Startex Tucapau News March 2022

A non-profit organization serving the Startex – Tucapau community.

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Startex-Tucapau NewsVolume 2 Number 3 March 2022

Startex – Tucapau Preservation Foundation Celebrates National Preservation Week With Two Local Events 

Mark Your Calendar….You don’t want to miss these events.

2 Weekends – 2 Huge Startex Events

This photo was taken this past October at our Startex Serve Day Event. It was an awesome day for Startex with about 150 people participating.


Startex Community


Clean-Up Day

I would like to personally invite everyone to an exciting event that we have coming up soon.

Saturday April 23rd, 2022
from 8:00 am – 12 noon

A “Spruce-Up Day” for the “500” section of the Startex Community

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

We are marching forward with the

Rebirth and Revitalization

of Startex.

If you are in town and available, we would love to invite you to attend our event. Even if you can’t stay for the entire event, just drop by for a little while to cheer us on. Free Lunch and “500” Clean-Up Day T-Shirts will be provided for volunteers and area residents.

Thank you in advance for your help and support.

Hope To See You There….

Saturday, April 23rd, 2022
8:00 am – 12 noon
Startex “500” Section
Hickory Drive
Startex, SC 29377

For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation, please contact us.

Donald Jones


Judy & Jeffrey Shelton


The photo above was taken at our second Reunion back in 2005. See any familiar faces?

Startex – Tucapau Mill Village Reunion and Historical Display 2022

Mark your calendars now to attend this very special event being held on:

Saturday, April 30th, 2022

from 12 noon – 4:00 pm

Come one, come all.

Some special announcementsare being made at 2:00 pm that you will not want to miss.


This is a drop-in type of affair where you can see old friends and meet new ones. Plus, you will see some amazing artifacts and photos from the past.

Light refreshments will be served.

If you or your family would like to reserve a table for displaying your Startex – Tucapau area artifacts, keepsakes, or photos, please let us know.

There is no charge to reserve a display table.

When: Saturday, April 30th, 2022

Times: 12 noon – 4:00 pm

Where: Tucapau Baptist Church Family Life Center

 4 Chestnut StreetStartex, SC 29377

 Answers to last month’s Trivia Questions

1) Who was the first President of Tucapau Mill?

Dr. J.F. Cleveland was elected to be the first president.

2) What is the meaning of “Tucapau”?

There are two common explanations. The first is that Tucapau is an Indian word meaning “Strong Cloth”. The other explanation is that Tucapau means “Indian Weaver”.

3) There are 3 Tyger Rivers, North Tyger, Middle Tyger and South Tyger. Why were they named Tyger River?

There are at least two common explanations. The first explanation is that the rapids are as fierce as the tail of a tiger. The second explanation is that the settlers were seeing panthers or mountain lions and thought they were tigers.

4) What is the origin of the “Startex” name?

Startex was the brand name of the cloth made at the mill.

New Trivia Questions

1) What year was the name changed from Tucapau toStartex?

2) What was the “Dope Wagon”?

3) Where is the Startex Community Cemetery?

4) What is an early term for workers in the mill?

Answers will appear in next month’s newsletter.

Donald’s Corner

What does Startex represent or mean to you?

One of the things that Startex means to me would be Friends.

There are many, many friends who are loyal, dependable, and supportive of each other. When I meet or talk with someone from the area that I’ve not seen or talked to in 30 plus years, we can pick up our friendship just where we left off.

Another word that comes to mind when I think about what Startex means to me is Family. Startex is just like one big family. We help and care for each other and support each other in good times and bad.

The word Community comes to mind to describe what Startex means to me. Over the years the Startex community has experienced many evolutions and changes. In the last 20 years, our community experienced an erosion in the quality of life after the loss of the primary employer of the community. I am happy to announce that the Startex community is now on the upward path toward

“Revitalization and Rebirth”.

Lastly, for me, Startex means Home. I have a strong sense of belonging in this place and being among its people, which has played an important and influential role in my life. I am sure there are others that may feel the same way.

Startex is Celebrating National Preservation Week

April 24th – April 30th

Upcoming Events

Big “500” Startex Community Clean-Up Day
Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 

Time: 8 am – 12 noon

Place: Hickory Drive

“500” Section of Startex

Startex – Tucapau Mill Village Reunion
Saturday, April 30th, 2022 

Time: 12 noon – 4 pm

Tucapau Baptist Family Life Center

4 Chestnut Street

Startex, SC 29377

Pictured above is Startex Mill Policeman, Fitzhugh Powers. A great husband, father and friend.

Someone once quipped,”Everyone likes Fitzhugh, even the bad guys.”

In Memory of Fitzhugh Powers by Jesse West 

My first memory of Fitzhugh Powers was as a young boy. Most everybody back then pronounced his name “Fitchyou”. I used to accompany my father to the mill after hours when he had business to attend to, and we would go through different parts of the mill. Fitzhugh used to doff big rolls of cloth or yarn, and I was impressed at the size of his arms. In those days, Fitzhugh was well built and hard as a rock.

In 1959 or 1960, a Ruritan Club was formed in Startex to help the community with projects to better the quality of life. They did such things as help the little league ball clubs and other projects. Fitzhugh was a member of the Ruritans and very involved. One of the major projects the Ruritans undertook was to form a volunteer Fire Department. A board of directors was appointed to establish the department, and my father, Junior West, was to be the Chief.

Fitzhugh and Glenn Poole were appointed as Assistant Chiefs. At 17 years of age, I joined the Fire Department, and Fitzhugh and I became very close. The first years of the Fire Department were very hard. We operated on the monies that people donated every year. This was never enough though, so we sold everything from hot dogs, brooms, fruitcakes, chicken suppers, hash, and anything we thought would sell. The wives would have cake walks to help with the cost. Fitzhugh went about this as he did anything he undertook, full speed ahead.

He would go through the mill selling suppers, brooms, and whatever else we were selling. Fitzhugh Powers never did anything halfway. He went at anything and everything full steam. Our first house fire was like a comedy fire drill. Nothing went right. We ran out of water, so we had to go refill our tank. The hose reel had a hand crank, and Fitzhugh grabbed the crank and started to rewind the hose. He was cranking so fast the crank handle flew out and hit him in the nose causing the blood to flow. Fitzhugh put the handle back in the reel and continued cranking not taking time to wipe his bloody nose. That was how he worked, all or nothing.

As time went by, my father retired as chief of the Fire Department, and I was appointed as chief. Fitzhugh told me to appoint a younger assistant chief and he would step down. I told him that as long as I was chief, he would be my assistant chief. One of the newer members remarked that Fitzhugh was having trouble backing the fire truck into the building. My answer to him was that if Fitzhugh hit the building, we would fix the building because if anyone had earned the right to drive the truck, it was Fitzhugh. On July 19, 2007, Fitzhugh passed from this life and is now with the Lord. I miss him so much. People say we had a funeral, but I believe we threw him a going away party. The Bible says you enter into your rest when you get to heaven, but I bet if there is anything that the Lord needs doing, my buddy Fitzhugh is right in the middle doing his part.


Members of the Startex Fire Department are pictured below. Jesse West (center, standing) served as Startex Fire Chief for 54 years.

Mr. M.C. Freeman (L) Allen Freeman (R)

Growing Up in Startex by Allen Freeman 

It’s hard to believe how growing up in a small mill village would build the lasting foundation on which I stand today. I like hearing the wonderful stories that you post. I have nothing but fond memories of such a wonderful place to grow up.

I find myself riding through Startex, looking at the houses and naming who lived where. I always looked forward to going to Clyde Cox’s gas station as a young boy and hearing all those Oldtimers’ stories. How they would pick at me! 🙂 Lord knows, Mr. Pie Cox would wear me out, and I loved it while enjoying my Honey Bun and chocolate milk. Then I was off to Startex Elementary.

I had so many I idolized growing up. One of these was Satch Davis. Boy, how my heart broke when he left us! Just a few of the others were Loyd Towery, Shelton Johnson, and Salty Kirtsey. Really, everyone was my family, but my values and work ethics came from one man. Lord knows, I miss him still so much. He was my grandfather, Millard Freeman, who introduced me to the Church of God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He went with me to meet Mr. Whitaker, another wonderful soul, to apply for my first job at Startex Mill.

Papa Freeman was a true Saint and man of his word. I often revert back to his wisdom raising my children and dealing with those I supervise. He made sure I was in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Thank you, Papa!!! And to top it off, I got to work with the two men I loved more than life, both my grandfathers, Millard Freeman and Jim Lavender. Grandpa Jim was a pretty good baseball player and loved traveling with the team. These two men were different as day and night, but between both of them my life was good!

I know I’m rambling, but how in the world could anyone sum up life as a kid in Startex in such a short story? Well, I still have those around me with whom I grew up. My boss, Sheriff Wright, and Chief Billy Parris are Startex boys. I’m slowly approaching thirty years with Spartanburg County. Had it not been for my village raising as a child, I would never have achieved this wonderful career and become the father to three wonderful children with my beautiful wife Aimee! I can’t forget to mention my sweet, beautiful granddaughter Paige. Allen’s nickname for her is “Anna Mae”. Her beautiful smile and cheerful personality would brighten up anyone’s day.

Thank you, Startex, for so many wonderful memories. I miss this little town. Everyone loves hearing the wonderful stories! We owe it to all those gone on to keep their memories alive!

Do you have some favorite Startex memories or stories that you would like to share in a future edition of our newsletter?  If so, send them to us.

Startex-Tucapau Preservation Foundation

Donald Jones

2636 Shoemaker Street

Birmingham, Alabama 35235