James W. Cannon
In 1898, Cannon’s mill produced the first cotton towel ever finished in the South. About 1906, Cannon built Kannapolis, the largest unincorporated town in the world, as a mill town that included schools, churches, and parks. Upon his death in 1921, Cannon had grown Cannon Mills Company to include 12 mills, which employed 15,000 workers and had sales of $400,000 annually. The mills at Kannapolis produced 300,000 towels per day.

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