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“M” is for McBee, Vardry (1775-1864)

“M” is for McBee, Vardry (1775-1864). Industrialist. Although McBee’s name is synonymous with the early development of Greenville, he did not become involved with that town until 1815 and did not live there until he was more than sixty years old. In 1815 he purchased some eleven thousand acres comprising most of what is now downtown Greenville. By the 1830s McBee had established several ventures around Greenville including a flour mill and two gold mines. At a complex seven miles below Greenville at what is now Conestee, he developed a flour mill, a sawmill, a paper mill, a cotton factory, and a woolen factory. McBee also had mercantile stores in Spartanburg and Greenville. He was a prime mover in establishing a railroad from Columbia to Greenville. By 1860 Vardry McBee was the largest landholder in Greenville District.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.