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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ethel Marshall Faucette, November 16, 1978, and January 4, 1979. Interview H-0020. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Changes in nature provided workers with free time

The mills relied on a water wheel to power the machinery. As droughts stopped mill work, it offered mill workers moments of leisure time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ethel Marshall Faucette, November 16, 1978, and January 4, 1979. Interview H-0020. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
When would he sing it?
ETHEL MARSHALL FAUCETTE:
Well, there was a crowd of 'em that picked guitar and the banjo and different string instruments. We run by water then, had water wheels-that was the power that run the mill-and when the water'd get low, maybe they'd stop off for a hour or two. Well these gang of boys would get their instruments and get out there in the front of the mill, and they would sing and pick the guitar and the banjo, and different kind of string music. And maybe they'd stand an hour or two and the water'd gain up, and they'd start back up.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How often would that happen?
ETHEL MARSHALL FAUCETTE:
That was in the summer time. And when the water got low-the water'd get low-there's a big old rock out there they call Lily and-I forget the other one's name, but there's two of 'em. When you begin to see them two rocks, you'd know we was going to get a rest. 'Cause the water was getting low. (George: Yeah, they made up songs whenever the water'd get low.) Get out in front of the mill under two big trees-they done cut the two trees down in front of the mill now. Get out there in the shade and sing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you reckon that'd be once a week or once a month in the summer time, or how much?
ETHEL MARSHALL FAUCETTE:
Oh, sometime it was two or three times a week. When it didn't rain. We had dry weather just like we have now. People say, oh I don't remember it. Well I remember it very well, for I was working in the mill. And I know'd when it'd shut down for low water.