Milstead, superintendent of the Tallassee
Falls manufacturing company of Elmore County, was born in Prince
Williams County, Virginia in 1831, the son of William and Mary (Hammill)
Milstead, who were natives of the same county, but who
afterwards removed to Maryland, and spent the rest of their lives
there. He was an industrious, energetic and public-spirited citizen,
who devoted all his life to agriculture. He was the son of Isaac
Milstead, also a Virginian by birth, of English descent. John
Hammill, the maternal grandfather was also a Virginian, and a
soldier of the War of 1812. His wife was Miss McIntosh, and
they had a large family. A. J. Milstead is the eldest of
eleven children . He received a good education in Virginia and
Maryland, and remained at home till his majority, when he
apprenticed himself to a cotton factory and thoroughly learned all
the details of the fabrication of cotton goods. When he acquired the
valuable knowledge, he superintended a factory in Alexandria,
Virginia, which he operated until 1876, when he came to Tallassee,
Alabama where he found the mill he now superintends in the hands of
a receiver and in a most deplorable condition. He was made
superintendent of these mills, where his thorough knowledge of the
business and his practical common sense soon became apparent to the
company, who had implicit confidence in him and placed almost
unlimited power in his hands, and as a result the mills are now the
most complete and profitable in the south. Since his incumbency the
property of the company has been largely augmented in the erection
of many new buildings, offices, warehouses. They manufacture on a
large scale a superior quality of canvas. The capacity of the mills
is 2000 spindles, 370 looms, and about 700 operators. They consume
about 10,000 bales of cotton annually. They also have in connection,
a saw, planing and gristmill, carpenter and machine shops, foundry
and blacksmith shops and some 10,000 or 20,000 acres of land with a
value of $500,000. The mills are supplied with all the modern
improvements and equipment. The factory first began operations
nearly fifty years ago, by William Marks and Thomas
Barnett, and the present main building was erected in 1854. Mr.
Milstead is regarded as one of the best and most practical
manufacturers in the south. His good business methods and manly
qualities have endeared him to all classes. He was married in 1856
to Elizabeth, daughter of John Davis, a native of Maryland.
He is a member of the I.O.O.F. and the Red Men.
Memorial Record of Alabama]
Milstead family was originally from Baltimore, Maryland. In the late
1800s they migrated to Alabama. A. J. Milstead built and
operated a cotton mill in that state. His two sons, F. D. and
Drew assisted him.
In 1901, F. D. Milstead came to Rockdale to
promote a cotton mill. He had the financial backing of his father,
but it was to be a very large operation and the young Milstead
needed more money than his father could provide.
F. D. Milstead then proceeded to promote his
mill among the Rockdale citizen. He was evidently a good salesman.
Some of the county's leading residents became stockholders in the
new company. The new cotton mill was completed in 1902 on the site
of the old paper-mill. It was named in honor of its founder and
first superintendent, F. D. Milstead.
Milstead Manufacturing Company was a large
plant for its day, with 10,000 spindles. The Milstead's had
controlling stock in the plant. When a controversy arose within the
family in 1904, F. D. Milstead withdrew from the company and
his brother, Drew Milstead, became plant superintendent.
In 1905, controlling interest in the mill was sold to
the Callaway family of LaGrange, Georgia. They operated
cotton mills throughout Georgia.'