Trail Marker #4 - Cotton Mill / Elkin Manufacturing Company
Richard Gwyn is referred to as the founding father of Elkin. Around 1840, Richard Gwyn, along with wife, Elizabeth Martin Hunt, and their nine children left Jonesville to settle on the north side of the Yadkin River. Gwyn began purchasing land and acquired more than 6000 acres which would include all of downtown Elkin today.
He built their home known as Cedar Point, which still stands today at 350 West Main Street, Elkin. Gwyn, who also served as Elkin’s first postmaster, recognized the water power of the Big Elkin Creek and soon built a gristmill, seen at the left of this picture, drawing people from as far away as Salisbury bringing corn to be ground.
In 1847, he then built a cotton mill at this location, seen at the right in this picture, as a joint venture with relatives. This small mill employed more than 60 people, mostly women. The mill, known as Elkin Manufacturing Company, continued to operate throughout the Civil War, mainly producing Confederate uniforms. Stoneman’s Raid in 1864 on Northwestern North Carolina towns resulted in the destruction of many textile mills; however, Elkin’s mill survived and remained fully operational due to Gwyn’s cooperation and influence with the Union cavalries.