Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. In 1847 in Newton County, Georgia, John T. Henderson entered into business of manufacturing cotton gins by forming the company of Henderson and Chisolm. The company attained quick success, and he retired from the cotton gin manufacturing business.
Given this history, it is estimated that the Henderson and Chisolm cotton gin located on the grounds of the Heritage Center was probably manufactured around 1850. The center support beam has been estimated to have been cut from a tree which was a three-inch sapling in 1492.
The cotton gin was originally erected in the early 1850s in Newberry County, South Carolina on property owned by Jacob Wheeler. The gin was passed down through generations until 1964 when it was purchased by Mr. Alex Harvey, Jr. and Mr. Charles Hemingway. The gin was moved to Clarendon County, South Carolina and completely refurbished – in time for the South Carolina Tri-centennial celebration in 1970.
Unfortunately the gin was severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. At that time, Lindo Harvell negotiated with Messrs. Harvey and Hemingway to bring the cotton gin to Laurinburg and the John Blue House and Heritage Center. With the gin arriving in 1992.