TaylorCounty - Pottersville Turner's Chapel | Pottersville/Taylor Mills


In the early days of Taylor County, the Turner's Chapel Community (north of Butler) was a woodland settled by pioneer families of the Neislers, Caldwells, Pyrons, McCrarys and Millirons. Jack McCants began operating a sawmill in the area and gradually the land was cleared for farming.

Because the roads were so poor it was necessary to have 3 schools which were later consolidated into one school at the Turner's Chapel Church. There is a photograph of the pupils taken in 1936.* The school building burned in the 1940's and children went to either Crowell or Butler.

The first church in the community was a Primitive Baptist but when it became inactive, a Free Will Baptist (1897) was organized from the New Prospect Free Will Baptist Church.
Names found on the records of this area at this time include Askews,. Byrds, Suddeths, Turners, Moores, Spillers, Wainwrights and Hintons.

In 1898, a deacon of the new church, Perry Turner, deeded two acres of land to be used for a church. So a small building was soon completed and called "Turner's Chapel"...the name has continued. More about the Church

CEMETERY Many of the families named above are buried in the Turner's Chapel Cemetery, next to the church. See family plots

The first mail route came through Turner's Chapel on its way from Fickling's Mill (by way of the Wire Road) to Reynolds. Jim Spillers with Ed Stringfield as substitute was the first carrier. Until the railroad arrived, mail came by stagecoach.

The first graded highway was built in 1900 from Jesse Byrd's Store to what is now Hwy 137 which connected to the main road between Reynolds and Butler.

The first line was run for electricity in 1937.

A photograph of the Community Store owned and operated by B.F. Moore is in the Butler Herald 100 Year History of Taylor County. It states that later owners were Mrs. and Mrs. Mack Miller and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wainwright.

*Source: Butler Herald 100 Years of Taylor County

Pottersville - Taylor Mills

Potterville, or Taylor Mill is located 2 miles south of Reynolds. It was a thriving Cotton Mill for many years. The Potter family owned it originally.

Mt. Olive is a Freewill Baptist Church. Photograph of Church . It started shortly after 1885 and the oldest grave is 1892. Cemetery is beside the church.Mt. Olive Cemetery Retired pastor Rev. A.G Windham is a member of the church and helps look after the Cemetery. Current pastor is Arthur Smith.

The Mill was first started in 1854, when John N. Barnett, an agent for the Muscogee Manufacturing Company bought land to build a cotton mill. In 1854, George G. Potter listed his investments in stocks and manufactured products as $9000.00 On December 23, 1866, George G. Potter bought the factory and land (consisting of 1015 acres) for $14,000.00.

Photo of old mill and pond (TCHGS page)

The original pond was most likely built by John Garner for a grist mill and cotton gin.

The Potter Mill was sold at public auction in 1874 and renamed Elmira Cotton Mill. Elam B. Waters bought the Elmira in 1898, and then sold it to the Bibb Manufacturing Company of Macon, Georgia. It was the largest Textile manufacturer of the world at that time. Bibb sold out to a hosiery mill about 20 years ago and it also closed.

Bibb Manufacturing Company maintained a beautiful recreational pond there. They used to have a beach, putt-putt, water skiing etc. Pottersville pond was a happening place years ago. The dam broke as a result of the 94(?) flood and it was about three years before it was finally built back.. now the pond is full again. (2000)

History of Reynolds - George Goddard:Candidate for Bibb Family by Sara Lawson McGinty "The silver-haired 84 year old gentleman (1968) has lived in Reynolds most of his life, has known Taylor Mill folks and counted them as his friends, knows Taylor's history and is as keenly interested in Bibb's new Taylor Knitting and Finishing Plant as if it were his own. Since ground wa broken for the new plant about 6 months ago, Mr. Goddard has hardly missed a week going out to the building site and checking on the progress of the building...Mr. Goddard thinks the new plant...will be a boom to employment in Reynolds.

He remembers some of the calamities that touched Taylor--like the time a man was electrocuted in the mill in 1929. He was from Chattanooga. Some people think he was an employee but he wasn't. He was just rambling through the mill when he stepped over a switch that hit and killed him. J.D. Thompson was Superintendent at the time....

Then there was the time when the Taylor dam broke in 1942, washing away a grist mill and house owned by a Mr. Hicks.

There are less exciting but vivid memories of Prude Wilson laying the first brick for the present Taylor Mill and Jim Schrimpshire's hauling all Taylor Mill's cotton from Reynolds with a wagon and two gray mules.

Mr. Goddard has pleasant memeories of the long line of superintendents, starting with Riley Rodgers, the first permanent superintendent preceded by a Mr. Potter, Elam Waters and a Major Hanson. He also remembers Frank Smith, J.D. Thompson, Rufus Smith. Whenhis list reaches the present Superintendent, H.S. Gates, a strong note of admiration takes over. "Hal Gates gave the morale of Taylor a different element,"...he put in recreation...encouraged them to become a part of the Reynolds community. Now Reynolds people are entertained by Taylor people. They go to their homes and club house".

The new (1968) Taylor Knitting and Finishing Plant will be an entirely separte operaton from the present Taylor Mill. Yarm made at Payne Mill will be taken to the new plant for knitting and bleaching or dyeing after which it will have a gumming process (ro prevent ravlaing) and be put on rolls to be sold. The laminating and coating industries will buy the material to use as backing or support for leather and vinyl upholstery material.

Bibb's knitting is now done at the Bellevue Plant with machienry that will be moved to the Taylor Knitting and Finishing Plant. Bellevue will then be able to expand its regular operations.

When the new facility at Reynolds has its grand opening, with A.S. Durkee, Gen Supt, Samuel Himmelman, plant Supt and Roy hale, Supt of Finishing....
from THE BIBB RECORDER, Friday, Jan 12, 1968)

Employees of Mills

Robert Wilson Schrimshire 
Amos Adams, Jr. worked at the mill in Potterville.  

Researcer:Carla Miles Historycam@wmconnect.com 

Effie Tucker (years not known)

Manufacturing 1912

The Butler Herald
February 27, 1912
Page One

The Manufacturies of Taylor County

By Mrs. Julian Edwards

Taylor County has until comparatively a short time ago been almost
entirely an agricultural county.

For the last ten years it has made wonderful improvement on
industrial and manufacturing lines and corporate development.

While the cotton factory, known as the Potterville factory,
situated three miles below Reynolds and to the south of that town,
has been in operation in some form or other for many years, it was
only about ten years ago that new and modern yarn spinning
machinery was installed. It was formerly, operated, too, by water
and now steam and electricity. There were formerly only about 400
hundred spindles. Now there about 2200 spindles in operation and
running nearly full time, that is, night and day. The best cotton
yarns are spun by this factory. Its corporate style and name is
the Taylor County Manufacturing Company. It is owned principally
by the Bibb Manufacturing Company, whose home office is in Macon,
Ga. This factory was brought up largely to its present efficiency
and profit paying basis by the late Maj. J.F. Hanson, who in
addition to being president of the Bibb Mfg. Co., was also
president of the Central of Ga. Ry. Co.

***Question:  Does anyone have ancestors who worked in this Taylor = Pottersville Mill?
photo of the old mill -- click on the small photo to view it better.

There are several other smaller factories other than cotton
factories in the county. There are two fertilizer factories at
Reynolds, one variety shop and plaining mill; one guano factory at
Butler, whose output per annum, I am informed is about fifteen
hundred tons and which is on a splendid paying basis. There is
also a bottling factory in Butler - owned and operated
successfully by the White Brothers. There is also a kaolin factory
situated two miles west of Butler, surrounded by several rich and
practically inexhaustible mines of pure kaolin - but which factory
is not now in operation.

Does anyone know the NAMES of these factories --- and who operated them?
1)2 Reynolds Fertilizer
2) one variety shop (what does that mean)
3) one planing shop (this is lumber production, right? Local trees?)

4. Butler  Guano Factory
5) Bottling Company - White brothers?  More details? What kind of bottling?

6)Kaolin factory ?? What is this?
I did a Google search and it is a kind of clay used for China??
This sounds interesting.  Does anyone know what they made?

Taylor County has more creeks and more water power than any other
county in middle west Georgia. The Flint River on the north and
east of the county could with a reasonable amount of capital and
skill be turned into a magnificent manufacturing power - there
being some splendid water falls in the upper or northern boundary
of this county. There is White Water with its pure limpid waster
of water which could be harnessed and made to contribute to the
wealth and happiness of all the unemployed of Taylor County. We
have made a small start in the manufacturing field; may it be
speedily and largely extended.

A book called "Murder at County Line" was written by Avoline Bloodworth (1985) about the murder of Howard Underwood, (from Pottersville) who sold McNess products. The murder took place December 3, 1923 down a dirt road to the Flint River near Pottersville. The two young men,(Willie Jones and Gervis Bloodworth) that committed the murder were the last people to be hung in Taylor County. They had been drinking and splitting shingles for a man at Garden Valley (Mr. Simmons) and planned to leave the area, taking two young women (Nora Blanche Jones and Julia, wife of Homer Jones, Willie's brother)with them, and drive to Florida. Needing money, they were looking for a way to make this trip. Mr. Underwood gave them a ride and being a salesman had money on him at the time.
Contributed by Bruce Goddard and Millie Stewart Summary of the Event, Arrest and Trials from the Book.

Howard Underwood had a wife, Maggie Mae and nine small children. He worked as a Salesman for McNess products (household spices and medicines) Sikes Underwood, Howard's brother, who ran a store in Pottersville. Howard's older daughter, Ruby was married and lived in Texas. Other daughter, Ula and Ouida worked at the cotton mill in Potterville.

Willie Jones was the son of Jim M. Jones. He stated at the trail he was 18 years old the 15th day Of Dec 1923.Jim Jones also had sons, Homer, David, Jim. Mrs. Jones stated in court that Willie was baptized in Mt. Olive Church in 1921 by Brother Shelley of Macon. He didn't go to school until he was 11 due to sickness, so his total schooling was only about 9 months.

Gervis Bloodworth was born Sept 7, 1904 and was raised by his grandmother because his parents separated soon after he was born.

Both youth blamed whiskey as their downfall and both mentioned helping to make liquor with their families as young boys.

"Goddard Funeral Home made the funeral arrangements for Howard Underwood. The body was carried home to remain until time for the funeral. Friends took turns sitting up with the body. Howard Underwood was born on April 11, 1871 and died on Dec 3, 1923. He is survived by his wife, Maggie Mae Waters Underwood, seven daughters and two sons. He is also survived by his mother, one brother and 5 sisters. He was buried at Mt. Olive Church in Pottersvile. his funeral was witnessed by the largest funeral assempbly ever assembled in Pottersville".

The first trial took place Dec 18, 1923 in Butler Courthouse. Attorneys for the State: Walker R. Flournoy, Gilbert C. Robinson, and C.G. Daniel and for the Defense, Homer Beeland, Walter E. Sneed and C.W. Foy. Superior Court with The Honorable George P. Munro, presiding. Twelve jurors: Lois Smith, LV Smith, J.W. Aultman, A.H. Jarrell,R.D. Pye, Johnnie Caldwell, James Montgomery, W.F. Gray, J.T. Parker, J.W. Mott, Marion Jinks and L.Wilson.

Dr. T.G. Turk, witness for the State, testified: "I made an examination on the body....he had a wound from a shotgun just back of the right ear, low down. I am a graduate physician from the Atlanta School of Medicine, and have practiced generally for 16 years in Reynolds. The wound I speak of was just back of the right ear and was made with a shotgun at close range".

The execution of the boys took place on Jan 20, 1926 after 5 trials and pleas to the Governor. During their jail stay, both young men were converted and begged to be given a life sentence instead of death so that they might "preach the gospel" in prison.

They were buried in Girard Cemetery(Phenix City, AL) in seperate caskets in a double grave (according to their wishes) in a lot owned by Mrs. Laura Fulleron (mother of Gervis Bloodworth)

The book provides direct quotations from court testimony, newspaper reports, personal letters--- makes you feel like you are right there! Numerous witnesses in the Pottersville area are mentioned by name.   Photograph of Church

Mt. Olive Cemetery beside the church.

Taylor Mill Baptist Church is also located there. Photo of Taylor Mill Baptist Church

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