Gregg, William, 1800–1867, American industrialist, known as the "father of Southern cotton manufacture," b. Monongalia co., Va. (now W.Va.). He devoted his life to building up Southern industry. His views were expressed in Essays on Domestic Industry (1845), a collection of articles published first in the Charleston Courier. At a time when limited-liability corporations were very unpopular in the South, Gregg convinced the South Carolina legislature to grant him a charter for the formation (1846) of Graniteville, the first Southern mill town, built with local materials and labor and consisting of a large mill and houses for its 300 employees. Under his personal direction, the mill continued to bring Gregg steady profits through financial depression and the Civil War. He introduced an advanced factory-welfare program. As a state legislator (1856–57) his interest in economic issues was aimed at strengthening local industrial enterprises.
See biography by B. Mitchell (1928).