The Rock Hill Buggy Company








John Gary Anderson was born near Reidsville, North Carolina in November 7th 1861. His
mother's father was a small time buggy maker who produced wagons for the Confederacy.
But during the war he lived with his father's parents on a flour mill near Rock Hill. By
1870 John and his sister (Jet) were orphans living with destitute relatives, while John was
only 9 years old. With proper education of less than 90 days, Anderson rose himself up
from the region's rampant poverty while dragging his adopted community with him
through the 20th Century.
 
 

  John Gary Anderson founded a Rock Hill auto manufacturing company in the early 20th
century. He brought the South's successful emergence from a devastating Civil War defeat
to life. He wrote an autobiography, which told of his struggles to become one of Rock Hill's
most successful businessmen in his time period. He first began running a successful buggy
company, then pursued manufacturing automobiles. The company's factory later
became home to the Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Company, also known as the
Bleachery. Anderson's company was running so well, that he had to find a quick way to
know when his supplies came in. This is why he is credited with having created the Rock
Hill Telephone Company. Anderson was the first to run the town's first phone line from his
factory to the train depot several blocks away. This way he knew exactly when his supplies
were in. All of the talk of the town was about this new technology. Some townspeople
started offering him 50¢ a month to tie into his line. Busy Anderson didn't want
to be bothered so he sold the business, telephone line, to Paul Workman. Workman was a
colleague of Anderson's. Paul Workman then sold it to members of the Barnes family. That
well know family still owns that multi-million dollar company. By the time he was 20
years old, he had been employed as a restaurant manager, farm equipment operator, store
helper, tenet farmer and a “printer's devil” at The Herald. By the age of 31, the Rock Hill
Buggy Company was organized and incorporated and a new factory was being built. In 1916
he joined up with Joseph A. Anglada, an experienced automobile engineer from New York,
and built six cars in his buggy factory. Within a year, the Anderson Motor Co. produced
and sold between 40 and 50 cars. As a result of the war, John ended up with several
contracts to build small trucks and trailers for the Army. He and his sons decided to
expand their business, when the war ended. So they then built a new factory in 1919, which
was producing 6 to 8 cars a day! Anderson’s cars started going nation-wide. Anderson built
another factory in 1920, which was spitting out 35 cars a day! Unfortunately, due to
slumping markets, and faulty engines purchased by the company; things started to sour.
The company had no choice but to auction the company’s holdings in 1926 to pay a tax bill.
Due to the South’s lack of wealth to support such an industry, the Rock Hill Buggy
Company was laid to rest. During Anderson’s last years he played golf, and worked on his
book. He left behind an autobiography that reads as smoothly as listening to an old
storyteller weaving a fable. Anderson seemed to be amazed by his successes as well as his
losses. John produced about 7,000 cars; sadly only 11 remain.

 
 



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