Some sayings become great truths. The truism that there is a strong and supportive woman behind every successful man is descriptive of the relationship of Mayme and Mark Mauldin. Mayme never wavered in her belief that Mark would be a successful businessman. Her unfaltering loyalty and encouragement would be the mainstay in their marriage and their business. The couple would share great personal losses in the death of three daughters and in the lean times of economic depression and wars. Mayme was steadfast and diligent in maintaining a calm and happy household despite these trying times.
Their commitment to each other enabled them to weather the storms and persist in improving their business. Rock Hill Coca-Cola Bottling Company began as a very meager and small endeavor built on the vision of a young man and his wife to be successful entrepreneurs.
Mayme and Mark Meet
Mayme and Mark met in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Mark worked on his father’s farm and would often go into town to shop at the General Store owned and operated by Mayme’s father. Mark would make sure he had an opportunity to speak with Mayme on his trips to the store. Even though she was engaged to someone else, Mark decided that he wanted to be the person Mayme Williams would marry. He finally won her hand, and they married on February 11, 1904. Mark, determined to be successful, became a bookkeeper for Pacolet Mills in New Holland, Georgia where he became acquainted with the new beverage that grew to be everyone’s favorite refreshment.
Mayme Encourages Mark
Mayme was enjoying the role of mother to their two children, Cecil and Margaret. Mark had a good job, but he dreamed of being his own boss. When he decided to make the dream a reality, everyone thought he was crazy to take such a risk – everyone but Mayme. She believed so strongly in her husband’s business sense that she never faltered in her support of his decision to risk everything for this venture. She encouraged her brother to talk to Mark, and it was Fred’s support and others that finally enabled Mark to purchase the Rock Hill, South Carolina territory to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola.
Goodbye to Georgia
Mayme packed all their belongings and with Mark, said goodbye to the Georgia family. They boarded the train that would take them to their new home in South Carolina. The first years were extremely intense. Mark worked hard, sometimes harder than he had ever worked on the farm. Mayme would make sure that she took care of their small home and that Mark had any help she might be able to give him. He did it all! He made the syrup, bottled and capped it, and then delivered it. The days were long and Mayme ensured that Mark had a happy and warm home to return to each evening.
A Growing Company & Growing Family
The company grew, and so did the Mauldin family. Business locations changed and so did the residences of the family as well as the number of children. William Mark (Billy) was born on July 4 in 1913. Two years later, on January16, 1915, Mary Louise joined the family. On January 28, 1923, Elizabeth Williams, fondly known as “Betty,” was born. On June 11, 1927 Ann Bruce would be the sixth and last child born to Mayme and Mark.
Mayme’s Community Involvement
Since they arrived in Rock Hill in 1908, the Mauldins had become faithful members of St. John’s Methodist Church and involved in numerous civic organizations devoted to improving the quality of life in their community. Mayme was involved in the Red Cross, education and the arts as well as many activities related to gardening. Mayme loved people. Her sense of humor, her genuine caring and gracious hospitality made the Mauldin home on Aiken Avenue the perfect place to celebrate a birthday, honor an engagement, host debutante festivities, garden club meetings or a dinner and dance for friends in the beautiful home and gardens.
A Gracious Southern Lady
“Maymay,” as Mayme was tenderly called, was the epitome of the gracious Southern lady. Proper etiquette, generosity of spirit and faith, and being the best example you can be for others were just a few of the values that Mayme provided her children and anyone who knew her. Daughter Ann Bruce remarked that Mother was the perfect example of all that was good and proper in the example she set as a wife, mother, Christian, and citizen. No one could have asked for a better mother or friend.
Mayme’s Legacy in Rock Hill
After Mayme died in 1969, eleven years after Mark, daughter Ann Bruce who had inherited the house on Aiken Avenue decided to sell the home to the Woman’s Club. The gardens that Mayme had labored over for so many years are now being restored. The Mauldin gardens will continue to exhibit the beauty and enjoyment that a well-planned garden can provide. This is just another legacy of this dynamic woman. Her grace, generosity and pioneer spirit continue to touch the lives of family, friends and citizens of Rock Hill and York County.