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Alamance: The Holt Family and Industrialization in a North Carolina County, 1837-1900 / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1837, Edwin M. Holt -- a thirty-year-old, fourth-generation North Carolinian -- established a small spinning mill on his family's land along the Haw River in rural Orange County. By his death in 1884, Holt's small spinning mill had come to dominate the textile industry in Alamance County -- which divided from Orange County in 1849 -- and gave the area an industrial legacy that would last for generations.

Covering the Holt dynasty from the founding of the Alamance Factory in 1837 to the strike of 1900 that eventually shut down most of the family's mills, Alamance provides an excellent social history of southern industrial development. Bess Beatty intersperses chapters on the rise of the Holts with profiles on their workers to provide a thorough explanation of how industrialization affected sectional, familial, racial, and gender relations across class lines. Focusing on class formation and conflict, she rejects the long-held view that southern owners were paternalistic and that workers were docile and deferential, instead arguing that owners and workers had a contentious class-driven relationship, with both sides striving to maximize their economic success. Moreover, while Beatty shows that slavery, secession, war, defeat, and postbellum race relations influenced the development of southern industry, she maintains that industrialization in the South was not fundamentally different from that in other regions of the country.

Alamance's story of southern industrial power makes an outstanding contribution to the history of southern communities and will fascinate those interested in the region, as well as students of social, business, and labor history.

LSU Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807124499
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.93 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Bess Beatty is associate professor of history at Oregon State University and author of A Revolution Gone Backward: The Black Response to National Politics, 1876--1896.

LSU Press

Bess Beatty is associate professor of history at Oregon State University and author of A Revolution Gone Backward: The Black Response to National Politics, 1876--1896.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 A Man of Chance: Edwin Holt and the Alamance Factory, 1837-1860 1
2 Worthy of Their Sire: An Industrial Family in Antebellum North Carolina 30
3 Those Who Might Otherwise be Wretched: Workers in the Alamance Factory, 1837-1860 53
4 The Rich Man's War: Owners and Workers During the Civil War 72
5 A Sort of Resurrection: The Holt Mills During Reconstruction 106
6 Truly a Manufacturing Section: The Holt Mills, 1865-1900 123
7 Badges of Social Standing: The Holt Family, 1865-1900 150
8 Destined to Work: Alamance County Mill Workers, 1865-1900 168
9 Citizens of a Common Country: The Alamance County Strike of 1900 197
10 The Day Spencer Love Came to Town 213
App Holt Family Tree 217
Bibliography 221
Index 235
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