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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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Wrenn, Thomas F.

by William S. Powell, 1996

10 Sept. 1860–31 May 1940

Thomas F. Wrenn, manufacturer and financier, was born near Liberty in Randolph County, the son of Merritt C. and Nancy Elizabeth Jarrell Wrenn. His father, a Confederate soldier, died near the end of the Civil War, and his mother reared their two sons, Thomas F. and Manleff J.; their daughter died in childhood. While her sons were still young, Nancy Wrenn moved to the small settlement of High Point where they attended school.

In 1888 Wrenn joined J. H. Tate and E. A. Snow in organizing the High Point Furniture Company, the first furniture plant in the town. Snow soon sold his interest in the business to Wrenn's brother, Manleff, as did Tate. In 1898, when he moved to Marion, Thomas also sold his share to Manleff. For many years Thomas Wrenn owned the Catawba Furniture Company in Marion and later also bought the Wrenn Hosiery Company in Thomasville.

On 10 Aug. 1898 Wrenn married Sadie Elizabeth Weedon, who died on 18 May 1909. In 1912 he married Mrs. Pearl Pitts Perry; she died on 24 Jan. 1930. Wrenn was in New York City for an operation on 22 May 1940 and died there after a short illness. He was buried in Marion.


Holt McPherson, High Pointers of High Point (1975 [portrait]).

Marion Progress, 6 June 1940.

Raleigh News and Observer, 1 June 1940.


I was looking for information on the Catawba furniture company, I can’t find anything on it. What years were they in operation and info on there furniture line. I have a couple of pieces I believe came from them. Thanks.

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