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Worthville Dam

Page history last edited by Mark Chilton 15 years, 5 months ago

Upstream: Mill Street Bridge

Up Polecat Creek: Hockett Mill


Worthville Dam


Downstream: Worthville Road Bridge


Blair (1890) says this site was known as Hopper’s Ford, after Charles Hopper who owned land in this vicinityabout 1780 (Fox 1979). Blair says that this site had never been developed prior to 1880, but the Randolph Historical Map shows Pennington Mill dated 1760 at the mouth of Polecat Creek, contradicting Blair’s statement that the Pennington Mill was at Naomi Falls. In any case, the Randolph Co. Court heard a petition from Mr. Dougan in 1831 asking to build a mill “1/4 mile below Polecat Creek.” The court authorized the mill and construction was undertaken that year, but apparently Mr. Dougan fell ill for a time, as he was back before the court in 1835 to request an extension of time for the completion of the project. It is uncertain whether the project was ever completed.


For certain the Worth family built a cotton mill here in 1880-1881 (Blair 1890; Fox 1979). Dr. J. M. Worth had formerly been the Governor and Treasurer of North Carolina in the 1860’s; after his public service he ran several businesses in Randolph County, including the Worth Manufacturing Company, which initially ran just the mill at Worthville, but acquired the mill in Central Falls about 1876 (Whatley 1981).


Swain (1899) reports that the stone dam was 17 feet high and 250 feet long with no mill race. About 1913 Riverside Mills bought this mill from the Worth family and apparently it was resold to Leward Mills (Whatley 1981). In any event, eventually this site was operated by a company called Sapona Cotton Mills, Inc. (Saville). The dam that is here today was built about 1920 according to the National Inventory of Dams, presumably as a part of the retooling done by one of the owners that followed the sale by the Worth heirs.



Areas for Research

  • When was this first built?

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