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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Bahnson, Agnew Hunter

by Hubert K. Wooten, 1979

10 Mar. 1886–21 Mar. 1966

From the Yackety yack [serial], 1935. UNC-Chapel Hill. Agnew Hunter Bahnson, textile manufacturer, was born in Salem, the son of Dr. Henry Theodore and Emma Fries Bahnson. His grandfather, George Frederic Bahnson, moved to Salem in 1849 from Lancaster, Pa., to become minister of the Home Moravian Church. Bahnson was educated at Salem Boys' School and at The University of North Carolina, from which he was graduated in 1906. He spent the next fourteen months traveling in Europe and Egypt and, when he returned, began work in his family's textile mills. He was employed first as an apprentice in the Mayo Mills in Mayodan and afterward as a loom fixer in the Loray Mills in Gastonia. In 1909 he became superintendent of the Pomona Mills in Greensboro and in 1911 agent for the Washington Mills Company in Fries, Va. He became secretary and treasurer of the Arista Mills in 1912 and after three years became president, succeeding his uncle, John W. Fries. In 1921 he became secretary and treasurer of the Washington Mills, and in 1923, he developed the Mayo Sales Corporation. In the same year he became president of the Washington Mills, "Agnew Hunter Bahnson house at 702 West Fifth Street. The house was used by the Forsyth County Public Library for a variety of purposes, beginning in 1968." Courtesy of Digital Forsyth. with which the Mayo Mills had recently consolidated.

Bahnson and his brother, Frederic Fries Bahnson, formed the Normalair Company in 1915, to manufacture humidifiers for textile mills. The name was changed to the Bahnson Company in 1929, and in 1940 Agnew acquired Frederic's interest in the firm. In 1947, Agnew Hunter Bahnson, Jr., succeeded as president of the company. At the time of his death, the elder Bahnson was chairman of the boards of Washington Mills, the Bahnson Company, Arista Mills Company, and the Mayo Sales Corporation.

Bahnson was a Moravian and made substantial contributions to the Moravian church and to Salem College. In 1941 the Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree.

Bahnson was married to Elizabeth Moir Hill on 18 Nov. 1914, and they were the parents of Agnew Hunter, Jr., and Elizabeth Hill. He was buried in the Salem Moravian Cemetery.


Who's Who in America, 1936–37.

Winston-Salem Journal, 22 Mar. 1966.

Winston-Salem Twin City Sentinel, 21 Mar. 1966.

Additional Resources:

An unidentified man is photographed with a large dog propped up on a table. They seem to be standing on a porch. The photograph is stamped on the back, “TAKEN BY / A. H. Bahnson, / Salem, N. C.” Also on the back is handwritten, “2 unmounted.” Agnew Hunter Bahnson, Sr., was born in 1886 and died in 1966. Digital Forsyth:

Agnew Hunter Bahnson house on West Fifth Street. Wake Forest University:

Bahnson, A. H. House (Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina), North Carolina State University Libraries:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, Publications Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [etc.]. Yack. (accessed February 26, 2013).

Technical Services Department of the library, located in the Agnew H. Bahnson house at the corner of West Fifth and North Spring Streets. Digital Forsyth:

Members of the Bahnson family stand in front of the Agnew H. Bahnson Jr. plant after dedication ceremonies, 1965. Wake Space, Wake Forest University:

Image Credits:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Yackety yack [serial]. Chapel Hill, Publications Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [etc.]. 1901. (accessed February 26, 2013).

Agnew Hunter Bahnson house on West Fifth Street. Digital Forsyth: (accessed February 26, 2013).

Origin - location: