Fountain Inn’s history in textiles began with the founding of the Fountain Inn Cotton Mill in 1897.  Faced with many challenges of the progressive era, the mill provided work for people of all ages, including children as young as eight years old.  Wages ranged from fifteen to sixty cents a day, and mill workers frequently […]

Robert Quillen

fountain inn museum

Robert Quillen was an American journalist and humorist who for more than a quarter century was “one of the leading purveyors of village nostalgia” from his home in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. Quillen was born in Syracuse, Kansas, near the Colorado border, in 1887. He was raised in Overbrook, Kansas where his father published the […]


The first stagecoach lines started in South Carolina in the 1750s.  The routes provided the first transportation systems for the British colonies.  Because roads were rocky and bridges were often broken, transportation by coach was often slow and uncomfortable. Inns were built along the routes to provide food and lodging for travelers and care for […]


Like so many burgeoning towns scattered throughout the developing nation, Fountain Inn, in the second half of the nineteenth century, made the gradual transformation from sleepy agrarian backwater to booming urban and industrial hub. It was the blessed arrival of a technological marvel, the railway, that brought new possibilities and ushered in a period of […]

Native Americans

Lest we forget that when the first European settlers arrived in what would become known as the backcountry of colonial South Carolina, the land had been utilized for millennia by the Cherokee and their Native American contemporaries and ancestors. Historic hostilities between the Cherokee and Catawba had resulted in the creation of common hunting grounds […]

Peg Leg Bates

fountain inn museum

Peg Leg Bates was born Clayton Bates in Fountain Inn, South Carolina on October 11, 1907, the son of Rufus and Emma Stewart Bates.  By age five, the talented youngster was dancing on the streets of Fountain Inn for pennies and nickels.  At age twelve, he lost of portion of his leg left and two […]