Rocky Mount Mills, located in Rocky Mount, N.C., was one of the first cotton mills constructed in the state of North Carolina, dating back to 1816. From 1825 to 1883, the Battle family maintained ownership of the mill. As the southern cotton industry grew after the Civil War, the cotton mill experienced rapid growth. The company also supported a residential village for employees, which was eventually incorporated into the city of Rocky Mount in the 1920s. The mill was a major supplier of cotton yarn to the United States Army during World War II. The general decline in southern textile industry beginning in the 1970s eventually impacted Rocky Mount Mills, and the mill closed its doors in 1996.
The collection consists of correspondence, contracts, reports, tax returns, receipts, ledgers, and other materials related to the construction, operation, and closure of Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, N.C. Included are deeds and other documents relating to the original purchases of land around the Tar River by the mill's founders, the construction and expansion of Rocky Mount Mills, and the changes in ownership and investment in the mill. Also included are ledgers and other account books documenting various mill transactions. Materials relating to investments include correspondence and wills dictating the sale of Rocky Mount Mills stock to and from individual investors; documents relating to securities held by Rocky Mount Mills; and chattel mortgages made by Rocky Mount Mills to various banks. Also included are local, state, and federal tax returns, as well as records relating to Rocky Mount Mills pension plans. The collection includes materials dealing with bankruptcy proceedings of companies for which Rocky Mount Mills was a creditor. Also included are receipts documenting purchases of mill machinery and other items. Legal documents include contracts and correspondence relating to power and water, the purchase and selling of an electrical distribution system, the construction of railroad lines to the mill property, and other matters. Also included are insurance policies covering automobiles, fire, general liability, workers' compensation, and employer's liability. Materials documenting the closing of Rocky Mount Mills in 1996 include correspondence with the mill's major creditors that discuss the settlement of loans and leases. Records relating to employee matters include United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports on the gender, race, and ethnic makeup of the mill's workforce, as well as employee handbooks, leaflets, and other materials dealing with mill safety and grievance procedures.