January and Wood Company - Abandoned

January and Wood Company

The January and Wood Company, a cotton mill, was located on West Second Street in Maysville, Kentucky, closing in 2003 after a decline in orders.3 4 At the time of its closure, it was the oldest business in the city.6

In 1834, William Shotwell constructed a cotton mill near West Second Street.8 It was then acquired by William Gosling in 1838 and Richard Henry Lee in 1844. Lee expanded operations at the mill and constructed a four-story building that fronted Second Street adjacent to the original mill.

Andrew M. January, Christian Schultz, Thomas Mannen and William Stillwell purchased the cotton mill in 1848.8 Stillwell sold his interest in 1849 to Henry Cutter. January and Benjamin W. Wood purchased the interests of Schultz, Mannen and Cutter in 1851 and formed a partnership under the name January and Wood.

January passed away in June 1877 and his interests were purchased by A. January Grundy and Andrew’s daughter, Harriet January Cochran.8 B.W. Wood was elected president and Robert Cochran, husband of Harriet, became secretary and manager. Cochran served in those positions until his death in January 1896.

The cotton mill was formally incorporated in 1888 as the January and Wood Company with a capital stock of $200,000.8 It became known for its high-grade cordage, twines and Maysville Carpet Warp.

Owing to the inability to secure cotton during the Civil War, the January and Wood mill closed from November 1861 to March 1862.8

One of its first major commercial accounts was the Sears Roebuck and Company, which inked a deal with the January and Wood in 1915.8 The company became the first in the nation to offer carpet warp directly to the weaver. Additional deals were made to the G.C. Murphy Company, Southern States, Ace Hardware, Woolworth’s, Kroger, Shillito’s, K-Mart, Coats and Clark and General Motors.9

A fire in May 1915 destroyed a cotton shed, consuming 400 bales of raw material.8 New electric motors were installed in the power house in 1918, operated by the Maysville Gas and Electric Company.

By the 1930’s, January and Wood consumed 5,000 bales of cotton per year, producing two million pounds of finished goods with an annual payroll of $150,000.8 The company had expanded into synthetic fibers by the 1970’s, including rayon and polyester, and processed over 10,000 bales of cotton, rayon and polyester per year, employing over 200.9 Changing product needs led to sales declines in the early 1980’s, and many of the traditional product lines were replaced with prepackaging and synthetic fibers manufactured with different types of machinery. Commercial wrapping, crochet, household and meat packing twines were added, along with netting and welting cord.

Due to a general decline in orders, January and Wood ceased operations in late 2003.3 4 8

In August 2004, the JT Thorpe Company opened a branch office on the site of the former mill.3 Thorpe specialized in the supply and installation of the inner workings of factories.6 Kelly Bradford and Jeff Schumacher purchased the former January and Wood plant and formed the Cotton Mill Limited Company in April 2006.2 6 The purchase included a warehouse on Wall Street but not the offices of JT Thorpe. The intention was to demolish the oldest portions of the factory;6 and the company filed for a demolition permit.2 Demolition of the January and Wood complex began in May.

Work to tear down the buildings was halted on June 15 after the owners had failed to notify the state’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.1  The state noted that asbestos containing material had been disturbed and potentially released into the air.5 A written notice of violation was issued on June 26, although the state did not penalize the owners or workers. Bradford and Schumacher hired a certified contractor that removed the remaining asbestos in a safe manner.5

Demolition was set to resume on November 28, but no further work was completed.5 The mill was sold to Jerry Lundergan for $220,000 on January 19, 20072 who resumed demolition by the middle of the year.7



  1. Maysville has so many old relics that needs restoration. Very sad to see them decaying and/or destroyed.

  2. For years I have knitted Winter items for homeless Missions and Women’s Shelters here in
    Pittsburgh Pa. A friend gave me a bag of yarn thinking I could use it. It is rug yarn .
    I smiled when I saw the price on each skein some are 38 cents and some are 42 cents, all sold at G.C.Murphy. I wonder how long my friend had it in her home. The sale tags are yellowed but yarn is in excellent condition.
    I am enjoying this little,taste of the past after reading about January and Wood on line.

  3. Can anyone tell me if some other business has taken over spinning and dyeing the 8/4 carpet warp? I’m looking for an American source for wholesaling dyed carpet warp.

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