With the world’s favorite natural fiber for cloth being cotton, most people don’t think about where the fabric of their favorite t-shirt or sweater originated – but that cotton may have been harvested and ginned in Bolton, Mississippi, home to the Gaddis and McLaurin Gin, owned by a partnership between The Gaddis Farms, Inc. and Gaddis & McLaurin, Inc.
Purified cotton has many uses, including woven fabrics and surgical dressings. Sticks and leaves can be made into paper and cardboard. Seed meal can be used in livestock feed for cows and chickens, as well as a natural fertilizer to enrich soil for farming and flower beds. Cottonseed oil can be used in bath products and cosmetics, as well as for cooking. The short layer of fuzz covering cotton seeds contains a high level of cellulose, which can be used to make synthetic materials, including plastics and television screens. “Gin mote” cotton (or “dirty cotton”) is used for making yarn, bleached and non-woven products.
Cotton fabric is breathable, has a soft texture and its qualities make it easy to dye and manufacture into everything from blue jeans to dress shirts, baby diapers to bed sheets, upholstery to towels, and much more.
Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the cotton gin that lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and, according to Wikipedia, it is the most widely used natural fiber cloth in clothing today.
The Gaddis family has been in the ginning business since the early 1900s. During World War II, there were six gins in the family: three in Bolton, two in Raymond and one two miles north of Bolton.
The current gin on Bolton Raymond Road is the only one of those six that is still in operation today. When it was built in 1956, it had a capacity of eight bales per hour. In 1985, a partnership was formed between Gaddis & McLaurin, Inc. and The Gaddis Farms, named Gaddis & McLaurin Gin. The gin was modernized, and today it can make up to thirty bales per hour.
The owners have also added a 5,000-ton-capacity seed house, where seed from ginning season is stored. It is sold to dairy operations and cottonseed mills throughout the year.
“Gin trash” is composted for a year, then sold to farmers and yard and garden customers in the spring (beginning on or about March first). Gardeners can see significantly improved results when they mix gin trash in the soil prior to planting vegetables and flowers.
Cotton from farms as far away as Hattiesburg and Lorman is ginned in Bolton. In Bolton, Live Oak Planting Company, which is run by Ted H. Kendall, IV, farms on the land owned by Gaddis & McLaurin, Inc. Snake Creek Planting Company, which is run by Kendall Garraway, farms on the land owned by The Gaddis Farms. Their cotton is ginned in Bolton, as well.
This article, which was written by Susalyn Bennett, was published in the November 2, 2021 issue of The Bolton News. Videographer, Ronnia Townsend. Photographer, Susalyn Bennett.