Established in 1779, Rutherford County is a sparsely populated region settled by pioneers from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and France. The arrival of the railroad in 1887 presented inhabitants with a means of transporting agricultural products, resulting in a boom in cotton and tobacco production. Containing an average growing season lasting approximately 202 days, farmers were successful in generating product but were without a means to process their wares. By 1916, six cotton mills were operating in this small county and were valued at over 2.5 million dollars. Lumbering also increased during this time and saw mills were harvesting some 19 million feet annually.