History of Robbins
In 1927, interestingly, Robbins was booming while other towns were experiencing The Depression. The first Mayor was W.P. Saunders; Second Mayor: E.M. Ritter; Third Mayor: W.R. Kennedy; Fourth Mayor: G.B. Williams; Fifth Mayor: John L. Frye, Sr.; Sixth Mayor: Tracy C. Brown; Seventh Mayor: John L. Frye, Jr.; Eighth Mayor: Mickey R. Brown; Ninth Mayor: Joe Cranford ; Tenth Mayor: Mickey R. Brown; Eleventh Mayor Laura B Brady.
The very first name known for Robbins was Hazel Neck. This name was derived from Hazelnuts. Each Industrial Revolution sparked a new name for this unique town. The American Revolution sparked a new name for this town: Mechanics Hill. Alexander Kennedy, who fled "British occupied" Philadelphia, established the famous gun factory on the falls of Bear Creek in 1795. This factory supplied Washington's Continental forces with firearms. David Kennedy carried on the work into the nineteenth century. Many guns used in 1812 were manufactured by one hundred employees on Kennedy's payroll. Mechanics Hill Baptist Church was built on land donated by the Kennedy family. The first Post Office was named Mechanics Hill Post Office.
Previously, Mechanics Hill did not have any connection to the outside world. Thanks to John F. Lenning and his Associates who were awarded the commission to complete the Durham and Charlotte Railroad through the town. Now Mechanics Hill could communicate with the outside world. Mr. Lenning was a wealthy man. He designed the streets for the new town which led to the new unofficial name, "Elise," after Lenning's daughter. At this point, all of the roads were opened into the new town except one.
One of the first general merchants to locate on main street, and the first postmaster, was Mr. George Horner. He tried to register the town as "Elise," but federal authorities objected because of similar names. He received a long list of possibilities. As he looked at his surroundings, he noticed the hemp rope he was sitting on. This lead to the new name, Horner's Hemp.
In 1927, Stuart Evans, a teacher, coach, and administrator at Elise Academy, came with his wife to town. With only two brick buildings at the time, Dodge City only seemed appropriate.
Nevertheless, thanks to Karl Robbins, whom headed a New York textile group, changed the prosperity of Dodge City. He purchased Pinehurst Silk Mills, and in 1930, prepared the Silk Mill for conversion to rayon. Evidently Mr. Robbins had not heard about a depression that all but crippled a nation. In 1930, the mill held it's own, and actually increased in labor and production. By the close of the decade, Pinehurst Mills employed approximately nine hundered men and women.
Pinehurst Silk Mills was not the only booming business. The Standard Mineral Company was also a booming local industry. This company employed more than seventy-five people.
Industry was not the only concern of the town of Robbins. There was also a concern as to how their youth could accomplish a Christian education. In 1904, Elise Academy accomplished this goal. In the early 1900's, Lenning met with the townspeople, and helped establish Elise Stock Company. Through his donations and local people's donations, a carpenter was hired and the two story Academy building was erected.
In 1940, The Elise Academy merged with The Fayetteville Presbytery. This created a more secure future for the Academy. In the following years, the academy was so successful, that the state system praised it in the Public School System Report of 1971. Many of the students entered the ministry, studied medicine, or taught in the public school.
Because of the feverish pitch during the years of World War Two, a new enterprise wanted a taste of the thriving little town. The poultry plant arrived because chicken growers could not get their chickens processed. The company in Siler City built the plant in return for processed chickens. It first employed twenty-five or thirty people and processed 25,000 chickens a week. In 1993, two shifts processed 120,000 chickens a week at the modern plant.
Robbins' previous settlers had a ambitious initiative to make Robbins a prosperous town. In those days people worked together to achieve their goals. Robbins has not forgotten this important simple aspect of life. We still have ambitious, hard working people that are ready to achieve their dreams. Robbins is known for it's great southern hospitality.
Do not go where the path may lead, go
instead where there is no path and leave a trail
Ralph Waldo Emerson - (1803-1882)
Pictures are a courtesy of The Pilot
Southern Pines, North Carolina