About Dexter Edgar Converse
The first large mill in the district was constructed about 50 years after the Revolutionary War. The man at the center of the development was Dr. James Bivings, who came to the area from Lincolnton, North Carolina, about 1832. The mill contained 1,200 spindles and 24 looms, and its power was produced by an overshot waterwheel of “26 foot diameter and 12 foot breast.” The community took the name Bivingsville.
Records indicate that the mill was sold for $19,500 in bankruptcy proceedings in 1856. A group that included Dexter Edgar Converse bought the mill. Converse was chosen as manager of the mill. After the Civil War, Converse became the principal owner of the property. In 1880, apparently at the urging of Converse’s wife, Helen, the name of the village was changed from Bivingsville to Glendale.
In the 1880s, D.E. Converse & Company bought property on the Pacolet River and expanded beyond the mill at Glendale. In 1881, the first mill of Clifton Manufacturing Company was opened. In 1889, Clifton Mill No. 2 began operation about three-fourths of a mile below No. 1.