Welcome to Fort Mill
Our community is one of the fastest growing communities in South Carolina. The schools are ranked among the best in the state and perform well above the national standards. It is also home to thriving businesses, corporate offices, green space, and recreational venues.1
A Little History
The Town of Fort Mill is located in northeastern York County, between the Catawba River and the North Carolina state line.2
Originally home to the Catawba Indians, the Fort Mill area has been continuously settled since the arrival of Thomas “Kanawha” Spratt in the mid-1700’s. Originally called “Little York,” and later “Fort Hill,” Fort Mill eventually took its name from a colonial-era British fort and a grist mill that operated on nearby Steele Creek. Fort Mill has long benefited from its geographic location and access to major transportation routes, from the prehistoric Nation Ford Road and the Catawba River to the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad (now Norfolk Southern), U.S. Highway 21, and Interstate 77.
After the establishment of the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company in 1887, Fort Mill grew into a major center for textile manufacturing. For more than 100 years, the company (later called Springs Industries) expanded through various acquisitions and mergers. In 2006, Springs Industries merged with a Brazilian textile manufacturer, Coteminas, to form Springs Global. While the company is now headquartered in Brazil, Springs Global maintains a corporate presence in Fort Mill. While textiles are no longer the predominant industry in Fort Mill, the region’s economy has continued to grow and diversify.
The founding families of Fort Mill have been filled with forward-thinking, community-minded leaders who have changed the conversation and reinvented what's possible for generations.3
Captain Samuel Elliott White
Samuel Elliott White 4 was the patriarch of a large family that would positively impact Fort Mill for generations. He was born at the White Homestead in 1837 and attended the Citadel in Charleston before signing up to fight for the Confederacy. Upon his return to Fort Mill, he turned his attention to several successful business ventures, including cotton production and banking, but it was his creation of Fort Mill Manufacturing Company in 1887 that would change the fortunes of an entire town.
His son-in-law, Leroy Springs, and his grandson, Elliott White Springs, would take what he started and turn the company into a worldwide brand leader. The precursor to Springs Industries and the Springmaid brand, the new mill brought employment to thousands and a ready buyer to cotton farmers in the region. Captain White, as he was known after his Civil War service, was responsible for planning and financing the development of Confederate Park and the monuments there. White died in 1911 and is buried at Unity Cemetery.
Colonel Leroy Springs
Colonel Leroy Springs5 married Captain White's daughter, Grace Allison White.
Over time Springs grew and diversified his father-in-law's textile industry to include mercantile houses, banks, insurance, railways, and power companies.
Colonel Elliott White Springs
When America edged closer to entering the World War in 1917, Elliott Springs6 quickly volunteered for training as a pilot. As it did most of the men who experienced it, the war changed Springs forever. Entering it a raw, rebellious youth thrilled by the experience of flight and the excitement of aerial combat, he left the war both shaken by the experience of killing his enemies and losing so many of his compatriots, at the same time utterly convinced that nothing would ever compare with what he had just gone through. 'Peace,' he writes on Armistice Day. 'The French are still dancing in the streets. But I can find no enthusiasm. I went to bed a free man but I awoke with a millstone around my neck called tomorrow which pulls and pulls and will hang there 'til the grave. . . I only scowl and everyone and demands another war. Peace! I find myself alive. Strange -- I hadn't considered that possibility -- I must alter my plans.' He returned home and began to pursue his passion for writing. After selling several short stories based on his wartime experiences, Springs in 1926 went to work on the Diary of an Unknown Aviator.
After the death of his father, Leroy Springs, he took the reins of Springs Industries. His advertising genius, quick wit, mechanical aptitude, and incredible vision, he succeeded in modernizing Springs Industries, making it the most profitable corporation in the textile industry.
Colonel Springs also held a strong belief that his family had an obligation to care for and support the company’s workers, their families and the communities in which they lived. He created the Springs Foundation, Inc. through his personal contributions and estate planning.
- Welcome to Fort Mill SC
- History of Fort Mill
- Conversation Changers
- Captain Samuel Elliott White
- Col. Leroy Springs
- Col. Elliott White Springs