Please send all requests for Courtenay related information to the email address above.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Courtenay / Drake family connection

Courtenay / Drake family connection

Henry I, King of France, m. Anne of Russia.

Prince Hugh Magnus, Count of Vermandois, crusader.

Isabel de Vermandois, m. (1) Robert de Bellomont, Earl of Leicester, d. 1118;
m. (2) William, Earl of Warren, 2d Earl of Surrey.

Ada (or Adeline) de Warren, m. Prince Henry, son of David I, King of Scotland
Margaret (sister of Malcolm IV and William IV, The Lion, King of Scotland,
also of David, Earl of Huntingdon), m. Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Baron de Bohun,

Lord of Hereford, Constable of England.

Henry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, Constable of England, a Magna
Charta surety, d. 1220; m. Maud, daughter of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl
of Essex, Justice of England.

Humphrey de Bohun, Called “the Good,”

Earl of Heereford and Essex; m. Maud d’Eu.

Humphrey de Bohun, Governor of Goodrich Castle; m. Eleanor de Braose.

Humphrey de Bohun, 3d Earl of Hereford and Essex; m. Maud de Fiennes.

Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and Essex, Lord High Constable, killed at Boroughbridge, 1321; m. Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward I, King of England, and his first wife, Princess Eleanor of Castile.

Margaret de Bohun, m. Sir Hugh de Courtenay, 2d Earl of Hugh; son of Devon, K.G.; d. 1377; son of Hugh (m. Agnes); son of Hugh; son of Hugh (m. Eleanor); son of John (m. Isabel); son of Robert (m. Mary); son of Reginald (m. (2) Hawise).

Edward Courtenay, m. Emeline d’Auney.

Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Haccomb, Devon, m. (3) Maud Beaumont.

Lady Margaret Courtenay, m. Sir Theobald Grenville, of Stowe.

Sir William Grenville, of Bideford, m. Philippa, daughter of Sir William Bonville,
Baron Bonville, of Chuton, K.G.

Thomas Grenville, of Stowe, Sheriff of Gloucestershire; m. Elizabeth, sister to
Sir Theobald Gorges, Knight, of Devonshire.

Sir Thomas Grenville, of Stowe, m. Isabella, daughter of Sir Otis Gilbert, of
Compton, Sheriff of Devonshire, 1474, d. 1494.

Sir Roger Grenville, of Stowe and Bideford, m. Margaret, daughter of Richard
Whitleigh, of Efford, Devon.

Amy Grenville, m. John Drake, of Ashe, Musbury and Exmouth, Sheriff of
Devonshire, 1561-62 (whose sister, Alice Drake, m. (his first wife) Walter
Raleigh, father (by his third wife, Katherine Champernowne, widow of
Otis Gilbert) of Sir Walter Raleigh, the famous navigator). Their son,
Sir Bernard Drake, was father of Sir John Drake, whose daughter, Elizabeth,
m. Sir Winston Churchill, M.P., and had John Churchill, the great Duke of

Robert Drake, of Wiscombe Park, Devon, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Humphrey
Prideaux, of Thewborough, Devon, d. 1550.

William Drake, of Wiscombe Park, m. Philippa, daughter of Sir Robert Dennys,
of Holcombe, Devon, d. 1592.

John Drake, b. at Wiscombe, 1585, came to New England, 1630, and settled
at Windsor, Conn., 1635; d. 17 August, 1659; m. Elizabeth Rodgers, d. 7
October, 1681.

Sergt. Job Drake, m. Mary Wolcott.

Lieut. Job Drake, m. Elizabeth (Clarke) Cook.

Sarah Drake, m. Maj. Gen. Roger Wolcott, 1679-1767, Governor of Connecticut,

Maj. Gen. Oliver Wolcott, 1726-78, 1780-84; signer of the Declaration of
Independence, Governor of Connecticut, 1796-97.

Oliver Wolcott, 1760-1833, Secretary of the Treasury under Washington and

Governor of Connecticut, 1817-27. His brother Frederick Wolcott was a member
of the Connecticut Senate, father of Joshua Huntington Wolcott, whose son,
Roger Wolcott, 1847-1901, was Governor of Massachusetts, 1896-1900.

A Brief History of Courtenay Manufacturing Co. and the Village of Newry by: John L. Gaillard, Newry, SC December, 1994

A Brief History of Courtenay Manufacturing Co. and the Village of Newry

by: John L. Gaillard, Box 113, Newry, SC 29665
    December, 1994

I think I would be amiss to write a history of any town that was not, and 
suddenly became one, in one year, without recognizing the founders and the 
driving events that led to its existence. Anything that exists has a determined 
connection, and Newry's began in Charleston, SC. after a certain family, named 
Courtenay, chose to immigrate to America in 1791. They came from a small town 
called Newry on the Clanrye River in Northern Ireland. Mr. Edward Courtenay and 
his wife had several children, one of whom, William, born in 1831, eventua1Iy 
became the founding father of this little town called Newry. After his formal 

William Courtenay became a book seller and publisher in Charleston. He later 
became the Head of the Business Department of The Charleston Mercury Newspaper. 
William Courtenay joined the militia in Charleston County early on, and as a 
result, was called to the defense of The Confederacy at the very beginning of 
the  Civil War. He saw action both in Virginia and South Carolina. However with 
the fall of The Confederacy, he had nothing left but faith and hope. General 
Sherman had destroyed most of the railroads, further delaying the South's 
recovery. So Mr. Courtenay seized the first opportunity that came his way, which 
was carting raw cotton between Newberry and Orangeburg, SC. From this base he 
began his upward climb. 

In 1865, William Courtenay started a shipping business in Charleston. This 
business grew and soon had freight moving to the main ports in the Northeast and 
also overseas. From this venture he procured enough capital to expand beyond 
his shipping interests. 

Mr. Courtenay entered the political arena and was elected Mayor of Charleston in 
1879. He was reelected in 1883, and during his second term, was faced with the 
tremendous challenge of restoring the city to normalcy after the deadly 
earthquake of 1886. This tragedy caused the deaths of twenty-seven people, 
inflicted many injuries and wreaked much property damage within the city. With 
his, and other citizens' judicious efforts, the city soon recovered. 

Mr. Courtenay later was instrumental in influencing the State Legislature to 
establish the State Historical Commission, which has served the citizens of 
South Carolina well for many years. 

After his two terms as mayor of Charleston, Mr. Courtenay was ready to accept a 
new challenge. His experience in the shipping business made him acutely aware of 
the advantage of having the manufacturing process as close as possible to the 
raw product, hence, the idea of a textile manufacturing plant was born. He was 
as well aware of the topographical requirements of such a large undertaking. 
Taking this into account, he selected the Piedmont section of South Carolina 
and narrowed his choice to Oconee County with its untapped water resources 
flowing unhindered out of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Among other criteria he 
considered was the expanding rural population with its eagerness for "real pay" 
and more favorable living conditions. He knew that a new, clean village with 
more conveniences and steady pay would draw the sharecroppers like iron to a 
magnet. The land was available, the site was selected and the dream evolved as a 

On Apri1 21, 1893, Captain William A Courtenay. Frances J. Pelzer, William B. 
Whaley, R. C. Rhett, W. B. S. Hayward, and John C. Carey filed with the 
Secretary of State, J. E. Tindale, a petition that they be commissioned to 
form a corporation and this was immediately granted. This new corporation was 
issued a license to manufacture all goods of every kind pertaining to textiles-
cotton, wool, and other fibers. They were permitted to perform spinning, 
weaving. dyeing, finishing, and the selling of all goods manufactured. An 
allowance to grind and mill wheat, corn and other grains, along with the making 
of any tools and materials deemed necessary to the construction and 
manufacturing process was granted. This allowance included the clearing, sawing. 
and finishing of timber prevalent at the site of the new village and attendant 
property. The charter became the birth certificate of a factory, a village, and 
a community that was destined to mold the lives of thousands of individuals for 
almost one hundred years. 

So the construction of the Courtenay Manufacturing Company began in 1893. Two or 
three seasoned construction engineers had been brought in to oversee the 
project. Ground was being leveled, virgin pine and oak timber was falling 
and brick was being kilned, and all things directed toward the fruition of a 
dream were moving expeditiously. The cooperation of management and labor, along 
with a ready source of materials from a pristine wilderness, much like the 
Cherokee had left it, was becoming a factory and a village.

The mill dam on Little River was completed, the head and tail races finished, 
and the water wheels installed. Anticipating the installation of all the 
pertinent machinery. The engineers primed and activated the water wheels on 
June 14. 1894. With a large quantity of cotton on hand, many laborious hours 
were given to the completion of the spur railroad. A steam locomotive, later to 
be affectionately called "The Dummy" by the locals, was furnished by the R & D 
Railway Company. 

The village was slowly taking on the character of a small town. Four eight-room 
houses had been built along with forty-seven six-room ones. Most were of the 
salt box design. Others would be built soon, along with a boarding house. 
Necessary out buildings were finished. A mill office was constructed, as well as 
the company store with a large meeting hall above and a storage building behind. 
Pastures were cleared, and barns were built. A village "calaboose" was erected, 
and a town constable was hired. All diverse elements of the village construction 
were speedily taking form. Soon, a schoolhouse, a church, a post office, and a 
barber shop would be built. The cotton gin was being erected to accommodate the 
local farmers and afford the plant a ready supply of cotton without the added 
cost of freight. 

The employees were growing in number, and some were already moving into the new, 
comfortable houses, soon to be equipped with electricity and a water flowing 
sewer system. Teachers, hired for the new grammar school would teach in the 
community hall while the new schoolhouse was being built. 

The main road, of course, had already been prepared and was in constant use. Mr. 
John Boggs and a Mr. Kelly were in charge of setting out elm trees on both sides 
of Main Street. These trees would grow to a majestic, uniform height, adding 
much comfort and beauty to the village. 

Wells were dug and installed with iron hand pumps, but in short time, were 
replaced with a modem pump driven water system supplying household water and 
water for the sewer system. This was a tremendous improvement for the benefit 
of the employees in those early years. 

The company store, a village "gem" itself afforded the inhabitants a ready 
source of almost all their needs. If one were asked what goods were available, 
the answer was "Everything". With everything now in place, a unified symbiotic 
relationship was agreed upon between the management and the employees. 
Therefore, the new factory in the backwoods and the residents of the village of 
Newry became one in effort and purpose. The factory began its initial production 
in September, 1884 and even though it changed owners three or four times, it 
maintained steady production until May, 1975, a period of eighty-one years. 

In the early years of operation, a goodly number of setbacks were experienced, 
causing major drops in production. Several droughts occurred, reducing the water 
flow through the races and depleting the effectiveness of the water wheels. But 
on several occasions the setbacks were caused by too much water. Early in June, 
1903, a late spring freshet of enormous proportion fell on the mountains and 
Piedmont of South Carolina, resulting in a flood of such magnitude that was 
before unheard of in this part of the country. The Courtenay Plant, as most all 
textile plants were, was located adjacent to the river. This resulted in a major 
inundation of the lower levels of the plant. The water stood nine and one-
half feet in the lower weave room. The warehouse was washed from its foundation, 
and bales of cotton water-born downstream. Three village houses, distinctly of a 
lower elevation than the village proper, were victims of the flood. The 
tenacious efforts of management and labor soon overcame this historic calamity. 
Over the years high water was an occasional problem, but nothing of this 
magnitude would recur. Although in 1915, nature's unpredictable forces would 
try again, the damage was nowhere near that of 1903. Among other setbacks beyond 
Management's control and affecting plant production was an outbreak of small pox 
in 1910. This deadly disease was kept in check by bringing in some experts in 
this field from other areas of the state and country. The records state that 
with the exception of about one hundred residents, all were vaccinated with a 
total of almost eight hundred having participated. Another health assault, more 
devastating to the community than the small pox outbreak, was the widespread 
influenza epidemic of 1918. This scourge caused numerous deaths and much 
suffering. From a population of nine hundred, seven hundred were stricken; one 
can only imagine what a deplorable effect this bad on the production of the 
plant. Nevertheless this adversity was overcome, as were the others. In earlier 
years, Mr. William Courtenay developed medical problems and consequently moved 
to Columbia. SC., where he died in 1908. The Board of Directors appointed Mr. 
Campbell Courtenay president of the plant, a position he held until it became 
necessary to sell the plant in April 1920. The transaction to sell Courtenay 
Manufacturing was executed forthrightly, with the chief stockholders being Mr. 
J. W. Cannon Sr., Mr. W. L. Gassaway, and Mr. Ralph Ramseur. Mr. Cannon and Mr. 
Gassaway were the chief Operators of Issaquenna Mill of Central, SC. On July 29. 
1920, at a meeting of the Board of Directors, the following officers 
representing the new owners were duly elected: Mr. W.L. Gassaway as President 
and Treasurer, Mr. Ralph Ramseur as vice-president and Assistant Treasurer, and 
Mr. V.Q. Gregory as Secretary. Mr. James M. Alexander, the plant Superintendent, 
remained in that position. With the addition of two new Board members, 
identified as Mr. J. W. Norwood of Greenville, SC. and Mr. F. J. Haywood of 
Kannapolis. N. C., the inner operation of Courtenay Manufacturing began to take 
on a new direction. These changes were concomitant with the Great Stock Market 
Crash of 1929, leaving one to wonder whether or not a connection existed. 

In December, 1929, Mr. W. L. Gassaway tendered his resignation as acting 
President and Treasurer with Mr. Ralph Ramseur being elected in his stead. At 
this time the "Great Depression" was in full sway, and curtailing and shutdowns 
were evident throughout the textile industry. The Newry citizens were compelled 
to exist on a bare minimum budget. Union organizers from the North flocked South 
to organize the mill workers, but without much success at Newry. Although the 
residents of Newly seemed to be always loyal to the management and owners, the 
organizers caused much unrest and lasting animosities in some of the mill 

With the National Recovery Act, the Wage and Hour Law, the implementation of 
three eight-hour shifts, and other FDR programs, the textile industry began to 
slowly emerge from the Depression. The people of Newry began to have 
greater hope for continued employment, while all these programs were being 
implemented. Even so, most of the individually owned plants had a nip and tuck 
existence throughout the rest of the 1930's. 

On February 9, 1934, the Cannon Mill Interest of Kannapolis, North Carolina 
purchased the Courtenay Plant with all additional properties. Because of a 
depressed textile market and a perceived lack of demand for goods woven on the 
narrow 'E model' looms, Cannon opted to liquidate the plant on March 19, 1939. 
Operations were halted at the plant, and it, along with its properties, was 
offered for sale. This portended bad times for the employees and citizens of 
Newry. While some employees sought employment at other plants, most remained, 
hoping for a new owner. And soon their hopes and prayers were answered by the 
Abney Mills Group of Greenwood, South Carolina, which purchased the plant, the 
village, and hundreds of acres of the surrounding properties. Having a plan to 
upgrade all obsolete machinery, the progressive Abney chain began ordering the 
latest spinning equipment available and initiating a complete overhaul of the 
weave room machinery. The owners eventually had all departments moving at top 
speed, while turning out a quality textile product. The Management was well 
pleased, and the inhabitants of Newry were even more pleased. 
Because of Abney's effort and dedication to purpose, the employees felt more 
secure than ever. 

The start of World War Two brought about an inflated demand for all textile 
products, and so the Courtenay Plant operated at breakneck speed to fulfill all 
orders. This pace of supplying the needs of American and Allied industry 
lasted until the later months of 1946, but the good market demand actually did 
not end until the recession of the early 1950's. These years marked the genesis 
onslaught of foreign imports, and by the 1980's, the on-going appeasement 
policy of Washington would almost guarantee a decimation into the textile 
industry of such a gravity the South had never known before. 

But at least in the mid 1940's and throughout the 1950's, the small village of 
Newry would still benefit from the previous and lingering successes of the Abney 
textile industry. In the mid 1940's, Abney Mills began to spend many 
thousands of dollars to renovate and upgrade the entire village of Newry. All 
necessary repairs to the village domiciles were effected with new Paint jobs 
inside and out. Two complete bathrooms were installed in each house, and several 
new brick duplex houses were built with others being remodeled. Sidewalks were 
constructed, and all roads were upgraded with paving, curbing and drainage. 
Suffice it to say that the entire infrastructure and living conditions of 
Newry Village improved immensely in the '40's and '50's. 

With this vast improvement of the village of Newry came more expenditures to 
increase production within the plant. Due to foreign imports and the highly 
competitive nature of the textile industry, Abney began revamping each 
department in the plant and replacing outmoded machinery. With the "Fifties" 
drawing to a close, Abney Management chose to sell the mill village in 1959. To 
this end were several contributing factors. The labor and material to maintain 
approximately one hundred twenty village houses were becoming progressively 
expensive. Also, the village responsibility having been removed, all energy and 
effort could be redirected toward the productivity and profitability of the 
manufacturing process. The sale of the village would as well provide a ready 
source of capital for the further modernization of the machinery. The disposing 
of mill villages by owner textile companies seemed to be a trend in the industry 
throughout the South. 

In the hectic decade of the "Sixties", the textile industry was beset with OSHA 
regulations, civil rights laws, and environmental clean-up mandates. These new 
laws and regulations seemed to foretell the demise of all the old four-story, 
smokestack textile mills throughout the country. Not being very adaptive to the 
modern requirement of these federal laws, most of these mills were without 
sufficient cash flow to comply with the new laws and realize a reasonable profit 
expectation at the same time. In order to accommodate federal regulations, many 
plants, such as the one at Newry, effected expenditures of monies dedicated only 
to a lost cause. 

In the early 1970's, with inflation plaguing the nation and interest rates 
bordering on twenty per cent, industry was reluctant to borrow money for 
investment. The prevailing doubt was whether or not a business could realize a 
profit large enough to pay interest on money borrowed. Consequently, the owners 
of Abney Mills decided to close the Courtenay Plant in May, 1975, and only four 
years later, the remaining eight plants of the Abney chain were closed. But 
there existed a greater ramification in the closings of these plants---a bell 
had tolled, signifying the end of a way of life for hundreds of thousands of 
textile workers throughout the South. Separated only by distance, every mill 
village of the past had merged with the other to form an entity, a common 
persona, never again to unfold the joyous experience shared in the textile 
community by so many generations of working people and dedicated family.


Newry, South Carolina August 10, 1975 

Christmas has passed again and now we are launched by "Father Time" into what we 
term as a "new year." Of course, the year is not new; it is only a copy of the 
last one, with many of the happenings reoccurring and a few different events 
or experiences crowding in to find their niche amongst the routine and 
repetitiousness of being. 

If one has life, it is comprised of all the ingredients of joy, sorrow, love, 
hate, war, peace, trouble, happiness, success, failure, and much more. The 
dilemma mankind faces is that he is incapable of doing much about the occurrence 
of challenges. Individuals express sympathy verbally and by writing and many, I 
am sure, are sincere, but they cannot really, know the extent of hurting until 
they experience the same hurt. 

When the word came to us, from higher officials, that our plant was being closed 
and you said to me that you knew just how we felt, you were sincere because you 
had already experienced the same thing. Employees hear of closings elsewhere but 
they can never become completely prepared for it, even if they have the feeling 
that one day it will also happen to them. 

For some time I had a hunch that the closing was inevitable, not just because of 
our company's red ink, but because of the anemic condition of the textile 
industry everywhere. Only the strongest would survive and then their time would 
also come, even if it came some years later. There are many reasons it happened 
and I will not mention them here. Some are factual, others would be debatable. I 
have experienced the subtle changes happening over the years that became endemic 
in the entire industry. 

The news came to us rather suddenly, though when it did come, the laying off was 
piece-meal eliminating some within a week, usually the ones not directly related 
to the fazing out of production already in process. I was not surprised, 
however, as I had a subtle hint that the closing was imminent. I had noticed 
that for at least a year or more that any request of needed repairs was being 
ignored and that we were not able to improve anything within or without the 

Up front I asked a vice president, whom I had known for many years, "if anyone 
at headquarters cared anything about this plant", and I got a flat out answer, 
and it was a terse "No". I knew then but I haven't mentioned it until this very 
writing, that we were on the verge of becoming a non-entity. 

Naturally, it was the responsibility of the local management to break the news 
to the employees and as personnel manager, I had a major part in the face to 
face contact with all employees except the superintendent. 

The news was accepted in various ways. The employees, whom I call transients, 
took it calmly. It was a free ticket to the unemployment office to draw their 
compensation again.  To fifteen or twenty approaching retirement age (60 or 
over) it was sad and brought tears to many eyes, not as much because of loss of 
job, but most had been there many years and were very sentimental. Now to the 
175 local people from 25 to 60 it was more traumatic. This was most obvious in 
regard to those past 45 and especially in the group from the mid 50's to 60. The 
females became teary eyed and the males looked sad.

Most of the employees worked at their regular jobs and were separated as their 
respective departments ran out the stock that was in process at the time the 
news was received. We had a few employees who went to other textile plants early 
on after the news came, but as I remember, only one employee quit outright who 
was eligible to draw an extra check on the Fourth of July. His quitting 
disqualified him for this privilege. 

The moment of truth hit me the hardest when the separations came to my office en 
masse, after the stoppage of entire departments. Sadness prevailed but not one 
pushed the panic button. Many of the employees would discuss their personal 
problems with me when they came by to check out their status and benefits. Some 
would be concerned about the village utilities and sometimes real family and 
personal problems which seemed to them to be made much worse because of lack of 
employment. They were rightly concerned about these things. I would tell them 
that this was not the end of the world, nor their respective lives, and that 
things, perhaps, would get worse for awhile and then life would gradually get 
better and all of us would adjust to a different existence. I did not really 
know that this would happen but I believed it anyway. You know this experience 
was almost similar to the death of a bread winner in a family, or a surprise 
divorce. Depression and helplessness prevailed for awhile but then the guts of 
determination took over and people, especially the females, suddenly got up from 
their "pity party" and went out and got jobs other places and drug their 
sweethearts and husbands with them. At this juncture I noticed that our Main 
Street had metamorphosed into a highway that carried people to work from Newry 
to various plants further away. Our village had almost overnight seemed to 
change from a people who walked to work to a people who drove 10, 25, and 35 
miles to their work place each day, and as before, this gradually became the 

People can do what they can't do when finally despair and need drives them to 
it. Our people overcame. 

Finally the machinery of paperwork and record keeping drew to an end. There were 
only four employees left. I who now wore many hats, and three maintenance men. 
The maintenance men still had chores to do as the company could not suddenly or 
legally separate themselves from the responsibility of the village utilities, 
i.e. water, sewer, and electricity. All four of us were responsible for the 
security. I was responsible for collecting power and water bills and dispatching 
all cash to the main offices. I also was responsible for care of and security of 
materials that could be transferred to other plants in our chain that were still 
operating. There were thousands of dollars of useful material still here. I 
notified management what was available. They in turn would send a list to each 
plant and they would have their trucks and men here at a given time to load it 
and transport it to the other plant. This took three or four months. 

As activities slowed down" I began to have more time to observe and reflect on 
my surroundings. The changes were gradual but when one, in retrospect, begins to 
focus on the changes, they seem sudden. Some of the things I observed are 
related below. The quietness and the lack of the hurley burley of activity were 
dominant. The rats were gone. Most of the English sparrows and starlings were 
gone also. The pigeons were still high on top of the bell tower, but they were 
only boarding there. Like the doves they flew off to the farmers fields to feed. 
Two lovely bluebirds set up housekeeping in the end of a three-inch pipe, ten 
feet off the ground between my office and the plant. I watched them rear their 
two siblings and leave. A heavy bodied hawk, not the largest, but large, would 
come and sit atop a light post and survey the yard below. At that point he was 
the master of everything that crept below and he knew it. I had never seen 
bluebirds and hawks in the mill yard before. They left one day and never 
returned, as I was to do soon.

The head race would flow no longer and the tail race had no more to drink. The 
fish were waning too, you could hardly catch one anymore. Change had destroyed 
the past, and the present will likewise meet the same fate and what was once 
great will become small, and time will have her say. 

Your Partner in Change, John Gaillard 


Office of President and Treasurer
The Courtenay Manufacturing Co.
Newry, SC, 10-Oct-1902

To the stockholders:

I am in my tenth year of service with the Company, having come to this remote 
and isolated locality in Apr-1893.  The forest growth had to be cleared to 
locate the mill buildings, village and cotton warehouses. Since then I have 
given my continuous personal attention to the building, equipment and extension 
of the property, and to its finances.  The original plant of 10,000 spindles and 
860 looms has since grown to 19,440 spindles and 635 looms.  Its capital has 
increased from $ 150,000 to $ 300,000.  The present cost of spindle is $ 15.00, 
and there is not one cent of debt on the plant.

Where a dozen people once lived, over one thousand now reside.  The cottages for 
our operatives are of superior character - lathed, plastered, painted, inside 
and out, and by constant attention are kept in perfect condition.  A sewerage 
system, operated by gravity from a reservoir on a hill top, keeps it, the 
cleanest of mill villages, and as well, the best possible in fire protection.  
The healthfulness of Newry is proverbial, and in every respect it is a desirable 
cotton mill property.

Under the Company's By-Laws it has not been possible for me to be absent for 
more than a few days at a time during these ten years.  I may be obliged to have 
a vacation in the coming spring.  To arrange for my absence a slight change in 
the By-Laws is necessary, and this has to be done by the Stockholders 
themselves.  No extra expense attaches to this change.

I therefore enclose a printed form for the change of By-Laws, and a special form 
of Proxy to carry it into execution, and would be pleased to have an affirmative 
response from every Shareholder.

Respectfully, William A Courtenay, President and Treasurer



By J.L. Gaillard

On the Abney Mill property at Newry there are three old graveyards. Two of these 
are family burial plots and the other a community cemetery established sometime 
around 1895 for the employees of Courtenay Mill and their families. This 
cemetery has not been used in many years; the most recent marker being dated 
1927, and to the best of my knowledge it has not been used since. 

1.) C020 God's Acre / Graveyard Hill (Newry community cemetery)

2.) C210 Catherine Whitmire (1 grave from Newry ball park area)

3.) C137 Newry Gardens / Courtenay Memorial (Abney Mill employee cemetery)

4.) C211 Unknown Name-(211) (4 adult graves from Abney Mill area)

When I was a child this was known by parents and children alike as "The 
Graveyard Hill." All of the older employees of Courtenay Mill will vividly 
remember this, and others Who have gone to the various Abney Plants from this 
community will also recall memories of those days. I can remember many times 
asking my mother permission to go over on "The Graveyard Hill" to play cowboy or 
just to romp and explore as children are apt to do. This general vicinity also 
comprised a large wooded area and a vast meadow known as "The Pasture Hill" 
Which was also used as a golf course where the mill officials and their friends 
knocked cheap golf balls with old type wooden shaft clubs. We children never 
played in the graveyard but sometimes we would go inside the burial area to read 
the inscriptions on the tombstones. Incidentally, I still like to visit old 
cemeteries for the same purpose. I sometimes wonder who these people are, what 
their likes and interests were and what great revelations of life they could 
impart to one if this great chasm could be bridged. 

When Mr. Clyde Cole, photographer for Quills magazine, called and asked if, I 
would accompany him to this cemetery, I naturally agreed since I knew he would 
never find it alone. After awhile, Clyde arrived and in a short time we began 
our journey. The graveyard is not too distant from the village but as the name 
our forefathers gave it implies, it is atop a quite steep hill. The trail 
leading there has grown steeper over the years, So Clyde and I elected to 
exercise wisdom instead of leg muscles and ride around the "River Road" a way, 
and then walk the more distant but less inclined saw mill road that winds ifs 
leisurely way upward to the cemetery. 

It was a normal, humid, hot morning in July with the small talk of insects and 
birds, ever prevalent at this time of year. Slightly intruding on our thoughts, 
like background music being piped from some distant place. I could feel small 
beads of perspiration on my lip and forehead and I casually glanced at Clyde to 
see it he, too, was being affected so soon. He was, but I made no comment. The 
road rose gradually up the hill being lined on each side with lovely pines and 
other trees common to our area. Clyde remarked how nice it would be to live in a 
place like this, everything seemed so peaceful and serene. A short distance over 
the hill a hound pursued a rabbit that was unknowingly coming our way. As we 
were very quiet, as I always like to be when I am in the fields or woods, the 
hare nor the hound paid the least attention to us. We looked backwards along the 
way we had come and saw the hare cross in a leisurely sort of way. Shortly the 
hound crossed, too, with his deep resonant voice echoing across the valley. He, 
too, was taking his own good time as if the rules of this game had been 
predetermined as to pace and distance and what the ultimate outcome would be. 
Sometimes it seems this way with animals, but the thought ironically occurred to 
me that we humans were always rushing to the graveyard. 

We stopped occasionally to remark to each other on the various items we noted 
along the way. The tracks of a vehicle that had been by long before, the almost 
obliterated footprint of some other sojourner who previously had passed this 
way, and of course, we had to dispense with the common conversation of two 
people who like to reminisce. 

Upon our arrival at our destination I was much surprised that I could not walk 
directly to the place. The hands of time had been busy working while I slept. 
Where violets and daffodils once grew, pine trees, wild shrubs, and other 
vegetation had taken full sway. They grew at random, not honoring even one 
sacred spot. Even the tombstones were hard to find, but we managed. We moved 
from grave to grave reading each inscription, commenting on names and ages. Many 
of the family names were familiar to me, but of course I knew none of the people 
personally, since most had died before I was born. The one thing that we 
particular1y noted was the high mortality rate of infants and very young 
children. In fact, a most startling percentage, perhaps three out of four of the 
graves belonged to children in the pre-school or early school ages. We thought 
this most horrifying, but Clyde did comment that a thing like this most likely 
was accepted with some expectancy in those days.

We ambled around awhile. Meantime, Clyde was making photographs here and there 
and commenting on points of interest concerning each grave. Soon he had seen
enough. As we were leaving, I took one backward glance and immediately thought 
what a pity that no one seems to care for the condition of this old graveyard, 
and for some reason, perhaps because of a deep sense of guilt within me, I did 
not mention this to Clyde. Then the thought came to me, why could not people 
everywhere adopt a grave to tend where it was obvious that no one else could? I 
am sure that it would be a most gratifying avocation. Yet the preacher said long 
ago in Ecclesiastics 9-5, these words, "For the living know that they shall die 
but the dead know not anything neither have they anymore a reward; for the 
memory of them is forgotten." 


Urgently seeking information on William Courtney b. Ireland 1756, settled in Morristown New Jersey USA, died in Unadilla N.Y. on June 2, 1817, married Mary Chamberlain circa 1786

William Courtney was born in Ireland in 1756.  He came to
this country and settled in Morristown, N.J.

He serves his country for five years in the War of the
Revolution under the command of Anthony Wayne, known as “Mad”
Anthony. He was a private in the Pennsylvania Regulars and was in
several battles among which was the taking of Stony Point
where Gen. Wayne distinguished himself as a brave leader.

Mr. Courtney married Mary Chamberlain about 1786.  They
had ten children all of whom lived to years of maturity.
He was a butcher by trade and also doctored horses and cattle.

After the war he moved to Unadilla, N. Y. and lived there
several years afterward moving to the town of Marathon, N.Y.
This was about the year 1813 or 1814.   In or near the year of
1815, he was on a visit to some of his children in Unadilla
N.Y. and came to his death by drowning in the Unadilla river on
June 2, 1817, and was buried in Sidney, N.Y.
Mary died in Sept. 1840. She is buried in Texas Valley, N.Y.
with her grandson William.


John           May 19, 1787       m. April 1866                Roxanna Blium
Betsy         Jan. 18, 1789        m. 1823                          Daniel Fuller
Robert       May 9, 1791         m. Nov. 29, 1842            Catherine A. Fuller
William     Aug 28, 1793        ?       
Polly         June 24, 1796        m. Nov. 15, 1874           Speckerman
Bryon       July 3, 1799           m. Sept. 19, 1850           Lavisey Benton
Benjamin    Sept. 23, 1802     died 1868
Siles           Nov. 10, 1805      m. Sept. 14, 1856           Eunice Lewis
Martha       June 13, 1808       m. Oct. 15, 1888            Walter Isacs
Fanny        Nov. 7, 1813         m. March 1850               Wilkenson

Note regarding Robert Courtney above: Robert was born on May 9, 1791 in Unadilla, N.Y.  He married Catherine Abraham Fuller.  Robert died on Nov. 29, 1842,  place ?  Robert was buried in Pioneer Cemetery in Sidney N.Y.  

Robert’s wife was Catherine A. Fuller. Catherine was born in 1795 and she died on Feb. 25, 1867.  Catherine was the daughter of Abraham Fuller who built the first grist mill near Wattles Ferry Unadilla in 1776.  Abraham Fuller was thought to be a Tory.

Depicted below: Depot in South Unadilla NY 1870 - photo from Cornell University Library (PUBLIC DOMAIN PHOTO)

Ruth Carolyn Carpenter Courtenay October 8, 1925 - October 5, 2017

Ruth Carolyn Carpenter was born on October 8, 1925. Carolyn was the long-awaited child of the Honorable Carl Edward and Ruth Spencer Carpenter of Gastonia, North Carolina. Carl, a NC State Senator and Gastonia attorney, passed away when Carolyn was four years of age. She and her mother were then cared for by her father's many brothers, until they moved to Charleston in 1936, a city for which she held a lifelong love. Carolyn graduated from Ashley Hall in 1944, then attended the College of Charleston where she majored in English and pledged Delta Delta Delta. Carolyn met the love of her life while attending a summer camp. She later married St. John Courtenay, Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina on October 6, 1951. They lived in Columbia, South Carolina, before moving to Greenville where they had their first child, St. John Courtenay, III. In addition to St. John III, they were the parents of Anne Spencer Courtenay and William Ashmead Courtenay, II. St. John later accepted an engineering position, first at Chemstrand in Decatur, Alabama, and later at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, where they relocated their family in 1972. Carolyn was a faithful, lifelong Episcopalian. Known for her kind demeanor, she served as the church secretary at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston, and was a member of the Altar Guild for decades at St. John's Episcopal Church in Decatur and later at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Huntsville. She was also a member of the Episcopal Church Women, the League of Women Voters, and the D.A.R. Having been an avid bridge player, Carolyn's children loved to come home from school on the days she hosted the bridge luncheon, to enjoy her home cooked delicacies. After the untimely death of their son, Ashmead, in 1973, Carolyn began her career as a librarian at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. She later became the manager of the Eleanor E. Murphy Branch Library, serving in this capacity until she was 82 years old. Honoring 33 years of service, Carolyn's retirement party in 2007 was a celebration by her many friends, family, colleagues, and library patrons who expressed their thanks for her many contributions and kindnesses bestowed upon them during her tenure. Carolyn loved her work and her many loyal patrons, known as the Friends of the Library. After retirement, Carolyn enjoyed D.A.R. membership meetings in Huntsville, her favorite Bible Study with close friends, and attending monthly luncheons of the Huntsville Republican Women's Club. She and St. John enjoyed their years as "Nana" and "Papa" to Courtenay Mason Davis and Jeffrey Clifton Davis, Jr., their beloved grandchildren. In February 2016, they became great-grandparents to Sarina Mason Ahuja, little daughter of Courtenay and Anand Ahuja. Also, in May 2016, Carolyn and St. John relocated to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they were regular attendees at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Carolyn moved her D.A.R. membership to The Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter. Carolyn was pre-deceased by her parents, Ruth and Carl Carpenter, her son William Ashmead Courtenay, II and her daughter-in-law, St. John III's wife, Dianne Phillips Courtenay. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, St. John, their son, St. John Courtenay, III and Beth Gochrach, daughter, Anne Courtenay Davis and son-in-law of 37 years, Jeffrey Clifton Davis, and their children, Courtenay Mason Davis Ahuja and her husband, Anand, their daughter, Sarina, of Hoboken New Jersey, and Jeffrey Clifton Davis, Jr. and his wife Nandini, of New York City. Arrangements: Funeral Service was held on Monday, October 9th with Graveside Service was Oct.11th at Woodlawn Memorial Garden in Greenville SC. Memorials may be made to: Episcopal Church of the Nativity 212 Eustis Avenue Huntsville Alabama 35801 The Huntsville-Madison Public Library 915 Monroe Street Huntsville AL 35801 An online guestbook is available for the family at Woodfin Memorial Chapel (615) 893-5151
Published in The Huntsville Times (Huntsville AL USA) on Oct. 18, 2017