William Gregg of Edgefield County, South Carolina

William Gregg, the builder of Graniteville, was a native of West Virginia, and came to Edgefield when he was about twenty years old. He married Marina Jones, of Ridge Spring. His brother-in-law, General James Jones, and Colonel John Bauskett had built a cotton factory at Vaucluse and tried to run and operate it with slave labor. Their success was not great, the laborers not having the requisite skill and expertness. Mr. Gregg concluded to use white laborers at Graniteville, and succeeded in his enterprise.

In 1858, Mr. Gregg and Colonel James Carroll, afterwards one of the chancellors of the State, opposed each other for the State Senate. The contest was very warm and spirited, and resulted in the election of Mr. Carroll. About this time there was some blockade running-importing Negroes from Africa an importation which had a few friends, and very few in Edgefield, but which gave great offence to many persons. This writer saw one young fellow belonging to a man who was living near Richardsonville, but who was preparing to move into Georgia, who was said to have been brought from Africa. He had not learned to speak English. It is said, but with how much truth I do not know, that Mr. William Spires, of Hamburg, who was then Sheriff, had charge of the District of Edgefield for the introduction of Blacks.

Source: Chapman, John Abney; History of Edgefield County from the earliest settlement to 1897; Newberry, S.C.: E. H. Aull, 1897.

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