(York County; 2000 pop. 7,587). Although white settlers did not arrive in the area of Fort Mill until the late 1750s, the region was already populated by Native Americans. The Catawbas and Cherokees requested that two forts be built to protect them from their enemies; while Fort Dobbs in North Carolina was completed, no work was ever done on the Fort Mill fort. The planned fort did, however, lend Fort Mill one-half of its name; the other half was supplied by a grist mill on Steele Creek established during the 1770s or 1780s by Isaac Garrison and Theodoric Webb. The post office serving the area had been variously called Pine Hill, White’s Store, and Fort Hill. The prior existence of another Fort Hill prompted the name change to Fort Mill in 1830. The town was chartered by the General Assembly on February 12, 1873, and rechartered by the secretary of state on October 11, 1907. The Fort Mill Manufacturing Company was chartered on January 23, 1887, bringing Fort Mill into the textile economy that dominated the upstate. The Fort Mill plant and others in the upstate were combined to form the Springs Cotton Mills in 1931. The mill, which employed twelve hundred people at its peak of operations, was closed in 1983. The area received a boost in population with the arrival of the evangelist minister Jim Bakker’s PTL development in 1978. But sustained growth came because Fort Mill was positioned to take advantage of the booming population growth in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fort Mill had become a popular bedroom community by the late 1980s, and industry and residential growth continued to fuel the community through the 1990s.
Bradford, William R., Jr. Out of the Past: A History of Fort Mill, South Carolina. N.p., 1997.