In 1813, Michael Schenck, an industrious young man who moved to Lincolnton from Pennsylvania with 2 of his brothers, built the first successful cotton mill south of the Potomac. It was located about 1 1/2 miles to the east of Lincolnton. He bought some of the machinery from Providence, Rhode Island while some parts were made by Absalom Warlick, a skilled iron worker and his wife's brother. Still other parts were made by Michael Beam.

In 1816, the dam broke and had to be rebuilt. This is when Absalom Warlick and Michael Beam became partners, with Schenck providing the money, Warlick the land (the new dam was built just below the old one) and Beam the construction.

The enterprise was so successful that John Hoke, merchant, and Dr. James Bivings became partners with Schenck to erect a new mill.