Buggies Brought Success, Acclaim to Carthage
The growth of Carthage from the 1850s to 1929 was due in large part to the successful buggy industry.
In 1850, Carthage merchant Thomas Bethune Tyson (1850-1893) bought an existing wagon wheelwright repair show owned by Isaac Seawell and his two sons.
In 1856, Thomas B. Tyson and landowner Alexander Kelly formed a partnership to run the wheelwright business and decided to build carriages. The firm was known as Tyson and Kelly. A year later, Tyson hired William T. Jones as a carriage painter and shop supervisor. Jones proved his worth as the enterprise expanded and, in 1859, it was renamed Tyson, Kelly and Company (1859-1873) with Jones joining as a partner. The popularity of the automobile led to the demise of the Tyson and Jones Buggy Company in 1925.
Following the death of Thomas B. Tyson II in 1924, Moore County residents Henry Page Jr. and John McQueen purchased the buggy works with a view to convert it into making truck bodies in addition to carriages. Then, in 1925, they diversified the operations into the manufacture of furniture.
The last buggy was delivered in 1925 to Neil S. Blue of Raeford.
Before its demise, the company was one of the most well-known in the United States.
The Tyson and Jones Buggy Com-pany earned a reputation for producing the "Cadillac of carriages."
In the early 1890s, the plant consisted of "four roughly constructed and unpainted buildings. Included were the long, two-story 'mill' building containing most of the machinery, the blacksmith shop, the two-story building housing the trimming shop and crating and shipping room, and the unsteady three-story structure containing the paint shop and story area (it was the tallest building in Moore County at the time). The two-story residence of Jones was situated on the same lot as the factory, as was the two-room cottage which served as the company office and grocery story."
New renovations that year included a paint shop to replace the precarious three-story building and a new smith shop. A wooden water tank was erected to supply water to the shops and to furnish a degree of protection against fire. The company closed out the century with the construction of the three-story brick building.
The Tyson and Jones Buggy Company reached its pinnacle of success when, at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, it was awarded the gold medal. The accompanying citation read, "For an exhibit of carriages and other vehicles meritorious for excellence of manufacture and beauty of finish."
The enterprise remained the largest factory in Carthage well into the 20th century. At its peak in 1890, the factory produced about 3,000 vehicles per year.
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