S. C. in 1866. She was born January 27, 1842 and was the daughter of George W (May 8,1807-July16,1886) and Emily C. Bomar (Aug.16,1816-Oct.11,1896) Both parents are buried in the Twichell Square in Oakwood Cemetery in Spartanburg, S.C. Albert and Mary Twichell were the parents of two daughters; Nellie Converse Twichell, born July 31,1867. Nellie married David Meiver of N.Y. She died December 15, 1934 and is buried in the Twichell square in the Oakwood Cemetery. Emma was born August 8, 1871 and married Jefferson Choice Evins of Spartanburg. She died March 13, 1944 and was interred in the Evins Square at Oakwood Cemetery. Mrs. Mary Bomar Twichell died January 19, 1905 and is also interred in the Twichell Square in the Oakwood Cemetery along side of her husband. Copies of her obituary were not available.


                                             
Mr. Twichell built a new home on Pine Street in Spartanburg in the 1880s into which he and the family moved. While some reports show 1882, I cannot confirm the exact date. The organizational meeting of the Spartanburg Country Club was held in his home in 1908. He was a music leader in the First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg. He served as President of the Spartanburg Musical festival for some 20 years. The Twichell Auditorium at Converse College was named in his honor and the Music Festival continues as an annual affair.
 
                                       
After the death of his first wife, Mr. Twichell married Janie Rivers of Spartanburg. She was born January 26, 1873, the daughter of Mr. Mallory and Corrie Vance Rivers. She was a graduate of Converse College and a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg, S.C.  She died on August 3, 1965.

Her obituary published August 4, 1965 Spartanburg Herald, reads; Mrs. Janie Rivers Twichell, 93, of 172 Alabama Street, widow of textile man Albert H. Twichell, died Tuesday at Mary Black Hospital after a long illness. Her only survivors being; one sister, Miss Sara Rivers of the home, 172 Alabama Street, Spartanburg, S.C., one grandchild and two great grandchildren. Graveside services were held at the Oakwood Cemetery where she also was interred along side of her husband in the Twichell square.

Mr. Twichell died on May 28,1916 and was interred in the Twichell Square in the Oakwood Cemetery. Unfortunately no copy of his obituary was available. Birth and death dates taken from the grave markers by this writer.

Click on the following link, Mill Story, for more details about Mr. Twichell.
                        

                 
Mr. Wilton E. Lindsay

Following the death of Mr. Twichell, each of the two divisions of the D. E. Converse Corporation chose their own President.

Wilton. E. Lindsay, born in Charleston S. C. on December 7, 1858, came to Glendale in 1879 or 80 (two different dates appear in records) to serve as a bookkeeper for the D. E. Converse Company, Glendale Division. He was later chosen as Company Secretary. He continued to hold this office after being elected President of the D. E. Converse Company, Glendale Division, in 1916.
 
The “Bivings House” which was now owned by the Company, was continuing to be  used as a boarding house in which Mr. Lindsay was living when he married Miss Ella Tew in 1882. Born October 24,1861, Ella Tew was a native of  Hillsboro, N.C. and was the daughter of Charles Courtenay and Elizabeth Tradewell Tew. It appears that Wilton and Ella were the parents of five children. Two infants, which apparently died the day of birth, are buried on the right side of Mrs. Lindsey. I could not discern the names on the tombs but one was dated October 21,1886 and the other, August 18, 1888. They had a daughter, Ella Tew Lindsay and two sons, Courtenay T. and Charles M. Lindsay which were reared at Glendale in the Bivings House.

Though water had been run from the mill to the Bivings and Twichell’s homes long before, residents of the village were continuing to get their water from wells strategically located throughout the village until 1917. One hand pump was installed on the well behind the Bivings home where residents of the first twelve houses built on Main Street in Bivingsville, were able to get their water.
 

               
Outdoor toilets were being used by the residents of the village while mill sewage empted into the river. In his report to the State Industrial commission in 1918, Mr. Lindsay reported the installation of septic tank water toilets in the village houses indicating that water had been installed in the homes in 1917. He also announced that he had contracted for village lights. A new movie projector had also been installed in the community building.
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Mr. Lindsay died on March 29, 1928 at the age of 69 and was buried in the Lindsay Square in the Church of Advent Cemetery on Advent Street in Spartanburg, S.C. Unfortunately, I have been unable to obtain a copy of his obituary but we know that he was survived by his wife, one daughter and two sons.

                  

Mrs. Lindsay’s obituary published in the Spartanburg Journal Monday June 1, 1953, stated that she had died that morning after a long illness at her home  520 Glendalyn Ave. Spartanburg. Her funeral service was held at the Church of Advent where she was recognized as having been the oldest living member. She was 91 years of age. Interment followed in the Church Cemetery between her husband, and two infant children. She was survived by a daughter, Mrs. Ella L. Ferguson of Spartanburg and two sons, Courtenay T. of Deland Fla. and Charles M. of Spartanburg. Also two grand-daughters, two grandsons and four great grandchildren. Ella, who was born August 11,1900 died April 23,1981. She had married John R. Ferguson who was born June 18,1898 and died December 12,1937. Both are buried in the Lindsay Square in the Church of Advent Cemetery in Spartanburg.
(Dates taken from grave monuments by this writer. )
                  

Mr. J.Choice Evins

Following the death of Mr. Albert Twichell in 1916, his son in-law, J. Choice Evins, became the President and treasurer of the Clifton Manufacturing Company and became President and treasurer of the D. E. Converse Corporation(Glendale/Clifton) in 1928 following the death of Mr. Lindsey. He continued in this position until his death on August 14, 1945. Mr. Evins was a native of Spartanburg and was born June 5, 1869, the son of John and Henrietta Choice Evins. He was a graduate of Wofford College of Spartanburg with an A. B. degree. After finishing school, Mr. Evins taught school in Georgetown before returning to Spartanburg to become a partner in the founding of the Central National Bank. He had been assistant treasurer of Clifton Mills since 1902.

On September 16, 1896, he married Miss Emma Bomar Twichell. The daughter of Albert H. and Mary Bomar Twichell, she was born in Glendale, S. C. on August 8,1871. Educated in private schools as a young girl, she later attended Stewart Hall, Staunton, Va. and Boston Conservatory. The Evins lived in their home on North Church  Street which was built by his Uncle, Dr. James Bivings, founder of Bivingsville. Dr. Bivings had sold the house to John Evins, his brother in-law, the father of J. Choice. Evins.
               
              

Mr. Evins served as President of the S.C. Cotton Mfg. Association and was also a Director of Jackson Mills at Welford and the Hartsville Mills. He had served as a Trustee of Converse College, a member of the Kennedy Library Board and the advisory board of the Citizens and Southern National Bank. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he was honored for his service as a Elder for 50 years.

Mrs. Evins died on March 13, 1944, eighteen months before her husband. Her obituary published on Tuesday, March 14, 1944 in the Spartanburg  Journal stated that she had died at a local hospital the day before. Her funeral service was to be held that afternoon at the First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg where she had been a life long member. Interment was in the Evins Square in the Oakwood Cemetery. Among her survivors were, her husband of the home, 563 N. Church Street, Spartanburg, S.C. and her niece, Mrs. H. E. Correll, a great niece, Mrs. David Peck, a great nephew, A.T. Correll  and two great-great  nephews, David and Albett Peck.
                            
         
            
Mr. Evins obituary published in the Spartanburg Journal on Wednesday August 15,1945, stated that Mr. Evins, 76, had died on Tuesday August 14th at a Charlotte, N.C. hospital. Funeral services were held in the First Presbyterian Church with burial following in the Evins Square in the Oakwood Cemetery along side of his wife. He was survived by a brother, Cleveland Evins of San Pedro, Calif. Four nieces, Harriet Evins Sinclair, Emily Twichell Fitchett, Emily C. Evins and Sara E. Evins. Five nephews, J.C. Jr., Elliott D., S. N., Thomas M.  and Thomas A. Evins.            

               

Samuel Jervey DuPre Sr., a native of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. and a graduate of the Citadel, had been serving as Company Secretary & Treasurer and was elected President & Treasurer of The D. E. Converse Company, Glendale Mills, in 1945 following the death of Mr. Choice Evins. He continued to serve in these capacities until his retirement in 1947 following the sale of the D.E. Converse Company, Glendale Division, to J. L. Stifel and Co. of Wheeling, West Virginia.

Having known Wilton Lindsay who had come to Glendale in 1879-80, Jervey came to Glendale in 1897, boarding some twelve years with Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey in the “Bivings” house. He began work on the cotton platform, weighing cotton being brought to the mill by farmers. Before he had retired, he had worked in most every department of the mill, retiring as President and Treasurer of the Company.

Having worked at Glendale some 50 years, Mr. DuPre was a walking, talking history book of Glendale Mills and the village. He recalled and told about the construction of the Trolley car tracks and the Trolley operation. He delighted in talking about the “ Park”, located on the edge of the waters of  Lawson Fork just as it ran through the village. It contained picnic pavilions and was  widely used,  drawing crowds from all over the county. He loved to tell how he, Dr. William F. Smith, the community Doctor and S.F. Sutton went to Inman to get a Charter for the Glendale Masonic Lodge in 1907.The trip took all night traveling in what Mr. DuPre referred to as a “hack” In an interview with a Spartanburg Herald reporter in January of 1947, Mr. DuPre related how he had bought his first car from Sear’s Roebuck. It was a 1909 model which he reported, “looked like a fine buggy except it didn’t have a whip”. He told how the community was “startled” by him being able to go to Inman and back (34 miles) all in one day.

Though he was President and Treasurer of the Company, Mr. DuPre never stopped caring for and helping the people among whom he worked. He always found time to stop and give an ear to their problems. He didn’t mind getting his hands dirty and would help in any way he could. Mr. DuPre did survey work on the side for many home and property owners in the area. He did survey work for my dad on a number of occasions as he purchased property, including the division of my father’s property for the purpose of his final will. He and my dad were good friends. I have known Mr. DuPre all my life and considered him a personal friend. His word was his bond. It was Mr. DuPre who asked my dad in 1946 to tell me to come see him about applying for the job as Post Master at Glendale. I found him to be all business, but kind and considerate. He was greatly appreciated by the employees of the Company and the residents of the community.

Mr. DuPre married Hallie Mathews, a native of Montgomery, Ala. She was the daughter of Henry H. and Mary Charles Mathews. They were the parents of six children, Their son John Y. was the Cotton buyer for Glendale Mills for many years. Mr. DuPre and his family lived in the Glendale village for a number of years before moving to their new home in Spartanburg

Mr. DuPre’s obituary published on Saturday April 6 in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, stated that he had died on Friday, April 5, 1957 at his home at 532 Glendalyn Ave. in Spartanburg. He was survived by his wife, three sons, Henry, John and S. Jervey Jr., all of Spartanburg. Three daughters, Mrs. Cleveland Beatle of Greenville, S.C., Mrs. Kenneth Donaldson and Mrs. W. S Royal of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. One sister, Mrs. Lee Royal of Mt. Pleasant and 15 grandchildren. He was 82 years of age and was a member of the Church of Advent. His funeral service was held at the J. F. Floyd Mortuary with burial following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.

Mrs. Hallie Mathews DuPre, 74, died on June 14, 1958. Her obituary published on June 14, 1958 in the Spartanburg Journal, stated that she had died that morning at the Spartanburg General Hospital after a long illness. She was a member of the Episcopal Church of Advent. Graveside services were held at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens where she was interred. In addition to her six children listed as survivors of her husband, she was survived by three sisters, Miss Emily Matthews, Mrs. Frank Mathews and Mrs. J.A. (last name not listed). Also 16 grandchildren,


                 
Following the sale of The D. E. Converse Co., Glendale Division, to J. L. Stifel and Sons of Wheeling West Virginia in 1946, Louis Douglas deLoach came to Glendale  in 1947 to become the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the operation. A native of Yemassee, S.C., he was the son of William Bratton and Josephine Kershaw deLoach and was reared in Camden, S.C. 

Studying two years at Clemson, he graduated from Georgia Tech in 1927 with a B. S. degree in textiles. After finishing school, he went with Manville Jenches in High Shoals, N.C. as a learner and Assistant Superintendent. Moving to Mayfair Mills in Arcadia, S.C. in 1938 where he served as Vice President and General Manager. Leaving Mayfair in 1942, he went to Springs Cotton Mills, Lancaster, S.C. from which he came to Glendale.

Arriving in Glendale he found the mill as well as the village in dire need of upgrading. He immediately announced and started work on a million and half dollar program of renovation and improvement. The mill was still being powered by a waterwheel, turbines and steam engines and was lighted with incandescent lights. Departments lacked consolidation. The interior walls and ceilings of the mill were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint. Improvements began by thoroughly painting the mill‘s interior. Fluorescent lights replaced incandescent. New or rebuilt machinery replaced outmoded or worn-out machines. Departments were consolidated. Machinery was individually motorized. The water wheel, turbines and steam engines were discontinued and removed. A new electric grid was built providing a more dependable power source for both mill and village.  Spinning and weaving additions were added to the plant. A new elevator was installed plus many other improvements

Large sewage treatment tanks and drying beds were built behind the mill. The mill sewage which had emptied into the river for some 100 years was turned to the  collection tanks and drying beds. Sewer lines were installed throughout the village and all village sewage was collected for treatment along with the mill sewage before empting into the river. Village septic tanks which were installed in 1917, were discontinued.

The village houses, 4,5, and 6 rooms with a toilet on the back porch, were is terrible shape. Many if not most, were more than a hundred years old. Most had only had a few coats of whitewash or paint since being built. The bathroom was limited to a water toilet and a laboratory. None were wired for hot water heaters. Many were torn down, some were moved but every house left standing was completely remodeled with modern bathrooms, hot water and new electrical wiring. New windows, doors, siding and roofing was also installed. A few new homes were built. A new gymnasium was built. The mill store was renovated. The Masonic Lodge was remodeled. Village streets were renamed and marked with street signs. Dropping the words, D.E. Converse Co., the plant became known simply as “Glendale Mills”.

After the village homes had been totally renovated, they were offered for sell, giving many employees who had never dreamed of owning his or her own home, the chance to buy. Mr. deLoach’s leadership had a tremendous impact on  the mill, the village and the people. Under his leadership, the Douglasville Cotton Mill in Douglasville, Ga. was purchased and put back into operation.
                  
Mr. deLoach married Emily Wooten, a native of Camden and the daughter of Frank B. and Aline Brady Wooten. She was a graduate of Converse College in Spartanburg, S. C. They became the parents of three daughters; Emily, Lucretia and Josephine deLoach. He and his family lived on Forest Avenue in Duncan Park, Spartanburg, S.C. Mr. deLoach was a member of the Spartanburg Rotary Club and was former President of the Lancaster Rotary Club. He was a charter member of the Glendale Ruritan Club. He and his family were members of the Episcopal Church of Advent while living in Spartanburg.

After retiring, Mr. deLoach and his wife moved back to their beloved hometown of Camden. I was honored by his visit to my home shortly after he had moved back to Camden. I had the enjoyable privilege of visiting he and his wife on several occasions in their lovely home there. On one occasion he carried me on a tour of the city, pointing out historical places. He seemed especially pleased to point out the church where he had served as a candle bearer as a young lad. He was a fine Christian man, a true southern gentleman, the best boss I ever worked for.

Mrs. deLoach died in March of 1994. Her obituary published in The Chronicle-Independent of Camden stated that she had died on Wednesday March 2, 1994. She was survived by her husband of 68 years, Louis D. deLoach; three daughters, Emily deLoach Dupre and Josephine Kershaw deLoach of Landrum and Lucretia deLoach Finlay of Lynchburg, Va; a sister, Mary Conger of Camden; eight grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Graveside funeral services were held at the Quaker Cemetery there in Camden, S.C.

Mr. deLoach died in December of 1995. He had been sick and had been in a nursing home for some time. His obituary published in The Chronicle Independent stated that he had died on Saturday, December 2. He was a member of the Camden Rotary Club, The American Textile Association and the Grace Episcopal Church of Camden where he was a former vestryman. He was survived by his three daughters; a sister, Faith deLoach of Camden, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Graveside services were held in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden, S.C.

(By; Clarence E. Crocker, former Supervisor with Glendale Mills and life long resident of the community. May 2010)

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