Cowetans played role in development of factory town

by W. Winston Skinner

alt

William J. Cotter 


Troup Factory was not far from Coweta County – although further in terms of travel in the 1800s than today.

It is not surprising that several Cowetans played a part in the history of the industrial town. Although western Georgia was settled by farmers, early in the region’s history, there were people who saw opportunities in commerce and industry. As business and industry flourished, there was a need for training workers, and business leaders championed the founding of technical schools.

Major improvements to the mill equipment were made in the early 1880s.

A new rock dam was built in 1883. A Mr. Grant came from Newnan to supervise construction of the dam. He lived with the White family at Troup Factory while the dam project was underway.

This may have been Roger P. Grant, who is mentioned in W.U. Anderson’s 1880 history of Coweta County.

In its heyday, Troup Factory had a Masonic lodge, a voting building, a school and a company store. There also was a union church, as well as Baptist and Methodist churches nearby.

One Cowetan who played a role in the early history of Troup Factory was William Japser Cotter, a Methodist preacher who pastored Mt. Pleasant Methodist near the factory town. Mt. Pleasant and County Line Baptist served people who lived and worked at Troup Factory.

At the union church, services were held by many different denominations. In addition to Baptists and Methodists, clergy from the Primitive Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic and Universalist traditions were reportedly welcome to preach there.

Maxey Brooks, who was living in the area and running a grist mill before the textile factory was built, gave two acres for the church meetinghouse “for the purpose of prompting good morals in the community.”

Cotter was assigned to the Troup Circuit from 1870-1873 and again in 1888. During his second appointment, he probably was specifically assigned to Troup Factory, since an independent record lists him as being a minister there.

At other times, Cotter was pastor in Grantville, Turin and Senoia. He also once served as principal of Grantville High School. He spent his retirement years in Newnan, and many of his descendants live in Coweta County today.

In “My Autobiography,” Cotter wrote about his time in Troup County. “The first year was a successful one. We had revivals in all the churches,” he wrote. He also noted the peach crop in Troup was so large in 1871 that many of his church members tried to make fermented beverages from the fruit.

Another Methodist parson in the area with ties to Coweta and Troup Factory was James Thomas Lowe. He is known to have baptized six children of Kate Leslie Moss, who grew up at Troup Factory and lived there briefly as a young matron. A Newton County native, Lowe married Emily T. Scarborough, who was born in Coweta County. She died in Hogansville in 1893 while her husband was pastoring Troup County churches.



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