James D. Gassaway

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The original seat of the Gassaway family was in the Valley of Virginia. James D. Gassaway, father of Greenville banker Walter L. Gassaway, was a son of the settler who came from the Valley of Virginia in the early part of the nineteenth century and established a pioneer home in Pickens County, South Carolina.

Walter L. Gassaway was born at Central in Pickens County in 1862, being a son of James D. and Mariah Douthitt Gassaway.

Greenville and went to work in the store of B. M. McGee on Pendleton Street. Mr. McGee was a noted merchant of former days and was not only successful himself, but his store graduated a number of young men who have since made their mark in the world.

1890 organized the American Bank in the building located at the junction of Augusta and Pendleton Streets, where it has continued to enjoy a most successful career, and is now one of the leading financial institutions in this part of the state.

Central, South Carolina. His interests as a cotton manufacturer are also at Central, where he built and is president and treasurer of the Isaqueena Mills. These mills under his skillful management have grown and prospered and the capital stock of the company is now $315,000, while the mill itself is equipped with 660 looms and 25,680 spindles. The products of the Isaqueena Mills are print cloths.

1929 stock market crash. The rumor that Walter Gassaway lost everything and shot himself on the front lawn of his mansion has circulated around Greenville and the upstate for years. In point of fact, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and collapsed on the front lawn. It is said that his ghost haunts the mansion as well as the front lawn. The mansion was divided up into apartments during the Great Depression and then came into county hands for delinquent taxes. It was subsequently purchased by a Christian cultist group who ran it as a "school" for some time. Today (2014), the home has been purchased by private individuals who not only reside there, but have established a successful venue for weddings and other opulent events.

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