William Mark Mauldin Begins His Journey with Coca-Cola
William Mark Mauldin grew up on a farm in Flowery Branch, Georgia. He hated life on the farm and promised himself that one day he would leave the farm as quickly as possible to work anywhere else. Mark and other young men often rode the train to Gainesville to seek employment. Eventually, he became a bookkeeper for Pacolet Mills in New Holland, Georgia. As he worked in the office, Mark would notice the workers anxiously waiting for the daily visit of a horse-drawn wagon filled with a delicious and refreshing drink called Coca-Cola. The mill was steamy from the Southern temperatures, and the workers could hardly wait for their refreshing break from the heat and sticky lint that surrounded their work areas. As bookkeeper, it was Mark’s duty to pay the deliveryman. Mark would ask questions about the company, and the drink’s increasing popularity across the South. He continued his investigations and discovered that there were two franchises for sale. One was in Dade County, Florida, and the other in Rock Hill, South Carolina, that was owned by Luther Snyder in Charlotte, North Carolina. The purchase of the exclusive rights to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola in the York County of South Carolina was available.
William Mark Mauldin Takes a Risk
Mark Mauldin was a risk-taker and visionary. He dreamed of being his own boss and being responsible for his own destiny. He saved and asked others to invest in his dream. Many thought he had lost his mind. Why would a young man with a wife and two children who was already working in a good job risk everything by packing up and going off to a place about which he knew nothing, to work for a company about which he knew nothing?
William Mark Mauldin and Family Arrive in Rock Hill
Mark went to his brother-in-law, Fred Williams who later became President of Cannon Mills, and who believed in the young man’s ability to be successful, even though he was uncertain about this new beverage business. Fred invested in the venture. With help from others, Mark had enough money to make his dream come true. He began an adventure that would prove to benefit him, his family, and his new community. Mark and his wife, Mayme, packed up their two children, Cecil and Margaret, and all their belongings, boarded the train in Gainesville, Georgia, and arrived in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1908 to begin his career with Rock Hill Coca-Cola Bottling Company.