In 1837, after considerable discussion with his father, Michael Holt III, owner of a grist mill on the Big Alamance Creek, a friend, Judge Ruffin, who owned a mill further down the Creek at the junction with the Haw River and Henry Humphries in Guilford County, Edwin Michael (E. M. ) Holt went into partnership with his brotherinlaw William Carrigan and built this cotton mill. This was in the time of a “National Economic Panic”..The Holts had ten children. Five of the sons entered the textile business. The first product was “bunch” yarn sold to home weavers. The factory grew, added looms and in 1857, a dye house, the site of the first yarn dyed in a factory south of the Potomac.
By 1861 the factory had 1200 spindles and 96 looms. Three sons went off to war and
returned in good health.
Figure: Edwin Michael Holt founder of the first cotton mill to operate in the Haw River Valley. Built 1837, destroyed by fire in 1871, rebuilt and used until 1947. UNC Archives Post Card Collection
Figure: Highway marker at Big Alamance Creek on NC 62 in Alamance, NC. Former mill location to the left. Photo: Gary Mock