Manuscript volume, 1925-1942, of the James Island Ginning Company (Charleston County, S.C.) constitutes a record of stockholders meetings dating from the time of the company’s organizational meeting, 27 June 1925, until its decision on 5 July 1941 to liquidate assets and surrender the company’s charter.
The declaration for charter, 27 June 1925, and charter, 29 June 1925, both of which are tipped into the volume, indicate that the company was established to gin and bail cotton as well as to sell cotton and cotton seed. Directors were F.P. Seabrook, Jr., president, A.L. Welch, vice-president, John Rivers, secretary, W.H. Mikell, and Sandiford Bee.
While the minutes reflect financial difficulties beginning as early as September 1925, by 1928 the company was reporting increased business from areas beyond James Island. At the 9 February 1929 meeting of stockholders it was reported that “with the improvement in roads and the advent of the modern truck our business was gradually extending beyond our immediate territory and we were now drawing cotton from distances which a few years ago would have been impossible. We ginned the past year from territory beyond James Island more than 5 times as much cotton as the year previous and it was felt that when the bridge across the Stono River is completed the increase will still be augmented.”
Beginning in 1931, as the agricultural depression and the declining market price of cotton continued to take their toll, the company began to report increasingly smaller crops and fewer bails ginned. The resulting business proved too small to make any profit. By 1940 the stockholders recognized that “the day of cotton in our territory was over & it was deemed advisable to dispose of our machinery & liquidate our stock but it was felt that inasmuch as a large percentage of those planting cotton were dependent on our gin for ginning their cotton we ought at least to let them know that we intended to dispose of our machinery.” It was determined, therefore, to operate another year before liquidation.
By the time of the 1941 special meeting to advertise the sale of the company’s equipment, the heretofore all male board of directors had been replaced by a female board, undoubtedly an indication of the war’s disruption. Subsequent correspondence inserted in the volume indicates that the machinery was purchased by the Kershaw Oil Mill.