- Tom Downey
Gregg, William (02 February 1800–13 September 1867), textile manufacturer and industrial promoter, was probably born in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia), although some sources state that he was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest son of William Gregg, a Revolutionary War veteran from Virginia, and Elizabeth Webb, a Philadelphia Quaker. At around age ten Gregg was apprenticed to an uncle, Jacob Gregg, a watchmaker in Alexandria, Virginia, who also built and operated machinery for carding and spinning cotton. The textile business in Alexandria did not fare well, however, and around 1812 Jacob and his nephew went to Georgia and established a small cotton factory on the Little River near Madison. This mill, one of the pioneering textile manufactories in the South, prospered briefly during the War of 1812 but quickly succumbed to British imports once the war ended. Finding himself fallen on hard times, Jacob apprenticed William with a friend to learn watchmaking and silversmithing. After perfecting his trades in Kentucky and Virginia, in the mid‐1820s Gregg settled in Columbia, South Carolina, where he established a successful mercantile trade in jewelry, silver, and other fancy goods. In 1829 he married Marina Jones of Edgefield District, South Carolina. They had five children....