On the Banks of the Sweetwater

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a peaceful tract of wilderness only minutes from downtown Atlanta. A wooded trail follows the stream to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War.

On the Georgia Gold Lottery, in 1832, Philip J. Crask won 40-acre Lot 929 in District 18 of the Second Section and paid $18 grand fee. In 1837, Lot 929 was sold at an auction to John Boyle for $12.50 who in 1845 sold it for $500 to Charles J. McDonald of Cobb County, a former governor of Georgia, and Colonel James Rogers of Milledgeville. In 1846, Roger and McDonald started building water-powered mill along Sweetwater Creek and on December 21, 1849, the five-story mill was in operation. McDonald and Rogers incorporated their business as Sweetwater Manufacturing Company, which made cotton, yarn and fabric. In 1858, McDonald renamed the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company as New Manchester Manufacturing Company after the center of the British textile industry in Manchester, England.  By 1860, the factory produced seven hundred pounds of cotton which was transformed it in one hundred twenty bunches of yarn and five hundred yards of osnaburg (a coarse type of textile material that originated in Scotland, and prior to the end of the Civil War was used to make the most common type of clothing for slaves) per day.

In 1861, the American Civil War began. During summer of 1864 General Joseph E. Johnson removed the Confederate Army across the Chattahoochee River and the New Manchester factory was left exposed for the Union Army forces. On July 2, 1864, two divisions of Union cavalry under Colonel Silas Adams (1st Kentucky) and an cavalry under Major Haviland Thompkins (14th Illinois) of General Stoneman’s personnel approached the factory and ordered to shut it down and arrest all the employees. On July 9, 1864, following order of William Tecumseh Sherman to burn mills, Major Thompkins burned the New Manchester mill.  The ruins, as you can see from today’s photo, still stand on the banks fo the Sweetwater Creek where we visited this past Saturday.

Ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, now protected in Sweetwater Creek State Park, Georgia

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft what would become known as the Declaration of Independence.  They got it done – why can’t our government get anything done today?????

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: There was a time when the Vatican owned shares of the Watergate complex in Washington, DC, the Pan American building in Paris, and the Hilton hotel in Rome.


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