INDUSTRIAL HISTORY IN JASPER COUNTY
In October, 1899 Mr. Bonner Jordan sold his furniture store located in Monticello to his brother and went to Augusta, Georgia where he purchased a small manufacturing plant which produced bobbins and spools for textile mills. Two of his cousins, Charles H. Jordan and C.S. (Mote) Thompson became interested in the venture. A lot near the Monticello depot was purchased and a building was erected into which the machinery from Augusta was installed. A corporation charter was obtained with the name of the Southern Spool and Bobbin Manufacturing Company having a capital stock of $10,000 divided into 100 shares of $100 par value each, and the company began business.
The first shipment of bobbins was made in February 1900 to a mill in Water Valley. Mississippi and another to Augusta, Georgia. The bobbins were made from unseasoned wood blocks and shrinkage in size of the finished product resulted in many rejects from dissatisfied customers. This was a serious manufacturing problem and the company faced the prospect of financial failure. Mr. Bonner Jordan and Mr. “Mote” Thompson withdrew and directed their endeavors to other interests. Of the original trio, only Mr. Charles H. Jordan remained.
Several men in Macon became interested In the possibilities of the bobbin plant and a new company was organized in the fall of 1902, with a change of name to Georgia Spool and Bobbin Company of Macon, Georgia with Charles H. Jordan as General Manager. This company also met with financial difficulties and gave up at the end of 1905.
Mr. Charles H. Jordan returned to Monticello and with family backing started anew. The February 16, 1906 issue of the Monticello News stated: “The Jordan Manufacturing Company has begun business in the building near the depot formerly occupied by the Spool and Bobbin Company and in addition to making bobbins, will carry on an extensive lumber business”.
The technique of making bobbins was mastered and the business became a financial success. For over forty years, Mr. Jordan remained in control and accumulated a modest fortune from the operation of the business.
In 1929, Jordan Manufacturing Company became the Jordan Division of the U.S. Bobbin and Shuttle Company of Providence, Rhode Island, with Charles H. Jordan as vice-president and director and his son, Leland K. Jordan, Southern sales manager. The great depression of the thirties had its adverse effect upon the textile industry as it did upon everything else; so the U.S. Bobbin and Shuttle Company divested itself of the Jordan Division in 1939 and the Jordan family again came into complete possession of the property. In 1940, when at the age of 69 years, Charles H. Jordan turned over the business to his two sons: Leland K. Jordan and William Homer Jordan. In 1943, the Atlanta Belting company purchased the Monticello plant and changed the name to the Monticello Bobbin Company and have continuously operated the plant ever since. The industry has the distinction of being the only one in the South and of being the oldest now existing in Jasper County. It provides employment for approximately 45 persons.
In June, 1902, the Monticello Cotton Oil Company was organized with a capital stock of $20,000. The petitioners for the charters were: E. H. Jordan, W. J. Phillips, J. H. Kelly, L. O. Benton, Lucian Benton, J. T Benton, J.D. Harvey and J.W. Cannon. A. S. Thurman was the attorney. A lot of land along side the railroad on “the Hill” was purchased, the mill was built and began operation November 1902; all in less than six months time. The original capacity was twenty tons of oil per day. This was one of the most successful enterprises of its day. Later the mill was purchased by the Southern Cotton Oil Company, who operated it for a number of years before discontinuing operation due to the decline ;n cotton production within the County. About the year 1935, the mill property was converted into a plant for the canning of pimientos. In recent years it has been used as a feed mill.
B .C.. Burgess. a mineralogist, while traveling through Jasper County about 1945, noticed that soil being used as a sub base on Highway No 83 in the Gladesville District contained a high percent of feldtspar. Investigation of the source revealwed that there was a deposit of sufficient magnitude to support a mining and processing operation. The Appalachian Minerals Company of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, constructed a plant adjacent to the Central of Georgia Railroad near Adgateville, and in 1947 commenced operations. After experiencing a fire, which severely damaged the plant, the Appalachian Minerals Company sold the property to the Feldspar Corporation in 1954, which corporation is presently operating the facility, providing employment to approximately 45 persons with a payroll of about $310,000 annually.
Monticello Manufacturing Company, a garment factory located on the site of the Broddus Family home, is the largest employer of female labor with approximately 150 on the payroll with total earnings of $525,000 per annum.
Lumber has always been of economic importance to Jasper County. The demand for lumber and later for pulpwood, during World War II and since, has created a rapid growth of the industry. At Farrar, Georgia there are the mills of the Middle Georgia Veneer Company and Williams Brothers Lumber Company. Southwest of Monticello at Minneta on Highway No. 83 and the Central of Georgia railroad are the lumber mills of Frank G. Lake Company and J.C. Suttles Lumber Company and the pulpwood yards of the Georgia Kraft Company and the Georgia Timberlands Incorporated, and greatest activity of all, the $7 million plywood plant of the Georgia Pacific Corporation, which will be completed by the end of year 1969.
A part of the Oconee National Forest occupies a considerable area of Jasper County bordering on the Ocmulgee River. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a local office in Monticello.
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