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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The hierarchy of mill employees

Durham explains the hierarchy of mill positions and describes some of the men who had held the various jobs.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. 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

DOUGLAS DENATALE:
I'm still trying to figure out how the whole management of the mill works. The superintendent is over everything, is that right?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Then we have a plant manager now that's over the superintendent. The plant manager, the superintendent, then the overseers of the different departments.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
And was the superintendent in charge of all three shifts?
FRANK DURHAM:
All of it, yes, everything. Both shifts, everything. He's responsible for the whole mill, all that's running, all the time.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
And then the supervisor is over the card room and the spinning room.
FRANK DURHAM:
That's right.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Did you have a different supervisor for each shift?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Every shift. Yes, there's a supervisor for each shift and each operation; carding, spinning, and winding. There were three in three shifts.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Who took care of the hiring and the firing?
FRANK DURHAM:
I did every bit of the hiring when I was there. The head man . . . . Oh, I've forgotten what they call it now, the superintendent down there. I did all the hiring, though, every bit of it for the whole business. They had to have it centralized; somebody had to interview and place them to work. And it wasn't big enough to have a man on that; you just had to do it yourself. You had several jobs; you had right smart to do. Had plenty to do, all right, but it was all right.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
But now they have a plant manager.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they have a plant manager and a superintendent now.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Does the plant manager do sort of what Mr. London used to do?
FRANK DURHAM:
John London was plant manager down there all the time that I was superintendent. But John's retired now. He went to Pittsboro. His brother died. He was secretary and treasurer. He died, and then John went to Pittsboro as that, and they hired another fellow over here. And there have been several fellows down there since this new company got it now. John and them sold out to a company out of Mount Pleasant. They own five mills; this makes the fifth. They had it leased, and then they bought it here about two months ago.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
John was the only one in his family connected with the mill. He's seventy years old, and he wanted to get out, so he just sold it.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
I see. So now the mill is no longer owned by the Odell Company.
FRANK DURHAM:
No. It don't belong to them, but it's still in the Odells' name. They own eighty-seven percent of it. There's thirteen percent of it somebody owned, and they wouldn't sell. They've still got it. But all the company wants is the controlling interest anyhow, I guess.