Captain William Ashmead Courtenay (1831-1908) served in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War, and was the mayor of
Charleston, South Carolina from 1879-1887. Courtenay and a group of investors formed the Courtenay Manufacturing Company in 1893 with an
initial capitalization of $134,500. The company purchased 350 acres of land along the Little River in Oconee County on June 1, 1893. The company
dammed the Little River to power the mill constructed on the site. They also constructed a village of about 50 cottages, and the mill began
manufacturing cotton cloth on June 14, 1894. The company owned the houses in the town, expanded from the original 50 cottages to about
85 residences, two churches, and a combined post office and company store, during the period from 1893 to 1910.
In 1946, the Courtenay Manufacturing Company merged with Anderson Cotton Mills, Panola Mills, and Grendel Mills to form a corporation called
Abney Mills. Abney Mills continued operations at the mill in Newry, but sold the houses of the community to their residents in 1959. Abney Mills
closed the Newry mill in July 1975. Some of the employees and town residents left to work at other Abney Mills factories. The village lost many
residents. In 1980, Newry's population was estimated to be 250.
There's an old abandoned cemetery that holds victims that fell to influenza. The Newry streets were once lined with coffins for those who did not
make it as the illness swept through the small town. Sadly, many of the victims were children and infants.
Some of the graves are only marked by
stones and the un-keep grounds host trees that have fallen onto the occasional engraved gravestone now cracked and left to crumble into the sands of time.
The small town of Newry is reputed to be haunted by the souls of workers who died due to tragic accidents at the mill as well as the
families who lost
their lives to the influenza outbreak. Death was common and swift during the bustling years of
Newry and it would seem that the souls of the victims
are either unaware of their passing or unable to move past the plain between life and
afterlife. Current residents claim to hear strange & eerie
sounds coming from what's left of the abandoned mill. There are many accounts of ghostly figures seen walking down the winding
night, only to vanish as quickly as they were seen.