Old Wire Road, Laurel Hill
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Almost from the secession on, the Confederate states found it difficult to manufacture sufficient armament to withstand the Union’s manufacturing might. The Richmond Mill site is significant in that it marks an attempt to redress that imbalance.
Although it’s difficult to imagine when one gazes at the peaceful pond and stands of cypress trees, Richmond Mill Pond was the site of a gun factory far away from the Union threat, established by Murdock Morrison. Morrison was the grandson-in-law of James Buchanan, manufacturer of the Buchanan rifle, a well-known make in the years before the war. Business was understandably brisk until Sherman arrived. While bivouacked at nearby Laurel Hill, Sherman sent out a detachment that destroyed the factory.
After the war, the same site housed the area’s first textile mill, built by Charles Malloy in 1869. The original machinery was reputedly of English origin, salvaged from a wrecked blockade runner off Cape Fear. Needing a perner with knowledge of textiles, Malloy sought out one Mark Morgan of Cumberland County. This was the genesis of Morgan Mills, a Scotland County institution and link to the Carolinas’ textile heritage for more than a century.