Washington Mills pressing department workers posing outside of the mill in Mayodan, NC in August of 1931. The mill had its origin in 1896 when Colonel Francis Fries and W. C. Ruffin organized the Mayo Mills Company and built a mill on the banks of the Mayo River producing uncolored cotton yarn, and later adding a knitting mill producing men's underwear in "long-handled" and "red flannelled" styles. In 1901, the Washington Mills Company was formed with the same management, and a spinning and weaving mill was built in Grayson County, Virginia on the banks of the New River. By the early 1920's the two mills had merged into the Washington Mills Company. In 1982, the mill was purchased by Tultex, a Martinsville, Virginia based textile company. The mill closed in December of 1999.