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Title: Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976. Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Jones, Louise Riggsbee, interviewee
Interview conducted by Frederickson, Mary
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 220 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-07-21, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976. Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0085-2)
Author: Mary Frederickson
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976. Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0085-2)
Author: Louise Riggsbee Jones
Description: 241 Mb
Description: 64 p.
Note: Interview conducted on October 13, 1976, by Mary Frederickson; recorded in Bynum, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976.
Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jones, Louise Riggsbee, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES, interviewee
    MARY FREDERICKSON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
But when he got old enough to work, he came to work in the mill [unknown] just started a new mill [unknown] working. And I worked right near his sister.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was her name?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Martha White now. She was Martha [unknown] . And of course we had met before. She and I were good friends before we were at work, and we just got together. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When young people met each other and started seeing each other, did anyone like your parents or your mother or your husband's parents or the minister set rules about how often you could see each other?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. On most every weekend, if there were ballgames. They had a right good baseball team here then, and they had one at Pittsboro, and he and I and his sister would go to the ballgames a lot when we weren't working.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But no one said, "You're seeing too much of this young guy" or anything like that. [Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, there wasn't anything like that. I was old enough, I reckon my mother thought, to behave myself, and I didn't start dating too young, and I was twenty-five when I married. And so I was old enough to know a little something about what marriage meant.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people tend to marry in their mid-twenties, or did a lot of women marry earlier?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I just don't remember too much about it; I didn't pay attention. Mostly being about twenty or twenty-one, something like that. The summer that we married, there was two or three couples married. Mrs. Louise Durham over yonder that lives with Miss Flossie,

Page 2
she and her husband were young. My husband had a brother, and he wasn't near twenty when he and his wife married. But there was two or three couples that summer that were real young, younger than usual, that got married the same year we did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people frown on that or say that they shouldn't get married that young or they should wait or something like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They didn't have any trouble. I guess the families would rather they would wait a little longer, but they got along all right, most of them did, I think, and had good lives.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people have to ask someone if they could get married? Was it traditional to ask your parents if you could get married?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not altogether, I don't think. My husband talked it over with my mother. I think he did it through respect. I wanted him to. And we didn't have a big wedding. I had a sister living in Mebane, and we went up there on weekends some just on Sundays. But my mother and I were the only ones at home then; I was the only one living at home with her. and I told him I wanted him to tell her. And we decided we'd go up there. So we stopped at Hillsborough and got married in Hillsborough; we didn't have a church wedding. We just stopped and went on and spent the night with my sister up there, and my mother was there, too. And it was all right with all the family. I never did think that I'd want a big wedding if I could have had it. Of course, we didn't make enough to spend much on anything like that then.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember any of your friends having a big wedding?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not like they have now, but some of them were married in church. But I never did like to go to a wedding. I don't know; it was

Page 3
always sad to me, and I didn't like to go.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter] How come?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know why, but I've heard several people speak that way about it. Said it was sad. It was more like a funeral to them than anything else. Now we've had three weddings out here at our church in the last three months, I'll say. Two of my great-nieces: one got married in July or the first of August, and then another one got married about three weeks ago. And then last Friday maybe was the week Mrs. Cooper's girl got married down here in the church, so there's been three of our young people here that had church weddings. They had mighty pretty weddings, they said. I didn't go to them, because I just can't wear shoes and clothes like I used to now, and I haven't been going to church. But I always went to church all of my life. I can't even remember when my mother started carrying me to church.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But people have church weddings more now than they did when you were coming up? Was it real unusual for someone to get married in the church?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember as it was, but they didn't have as much show or whatever you would say as they do now. It was mostly just a quiet wedding. If they wanted to go be married in the church, maybe a few friends and like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did some people feel real strongly about getting the minister to marry them instead of the judge or whatever?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I guess some people did. You know, they have different opinions like that, but I don't know. Of course, I was always used to

Page 4
going to church and things like that, but I considered if I were married by law that it was all right. And I just seemed to think that maybe it would be better for my mother just to get married and go on. She was getting older. And so we just got married and went on. She spent the night up there while we did with my sister.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You got married in Hillsborough at the Court House?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, it wasn't in the Court House. I don't remember exactly who ran the place there. It was right on the street where we stopped. I forgot. But it wasn't a big business place. We just went in there, and there were two men in there. They were witnesses for us. And my mother sat out in the car while we went in there and got married.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did she react to your getting married? You were her last child. Was she sad?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
She didn't say anything against it, because she thought my husband was a good sort of a young man, and he had good parents, good brothers and sisters. But of course when she found it out, she cried about it. That's natural that she would, because I was the only one there with her. But she stayed on with us as long as she lived. And then when Hettie was born. . . . I got pregnant just right after we were married, and she was born in due time. Well, no, the doctor said she was about two or three weeks early. But when she was about three months old, my mother had a light stroke. And we had been back to my sister's at Mebane that weekend, and it had come on her partly while we were up there. And I had a sister living right out from Carrboro—they ran a milk dairy—and she got worse after we came on

Page 5
there that Sunday. And we had to leave her up there, so we came on home and called my sister from Mebane and she came. And we all came on down here, and my mother stayed up there a day or two till she got able to come home. But she was able to be up and around in the house, but I did all the work. She didn't do anything. And we were living further up on the hill then. And there was a family moved out of that house out there. And my mother's sister was living down there. Her husband was superintendent of the mill then. And she wanted us to move right here so we'd be nearer down here, because my mother had lived down on this part of the hill, we called it, more than she had lived further up. She said, "Well, Louise, you all move down there. The doctor told her not to get out and walk much. It'd be so much more company for Maddalena to be down there; she can see more passing and all, having to stay in that way." So that's why we moved out there when we did. And so we lived out there about forty years, and then moved out here. I was born out there, but I don't remember leaving out there. They moved away from that house when I was small, and I didn't ever remember leaving there. My brother and I were both born there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your mother's sister's name, who lived right over here?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Martha Neill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And what was her husband's name?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Charlie Neill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long was he superintendent of the mill, for a long time?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, not too long. There was one man superintendent, Miss

Page 6
Flossie Durham's brother, and he left here. He stayed a few years, but he came back. When anybody's once lived at Bynum, it seems like they want to live at Bynum again, if they leave. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
And my uncle was superintendent during that time. It was just a few years; I don't remember exactly how many years it was.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But then Mr. Edgar Moore got his job back when he came back?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, he got his job back.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I had one other question about when young people started dating in Bynum. Did groups of young people go out together for picnics and outings and ballgames, or did . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They just had got to having cars so they could go along not too long after I started dating. Used to we didn't get to go anywhere. But before then the Old Bridge was down here. I had a picture.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You showed us the picture.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
And we called [it] "going over the river," walking over the river. And there was a spring over there that a family used there on the hill; it was mighty good water. Go to the spring, and then we'd sit around, just groups together, and talk. Even if you were not dating, just the young girls. Now I did, before I started dating much, go. And I had an aunt who lived with us then—her husband had died—and she'd go with us some. And Miss Flossie Durham had a sister that hadn't been married. She was a grown, settled woman, you know. She would go with us. Just to be together, you know, and talk, and we'd walk out together and all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering when you said that you got pregnant right

Page 7
after you were married, did that happen to a lot of people? Did people tend to have children right away?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. They didn't do anything to keep from getting pregnant.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
There was nothing [unknown] ?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not like they do now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember anyone telling you there was any way you could keep from getting pregnant?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, nobody told me nothing like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When people had children, who did they name them for usually?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Sometimes from the family and sometimes from names that they. . . . My daughter Hettie's named for her grandmother; that's my husband's mother right up there. And everyone says she looks so much like her. She favors his mother, and the people that didn't know her say, "Well, you're like your daddy." But the people that knew his mother say she's just like Mrs. Jones. And she died before we were married, before I started going with him very much. Of course I knew him, but I hadn't been with him. He told me after we started going together, he says, "Louise, you know, Mama said to me one time before I started going with you, she asked me why I didn't go with you." That made me feel good, because I felt like she liked me, and she felt like that I was good enough for him. And it made me feel real good when he told me that. I didn't go with too many boys; I didn't care about it. Of course, when I got older, then I kind of settled on one. I just had two or three friends before then. I didn't go with them very much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said that women didn't have any kind of way to keep from having babies. Did they try, though, not to have too many close

Page 8
together?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Well, if they did, I don't know it. I don't remember it if they did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They just didn't use any kind of birth control.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Of course, that came on in later years, I think, because when I was growing up they just had them naturally as they. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did women tend to have a lot of children when you were growing up? Do you remember what was considered average for a woman to be pregnant?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I wouldn't know the average, but a lot of them had four and five children and sometimes more than that. My mother had eight children, but there were three who died when they were babies.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did most women your mother's age have babies who had died? She wasn't unusual in that she had three babies die, was she?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. Her oldest baby died, and I think I told you about that. He had what they called the membrous croup, and there was nothing much that you could do for that then. And I think she had two more, and then a little girl. She wasn't an infant; she was maybe two years old or something like that. She could talk just a little bit; I remember hearing her say that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did she die of?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I just don't remember. And she had another little girl that died. And I don't remember what they died with.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the women your age tend to have that many children? You had three children. What about the other women who were your age?

Page 9
Did they have eight or did they tend to have fewer?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Some of them had more than others. I just don't remember too much. There were some women that had two and three, and some would have four and five. My mother was kind of young; I don't remember how old she was. My father had been married, and his wife died. I had a half-sister, and her mother died when she was about three months old. And she was about three years old when my father and mother married, but he was older than my mother. But we thought as much of our half-sister as if she was our whole sister. And she loved my mother, and my mother did her, just the same as she did the rest of us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were growing up and thinking about having children or thinking about having a family, and even when you were first married, was there ever any feeling that you wanted to have a certain number of children?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I didn't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean right now, people all say they want to have two children [Laughter] , or two and a half.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I never did think that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you don't remember thinking there was an ideal-sized family or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't. I was just used to them. I told you my mother went a lot of times when women had their babies, because they had them at home. The doctor would come, and they would send for her; she would go a lot and be with them and help them. And then she would go back and tend to the babies, dress them for a few days. And they wore bands

Page 10
for their little navels, bands around them then, made out of cloth about that wide. And she'd go until the navel would come off. And she'd go and look after them till that would take place, and help their mothers about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When Hettie was born and your other children were born, did you ever think or worry about being able to support children? I don't know the year that Hettie was born; was it during the Depression?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We were married in 1923. She was born in 1924, of course, the next year. But the Depression. . . . Then my next child was born in 1928, and he wasn't a healthy child. He was sick so much. And he died when he was about twenty months old. And then my youngest boy was born in 1931.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What is his name?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Claiborne Young Jones.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who is he named for?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I just liked the name "Claiborne." There was a man at Raleigh, Claiborne Mangum. He used to sing on the radio, and I liked to hear him so much, and I liked the name. And the "Young" was for his Grandfather Jones. His grandfather was named Young Austin Jones, or Austin Young; I don't know which way he called it. But my boy baby that died was named for my father and his father. My husband's named Paul, and my father's name was Elbert, and so I named him Paul Elbert, and we called him Paul Elbert. Then after he died and my other baby was born, I felt like I wanted to name him for my husband's father. And I just put the "Young" to it, so I named him Claiborne Young.

Page 11
MARY FREDERICKSON:
To get some idea of the number of women, and young men, too, in Bynum who married, did most people marry or did a fair number of people remain single?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember too much about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were talking about the young women you were with before you married and how they were grown and they were not married and they were all friends, did most of those end up marrying eventually?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
The ones that were my friends all got married.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And all of Paul's friends, did they tend to get married and set up families?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, most of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So it was sort of unusual if a young woman didn't marry.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it also unusual for someone to get divorced or to separate after they married?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
It was more unusual then than it is now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember anyone ever getting divorced who was your age or your mother's age?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I just don't remember when I first started hearing that, about who it was. But I know they lived together more than they do now a whole lot.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it something that people would have been afraid to even think about? Was it just something people didn't think about doing? Was there an idea that it was wrong to get a divorce, or bad?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. I never did hear much about it then. When I

Page 12
I was a child growing up and all, I never did hear much about a divorce. If they separated, I imagine they just stayed apart. I never did hear about divorces when I was growing up until I got older.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But people would separate if they didn't get along?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Sometimes they would. Maybe the woman would go back with her family, and he'd go back with his. But I don't even remember many cases like that. I couldn't mention one that I did remember, but I can remember that that did happen sometimes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would it usually happen when they were first married and before they had children, or would sometimes a woman go back with her children?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I just don't know. I don't remember about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I don't mean to dwell on sex and marriage [Laughter] too much, but I was wondering if it was accepted or if it was real unusual or if it ever happened that women would have children before they married.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I guess they did, but I don't remember much about it. But I'll tell you, we didn't know sex. They didn't teach it to us like they do now. And it was more of a sacred thing with us when we were growing up, and something that we shouldn't talk out. Now young people don't think too much about talking sex to one another; you know how they are now. And I sometimes think that they know just a little bit too much, that they don't have the respect for it that they ought to, like we always did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So when you were growing up, you were sort of taught, or not even taught, that sex was something that was a part of marriage.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. Not too young. Just as I got a little older, I would learn such as that.
I think I told you that I never did know who Santa Claus was, and my sister finally told me who Santa Claus was. I thought

Page 13
it was Santa Claus, sure enough, and I was always so afraid of him. I was scared to death of his face. We were living out yonder (not that house, the one beyond it), and my sister was grown then. I was talking about Santa Claus. She said, "Well, Louise, you know who Santa Claus is." I was old enough to know it, but I didn't inquire into things like some would. And I said, "No, I don't." She said, "Well, Ma is your Santa Claus." You see, my father was dead; he died when I was about six years old. I said, "She's not." And Evvie. . . . That was my sister. Her name was Evelyn, but one of the girls, the first one that died, nicknamed her. She couldn't say "Evelyn," and she called her "Levvie," and then they got to calling her "Evvie," and she's living now at Carrboro. She's ninety-two years old. And Evvie said, "Yes, you do. Ma is your Santa Claus." Well, it never was Santa Claus to me no more like it was. I really hated it that I found out who it was. I was old enough to be sorry that I learned who Santa Claus was. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter] You were talking the last time we talked about Christmas and how it was a celebration and there was a tree down at the church and everyone would come, and Santa Claus would be dressed up and he was giving out presents.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
And it would scare me to death. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We'd always have a Christmas tree, carry gifts, the people, one for another and put them on the Christmas tree. And they'd have a Christmas program. The children would have little pieces to sing and sing songs, and the older people would sing Christmas songs. And then

Page 14
they'd give the gifts from the Christmas tree. They'd call out the names. And I was scared to look. I thought Santa Claus was there; I was afraid to look towards the tree.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I told you about my doll, and I have that doll now. And I was afraid to look, but I can see it right now hanging up in the tree. But I was so afraid of Santa Claus, I wouldn't sit up and look at my doll too much. I would sit in my mother's lap when I was afraid of Santa Claus.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people take their presents, like if your mother gave you a present she would put your name on it and take it to the church and put it on the tree?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. All my sisters, brothers, or aunts, cousins, different ones, and friends, if they wanted to give you something they'd carry it and put it on the Christmas tree.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people ever have trees or decorations in their own houses?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not then like they have in the . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Every home would have one big Christmas tree?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, we'd all have a tree at the church.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering if there were any other times during the year when there were celebrations like that or parties like that. What [unknown] about Thanksgiving?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We had Easter programs. They'd have a service at church with the children and the older people taking part in the program. [Interruption]

Page 15
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They would have just the recitations on the Easter service, and they'd sing the Easter songs more and something like that. And there was a [unknown] ; they did have one this year.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did they start having the homecomings?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. It was just a few years ago that I remember. When I was a child, they would go to another church. We had so many churches on the circuit, this church and Ebenezer Church down in the country—I don't know how far, ten or twelve miles, maybe more than that— and Mount Pleasant up yonder and Mann's Chapel and Cedar Grove. We'd have one preacher. He lived here; the parsonage was here. And he would have all these churches to preach, and we didn't have but one Sunday, one sermon. As far back as I remember, we had one on third Sundays. And then it got so in later years we would have one sermon one Sunday night during the month. But he would have to go each Sunday to these churches. Cedar Grove and Mann's Chapel are not too far apart up yonder. The best I remember, I think maybe he'd go from one church to the other, because I think I counted about five churches. There's usually four Sundays. That would just give him a church each Sunday. And they had to go in the horse and buggy then; they didn't have cars. You know, it would take him all day to go and have his service and get back home. And sometimes the different churches would gather at one church for a song festival to carry dinner and have a dinner on the grounds. And our church would go on picnics sometimes. I know

Page 16
we went to Raleigh one time. We had to go on the train.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Everyone from the church would go, carry dinner and . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
All that wanted to that belonged to the Sunday school. We called them the Sunday school picnics. And we'd have to get a way from here to Pittsboro and get on the train and go on the train to Raleigh. Now that's why we didn't have much time to take up for the picnic, and we'd go to Durham once in a while to the park up there and have a picnic. That was after I got older; I remember that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would that be at any particular time of the year, like in the summertime?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, they would always be in the summertime when we'd have the picnics, when we could be outside.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about in the fall when the farmers would be harvesting their crops? Would they ever come into town and either sell their stuff or have some kind of celebration when they brought stuff in?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
There weren't as many stores here; there wasn't but one store for a long time here. And then there were two. And the first store that I ever remember was down below this house. They called it the company store. I think the company that owned the mill ran the store, because they called it the company store. And then Mr. Jim Atwater and Mr. Rufus Lambeth bought it out, and it was Atwater and Lambeth's store. And they built one right out here about where our road comes up to the house. A Mr. Joe Mann built that and ran the store there for a few years, but they tore it down after so many years. And then Mr. Durham and Guilford were the ones who put in the stores.

Page 17
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you don't remember anything about farmers coming in in the fall into town or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about when people butchered their hogs? Would you have an extra good meal or something after you'd butchered the hogs?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Nearly all of the people here then would have a hog or two for themselves. And we had the colored people, which they call blacks now—I was always taught to call them colored people—but they would help if the husband. . . . Of course, my father was dead, but my mother would have her a hog, and there was an old colored man, Uncle Sam Clark, and his wife. They were just the best kind of people, and he would look after hers every time, just as much so as if it had been his own. She could depend on Uncle Sam to look after killing her hogs, and his wife, Aunt Molly, would come and help her cook the lard and make the sausage. And that's along then, but the families don't raise as many hogs now as they used to. They can buy too much at the store.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did Uncle Sam Clark do for a living?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He was a farmer.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Just out from Bynum?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. He was a renter.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about Election Day? Do you remember that as being a big event? Where did people go to vote?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember much about that. Since the women got the vote, I voted some. I haven't voted every time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember when women got the vote?

Page 18
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't remember the year. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean were you excited about it or anything?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not too much. I just kind of depend on my husband. I don't know politics. [Laughter] You hear one: "Well, I'll do this." And the other one: "Well, I'll do that."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I told him here the other night, listening on the radio, you know, I says, "Well, all we know is one says, ‘I'll do this,’ and the other'll do that, and then when they get in office they do just what they want to do."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Now that's the way it is.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Is your husband interested in politics? Has he always been interested?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He votes most of the time, but he's not interested too much. He tries to learn what he can about the different ones that run. And sometimes, since my son got grown, there's somebody that he wants. He'll say, "Well, Mama, you and Daddy vote for such-and-such a one." The last time I voted I went down to the Ruritan building, and my son went in with me and he marked my ballot. I've been so that I couldn't see good now for a long time, and I just depend on him to do things like that for me. But I haven't voted in a right good little bit.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people run for office from Bynum? Do you remember anyone ever campaigning actively in Bynum? When you were little, do you remember candidates coming through here?

Page 19
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
There were some from Pittsboro that would come here and make a talk. The school building was up yonder then. I started to school down there, but I was going to school up yonder. And I was a good-sized little girl. I went up there one night to the speaking. There was a Democrat and a Republican. I think Mr. Jim Griffin from Pittsboro and Mr. Fred Bynum . Mr. Fred was the Republican, and Mr. Griffin was the Democrat. And they both made a speech, one after the other. I went back home that night. My mother didn't go. And I got back home and I said, "Ma, I tell you one thing. When I get grown I'm going to be a Republican." [Laughter] Now I [unknown] I'm not going off on it. But [unknown] the way that it impressed me. I was a child. And I says, "I wouldn't be in a party that criticized another party like the Democrat man did up there tonight. When the Republican man got up to speak, he was much nicer about the other party." I was old enough to kind of understand and take that, and that was always one thing that registered with me, is one person going against another when I thought it wasn't necessary.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did she say?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
She didn't say. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know Mr. Fred Bynum from here or from Pittsboro?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I wasn't acquainted with him especially, but he lived at Pittsboro. I knew of him, and Mr. Griffin, too. I had been hearing about them right much, but I wasn't personally acquainted with them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you become a Republican?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I'm Republican.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]

Page 20
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I'll tell you, if there's a Democrat, say, for the county office or something like that that we like, we vote for the man that we like. But we consider ourselves. . . . My husband is a Republican. Not because I was; he just happened to be that. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever support a Democrat? Did you ever support Franklin Roosevelt? Did you like him or not like him?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember whether I voted then or not.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember anything about the New Deal after the Depression? Were you excited about that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not too much. I'd had too hard a time during the Depression [Laughter] , I reckon.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you didn't think that the New Deal would help you out or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. I just didn't think too much about it. Some people thought it would, and some thought it wouldn't, and I just didn't know. But we got through the Depression; God helped us through. He's been with us all the time. I give God credit for being what I am and having the life that I've had, and helping me all of my life. I have a lot of faith in God. And I remember one prayer. When my son was in service he never was in the fighting, but he was in. . . . Well, what was it? I forgot now. But he would come home when he was in camp. He was in Georgia, and it came along toward the last before he went overseas. He'd come home on weekends with some boys. They'd get together—some lived at Fayetteville—and he'd come with them, and some of the family would meet him down there. And late Sunday evening

Page 21
they'd start back to get back to Georgia. I remember mighty well one Sunday evening he left. Preacher Klein was our pastor here then, and I really do love that man. And he wasn't married; he married just before he left here. But he did a good part by the boys of that age. He would associate with them on weekends and go out with them. Mr. Gurney Williams has a place over yonder in the country, the old homeplace. They would go over there and cook out and such as that, and Mr. Klein would go with them. He was alone in the parsonage, and he had time to go with them, and he really did do a good part by the boys. And I said that he had kept me from worrying many an hour, where I would have been worried about my boy but I knew he was with Mr. Klein. And so one Sunday evening he left to go back to Georgia, and most always when he'd leave home he'd go by the parsonage to see Mr. Klein before he left. And we had preaching one night during the month on Sunday night. I went to preaching, and I was always a fool when I'd go; I couldn't help but cry because he'd leave. And so Mr. Klein's prayer that night, when he prayed he prayed for God to take care of the ones that were travelling. I knew that he meant the boys that were going back to camp; I knew mine was one of them. And I said it was a burden off of my shoulders, but it was just like something had been pressing my shoulders and when he prayed that prayer it went up. And I wasn't worried a bit more that night about him. I was just so afraid something would happen before they'd get there. And when we'd come out of church Mr. Klein would always be at the door, and he'd shake hands with us. He looked at me and smiled. He said, "You feel better tonight, don't you?" I said, "I

Page 22
sure do." And I told him after that what that prayer meant for me. And he's been here, just maybe two or three years ago, to help in a revival, and he mentioned that in his sermon one night. He says, "Mrs. Jones believes in prayer." He hadn't forgotten. And he was here this last summer. They had the homecoming. I didn't go, but he didn't have time to come to see me. He called me when he was fixing to leave. He called me on the telephone. He said, "Mrs. Jones, I'm so sorry that I didn't have time to come and see you," and wanted to know how I was getting along. And I says, "Well, I'm doing right good. I love you. I never have forgot what you meant to us and what you do mean. You pray for me." He says, "All right. You pray for me, too." So that was all. I didn't get to speak to him, only on the telephone.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said he came back one time for a revival.
Did the church down here have revivals pretty often?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, we have a revival almost every year down here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they do that when you were a little girl?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They always had a revival.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They always had a revival once a year.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was it like? Did people come from all around?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
It was the people here. Some people in the community from the other churches would come, after it got so they had ways to come and go back. And people would repent and go in the church, young people, and the older people too sometime. It would last about a week, at night, because they always worked during the day here, and

Page 23
they'd have the services at night.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would they still have a revival when they worked a night shift? Would people get off for the revival?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They had one last year, and they had one here about a month ago. But they can't very well get off from their jobs. The ones that work on the morning shift can go, but the ones that go in at three o'clock and work till eleven, they can't very well get off to go.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The mill never gave people time off to go, even when you were younger?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
It didn't run at night much when I worked. It did the last few years that I worked. After I was married I worked some at night when Hettie and Claiborne were small. But my husband would be at home—he worked on morning—and I didn't work the whole number of hours. I forgot who the man was over it then, but he would let some of us married women that wanted to work some work maybe four or five hours of that time and then come home. And sometimes we'd work the whole time out if they had more work to do and all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were revivals always important to you?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Oh, yes, I always enjoyed the revivals.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you originally join the church during one?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. They would take the members in at the last service of the revival. Yes, I joined the church after the revival.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember how old you were, or do you remember it as a real important time?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember just how old I was, but I was old enough

Page 24
to know what I was doing, all right. I had always been used to going to church. It wasn't like somebody had just started going into church and went up and professed, but I had always been used to going to the church. And I knew what it meant for me to join the church.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering if there were any places in Bynum where people got together or met, other than the church. Were there any voluntary organizations, or was there a group of Masons or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not too much. Of course, they had the Missionary Societies, and they used to have what they called the Epworth League for the young people. My older sister always went. But they always had the meetings at the church.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there any organizations for men that you remember?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, not unless it was just the class meetings or something like that from the Sunday school. And when we had a picnic, that was for the whole Sunday school, grown people, children, and all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What is the Ruritan Club?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
It's a men's club. Now I just don't know what. The Ruritan Building is down yonder there, that cement building down yonder. And when the church held suppers to sell, you know, now they do, and if people have things at home they can give to have a sale, maybe good clothes or something—a nice suit of clothes a man has, and maybe he's outgrown it or something, and a piece of furniture if you decided you can give them—they'll have a sale, too, to make money for the church. Now they had one down here. Our pastor, did I tell you that

Page 25
he had lost one of his hands?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He did. Dynamite. It was something since he's been in his work. I never have known. He's been to see me, but he didn't tell me just exactly how it happened. And he like to lost his eyesight. But he's been off; he's going to get him a hand. And they say that he can lift as much as thirty-five pounds with it when he gets it put on. And so that was going to cost him I don't know, I heard $2,500 and I heard $2,700, but it was right much. They had a supper here a few weeks ago down there at the Ruritan building, the church. They have it at the Ruritan building, things like that, and they had an auction sale, too, to sell things. And different ones would give him a contribution if they wanted to. And the Missionary Society, the classes, different ones, has a bake sale to sell their pies and cakes and things at the store. The members will bake them, and they'll carry them to the store, meet there and sell them. I've gone a little too far. It was the revival. They had the revival, and they took a special collection down there one night, was going to give it all to him. And I think they got some over four hundred dollars down there that night. And then they had the bake sale and the auction sale. And I think they've made about nine hundred dollars the last I heard, but I think he's got some more since then. And they said he was so thrilled and so thankful that he cried. Said he said, "Well, I don't feel I can ever leave the people here. They've been so good to me." And he had one little girl and his wife was expecting another one when they moved here. This is his first year. And so she's had that now, and

Page 26
he's got two little babies. I don't think the oldest one was about fifteen months old.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
My goodness.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
And he was talking to some of them about how he'd pick up his little girl. He'd just get her around and hold her with this one; he couldn't hold her with the other arm. And he came over here one day, and my grandson from Southport was here, and he's got two little girls. The oldest one was just in a playpen. She could walk, but she stayed in a playpen, and she was in there in Hettie's room. And he went on in there and I went in there, and he had picked her up. He says, "Now don't you all say anything to me about how I hold this baby. I hold mine that way." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said it was at the Ruritan Club. Is that an old club, or is that a pretty new group in town?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. It hasn't been here too many years.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It wasn't here when you were young?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Oh, no.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your husband ever belong to it?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, he doesn't go out to anything like that much. He just stays at home with me most of the time. But there's several men here that do belong to it. I don't know just what they do, but they help in things that they can. The Ruritan Club gave him five hundred dollars on his bill for his hand.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that a common thing when you were growing up? If someone

Page 27
needed something like that, would people chip in and help him out?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Since I went to work, they certainly have been good about [unknown] . The people here have been unusually good, I think, to help people in need if they had sickness or hospital bills. They didn't have as much insurance and all. But down there at work, someone would go around to all of the people and have their names and see how much they'd give, maybe a quarter or fifty cents, some of them a dollar or five dollars. They'd make up a collection and give it to the one that was sick, that had the bill, that had extra bills to pay, good bills that they couldn't pay. They've been unusually good here. I've heard two or three speak about that since they've been helping the preacher so much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would the J. M. Odell Company ever give money to anybody?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know, but I think they did. I think they would always put something with it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They'd contribute, too?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I think they would; I wouldn't say for sure. Because I always had a job I had to stay all the time. I ran a winder, and we got paid by the pound, what we got off. If we didn't stay at our work, we didn't make much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you couldn't circulate the. . . . [Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. And some of them that worked by the hour and didn't have to stay so close at their work would go around and take up the collections for them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Just questions about Bynum in general. Was there ever

Page 28
a tavern here or a place where people drank beer or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. I don't think so. They'd go somewhere else and get their beer and whiskey.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where would they go?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They have a liquor store in Pittsboro, and I think you can buy it up yonder at the county line.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about when you were growing up or when you were a young woman? Do you remember people drinking?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They used to. They called it blockading. They'd make it in the country. People would make their own liquor and sell it secretly. It got so the law would go, and they called it stills where they made it, cooked the stuff and made the liquor. And the law would go and tear up the stills and pour out what they could find around there. So when they did that, they had to kind of do it on the sly, not publicize it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people drink a good bit? Did people usually have something around to drink?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Some of them did, and a lot of them didn't. I think that's everywhere. But now and then there'd be some that would.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would people ever get together and drink, or did people tend to just drink in their own houses?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
My people didn't drink. But I reckon they were just. . . . But I was so afraid of one. Ooo-ee. I told you what a timid, queer child I was. [Laughter] I was scared to death if a man was drunk. I thought he was going to kill me. And I'd just stay at my mother and hold her coattail, as the saying is, around one. One lived out there,

Page 29
and we lived across the street.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
A man who just drank pretty much?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He'd just take it by spells. He'd drink and he'd stay drunk two or three weeks at a time. He worked down here at the mill. He was a good kindly man. He had a mighty nice wife, and she had two girls that were mighty nice girls, and a son. He drove the company wagon, they called it. They had two nice horses, big horses, and a wagon. They had to haul the yarn that they sold to Pittsboro, and it went off on a train. It was shipped to wherever it was going. Mr. Crutchfield drove the wagon, and he was big, he was tall; he wasn't so fat, but he was just a big man. And strong? I've seen him. . . . The well was right out yonder. We lived right across the street. And we had to draw our water up with a bucket. And he'd go there . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He didn't bother anybody. He stayed at home. He was quiet. But I was just afraid because I knew he was drinking. But he didn't want anybody to bother the company horses.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would he just not work while he was drunk?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, he couldn't work while he was drinking that much. But they just went on and put up with him. He was a good worker. And he was a nice man except just those spells that he'd take drinking, and he was a good neighbor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But the company let him keep his job?

Page 30
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, he kept his job with them. And they didn't find any fault with him in a way. They just kept him.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would they do that with other people, or did you ever know of anyone who'd lose their job for drinking? Would the company sometimes fire you?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I imagine they would; I don't know. But they had to do right much right badly before they'd fire them. If they were on the job, it would be all right. And they wouldn't go on the job drinking much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were growing up and when you were just married, was Bynum a peaceful place to live? Was there ever any violent crime, or did people carry guns, or was it pretty peaceful? Did you have to worry about things being stolen?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, not too much. Of course, there were wrong things done; I think there have been everywhere. But it used to be a right good place to live. It was almost like one big family. The people all knew one another and were neighborly with one another most of the time. But of course, now and then there'll be a family that doesn't conduct themselves just right. Sometimes there would be one, but there weren't many of them, not when I was growing up.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there ever a murder or anything like that that you remember hearing about?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember if there was. No, I couldn't mention one. It's been so long.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you some more things about your work in the mill specifically. When you started to work, right after the mill burned down and the new one was built in 1916 or 1917, when it started,

Page 31
you said that you worked up until the time that you married. And you quit when you married, or you quit soon after?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I got pregnant and I worked awhile, but I quit then. And I didn't work anymore till after my mother died. She lived about three years after she had her first stroke. She wasn't down, but she was threatened with a stroke every little bit, and I stayed at home. The doctors told her not to walk, not to get out. I stayed at home closer than she did, in a way. I wouldn't leave her to even run down to the store. We had the outside toilets, and ours was out from the house. And she'd walk up there. And we had a mighty good neighbor woman that lived next to us out there that she thought a lot of, a Miss Betty Thomas, and she'd stop at Miss Betty's a lot of time of a morning when she'd come on back from the toilet. Well, I would stay at home and just worry myself to death. I didn't want her to know that I was worrying about her, was uneasy about her, because I knew that would worry her. And so one day she stayed so long, and I could just imagine, "Well, maybe she's had a stroke and fell on the way or something," and wouldn't go out looking for her; I didn't want her to know it. But I told her one day. She came back; I said, "Mama, where have you been?" She said, "I stopped in to see Miss Betty." I says, "Well, please, hereafter, whenever you want to stop to see Miss Betty, you tell me you're going to stop. I was uneasy about you, afraid maybe you'd got sick or something." So after that when she'd go, if she thought she was going to stop and see Miss Betty, she'd say, "Well, Louise, I expect I'll go and see Miss Betty a few minutes this morning," and that was the most that she got out.

Page 32
But I wouldn't leave her and go to the store. I stayed right there with her for about three years. But after she died, and Hettie was about three years old, I went to work and worked a little on the night shift, just a few hours, till my second baby was born. And then after he died I worked a little more that way. But I never had any regular job till the children got old enough to go to school.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So when they were about six or seven you went back to work fulltime?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I had to wind. That's the only thing that I ever knew how to do in the mill, was to wind. I'd get [unknown] winding every time I'd go to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you went back regular after they went to school, then?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I worked after they were both going to school, the regular number of hours on the second shift. Paul was there at home with them at night. And then when Hettie finished high school, she went to work. She didn't want to go off to school anywhere. We wanted her to go, but she didn't want to go. And she went to work, so I quit. I didn't work any more then.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then she stayed at home with you here when she started working?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, she was at home.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that in the early forties when you quit working then, and she graduated?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They started the Social Security, I think, in 1938, and I worked about five years after they started that. I know when I went over

Page 33
there to see if I could draw. . . . They all kept asking me, when I was sixty-two, to go and see if I couldn't draw Social Security. And so I finally went to Pittsboro, and there was a mighty nice man over there. And he asked me how long I worked after it started. And I quit in 1943. And he says, "Well, you worked five years. You've just worked long enough that you can draw something." And I started off with about twenty-five dollars a month; that's as much as I could get. But, of course, I've been raised some since then. I get about ninety-three, I think, but that's a lot of help. I'm right proud of it. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember when it was passed in 1938?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I remember it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember how you felt about it then?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I didn't have much idea that we'd ever get any good. . . . We didn't understand exactly what it was, how it would be. You don't, I don't think, till you get older, about anything like that, when it first starts. But I didn't think it would ever help us as much as it has. Now I've heard them talking a lot on the radio. . . . Paul goes to bed so early of a night. But I don't go to bed early, because my arthritis, I get to hurting, and lying on one side I have to turn so often in the bed. I sit up every night till Hettie comes. Sometimes I go to sleep sitting in here and sleep maybe an hour. But I've heard them talking on the WPTF "Open Line." People call in and talk to [unknown] Bart Britner. And they were talking so much about Social Security the other night. And they said you get a certain percent of what you paid in while you were working. And some people, if they make more, they pay in more. The people here couldn't pay in much, because they

Page 34
were not getting wages enough to pay in much. And that's the reason some of them don't draw. And some of the people were asking Bart why that was, that they couldn't get much and others got more. And of course I knew that before he talked about it. They paid wages enough, I reckon. There's one thing about it; we've never paid much house rent here. They haven't kept up the houses too well, but they've never charged much rent for them. And I said you couldn't blame the company for it in a way, because we've not paid enough to live in them. I reckon that's one reason we didn't buy us a home. We just had such a good chance here, paying just a few dollars a month for a house. We just kept staying here. Mr. John London is over there in the office at Pittsboro for the other company they've got there. There's a company that's got it leased down here now. I think their lease has run out, and they're just running it by the month now. He's a good friend of Paul's. He knows we've been here all of our lives, worked all the time here. He told Paul not long ago, "Paul, don't you worry. You'll have a home as long as you stay over there." He thought Paul was worried because the county was going to buy the houses, and then they're going to fix them up and then sell them to the people that want to buy them, I think. Not charge you such a big price for them. That's what we heard, so I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Are you excited about that happening, about them fixing them up, or how do you feel about it?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
[Laughter] I just don't know what to tell you, how I feel about it. It might be better, and it might be so that we can't hardly make it, and I just don't know. They're going to put the bathrooms in,

Page 35
and you've got to pay so much a month for the water and all. I think it's about sixteen dollars and something. When you don't get but two hundred and some dollars a month, less than three hundred, you've got to make that go just as close as you can. And we've always been people—I'm not bragging—but we've tried to pay our debts and never owed anybody. And I don't want to have to ask anybody, I don't want to have to ask my children, as long as we can help it. Of course, we'd get help from them if they could help us. They'd do it. But we don't want to. We want to live on what we get. And I just don't know [unknown] . . . . Hettie first said that she wanted to buy this house, and so my son told her, he said, "This is an old house." I told her—we've talked about it—"Hettie, this is an old house, and you won't need all this house." She said, "Well, Mama, I don't want you and Daddy to get after yourselves." I don't feel like I can. . . . Her husband's not living with her now, and I don't feel like I can live somewhere else, knowing she's living by herself. I want to stay with her as bad as she [Laughter] wants to stay with me. But I just don't know what we'll do yet. They'll tell you one thing. They've had the meetings; I haven't been to any of them. But they'll say one thing one time and something else the next time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you're just sort of waiting.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I'm just waiting. I said, "Paul, don't worry. Just stay here. God's going to take care of us. I'm not uneasy about that. We'll have a place to stay." And Claiborne, my son, told me, "Mama, don't you and Daddy worry. You'll have a place. I'll fix you a place

Page 36
to stay if you have to get out from down here." So I'm not worrying.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said that when you were working you worked by the pound?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have a quota or a certain number of pounds you were supposed to turn out a day?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, in a way we did, but we could always make that. And if we made over that, we got extra pay for it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you tried to always make more than the . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, we always tried to make every bit we could. They'd pay us so much a pound. And I don't even remember, but you made so many pounds and that paid for the wages that you were supposed to get. And then all we made over that, we got extra pay for it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did Paul also work by the pound?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
He was a doffer; he doffed the spinning frames. And I don't remember whether they got paid by the frame or by the hour. I believe, though, that they got paid by the frame. Some would be on coarse work and some on fine work. The ones on coarse work would doff more often. They didn't have quite as many frames. I really don't remember whether he worked by the piece or . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you worked by the pound.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I worked by the pound.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you never finished your work. You never finished and rested or never finished your quota and helped someone else. You just kept working.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Just kept working on my own side. All I could make, I got

Page 37
paid for.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
While you were working there, did they ever try to speed up the work? Did they ever try to have everyone work faster?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Sometimes, different numbers that way. They would speed it up; if it was on the fine work, maybe they'd speed it up a little bit. But they didn't try to over-speed it, not when I worked. They do more such as that now than they did when I worked, I think.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You don't remember them ever coming in and trying to time everybody or anything like that, do you?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. I always worked. I didn't leave my work, only when I had to. I stayed there and I tried to do my work right, and they always praised me for it. I know when they first started it, after I worked a while down there Mr. Moore came to me one day and he said, "Louise, I'm going to bring you a cone." (That's what we ran, from the bobbins onto the cones.) He said, "I'm going to bring you a cone over here. I want you to run it over for me. What you find in it, you lay it up. Don't say a word to nobody about it. I want to see what's in it." You see, we tied knots with our fingers. We'd tie it and break it off; it would be just little ends like that. Well, some of them would tie and leave the ends, maybe it would be that long. They didn't care, you see, just so they were getting it off. And he had noticed one hand down there doing that. And so he brought me the cone, but he knew that I tried to do my work right. And when he brought it he said, "I'll bring it to you. Now whatever you find in it, you lay it up on top of the winder and I'll come back after a while and see."

Page 38
So I did, and I found the long ends like I told you, where they had broken one time, but you were supposed to break them again where we tied the knots till there would be just little short ends. We didn't have the knotters like you wear on your hand and tie. They got them a long time after I was married. They started letting them use the knotters; they didn't have to tie and break it with their fingers. So I laid it up there, and after a while Mr. Moore came back through my alley. I said, "Mr. Moore, you look down yonder on the other end of the winder." He said, "All right," and he thanked me. That was the last of it. But he knew who ran the cone, and I did, too. We knew who was doing that much bad work. You see, if they shipped it off [unknown] to wherever they went, if they found that in it, it was back on this company, the ones that ran it and shipped it off. It would come back complaining to them about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How big were the cones?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They were that big around, I reckon. They were bigger at one end than they were at the other. They'd weigh maybe two pounds apiece. I don't remember hardly.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would Mr. Moore tell the person who was doing poor work that they were doing poor work and had to do it better?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I never did know. I never did ask him another question, and he never did tell me another thing about it. He knew I wouldn't say anything about it; that's one reason he brought it to me, I reckon. And I never did ask him, but I imagine they said something to her about it, maybe, to try to stop it.

Page 39
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you feel about working in the mill? Had you wanted to work in the mill when you were younger, or did you ever think about doing any other kind of work?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I wanted to work. I never did want to work anywhere else, because I've never been anywhere else, only around here. And one of my brothers [unknown] to work in Raleigh, the one that lived at Carrboro. He worked at a store all of his life. He, what you might say, grew up in a store; that was his love, working in the store.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you had always wanted to work in the mill?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, I wanted to work. I had one teacher one time; I think that's about the only schoolteacher I ever had that I couldn't understand. I always loved my teachers, and they always seemed to love me. But I had one man teacher one time. His name was Mr. Cook. I was up around fifteen years old then, fourteen or fifteen, and I don't know; I couldn't understand him. He was a peculiar kind of person, and I tried to get my work. I always did work hard at school. But he told us one day on we called it grammar (it was English class). . . . And we didn't get along. That was one thing I couldn't get along in, but I'm going to say it and tell the truth: I learned more from him out of that than I ever had before. Now that's the way it turned out. But he told us on class there one day, he says, "Well, you all just haven't got a thimbleful of sense." That went against me, because I never was used to teachers speaking to me like that because I had always tried to do my work, and they would try to help me. But he'd just go right on through the class; he didn't do too much explaining. And so I just

Page 40
studied so hard, trying to get up my work, and I had sick headaches so much. I was sick every evening when I got home with a headache. I couldn't hardly eat supper. And I wanted to quit school then and go to work in the mill; I was old enough to go to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You told me about that before, and I was wondering if, when you did start to work, your headaches continued. Did they?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I had the migraine headache till the change of life took place for me, and since I got through with that I don't have any. But I'd have a spell every month of my life and near about die with it. When I was working I'd have to stay out of work; I couldn't work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you did have them when you. . . . But it was just during your periods you would have them?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, more. But I had it between times, but I'd always have such a bad spell at that time. But anything most unusual would cause me to have the headache. And they put glasses on me when I was about twelve years old. I told you about that. But my mother went to see Mr. Cook. My sister and brother were at home—they were not married then—and they didn't want me to go to work; they wanted me to go on with school. And she went to see him to see if he'd let me drop one or two of my studies so I wouldn't have to study so hard. And he said, "Well, what's the matter? She's never been to me yet when she didn't have a good lesson." And she said, "Well, that's the trouble. She studies so hard that she just dies with a headache every evening when she comes home." But he did let me drop two studies, and so I kept my spelling, reading, arithmetic, and English. And there were two, a boy and a girl, in the class; they were older than I was, and

Page 41
they were in a higher. . . . Well, we didn't grade like they do now, but they were in a higher class, we called it. And they were on the same thing in their English that we were in ours. Well, I had had all my lessons that one day, and he said, "Louise, you're through with your work. You come and have this class with [unknown] Sturdivant and Harry Norwood." He was [unknown] , but he was smart in his books. And so I went on. And the rest of them in my class, it just tickled them because I was going to have to have another class in that. [Laughter] We all dreaded it so much. And what we were studying, that part of it then, was giving the parts of speech, every subject, predicate, clause, phrase, everything that could be told about it. And he gave us the verse of poetry, four lines, and that's what we had to do. We had to give the subject, predicate, and then name every part of speech every word was, and all the clauses and phrases. And I went ahead and did mine, and I got mine right. Well, they didn't. [Laughter] And he looked at me, and he smiled. He said, "Well, Louise, I've seen the time I never thought you'd do this." You know, that did me a lot of good, because I had been kind of shy of him because I knew that he would find fault; if there was anything wrong, he would let you know it. And I never had been used to teachers much like that. But I got so I liked him. I loved him before [unknown] hurt you. [Laughter] And that's why I said I learned more in English from him than. . . . I tried so hard. And he had impressed me more with it than I ever learned from a teacher before, and I've had some mighty good teachers.

Page 42
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was he the last teacher you had before you went to work?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. I think I had one more after that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the work ever dangerous? Did you ever get hurt, or did you ever see anyone else get hurt?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. Well, they could get hurt, but my work wasn't dangerous. I just put a bobbin on a spinner down here, and the spindle up here that the cone was on, and I'd tie the knot on it. And there was no need to get hurt at all if you would mind your own business. Of course, you could get hurt at most anything you do if you'd care to.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter] That's true. But did people ever get injured in the mill, that you know of?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember whether they did much or not along then. I don't remember it. Maybe sometimes they'd mash a finger or something like that. Nothing serious.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was it like inside the mill? It was a brand new mill. Was it real clean and nice, or was there lint?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, there was right much lint. There was more lint in it then than there is now. They don't have as much lint now as they did when it first started. They've done things to try to keep it down.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it hot in there?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. They opened the windows then. They'd keep the windows open all the time. But now they have air-conditioning in there, and they've closed up all the windows and padded them. You can't see through the windows at all. And I just miss seeing the lights at night. Used to, when we were out there, when they ran at night, the mill was

Page 43
lit up and it was so much company to you to look down and see all the lights in the mill. But you can't see a light, only just one or two on the outside, now down there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you worked, could you see out the window when it was open?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, we could see. We could go to the window and look out whenever we wanted to, but they can't see anything out now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That must have been nice, to be able to look out.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
It was.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it noisy in there? Could you talk to each other?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, it was noisy, but we learned to talk. And when you're used to the noise, you can understand better. Somebody going in that wasn't used to it, you'd have to talk louder to them. We'd have to talk louder than just natural talking.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you work so fast and furiously that you didn't really have time to talk to each other, or could you talk?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
As I said, Paul's sister Martha, she worked in the alley; my side was here, and her side was over here. We could talk to each other. When we'd pass each other, we could speak, or we could stop and talk. It just meant that when your bobbin ran out and you needed another bobbin on there, you weren't making anything till you got your full bobbin and got it started. If you took time away from your work, you didn't get off as much. But we could stop and talk if we wanted to. And in some of the other jobs the people could talk a little more than we could. The spinners. They'd pass and re-pass in the alleys; they could stop and talk. And some of them would catch up a little while.

Page 44
We never did catch up unless we caught up with the bobbins and didn't have any bobbins till they'd doff them from the spinning frames.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did that happen sometimes?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Sometimes, but not often. They usually tried to have enough frames on the numbers that they could keep up with them. It was kind of according to the hands. If a hand was out and another one was running that job, maybe if they didn't keep it up and get off as much it might get a little behind. And when the regular ones worked, they could keep up, and sometimes we'd catch up a little bit, not much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever want to learn how to do spinning?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Well, no, I don't know as I ever did. I could sort of put up an end, as they called it, but I never did try to learn to spin. My sister spun when she worked in there, but I never did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the lint bother you? Did you have trouble breathing ever?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, it didn't bother me much. There wasn't as much lint down at one end where the winders were as there was up in the spinning room. And they finally moved the winders down in the basement one time, and then they built some more on to the mill and they moved them back up . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . being really bothered by the lint?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, he never did say much about it if he was.

Page 45
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did anyone have a real bad reaction to it or have trouble doing the work because of the lint?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't think so. I don't remember hearing it if they did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No one had to quit because of it.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were most of the employees women or were most of them men, or was it pretty evenly divided?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I couldn't tell you about the numbers. But upstairs they had what they called the card room. They were running the cotton when I worked. They'd get that in big bales. Where they'd tear that up, they called it the l [unknown] room. They'd tear that up, and it would go on through one machine to another, all through the card room. And the menfolks mostly worked up there. They had some men down in the spinning room, such as doffers and the overseers and all, but more of the men worked upstairs. And I couldn't tell you about the number of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it easier most of the time for a woman to get a job, or for a man, or did it not matter?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They worked both, and I don't remember. There might have been some jobs it was easier for maybe a man could get it. It was a man's work, and a woman couldn't do that, up in the card room, some of it, because it would be some lifting and all in it and they couldn't do that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did a lot of husbands and wives work together on the same shift?

Page 46
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Could they talk to each other?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, we had the privilege of speaking to anybody in there that we wanted to. If we were on up through the spinning room, we could stop and speak to different ones that were working up there if we wanted to, just so it didn't affect our work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any black people work in the mill?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. Not then they didn't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And there weren't any black people living up on the hill either, were there?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any black children go to the school?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, never while I was going to school. There have been several the last few years.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How closely were the workers in the mill supervised? Was the supervisor or the overseer always there, or did you not see them sometimes for a long period?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, they'd have one. Mr. Moore was the superintendent. He was over the whole mill. But they'd have one section head or superintendent, they'd call it, upstairs over the carding, and have one downstairs. Mr. Manley Durham, Mrs. Flossie's husband, he was over the spinning for years down there. He was over it when I worked. [Laughter] I went to him one time. I'd got so [unknown] with the man that was over the. . . . He would take up the yarn at the winder and weigh it and mark it up to us. They packed it in boxes, wrapped the

Page 47
cones and packed them. We had a measuring stick to measure our cones, the big end of them, and we were not supposed to run them any bigger than that stick. And every once in a while he'd get onto some of them, the one that weighed it up, that they couldn't pack it. I understood that mighty well. They couldn't pack them if they were too big, many of them. They wouldn't fit in the boxes that they had made for them. But I was working down there one day. And some of the spinning frames would run the bobbins bigger than others. We'd tie up a whole set as we'd go on down, and I had some big bobbins at one end of my winder and little ones at the other. If I tied little ones up here and big ones down there, the big ones would fill up, and we always wanted them to fill up together so we could doff them off at one time and start them all up together. And I was working down there one day right after dinner, and I would pick up a handful and carry them to the other end, and pick up a handful and carry them to the other end, trying to divide them out. And I got so tired of it. And, too, the one that was weighing it up, he didn't like. . . . We worked all day then; we worked eleven hours a day. And we quit at six at night. And he didn't like for us to take off a doff, we called it, and lay it up on top of the winder for him to take off to weigh right at stopping time. He'd have to stay there, even if it was after six, and weigh that up and mark it to us before he could leave. I knew that day that something was going to be about ready for me to doff at six o'clock that night, to have one on top of the winder. Part of my cones were bigger at one end than the other, and I got so tired of carrying bobbins back and forth, I decided, "Well, I'm going to

Page 48
put [unknown] and not carry any more." Well, some of them were a little too big. He was a peculiar person. Of course, I didn't have any trouble with him. His wife worked, too; she was a winder. And when he came to get my doff, he went to his wife and got her measuring stick. He didn't ask me for my measuring stick. He went and got her measuring stick and measured my cones with it and said something to me about them being too big. I didn't say a thing to him, but Mr. Manley was in the spinning room. He was over us, too. As I went on up there, I saw him. I said, "Mr. Manley, does my work suit you down here? If you don't, you tell me and I'll go home." He looked at me and he said, "Louise, I've never found any fault in your work since you've been down here." And I told him how Rob Hearn acted. I said, "He didn't ask me for my measuring stick. He went and got his wife's measuring stick." And I told him exactly why I did it, the bobbins being like they were. And And I said, "I was trying not to get off another doff to have one lying up there at six o'clock. He didn't like for you to do that. I knew that if I didn't do something that I was going to have one lying up there when I quit work that night." He said, "You go on back to your work. I'm not finding any fault with your work." My uncle was superintendent then, but he was gone off. I'd have gone to him if he'd been, not have bothered Mr. Manley. But I think, after he'd come back and found it out, he said something to the other one. And he never did say another word to me about my work as long as I worked down there, and he never did measure my cones. But my cousin, Uncle Charlie's son, and his wife lived down there with them, and she wasn't

Page 49
at work. And she came down there. You could go in then and stay in there a while if you wanted to. She came down there where I was. And I was working so hard. I was determined that I was going to put him a doff up there to be there at six o'clock, after he treated me like he did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I was going to give him a doff at six o'clock. I never said a word to him, but I was working so hard trying to keep every end going. And it took us about four hours to run a doff. And Laura Neill came down there. She said, "Louise, why in the world are you working so hard?" And I told her. I said, "Laura, I'm going to give him a doff at six o'clock tonight. I mean that thing." And she stayed down there and helped me a while. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
And I had him a doff lying up there as I took off just before six o'clock that night, too. [Laughter] I was trying to help him, in a way, because I knew it made him have to stay there after we quit to weigh it up and mark it up to us. And I thought, "Well, I'll do that much for Rob." And after he treated me like he did, I decided I was going to get him another doff. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long was he your supervisor?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
A right good while, until he got disabled to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How was he disabled? What happened?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember what Rob's trouble was. He was sick a right good while before he died. He had a mighty nice wife; she's living now. She's over at Pittsboro in the home over there. She married again.

Page 50
After Rob died, she married Mr. Bunn White. And he died, so she lived here just by herself and worked on until she got disabled to work. And they put her in the home over there, her stepson. He's mighty good to her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was his disability related at all to the work that he'd done?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, it wasn't the work that caused it. I just don't remember what his trouble was, but it wasn't the work that caused it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there certain rules at work? Could you take breaks at certain times, or did they have rules about eating there or not eating there or smoking or anything like that? Or drinking?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. There were some of the hands that would catch up. They wouldn't have to work. Their work would run so long, and if they wanted to smoke they'd go outside and smoke. And if we wanted to eat something, though, we'd just eat it. We weren't compelled to work that way. We'd just take our own time and eat if we wanted to eat something, a piece of candy or something like that, during the time we were at work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about going to the rest room or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We went just whenever we felt like we wanted to go. We didn't have any certain time to go.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have to be at work on time?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Supposed to.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And you were supposed to be there at six in the morning?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Six in the morning, work till twelve and have an hour for dinner. Go back at one and work till six that night.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What if you were late?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They wouldn't say much to you. I'll tell you one thing:

Page 51
the people that have worked here have had as good a chance. . . . I think that's one reason a lot of people stayed here and all like they did. But they were not so strict on them about the little things that you're speaking of, like they are at other mills. You know, a lot of places they go it's wired in around, and they fasten that gate at a certain time, and you don't get in or out of that gate till time for you to quit work. But it's never been like that here. If they could catch up. . . . Paul was a doffer, and if they caught up with their frames before some of them were full enough to be doffed off, if they wanted to run to the store they could go to the store and come back, and like that. They've always had the privileges like that here, and I think that's one reason people liked to work there, even though they didn't pay as good wages here as they did in some other places. But we didn't have as much expense. We didn't have as much house rent on us, and it's to be looked at in different ways, I think.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there holidays that people had off from the mill? Did you have vacations or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They'd have some time off for Christmas.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
About how long would you have off?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember. It wouldn't be but just a few days. The time of the week that Christmas was on, maybe. If we had the weekend, we'd have another day or two with it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was Christmas about the only one?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Maybe there were other lawful holidays. Maybe they'd stand a day now and then. I just don't remember too much about that. If we

Page 52
weren't able to work, we had the privilege to stay at home. They didn't say anything to us about not being on the job, unless it was just negligent on some of the part of people that worked. If they thought they weren't trying to work and didn't try to do what they could when they were down there, maybe they'd say a little something to them, but that wasn't often.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
If you were sick or something, would you just send word that you couldn't come?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But were you paid if you were sick? Did you have sick time?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, we didn't. If we weren't down there on the job, we didn't get paid for it. If you got sick down there, you could go home.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there ever any kind of council of workers or of employees to help make rules or to talk about problems or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
There was nothing more than just like the superintendent and the one that was over the spinning. If you needed to know something, you'd go and ask one of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you'd do it, usually, individually?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there any competition among the people who were working there? Did you ever have. . . . What do you call them?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Someone trying to make more than the others?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
[Laughter] I think yes. Some of the winders might think, "I can get off more than she can." There was one man who worked on the winders; he had been a spooler in the other mill, and that was almost

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the same thing. He worked on the winders for a while, but it was mostly married women and girls. But some of them would try to out-work the others anyway, just between the two of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it like a game?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't know as they ever said anything about it. I always stayed at my work and got off what I could. If anybody ever tried to race with me, they never said anything to me about it. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it friendly competition, or did it sometimes not get so friendly?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. They never had any trouble about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was anyone ever promoted to head winder, or something like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, all the winders were the same. The man that took up the yarn weighed it for us. Now if we needed to know things, we could go to him and ask him sometimes about different numbers or something. And there was one worked with him that wrapped and packed it in the box. Of course, he didn't have anything to do with the winders. But the one that was over the spinning room, like Mr. Manley was, if we needed to know anything much we'd either go to him or to the superintendent, one or the other.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were women treated differently than men in the mill?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I think they were all treated good. It's like I said, they had privileges. They are not so strict on them, like they are at most other mills, never have been here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were women ever promoted to be supervisor or overseer of the . . .

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LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, it was mostly the men that would be like that, I think, the best I remember about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they ever try to give women work that wasn't quite as heavy or ever give women more time off or anything like that that you remember?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember. They just had the women's jobs and the men's jobs. The men's jobs were for a heavier or stronger person and all. That's the way it was divided up. The spinning room downstairs was mostly women. They had boy doffers and some help like that, and the winding. Of course, they had a boy bring us bobbins and put them in our trough, we called it, for us to wind, and like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did children work there after school or at night or in the summertime?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They could work some through the summer. They could work younger then than they can now. They used to go to work at twelve years old.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were working there, the boy who'd bring you the bobbins would be twelve or so?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, he would be older than that. He had to be stronger. He'd roll them in a box, and then he'd have to pick up that box and pull them along. He'd have to be almost grown to do that. A good-sized boy.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were married women ever treated differently than single women that you remember?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't think so.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
It didn't really matter about your work if you . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, it didn't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering about how you felt about working after you were married. Did you want to be able to stay home, or did Paul want you to stay home instead of having to go to work? How did he feel about your working?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Well, I'll tell you. The Depression came along, and I wanted to work and help all I could. He didn't run around anywhere; he always stayed at home right close. And he loved to go to ballgames. He'd go to ballgames maybe on Saturday afternoon and all away from here. But he stayed at home good. And I just worked some extra time when I could, when he could be with the children. I never did put my children out here and yonder and everywhere and go leave them. If I could have them to stay at home, I didn't work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did some women put their children with other women to stay? How did people get people to take care of their children?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Most of the time, one would be at home and the other one at work, along then.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That's how most people did it?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They didn't have the day care nurseries and all like they do now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the mill ever provide any kind of care? Could you take your children down there?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. Children could go in the mill, which they can't now, with you. Or if they were big enough to go by themselves, they could go.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would children ever come get their parents if they needed them?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
If it was at home and they needed to tell you or ask you something, they could come in and do that, but they couldn't stay in there, of course, for long. But they were not as strict about it as they are now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were working, did you and Paul both do the housework like you both took care of the children?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. When I worked at night, Paul would get up of a morning and fix him some breakfast and go on to work. He had to go to work at six, you know. And then I would get up—Claiborne and Hettie were both in school—in time to help them a little to get ready to go to school, because I wanted them always to look right, be right when they'd go. But he'd always get up and fix him something to eat of a morning; I didn't get up to do that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you did most of the cooking during the day, like the main meal?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. And then after Hettie got bigger, she and he together would fix supper. I'd always leave something cooked to help out, and they'd warm over and fix a little supper for them at night.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How were decisions made, like about spending money? Did you always decide those things together, or did Paul decide how money would be spent, or did you run the budget and buy the food and . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We both handled the money. That's one thing we've always done. What's his is mine, and what's mine was his, if we needed

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anything. Now Mr. Carey Durham, when I first commenced getting my Social Security checks and I'd go down there, I'd almost always go in and have them cashed when I could walk and go to the store, because I liked to get out a lot then. And he asked me a time or two, "You want these put together?" And of course Mr. Carey and I had been here all our lives knowing each other. I said, "Yes, Carey, what's Paul's is mine, and what's mine is his." He says, "You don't have any idea the ones that come down here, and they want their check to them and the other one to the other person." I said, "No, it's never been that way with us. Always, what we had belonged to both of us." We've never had any trouble about anything like that. We've never had any trouble. We've gotten along pretty good together, I'm thankful to say.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the J. M. Odell Company offer insurance? Could you get medical insurance or anything from them?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there any benefits at all? Do they pay a pension or anything like that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No. My husband worked down there over fifty years. Of course, he hasn't been quit but about two years. And a lot of places, they'd take out so much for your retirement. They'll take out so much of yours, and they put in as much as they take of yours, but they never have done that down here. Paul said a time or two here lately he's worried so since he's had to quit work. And he said, "Well, I used to try to get them to have a retirement fund down there, and they never would do it." Working as long as he did, if it had been taken out a little along, he could draw so much from that now to help out with

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our Social Security. But they never did have anything like that down here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember him ever going to them and suggesting that they do that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I never did know when he did, but I've heard him say that he had spoken about it down there to them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there any of the women you worked with trying to get some kind of pension?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Well, I expect a whole lot of them. Now there's some of them wouldn't want them to take out anything from it, but a lot of them would have been glad if they would, I reckon. But they never did. They had an insurance on the hands. If they lost an arm or a hand or anything down there, the company would have to pay for that. But so far as the medical expenses or hospitalization or anything, they never did have it on us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they ever have anything like recreation programs? Did they ever have a baseball team?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Not in the name of the company, but they used to have it here. They used to have good ball teams here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Just people from Bynum.
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. And maybe one that lived out, not right in Bynum, would come and play with them. But most of the time it was here. I had a brother. He was a left-handed pitcher; he was a real good pitcher. And my sister married one. He was a pitcher. They had real good ball teams here then. And ooh, I used to go and just holler my head off. [Laughter]

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
[Laughter]
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I just loved it to death.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the company always keep its word? If they said they were going to give a raise or something like that, would they come through with it?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I think so. So far as I remember, they did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people get raises very often? Like after you'd been working for a certain period of time did you get a raise?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't remember much about that. Of course, if it came along and they were supposed to raise, they would. And some of them made it. Now we were all winders. We just worked. Sometimes they'd raise our pay a little bit, so much a pound. But in the other part of the mill, I just don't know about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Bynum was there ever any division between people who were supervisors in the mill and people who were just workers, once you got home? Or was everyone sort of equal? I mean was there any social status involved in being a supervisor?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't think so. People always got along good together here, and they thought well of one another because there were good people here most of the time. And we would all visit one another. They worked all day; they visited more at night. We called it going and staying till bedtime with neighbors. My mother would, and of course I was always wherever she was at. Mrs. Moore lived here, Mrs. Flossie Durham's mother.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Here in this house?

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LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes. And Mr. Carey Durham, Mr. Frank was born in that part of the house where his rooms are. But she'd come to Mrs. Moore's one night, and Mrs. Moore would come to see us. And we'd go to Mrs. [unknown] when he lived down there, and thought a lot of his wife. And we were all neighbors together. Of course, there were some people she didn't go, that moved in and out, but the ones that had been here so long all together, they were just all good neighbors together.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did anyone ever think of starting a union here or starting any kind of employee organization?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
They talked about it several times, but the company never did want it. If they have a union they can do more of what they want to do, and the company can't help it. But the company never did want a union here, it seemed like, so they never did have one here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever try to get one, or did you ever think it [unknown] would be a real good idea?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I never did think much about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering if during the Depression or right before the Depression if you heard about other organizing drives in North Carolina, if you heard about strikes in other places?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I probably did. I don't know. I don't remember it if I did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you ever remember workers in Durham, say, going out on strike?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. We didn't go around much. Along then, you didn't have any way to go. Because when we'd go to Durham before they

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got cars, we'd have to go horse and buggy to Chapel Hill and get on a train and go to Durham, or go to Burlington or anywhere like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you get word of what was going on?
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . remember ever hearing about a big strike in Durham?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
No, I don't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did anyone here ever walk out or ever get so angry about work that they just said, "I can't take this any more; I'm going to . . ."
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I imagine they did, but I don't remember it especially. But if they got wronged, they'd quit. Maybe they'd go back then later on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But people would usually quit rather than try to argue?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Oh, yes. If something happened and they didn't like it, if they wanted to they'd just quit. They never did try to get all the others to quit with them or anything like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember specifically any group of workers. . . . Did the winders ever say, "We've got to do something about what's going on" all together? Did the doffers ever say. . . .
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't think they did. The best I remember, I don't think they ever got together that way against them anywhere.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
After you quit, when Hettie graduated from high school and she started to go into the mill, you said that you wanted her to go on to school or to go on somewhere? How did you feel about her going into

Page 62
the mill?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
We just kind of gave her her choice, whatever she wanted to do. I said, "Hettie, if you want to go to school, we'll try to help you go to school." But she wanted to go to work down here. She's like me; she's always stayed at home, mostly. And she's working up yonder at the hospital now, but [unknown] . She has a heck of a time up there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She said that she got laid off after she'd been working there for about thirty years, I think. How did you feel about that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I'm like everybody else, 'most. I don't feel like that the company's got this. . . . You see, they leased it from the J. M. Odell Company, and they put in this here other kind of stuff that they run now. Well, they don't know how to make it. They've had nobody down there. You see, the hands here had always run cotton stuff here, and when they started hiring help they'd lay off the older hands that had been here a long time and bring some more in, and a lot of them were niggers. And I hate to say it—maybe I shouldn't say it—but some people are more interested and learn it and want to do it right, what they're going to do, than others. You know that. The people that had always worked here, I think, would have tried much harder to learn what they wanted them to learn than the ones that they have brought in since then. And Hettie got so she couldn't wind. She was in a wreck a while after she was married, and it hurt her back. And she'd been to Duke and got her a brace, and that had helped her, but she changed jobs. She got so she couldn't wind the winders that they

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put in in this new since the other company took it over. There was more stooping and lifting in it, and she couldn't do it. And so she went in the spinning room and got a job. Well, there were two or three more that knew the same job, and she hadn't been there as long as they had, and so they laid her off.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did your son do? I know what Hettie's done. You said he went into the service during World War II, was that?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Claiborne never did work down here. He's been a painter all of his life ever since he got old enough to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did he not want to go into the mill, or did he just like to paint?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know. I never heard him say much against it. He just got to helping a little some of the painters. Now Layton Herndon, he married my niece, and one or two more around here are painters. And he got to helping them a little bit and kind of got onto it. And he helped paint the houses on the outside here one time. And he just finally got into it himself, so he's been painting. But he's working at the University now. He paints some on the side. They're up there after him all the time [unknown] some of them at Chapel Hill, to paint some for them. He worked up there so long. Ever since he's been a real painter he's worked at Chapel Hill mostly. He's worked some at Pittsboro, different places.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What does he do at the University?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
I don't know just what he does, but he paints a little, things that need painting sometimes. And I never have heard him say

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too much about it. But he's out there around the gym, in that part of the [unknown] . So I don't know; I just couldn't tell you. But he likes it up there. He says they're nice to him and all. It's not as hard on him as painting. See, he's getting older, and I said, "You've painted long enough. You ought to try to get something else to do that wouldn't be as straining." You see, reaching and climbing and all like that in painting. But he still paints Saturdays and. . . . He gets off up there, I think, about four-thirty. Sometimes he stays on up there an hour or an hour and a half, if he's got a job, and works on it till time to come on home.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But he's continued to live in Bynum?
LOUISE RIGGSBEE JONES:
Yes, he's got his home up here. He worked and he's been mighty saving. And he always was when he was a little boy growing up. He saved his money. And he's got a little boy now, and he's right much like him. He mows yards, and oh, he's got right smart at money, Danny has. Last week he mowed Mrs. Grassy—we call her Grassy—Gwendolyn Evis out here and Helen Howard's over yonder has got a big yard, and he mowed the church yard. They pay him. I think he told me, he says, "Granny, I made twenty dollars last week." And he's just thrilled to death over it, and he takes care of it. He [unknown] the money. [Laughter] And Claiborne got his home. I sure was glad that he got him a home. It was a little house at first, and he put him up a big house then and he sold the little house. And so he's got a nice, big home up there, and I'm proud of it for him. But he still works every hour he can get in, looks like.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Thank you very much.
END OF INTERVIEW