Harry Harris Brill (1885-1947) was born in South Carolina to German immigrants Rachel Levin (1854-1912) and Wolfe Brill (1849-1898), who arrived in the United States sometime before 1880 and settled in Georgia and later Colleton County. By 1910, he had opened Brill Electric Company at 161 E. Main Street, although it moved to 144 E. Main Street by 1916. He initially lodged at Mary E. Russell’s Magnolia Street boarding house, where approximately twenty other people of varying ages, trades, and backgrounds resided. He married Rhea Heyman (1894-1935) in the mid-1910s and had two children, Pauline Brill and Harry Harris Brill, Jr. Their nephew, Erwin Hertz, also resided with the Brills as a child. Brill closed his business about 1924 and moved to Miami, Florida for ten years. Ten years later the Brills moved to Columbia to live with their son.
Main image: This 1920s photograph of the Brill Electric Company also features a shoe store owned by the Hecklins. The Brill Electric Company building’s pilasters between each window tell of the company’s diverse wares and offers such as fixtures, wirings, fans, and motors. Image courtesy of the Herald-Journal Willis Collection, Spartanburg County Public Library