Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Thomas R. Ellington, October 10, 1983. Interview C-0122. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Everett Jordan personally mediated cases of injury, waste, and repair in his mill

Everett Jordan observed events in the mill regularly. He noticed when the phone lines needed to be repaired, when workers were injured, and when mill supplies were being wasted. He mediated these situations in person.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Thomas R. Ellington, October 10, 1983. Interview C-0122. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

But that day he sent Dace Thompson down to tell me to ride the telephone line. Homer Duncan said that I wasn't going. Dace said, What do you want me to do? I said go tell Joe just exactly what he said and he did. I looked out the door and here come Joe down the hill slinging them arms walking as fast as he could and he walked up to Homer Duncan and told him, Let me tell you one thing! that telephone is just as important as this mill running. That's where we get our orders, and you tell me he can't go on that telephone line? If this whole spinning room has to stop off he's going on that telephone line. So I went out there and threw a ladder on the truck and struck off towards Sweps. I fixed the telephone line and come on back. I was looking for Duncan to be fired when I came back but Joe had talked pretty rough to him about it. When Mr. Jordan came in he got on him about it; told him just how important a telephone line was. So from then on I rode that telephone line anytime they asked me.
BEN BULLA:
What would break the lines?
THOMAS R. DOC ELLINGTON:
Somebody would shoot the insulators off them.
BEN BULLA:
Just to be mischevious?
THOMAS R. DOC ELLINGTON:
Yeah. I rode the telephone line until Southern Bell went to work on it. Homer didn't have much use for me after that. One day he was reaching to pull some cotton off the rollers and his thumb went clean back up through the rolls and he was a hollering, I was on the other side of the machine, but I thought he was just hollering and cutting-up. He finally jerked his hand out and when he did he jerked all the hide off his thumb. He says, How come you didn't stop that spinning frame off? I said, You ought not to have been hollering, I don't holler. He went in and had it fixed and was walking around there with it wrapped up. Mr. Jordan came in there a day or two later and said, Duncan don't you know them rollers will grab your thumb? He said, I do now. Mr. Jordan said, Keep your thumbs out from up in there then. Mr. Jordan walked on down through the mill. He came in every Sunday walking around. I'd be blowing off the spooler;he could see more things undone, or hadn't been fixed than the man that supposed to be fixing things. He'd walk along;he showed me, he said, You see that bolt laying right yonder? That bolt cost me a quarter, and there it is going in the sweepings. That man that buys the sweeps is getting rich off my nuts and bolts. He gave me down in the country about not picking them up and so I got so I picked them up.