Friday, October 19, 2012

Mollohan Mill

My mother's family lived in Mollohan Mill Village from the 1920's to the 1940's.

The mill was built and operated by the Mollohon Manufacturing Company from 1901 to 1926, when it was sold to the Kendall Company; the mill closed in April,1976 and was razed in 1980. Original mill village housing was built 1901-02; a new mill village was built in 1924. The village also included the Mollohon School for grades 1 to 4 (1921-73), Mollohon Park, pavilion, bandstand and adjacent baseball park and all opened in 1921-22. (Mollohon is also often spelled Mollohan and the mill was variously called Mollohan Mill, Mollohan Cotton Mill, and Mollohan Textile Mill)

I worked at Mollohan Mill from June to August in 1966 between my freshman and sophomore years at college. My job was to use an air hose to blow the lint off the 100+ looms in the weave room and then sweep up the lint and dispose of it. The building was not air conditioned so the temperature was in the upper 80's to mid 90's and the room was misted with sprayers to reduce the risk of fire making the humidity close to 100%. I worked 3rd shift which was 10 PM to 6 AM and received $1.73 an hour, a nickel more than I would have received if I had been on 1st or 2nd shift. 3rd shift was a little cooler than the day shifts and there were fewer supervisors around to look over the shoulders of the employees.  By the end of each shift that summer I was covered with grease from the looms and lint that had stuck to the grease and I looked like I'd been tarred and feathered. The noise from the looms sounded like dozens of freight trains and my ears rang for the following year.

Above from the National Archives: "A few of the doffers and sweepers in the Mollahan [sic] Mills. Newberry, S.C., 12/03/1908"

My first night on the job another young worker instructed me on how to stop each loom, blow the lint off, restart the loom, and then move to the next loom. It seemed clear and straight forward so he quickly left me on my own to begin. I shut off my first loom, blew the lint off, and turned the loom back on only to watch in horror as the loom batted the shuttle, with its sharply pointed steel tip, across the room nearly hitting and seriously injuring an older worker. Turns out that before restarting the loom it was important to press the shuttle against one of the arms that pushed it back and forth. If there was any space between the shuttle and the arm, the shuttle got "batted" instead of being pushed and if that had been part of the instructions I must have missed it. The older worker * came charging over to me yelling that I could have killed him and what was I thinking? After he found out it was my first ten minutes on the job he calmed down, and then when he found out I was the son of his first cousin (my mother), he took me under his wing and looked out for me the rest of the summer. 

*Rudolph Martin

Milligan Street is the main street running through the Mollohan Mill village. Milligan name meaning: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Maolagáin ‘descendant of Maolagán’, a personal name from a double diminutive of maol ‘bald’, ‘tonsured’.in some instances, a variant of Mollohan.

AboveYoung woman at spinning machine in cotton mill. 
Mollahan Mills, Newberry, South Carolina, 1908

June 27, 1936

Below: Theory of the origin of the use of the name Mollohon in Newberry County


1 comment:

  1. Can anyone tell me the location of where this mill was in Newberry?