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Title: Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cobb, Mareda Sigmon, interviewee
Author: Yelton, Carrie Sigmon, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hall, Jacquelyn Dilley, Patty
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 440 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© 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:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-03-15, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0115)
Author: Jacquelyn Hall and Patty Dilley
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0115)
Author: Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton
Description: 421 Mb
Description: 102 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 16 and 18, 1979, by Jacquelyn Hall and Patty Dilley; recorded in Hickory, 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.
Editorial practices
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 Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979.
Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cobb, Mareda Sigmon, interviewee
Yelton, Carrie Sigmon, interviewee


Interview Participants

    MAREDA SIGMON COBB, interviewee
    CARRIE SIGMON YELTON, interviewee
    ALVIN YELTON, interviewee
    JACQUELYN HALL, interviewer
    PATTY DILLEY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I didn't have but one grandparent, Grandma Harriet Sigmon, Oxford School. You know where the Oxford School is; our grandmother used to own all that.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Sixteen houses. [unclear]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. My grandma raised all her children. She had twin boys after Grandpa Sigmon died, and she raised all them, and she lived till I was fourteen years old.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What had your grandfather done?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He was a farmer, and Grandma Sigmon farmed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So she supported all the kids all by herself?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, farming. Some of them was large enough to help the others.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of farm did they have?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They owned all that land where Oxford Ford School sets.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's a pretty big farm.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, that sure was. And then all the children settled in there, all but my daddy, and we lived in Hickory. When it come to a settlement when Grandma Sigmon died, he sold his part to his brother, Van Sigmon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember what she was like?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Me and her never did get along too good. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
How come?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
She said I was spoiled. See, I was raised with seven boys, five older than me and two younger than me. Every time she'd get around me, she'd hit me. She said I was spoiled.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Because you were the only girl?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, till she [Carrie Yelton] was born.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know. I guess I was. [Laughter] She said I was. But I'd always cry when I was little to go to… My daddy had a brother, Joe Sigmon,

Page 2
and I loved them better than I did her, because they'd take up for me. He married Sally Huffman, and they had a big family. I'd always cry to go there when I'd go to Grandma's.
JACQUELYN HALL:
All the brothers and sisters farmed, too?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, all of them was farmers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They got pieces of the land?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, all of them was farmers but my daddy, and he moved to Hickory. I think they had three children when they come to Hickory, three boys.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your father's name?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Cebe Sigmon. He's got a Bible name.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's Julius Ecebus [unclear] .
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Julius Ecebus, but they called him Cebe Sigmon. When I got my Social Security in 1937, you know you had to put your parents' names? And that man said, "What was your daddy's name?" I said, "Your guess is as good as mine." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know when your grandmother was born?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I don't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Or where she came from, anything about that earlier history, any stories?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I don't know too much about that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did your daddy go to Hickory instead of farming?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He was a finished carpenter. He contracted jobs. He worked in Florida for years and years when Florida was being built up, and they was putting all them towns in Florida with the depots.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he travelled around.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. And he worked for Elliot Building Company here in Hickory for years.

Page 3
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is Elliot Building Company connected with Elliot Mills?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't think so.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When was it that he moved to Hickory?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I just don't remember. I wasn't born then. I was born here in Hickory. They had five boys. They had three, I think, when they come to Hickory, and then the rest of us was born in Hickory.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your mother's name?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
She was a Huffman.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know anything about her background?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
She was the only child. She had a brother born before her, and he died when he was three months old. And then when my mother was three months old, her daddy died. Grandma Huffman never did marry anymore. When Mama married, she lived with them till she died, and she died when I was three months old, so I don't remember her. But the older ones do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were the Huffmans Hickory people?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, she died here in Hickory. She moved to Hickory with her. She raised my mother. She farmed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So your mother and daddy pretty much grew up together out on the farm.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. There was just fifteen years' difference between Mama's oldest kid and her. She got married when she was fourteen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And had her first kid when she was fifteen.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. It was fifteen years and a few months difference between her and my oldest brother's age, Ervin Sigmon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How many kids did she have?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
She had ten and raised nine.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which one of the children died?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The one between my baby brother and her [Carrie Yelton]. It was born dead. There's

Page 4
five of us living now. There's three boys and two girls.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she work outside [the home]?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, she never worked but three months in her life at public work. That was after she [Carrie Yelton] had gone. She worked three months over here at the Ivey Weavers. We laughed at her so much, she quit. [Laughter] We just couldn't get it in our heads about her working.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did she go to …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
My brother's wife was there, and she was expecting a baby, and she kept her [Carrie] and told Mama to get her a job and go to work and help her. And she did; she got her a job, and she worked three months.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she like it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, she liked it, but we made fun of her so much she quit. Because I was teenager, and I thought she looked so funny going to work. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did most of the women …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Women didn't work back then like they do. Not very many did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your father not want her to work?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He never did say nothing about it. She never did work. I guess he got used to it. [Laughter]
You know, back then a man could make… We didn't make a living; we were resisted back them times. We had the average of a large family. My daddy made pretty good in his work. Sometimes he'd take a job, and he wouldn't get paid till he'd get the job done. I know one time he built a church for a bunch of colored people down here below Hickory somewhere. They didn't pay him, and we laughed at him. He went down there and locked the church up [Laughter] till he got his pay. [Laughter] That's about the only way you could collect.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would there be periods, then, when you didn't have very much money?

Page 5
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, but we had good credit, and we'd run it. We used to buy our butter and milk from Louis Frye over here. And then Alf Hebner run a store, and we'd get stuff there. He carried everything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have a garden?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, we'd always have a garden. My mother always had her garden. If she didn't work in it so much, she made us young'uns do it. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your mother do anything else to earn money?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. Us kids would get out and pick blackberries. We'd can blackberries. We helped can. We'd have all kinds of canned stuff. And I never will forget that big old icebox. You know, we didn't have Frigidaires back then. But we lived over here in West Hickory in the last house my daddy built. He built three and sold the other two. We was all pretty well grown. Carrie was born there. My mother was forty-five years old when she was born. So she went.([unknown]) You had to have a weight on this big old icebox; it was a huge thing. We'd buy three hundred pounds of ice and put in there, or maybe put five hundred; we have bought five hundred. But we always had good cold stuff. My mother was a wonderful cook; she'd always been. She'd enjoy it; she stayed in the kitchen. We had plenty to eat.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you kids go to work?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I went to work two months before I was sixteen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you quit school?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I quit school and went to work. Kids did back then. [Laughter] Yes, we all went to work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did the kids older than you work?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Most of them worked in textiles, didn't they?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
My oldest brother was master mechanic over here at the furniture factories.

Page 6
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Southern Desk over here, my next-to-oldest brother worked over there.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The oldest one was Lee Irvin. The next to our oldest brother joined and went to service back before World War I, and he wasn't in there but about six months till he died. He always had head trouble, and I think they tried to cure it, and when he come home his skull([unknown]) We never did know too much about it. Back then, you know, you didn't get nothing, and my daddy and mama never did know too much about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They didn't know really what had happened?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they feel that he hadn't been treated well?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know. I think he must have took infection when they operated on him or something. That's what they always believed, I think. Then he died. He never was married. But he was grown when he entered service.
Irvin, our oldest brother, was the next who died. He died of leukemia. That was in sixty-what?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Was it '62? I think it was '62.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your father like …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, he was …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Personally?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you very close to your parents?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, when I was little growing up. They always called me "Sis," because I was the only gal. And I still carry that name. I've got about two dozen names, and Daddy's people call me Areda([unknown]). My people call me "Sis," because that's what it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which one of your parents did the disciplining of the kids?

Page 7
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Mama. I never did know my daddy to ever whip one of us. [Laughter] My mama, because she was with us. All the slap, she did. Mama never was bad to whip us. We never did get many whippings. I never did. Now I reckon that's the reason Granny said I was so mean. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Was your father away from home?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, lots. Our mother never did go nowhere without… They used to have a little show over here at the YMCA. That building still sets there, where the Ivey Weavers's on. They have some kind of a club in there now. In front of the Ivery Weavers. Used to have the office in there.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You know where the fire department is.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That building down there. It don't look too good right now, but it used to. That used to be a theater, and our mama would see that we went to the picture show twice a week. She'd scrape around and get the money. She'd always buy us popcorn. That's what they had then; it was about like now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What else did you do for fun when you were kids?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
There wasn't too much to do then. We didn't have no recreation in school back them days. We'd go to the show, and we'd just visit the neighbors and stuff like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have to do certain chores around the house?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I never would wash the dishes. [Laughter] No, Mama wouldn't never let nobody in her kitchen, would she, Carrie?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. When I was [grown?] up, she did the cooking and all and I cleaned the house.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That's what I done. And she did learn me to sew. When I was fourteen years old, my daddy bought a new sewing machine, a Singer treadle. We had an old one, but it was old; I think it belonged to Grandma Huffman. But he bought a new one and he give it to me, and he wanted me to learn to

Page 8
sew. And that's one thing I'm proud of; I can sew pretty good. And Mama would set me down. She never would whip me, but if I didn't do it right she'd come around and snap me on the head. [Laughter] But we got along pretty good for a large family.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Tell them about the time you moved up here to Burke County, the thing about Mama's hat.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
My daddy sold our second house and bought a farm up in Morganton, but us young'uns didn't like being in the country. We went to a little country school out there. It was across the creek, and we had a neighbor up there, but I couldn't whip this girl and she picked on me. You know how kids… My brother older than me, Frank, said he'd hold her if I'd whip her, and I did. [Laughter] Anyhow, when we was moving up there, my mother was always kind of neat, and her hat didn't look so good. You know, back then you didn't have nothing. She got this black shoe polish, and she put it on it, and it rained on us that day going. My brother Quinn([unknown]) was driving the buggy, and she had us two littler ones in the buggy with her; then the rest of them was on the wagon. And he looked up. He said, "Mama, what in the world's the matter with you? You're turning into a colored person." [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Shoe polish was running down her …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, that shoe polish just run down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where were you on your way to?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
About five miles the other side of Morganton, my daddy bought a farm. And we stayed up there less than a year, so he sold it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did he buy that farm?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He just wanted to be a farmer. You know, it was in his blood. He was raised that way. But us kids didn't like it. I didn't like that country school, and it was altogether different from our Hickory school. I never had went nowhere but over here in West Hickory.

Page 9
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your mother like it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, unh-uh: No, none of us did. I don't think even my daddy did, but he wouldn't own it, you know, because he bought it. So we moved back. That's when he built the last house, that she [Carrie] was born in. He built eight rooms and two big halls.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's a pretty good size.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, it was just a boxed house, though, four rooms up and a hall, four rooms down and a hall. And they've got apartment houses in it now. But there's where we knowed, the last part. That's where I was living when I was married, and that's where she lived till she was a pretty good-sized girl.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
So that's where I come in, I guess. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you remember about growing up?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We lived in that house till I was pretty good-sized. We went to Westmont School. That's the only school I ever went to.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I was going to tell you, I never did go in that new schoolhouse, the old schoolhouse. And then they put a shoestring factory in, that I worked in for years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you like school?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I liked it on up till the eighth grade, and that's when I quit. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you want to quit?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I kind of got mad at the teacher of algebra, and I just couldn't get along with it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You didn't like the teacher?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
So I went and finished there. And then we moved from that house over to the mill village. All these houses down here is tore away now; where the trailers sit and all of that was mill houses that they rented.

Page 10
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were some of you kids working in the mill by then, or how come you moved into the mill village?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
My brothers did, and my baby brother worked there. And I never lived on the farm but one time. After we moved to the mill village, Hedrick down at Statesville, Daddy knew him or something or another. He got the craze to go back to the farm, so we moved down there.
PATTY DILLEY:
This was for his second time?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. [Laughter] Then one of my other brothers and his family moved. I was in the third grade, and, oh, I was the teacher's pet, and I hated to go. Me and her both just cried and cried. So we didn't stay down there but about a year. My brother and his wife moved back before we did, and then it was lonesome. Me and Mama and my other brother was just so lonesome. They had a little old one-room school down there, and had to walk about three miles. My brother never did go, but I started, and I went a week, and I just didn't like it at all, you know, being used to city schools.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you wouldn't go at all?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. But the teacher one day said, "Anybody that can say, ‘A diller, a dollar, A very bright scholar’ plumb way through," he'd give them a dollar. And I raised my hand, and because I was a new pupil he wouldn't let me say it. He let the other ones say it and got it, and I never did go back. [Laughter] We stayed there a year, and we came back. I had to go back in the third grade. But I was tickled to death. I got my same teacher back. [Laughter] I was real thrilled about that. So I quit school. Back then you could quit school when you was fourteen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you do when you quit?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Just loafed. I didn't do anything. I was seventeen when I went to work in hosiery, out on Fourteenth Street. The James Hosiery Mill is still

Page 11
out there. I worked out there four years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get that first job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
One of my neighbors got it for me. She quit, and she asked me whether I wanted to go to work, and I told her yes, so I went to work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your job then?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Clipping on a hand clipper. Put socks on the hand clipper, and then I turned thirds on a broom handle. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you like it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I liked it pretty good. I went to work for forty cents an hour, but that was pretty good money back then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How many hours did you work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You could work as many hours as you wanted to. I'd work eight, and then me and this other girl would go back sometimes and work. Work till six and come home and eat supper and go back and work till maybe ten o'clock. Then I got work in textiles out at Ivey Weavers, and I worked out there eleven years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you change jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It was four years. I was born in 1919, and I went to work when I was seventeen. That would have been 1936.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then four years later would have been 1940.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, that I went to work at Ivey.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you change jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Because I thought I'd like to work in textiles, and my brother got me a job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you want to work in textiles instead of hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
One thing, I made more money. [Laughter] Out there I spooled, and then they got in winders, and I wound. Then I run the warping machine, and

Page 12
I creeled warping machines.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You did a lot of different things.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ask to learn new jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, they just put me on different jobs, and the best job I had out there was creeling. I really worked about three hours and just fooled around the rest. My bossman's wife wanted to come to work, so he took me off of that job and put me to running warps.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And gave her that job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, that's what he did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What is creeling, exactly?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It's a long thing that comes out like this, slanting, and you've got to put spools on it so you can run it around the warping machine, and that makes the cloth. You take it down to the weave shop, and it makes cloth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were you able to work so few hours doing that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I got caught up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What would you do then?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Back then you could go out or anything. You could go out and go home and come back in them times. I'd go to the cafe and get sandwiches and things and read. Had me a little old radio with earplugs you couldn't hear, hardly, in a textile mill surrounding it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you only worked that creeling job for three months?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know exactly how many months. That was my last job. You see, I wound and spooled when I went in at first. Then they quit, and they thought I'd be good on that job, and they just put me on it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you say anything when your boss took you off that job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I didn't like it, but there wasn't no use saying anything,

Page 13
because he was the bossman. [Laughter] It wouldn't have done no good. Of course, you know, it would irritate him some. But if the warp run good, you didn't have to work too hard anyway. If the yarn was good, sometimes it would run for an hour without breaking.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Some days the yarn would be bad, and some days it would be good?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It run better in pretty weather, but when it was bad, damp, it didn't run so good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have close friends at work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were the relationships like among …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I had friends. I make friends everywhere I go. [Laughter] Yes, I had friends, lots of friends. And in fact, my whole family worked… When I worked out there, Murphy worked out there; Ralph worked out there; Irvin worked out there; Frank worked out there; his wife worked out there. In fact, they had almost enough to run a shift of just us Sigmons out there. I had a niece that worked out there; I had nephews that worked out there. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you learn these different jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
People taught us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the supervisors, or the other …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, no, they'd have learners to teach you.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your relatives teach you your jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. My brother was bossman on the second shift.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he was your boss?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I had to work harder than the rest of them, because if I wouldn't work hard they'd say, "Oh, she's your sister. That's the reason she don't work hard." But I've always worked hard, wherever I've done. I've never

Page 14
laid down on the job, if I got paid by the hour or if I'd get paid production.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you getting paid production?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, that was by the hour. The only getting paid by production is in hosiery work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Since you were being paid by the hour anyway, weren't you tempted to just kind of take it easy?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I did my job up. I've always worked, regardless if it was by the hour or if it…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a real difference, some people who really worked hard and some who didn't?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, now there is some people like that, yes. But I never did. I always wanted to give a good day's work, regardless.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
… have some time left. But winding was a steady job. You just had to go around. I had winders on one side, and go around the end and come back. That's a steady work. You had to keep them up. You had to be fast. Then after you made the big cones, sometimes that big, you had to take them off and put another cone on and start it. I liked that pretty good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
If some people were real fast workers, would that then set a faster pace for other people?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
If you was fast, you didn't get any more, if you was paid by the hour. But they wanted you to get off as much as you could. No, when you was paid by the hour, you didn't get any more; you just got more work off for the company. But now when you're on piecework, you get what you can make.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have some supervisors that you liked and others that you

Page 15
didn't like?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the difference in them?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Lots of them would let you get by with more than the rest would. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Like what?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Like on the third shift, this woman and I could do the same thing. I creeled and she run the warp, but she could also creel and run the warp. I worked on the third shift for four years. I never did get used to it. We had a wonderful bossman. Since both of us could do the same thing, we'd lay down and sleep maybe two or three hours during that night. I would creel it and run it while she slept; while I slept, she would do it. And he'd come around about five o'clock. He said, "All right, girls, get up there and get them eyes open. Charl Jones"—that was the superintendent on the first shift—"will be in here in a little bit." [Laughter] And he was just wonderful.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you work the third shift if you didn't like it? Did you have to work that shift?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You didn't have a choice of which shift you would work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You had to work the shift that they needed you on. And then I got on the second shift. I never did work the first shift in textiles; I just worked the second.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They were mostly women that you were working with?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, not in textiles. There were doffers, fixers. Too, there for a while they didn't have anyone on the quill machine. They called it the quill machine, that you take off of the spinning frames. You had to clean the yarn off of them. There for a while, when I was on the second shift,

Page 16
and we'd catch up. I took that job on, too, to help them out. Then I have swept. [Laughter] I'd take the brooms and go down the alleys and sweep.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You and this woman helping each other out, did that happen a lot? A woman who worked in hosiery was telling us the other day about the person who worked next to her putting her work onto her pile—she was an inspector—putting her dozens onto her work so she would have to do more work without realizing.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, that used to be bad in hosiery miils. And they'd also come in early in the morning—used to, could come in any time—and pick out all the good work and leave all the bad for the rest. Oh, that was common, but you don't do that anymore now, or they didn't where I worked. They've really got strict rules and things to go by now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But things like that didn't happen in textiles?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that? What's the difference in textiles and hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The companies has just got stricter.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But when you were working in textiles, did things like that happen?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, because when you spin, you had to be there all the time; you couldn't take off. You could just go to the bathroom and get right back, because if the ends break, that was it. But the job we were on, we didn't have to… It was two of us, and we could do that. But he was just a good bossman; he let us do that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any bad bosses?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I've always got along with my bossmen, everywhere I worked. And I've tried to do what they told me to do and all. But I didn't like that one too much that took my job away and give it to his wife. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
If you had a supervisor that nobody liked, was there any way to get rid of him?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, they did where I worked at the hosiery mill, Kayser-Roth.

Page 17
They were looping then; they used to loop, but now it's all seaming. This woman and I were doing the same work, only I did the long and she did the short, inspecting. We had a looper whose machine was making a little hole in a gore, and you just couldn't hardly see it. Over at the finishing plant at Dukes, they caught it and they sent maybe ten or fifteen boxes back, because they thought it had to be done over. This bossman liked this other girl, because he went hunting. They had a big farm and went hunting and would sell meat and stuff. They was farming, too, down in Catawba. So they come back, and he wouldn't let her do none over. I had to do mine over, and some of the rest helped do it. And he'd just keep saying, "These damn inspectors are not going to cause me to lose my job." So they didn't find as many in mine as they did in this other woman's that I'd let go through, and he just kept on and kept on, and I was about to have a nervous breakdown. So he went on and on, and he got fired, but it wasn't over the inspectors. But after that I just couldn't like him as good as I did before, the way he treated me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was blaming you for not …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It was her fault, too, but he wouldn't say nothing to her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did all that stuff have to be done over, and you didn't get paid for it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you had to do it over during regular work hours, but you weren't being paid anything at all?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. And that's what made me so mad, and he didn't let her do any of it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did that take?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It didn't take but a day or two, because they had other… Not regular inspectors, but others, like the floor lady and some of the others, would do it, help get it done.

Page 18
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you just had to lose a couple of days' pay.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I had, I reckon, four or five bosses over there.
At the hosiery mill out here, when we first went to work we did inspecting on just plain boards. We had our own motor when we quit. But then we got inspecting machines, and I thought, "Law, I can never learn to inspect on them machines," because I never had inspected. We had two different kinds; we had a stack machine, and then we had a blow-line([unknown]) machine. And I learned to run them off both of them, and I just loved it after I got used to it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did those machines come in?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They bought us out from Red Hafer—we were there from '52—in '55. I guess it was about 1957 or '58 when those machines came in. And now, the way it's growed. We went from the machines to a four-in-one, they called it. I guess you all have seen these big, long ski socks, heavy—well, you can wear them for boot socks, too—that's the work I did for about eight years. They put all the others on four-in-one. That's you seam them, and you inspect them, and pop the toe out. It's four things. The reason they call it "four-in-one," though, they used to make leotards, and they called them "three-in-one," so they called the socks "four-in-one." So they put them on then. The looping went out, and they put them on seaming first, and then they put them on four-in-one, and that's what they're on now. So that's the reason I… I just quit, because I had surgery on my arm, and after doing them… They're awful heavy to do anyway. We was on production. They went and put them on. I went back after I had my surgery done in March. I was out for five weeks.
JACQUELYN HALL:
This was in fifty…
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, this was just this year. But I really liked to work out there. They were good to us out there. I liked my bossmen, all but that one. But they changed personnel.

Page 19
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did new people come in?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the company change hands or something?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. I was bought out. One year I had four different W-2 forms from the same building. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Four different new owners came in?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
In one year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How were the new managers different from the old ones?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
These new managers that's in now have been in about three or four years. Gulf and Western had bought out. I went to work for Red Hafer in 1952. In 1955 Kayser and Roth bought out. I'd been working for them until about three years ago Gulf and Western bought out, '77, I think. So they had changed all the hands around.([unknown]) And I just loved them. They were all younger. But I just couldn't take this four-in-one. Oh, Lordy. I'm telling you, I went back after a week. I've got bursitis in my shoulder and my neck so bad, and I had a ganglion cyst taken out of my artery in my arm. And I've not got no strength in it too much. So I just quit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were other people unhappy with that new system?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, they sure are. They don't like the bossmen; they don't like the plant manager. They treat them like dirt. I didn't like the plant manager out there now too good, but my bossman was just wonderful to me. But now some of them just can't stand him. They say he just treats them so dirty on that four-in-one. But, you see, I wasn't on that four-in-one. If I were, I might have been treated…
JACQUELYN HALL:
How does he treat them like dirt?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They just made it so strict out there. Now if they find at least three holes in four dozen, they've got to do a box over. And they

Page 20
didn't pay them for it till they just raised cain about it. I think they're starting to pay them their average over if they have to do it. And they were supposed to pay them down time if their machine broke down, and some of them they didn't and some they did, things like that. So I just don't know how they're going to get along.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you get married?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I got married in 1950.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did you meet your husband?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
[Laughter] When my water broke.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[Laughter] Well, that's great.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
My mother and I were living in an apartment, and him and his sister and brother rented the other part. And it was in the wintertime, and my water froze up and busted, and they came over, him and his brother, and that's where we met. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's very romantic. It's like dropping your handkerchief for somebody to come along and pick up. [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was he doing then?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He was working on the railroad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did you go out together before you got married?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
About a year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were still living in the same apartment, sort of next door to him?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I worked at textiles then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you decide to get married?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He just asked me to get married.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember when he proposed?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.

Page 21
ALVIN YELTON:
You didn't tell them how come we got together, though, did you?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I told them my water broke. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
After you all got married, where did you live?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We lived there for a while, and then we moved up on Main Avenue Drive.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you'd been living with your mother all along?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And your other brothers and sisters had left home.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. She stayed with us.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you had other boyfriends? Had you ever thought about getting married before that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I did, but I never did get married. He was the guy. He was the one. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was the right one. Now you should leave here, so we can talk about you when you're gone. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
You didn't get married, then, till you were about thirty-one. Was that old then to be getting married, or did a lot of people wait?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It didn't seem too old to me. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
People didn't tease you or say, "Why don't you get married?"?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I just had a good time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you mostly go out with people that you met at work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I had friends. Some of them worked, and some didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you all do for fun in that period while you were still single, in your free time?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, when we were growing up, we didn't have things to go to then. We'd play games like Kick the Can. That's [at] thirteen, fourteen, like that. Play Ant Me Over. I don't guess you all ever knowed any of that, did you?

Page 22
You get a ball. Three or four get on one side of the house and on the other one, and you'd say, "Ant Me Over" and throw the ball. And if you'd catch it, you'd come around and try to get one of them out. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
I've never heard of that.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We was just talking about that the other day, that kids wouldn't know. Back then you didn't have toys and things. You had to make your own. I know one time when my brother and I were little we played with those glass things in jar caps. So I broke one one day and he made me mad, and I throwed it, and I split his lip open. Oh, boy, I knew I was going to catch it. They had to take him to get stitches. I run up under the house, and I stayed there till Mama said she wouldn't whip me. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were under the house?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, it was a large house. They had a big porch. [Laughter] She should have whipped me, but I would have stayed under there all night. [Laughter] And back then when you growed up, you went to picture shows lots.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about dancing or listening to bands or music?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I loved to dance. We used to go to lots of dances.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did you have dances?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Mostly I'd go with my brother and his wife to dances. They was young then. They used to call it Baxter's Lake over towards Mountain View, and we'd go over there and have square dances and Paul Joneses and things like that. Because it wasn't too many places for young people to go back then. Go out to the shows or maybe have parties. I used to have lots of parties.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At your house?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people that you knew play instruments? Did people entertain themselves by playing music?

Page 23
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Talking machines, they used to call them. Things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were talking machines?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It's something kind of like a record player now, but it would have a horn out, like.
ALVIN YELTON:
It had a handle on. You had to wind it up. Victrola([unknown]) records.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it would play records.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, I see.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You know, back time the records used to be round, instead of like they are now. They'd be round, and you'd put them on a round thing, and it'd play.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have one of those, or was it one of your friends that had it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
One of my friends.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they work with you at the plant?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Sometimes I'd have parties, and I'd have two or three girlfriends staying all night with me. We used to have an old-timey sofa that would make a bed, and we would all sleep on that one bed, laying across us. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Were they still single then?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any kids?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I've got five.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When were they born?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I had two boys before I married him, and then the others I have are three girls. My first one was born when I was seventeen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So just after you'd started to work.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The other one was born four years later. Then we got married, and we've got three.

Page 24
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you quit work when you had your babies?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did you stay out?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I'd work on long as I could, [Laughter] sometimes six, seven months, and then quit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Then how long did you stay out?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We used to have to stay out three months before you'd go back to work, but now you can go back to work after they're a couple of weeks old if you want to.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you mean the company wouldn't let you come back before three months?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. But now they do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just don't know why they didn't, but they didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So it was a policy that you had to stay out for three months.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, it was a policy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Could you come back right into your same job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, they had to hold your same job. They're supposed to do that yet when you get out and have a baby. But you can work on up now till two or three weeks before you have it, if you want to. And they'd come back. Now I went back when my last baby was three weeks old, because I went out to show her off.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You went up to the plant?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, at Kayser-Roth. And the bossman said, "Are you ready to come back to work?" and I thought he was just joking. I said, "Yes, anytime," and next week here he come, and I was washing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He came over to the house?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. He said, "Carrie, are you ready to come back to work?"

Page 25
I said, "Yes, if you need me." So there I left my washing, and I said, "I have to get ready, though." And I went across the street to my neighbor, and she kept the baby. But I went back to work when she was three weeks old. I went back one day, and they sold us out the next day to Kayser-Roth. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who took care of the different kids?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
My sister-in-law, then my neighbor Mrs. Woody across the street. Them was the only two babysitters I ever had. Well, my mother kept them, too, for me before she died.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever have anybody that came in and helped you with housework?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you just had your neighbor and your sister-in-law. You'd take the kids over to their house?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, after Mama died.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the difference in you and your mother that made you go right back to work and just always work, whereas your mother wouldn't ever dream of working?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just don't know. She just liked to be at home, a housewife.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you not like to be at home, or did you have to work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I had to work and wanted to work. I liked work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever wish you could just stay home?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, I've done that lots of times, but when I was out a couple of weeks I was ready to go back. Like when I had my surgery and stuff, I'd be out maybe six weeks. Well, I was ready to go back. But this time… [Laughter] This time, I just don't …
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't have any desire to go back.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. And I'm not going back unless I get hungry. [Laughter] Because it must be a year and a half till I sign up for my Social Security.

Page 26
I'm hoping it won't be gone by then. [Laughter] But I still think they'll work a way out for the older people, people that have to… I don't believe it'll ever disappear. I believe Social Security will be here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do some of the people worry about that, that by the time they get old enough to collect it'll just disappear?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I've heard just oodles of people talk about it. A niece came to see me yesterday. "Oh, till I get time to draw, it'll be out. There won't be any." My brother's daughter. He said, "Well, I thought the same thing. I've been drawing it for seven years." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Will you get any pension from the company at all?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We did have a pension plan, but when Gulf and Western took over they paid it to us in a lump sum, so they don't have any now. But we never got very much, because they always said they went in the red, Kayser-Roth did.
PATTY DILLEY:
So it was like a profit-sharing.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It was a profit-sharing. So I had up almost to a thousand dollars one time, and when they paid us off I had five hundred and some dollars. Took it away from us, you see, said they didn't make any profit.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's what they said?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any other fringe benefits?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, they have good group benefits out there.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And we get a bonus twice a year. The ones that's been there fifteen years gets a bonus at Christmas. And then we get one at July.
PATTY DILLEY:
And this is under Gulf and Western?

Page 27
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. That's about all. They have this Credit Union out there that you can take so much out of your payday and save in the Credit Union. Then they have good insurance. They have major medical and then other insurance, life insurance. They have just about as good of that as, I believe, any mill here in Hickory. Of course, some mills have a period in there, three days for death now that you can be out. They didn't have that down there. They may, later on, take it up. But then what hurt me, too, about quitting, I had my bonus made. Now that's one thing I think they should make something. Anybody that's worked down there twenty-four years, I think they should give a bonus. See, our bonus for July is from April to April. Well, I had my bonus made, but I won't get it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Because I quit. But I'd have had a nervous breakdown. I'd rather give up the bonus as to have a nervous breakdown.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The work was really getting on your nerves?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you'd come home from work, you'd still …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, goodness. It felt like I was having a heart attack. [Laughter] Mostly my nerves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It was just physically …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Strained and tense. And I just couldn't do it. And they said why didn't I go to sign up [for unemployment]? and I said, "Well, I wouldn't get it." When you quit, you don't get any unemployment either. You could have a trial, but they'd appear against me. Now if they wouldn't appear against me, I could sign up. But they'd appear against me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you know?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I know they would; they're just that kind. Because they won't let you sign up out there.

Page 28
JACQUELYN HALL:
Won't let you sign up for unemployment?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, they'll make you work three days. See, if you work three days, you can't sign up. Now if you can work twenty-three and a half hours you can sign up, but if you work twenty-four you can't. The people out there now is for the company; they're not for the hands at all. Because they're job-scared, afraid they'd lay them off.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At any of the plants where you've worked, have there been any efforts to unionize?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, they was out there several times while I worked out there. They didn't get nowhere.
PATTY DILLEY:
At Kayser-Roth?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. They were on the outside. They never did get inside. When we'd come out, they'd give us literature.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But there never was an in-plant committee or anything?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did people react to the organizers?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They were just satisfied with what they were giving us. They didn't seem interested in it at all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you interested, though?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. They strike too much. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you ever been involved in a strike? Have there been any at any of the places where you were working?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I've never been.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not even any strikes that just were organized from within the plant or just lasted for a day?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I haven't. I've never known them to have it. Out at Ivey Weavers I've never known them to be out there to even try to have a union.

Page 29
Of course, they sold out to Burlington, and then Burlington went broke. They didn't go broke; they just shut down one of their plants.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When people were unhappy about the way things were going in the plant, did groups of people ever …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Go to the office? Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things like that can happen?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
When they'd think they weren't paying them enough, or if they thought production was too high. Well, it didn't do any good. They didn't do anything about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you involved in the group of people …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I never went to the office.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who would tend to do that? Would there be a certain kind of people who would make that …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, a certain kind. One time a bunch of us were going, and we went up to go and they wouldn't go, so me and this other just didn't go, either. We just come back, because …
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean you started up to the office …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, and all the rest of them wouldn't go, so we just didn't go either. When I told them that I just couldn't do that work and all, I told them, "Well, I got my chair that I've been sitting in for twenty-four years." So they give me my chair; that's the only thing they give me for twenty-four years' work out there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you feel about that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It's just dirty; that's what I think. I think anybody that works that long at any place should… And then they did give us pins for ten, fifteen, twenty years, so I got my pins. And if I'd have worked till next year, I'd have got a pearl for twenty-five years. But I asked the supervisor if there'd be anything else. He said, "You'll take that or nothing."

Page 30
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well:
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
So I just took nothing, because that machine just got on my nerves, and my sister in there said she knew that I'd never stay on a machine. [stand?]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You asked to be moved to a different job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, and he said that it was that or nothing. We were supposed to have seniority, and I had seniority over lots of them that I could have took their place, but then I wouldn't feel right, to take their job.
PATTY DILLEY:
Could you have gone up and told them, "Now, look, I've been here longer than they have"?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, they know.
PATTY DILLEY:
And they wouldn't put you?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
But they wouldn't do it. So I guess it's the end of my working days if I don't take a notion and get tired of not doing nothing. I think I'll try to get me a job in one of these rest homes or something. I love to work with elderly people. Wait on them, you know. Try to bring a little sunshine into their lives.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That'd be nice.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's what I want to do, if I get bored. Of course, I've not been bored. I've been going. I've joined the Senior Citizens' Club, the Aged Club, all of them. There's something to do all the time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
During your working life, did you ever think about wanting to do something different? Did you ever think of doing something like that before?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. I love hosiery.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You like hosiery better than textiles?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I loved inspecting. But, you know, that's gone out. They're all on four-in-one now, and inspecting's gone out.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you like it better?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know. I got to sit down. I could sit better than I could

Page 31
stand. It's just something I liked. You know, if you like a job you can do it lots better.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are some of the differences between working in a hosiery mill and working in a textile mill?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
In a textile mill, you've got to stand up most of the time; you can't sit down. And it's lots different, because you make yarn.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't see the product that you make.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, you don't see the product, because you just see the yarn that you make and take off. It goes down into the weave room, and it makes material in the weave room. It weaves in the weave room. And out in a hosiery mill where you have a product, you work with the product, the sock. We made men's hose, and then they did make some leotards for women. And they did make some for men. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever work in full-fashioned hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, never in a finishing plant. I was always in the knitting. division. Now the finishing plant for the knitting division over here is in H [unknown], Duke Hosiery finish, and then they do send some of them to Burlington. But ours was just the making, the knitting and the inspecting and the seaming, over here. Then in the finishing plant they board them and pair them, put them in boxes, and all like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the earlier days, did different kinds of people work in hosiery than worked in textiles, or would you say it was pretty much the same?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It's pretty much the same.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Pretty interchangeable.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. It was more men I worked around in textiles than I did in hosiery, because the only men in the part I worked out here was the shipping clerk and his helper. And then we did have a boy that gave out the work, but

Page 32
now they have women doing it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why didn't more men work in hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They do fix. Fixers is about all they is in the hosiery mill.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are the best paid jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Fixers. They get paid real good. I don't know just exactly, but they really get paid good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How about knitters?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They're the next, although they said that the inspectors got more than they did, but they didn't. The inspectors is the least paid.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know, but they are. That is, on production, but some of the ones on hour work just gets the minimum wage, which is $2.90, I believe, now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you like being an inspector so much if it was the lowest paid?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
What we did, we got paid good on ours. We got real good. Sometimes I made four and four-fifty an hour. This was on piecework. It was according to how much they paid a dozen for the socks, you see, in inspecting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you were fast enough that you could …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Most of them now makes anywhere from three to three-thirty to four dollars an hour. But when I first went to work out there for Red Haker, he paid by the hour. Seventy-five cents I got an hour out there when I first went to work in 1952.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did that compare with the wages that you got in the textile mill?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I believe it was about $2.30 an hour when I went to work in textiles. It wasn't too much. Of course, every six months or every year they give you a raise. It didn't differ too much. And that's another thing. They said some of them asked him out there when they was going to get a raise again. He said he didn't know when they would. [Laughter] So

Page 33
I don't know, back and forth. There may be a lot more quitting from it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know people who set up little knitting mills in their garages?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I had a brother that did that, up at his house.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he go about doing that? I've just noticed a lot of little, tiny …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They'd buy up old machines that the mills didn't want and start out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who would they sell to?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They'd go around to the stores and get orders. But he didn't stay in it but a couple of years; he got out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He retired, and he just didn't fool with it anymore. And then a man that I worked with did the same thing. He quit out there and put him up a little hosiery mill. But now he's retired, and he's out of it. He had a heart attack; he's out of business. But it's lots of those little hosiery mills.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That still goes on?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
People just setting up their own little …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did people prefer to do that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I guess they'd think maybe they could get them a business started. Most all of these hosiery mills and things started like that, from little hosiery mills, and then they'd just keep expanding. I know the Whisnant Mills, been here for years and years and years, and that's the way they started, just with a few machines, and they'd just keep expanding and expanding till they have a whole hosiery business. They say "the good old days," but I

Page 34
can't see them back there; I think these are the good days.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Just look at the appliances that we've got. We've got washing machines; we've got dryers; we've got refrigerators; we've got deep freeze and airconditioning. And back then we had iceboxes. Ice trucks came around. I know when I was little we couldn't wait for the iceman to come around, because we'd get the little pieces out of the ice truck and eat them. [Laughter] And then we used to have to carry in coal, wood, carry out ashes. [Laughter] Now we have gas; we have electricity; we have fuel oil and all of that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you think people mean when they talk about the "good old days"?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just don't know! They think them was the good old days, but I don't. I just don't. I think that if my mother'd be living now, she'd be really surprised about the way they had to do, and now how convenient everything is.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have people coming in and doing time-motion studies, where they would time you with a stopwatch?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. They do that yet, honey.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember the first time in your working life when they came and did a time-motion study?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That was back in '55, I reckon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But not during the thirties?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, not in there they didn't. And they're still doing that; they time you. And that's one thing that got on my nerves when I went on this new job. See, they came around and showed you and stood over you, and I couldn't take that. [Laughter] I did when I was younger.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You could take it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Take it, but not then. And then you'd have to get that sock just right under that machine to sew the toe. If you didn't get it right, it

Page 35
would cut it out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In 1936 you first went to work there. That was during the Depression when you first started working.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever lose your job because of unemployment?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There haven't been big …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I never have been fired in my whole working life.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Or been put out of work for any reason?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. We used to be off lots and get to sign up for unemployment.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you ever afraid you were going to get fired?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I never was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did other people get fired?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, lots of them did, because they wouldn't do what the bossman said and everything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things would people get fired for, in the hosiery mill, for example?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Lots of times they would get fired for laying out so much.
JACQUELYN HALL:
For just not coming in to work.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. And then some of them would get fired for not getting production. Things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How about talking back?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They wouldn't get fired right then for that, but they could find something else to fire them for. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you like working mostly with women?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I like working with women.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We could just have a better time, and we could just say what we want to. Crack jokes sometimes and all women. For instance, my

Page 36
best friend … Well, I had lots of best friends, but me and her just buddied and talked and told each other our troubles and everything. She called me up Monday night, and she said, "I just had to call you up. I just had things on my mind I just had to tell you." She's still trying to do it, but she said she was going to make it out to get her bonus. But she said the floor lady come around and said, "Dee, I know what's wrong with you. You're missing Carrie yet, aren't you?" She said, "Yes, so don't you mention it. I'm never going to get attached to nobody else like I did her." [Laughter] And I really miss her, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you see each other mostly just at work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Just at work. And talked on the telephone, and we exchanged gifts. She's given me lots of things, and I've given her lots of things. Another thing we used to have out at the mill we missed so much since this new bunch came, we'd have birthday parties. If one had a birthday, we'd have it at the first break, and they cut that out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They wouldn't let you do it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did it hurt them for you to do that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They was afraid we'd waste a little time. [Laughter] We had two ten-minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the evening, and thirty minutes for dinner.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would you have a cake?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, bring a cake.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How would you decide who was going to bring the cake? How would the birthday parties be organized?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We'd send a paper around and let everyone put down what they were going to bring. And that broke the monotony, but now they won't let you do that. Out there now, they even want [watch?] you if you stay over your

Page 37
ten minutes. And it's just so nerve-wracking, and everybody's so tense. And the work is so bad, and that's the reason.
We used to have a hundred percent good work, and now it's a hundred percent bad work. Somebody out there said that they had the warehouses just running over with work that's backed up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That they can't sell?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That they've not sold. Said they thought they'd at least get two weeks for the Fourth of July. We used to work ten hours a day, five on Saturday, and now they're just working eight hours a day and no Saturday work. And that's the reason: they're just not selling their goods.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you think the reason they're not selling them is because the workers …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just think they've just got the people so tense, and the knitters, they're just on them all the time. And you know anyone cannot work like that, tense and their nerves all tore up. So I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they don't shut them doors one of these days and move the plant to one of their other plants, because I don't think Gulf and Western is going to put up with that. They're a good company, and they're going to have good work.
PATTY DILLEY:
But this has been going on for a while?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
Even before Gulf and Western got it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It was going on, but it wasn't quite as bad then. It didn't get bad until they changed these young people. They didn't get it firsthand, working, like the hands out there from scratch on up. They read books, and you don't know nothing about a hosiery mill out of books, I mean about quality and stuff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In earlier times, did people become supervisors who started out just working on the floor?

Page 38
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, we had several from out there did work theirself up. But they worked up the hard way; they knew what they was doing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the route by which you could work your way up to supervisor?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They had to knit first, and then [be] fixers, and then on up to bossman, and then on up to supervisors.
PATTY DILLEY:
These were all men?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did women ever …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, but now the women knitters are learning to fix. So maybe in the years to come they may do it. See the way things are changing.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you think that's good?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. The two we had out there were very good fixers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the men resent …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
At first they did, but I think they was getting used to it. Some of the old fogeys that worked out there for a long time would say a woman couldn't fix, but the younger doing all right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do the older fixers teach the new fixers the skills that they need?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, they teach them. But one time I tried on their tools. You know, they've got all kinds of tools that they wear on their side. I said I couldn't even carry the tools, let alone try to fix. Them things are so heavy, they almost made me go to the floor when I put them around my waist.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It does look like a very complicated job to me.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
But they do it. And I've noticed now ads in the paper that they're wanting knitters, but they want them to know how to put the needles in.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What does that mean, that they had to have been a knitter someplace else before?

Page 39
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Some knitters do know how to put the needles in the machines if they break, but some don't.
PATTY DILLEY:
That would be a job maybe the fixers would come …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That is a fixer's job. They'd come and do it if they were needed. But some of the knitters learn; as they learn to knit, they learn to put the needles in, and they can do it theirself. So I don't know. Everything's just getting more and more, so it wouldn't surprise me in years to come if the women wouldn't be supervisors.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you think you would have liked to work under a woman supervisor?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I guess I could have got along with her. I don't know. Just what kind of attitude she'd have. [Laughter] We've got an awful sweet floor lady that's been down there. She's been down there as many years as I have.
PATTY DILLEY:
What does the floor lady do?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She goes around and fixes the tickets and does things like that. Now she's worked herself up as assistant to the bossman. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
As you were raising your children, did you live with just your husband and your children, or did you ever have other relatives that lived with you, or boarders?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Just my mother.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your mother lived with you up until she died?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. She died in 1952.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are your kids doing?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They're all married. Part's in furniture, and part's in hosiery. One daughter doesn't work; she's kind of got heart trouble. She's got five children, and she's got enough to do at home. [Laughter] Of course, they're all in school now. I have a daughter that works at J. P. Stevens. Boy,

Page 40
they're having a time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What's going on there?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, about the union.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are they trying to organize the J. P. Stevens plant here?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. They're having a time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Up here in this plant they don't want it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The management doesn't want it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. None of them. They're even boycotting, people not buying what they sell. I don't know what they'll do about that.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
… about the boycott. Do you think that's a …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just don't know. That just looks like, to me, that's going a little bit too far to get a union. I don't know. But they said, too, that they wasn't paying half their hands. It's all over their different plants. But I don't know anything about the work force. I know they say they're a dirty plant. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes, Stevens has a bad reputation.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. They certainly have.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who has helped you in different crises? Have you gotten help from your relatives or your neighbors? Who have you been able to call on for help in times of need over the course of your life, mostly?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I've called on my preacher for a lot.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where do you go to church?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Bethany Lutheran Church.

Page 41
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you raised as a Lutheran?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. We were Lutherans. And I've talked to my floor lady, Lib Teague([unknown]). She's helped me out lots in my work. When I'd get depressed or anything like that, she would help me out a whole lot. Like I say, my friend, Dee. She's helped me out lots when I needed things. Of course, my mother. She always helped me out when I had problems. And just different ones.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Has the same minister been there a long time?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. About how long has Pastor Whitener been there? About four years, hasn't he?
ALVIN YELTON:
Yes.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He's been with us about four years. And then Reverend Conrad([unknown]) was our pastor for twenty-five years. Then he left, and Pastor Trexler came. And then he left. They was having trouble. I didn't know nothing about the trouble in the church, and I was glad I didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you keep from knowing about it?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
There was lots of them didn't know. It was just a few of them doing it, and there was lots of us wondering what was going on. And they wouldn't bring it out in the open, you see, that all of the members could know what it was. But then we got Pastor Whitener, and he is wonderful, his whole family. His wife Joel([unknown]), she's so sweet. And you can just go to them and talk, and they're just wonderful.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you been active in the church all your life?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. And especially when he had his surgery two years ago. He's had polyps on his intestines and been going down to the VA hospital. Of course, they had to take him to Duke to do the surgery. They didn't have the to-do-with. The last time he went, they ruptured his bowels, and he almost died. And I don't know what I'd have done without my pastor there,

Page 42
because he took me down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He took you in to Duke?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. And just had prayer, and he just helped out in all ways, because I was out of work and he was out of work, and they helped us in our finances and just all. I just don't know what we would have done. Yet he's disabled. He's retired, but he's still disabled since they done that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they make a mistake?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, it was a mistake. They wouldn't have done it on purpose, but when they went up to get that polyp they just cut his bowels.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you feel about the doctors doing that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I tell you, if they'd have did right, I would have done it.([unknown]) But, you know, after they did it, he wouldn't hardly talk to me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The doctor?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, sir. I'd have to ask him, and then he'd just say a few words and go on. He wouldn't talk.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why do you suppose that was?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know why he wouldn't, unless he was afraid that we might have a lawsuit, malpractice or something.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you think about doing that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Lots of people told us to, but we just didn't, because it would have been lots to have gone through with. Now the VA Hospital didn't do it, but they was the ones that had it after it was done. They had to take care of him. Because it was done over at Duke, and a doctor over there did it. Or one of the trainees; I don't know which. But the pastor and I went over there. He was in the operating room over at Duke two hours. And so when they brought him back, we came back. And we asked whether he was going to be all right, and they said, "Yes, he'll be all right. You can just go on home."

Page 43
Well, we came home, and I went back to work the next day. And up about dinnertime they called to the mill and said to get down there just as quick as possible, that they didn't know whether he was going to live or not. Well, that just tore me to pieces. I'm just telling you, I started crying and going on. And I don't know what I'd have done that time without my floor lady. She come over there and began to work with me and all, trying to get people calm.([unknown]) And they didn't tell what had happened. They just said get down there, that they didn't know whether he was going to live or not, when they had just told me the evening before that he was all right. I called my brother to take me. When we got down there, they'd done had it; he was in the operating room. He was in the operating room and the recovery room, I guess, six hours or more, till they brought him out in intensive care. Then we went in there, and they had him all hooked up with all kinds of tubes and everything, oxygen. So I stayed down there about two weeks and a half. And then they brought him home. They wouldn't sew him up, and there his intestines all was laying open and everything. They wouldn't let me see it at first. They said, "You don't want to see it." Then they sent him home, and they took me and gave me two or three lessons how to dress it. You had to be so careful. And I just thought, well, I just couldn't. But I asked the Lord to give me strength to look and see and do it right. And you know, when I looked at it, it didn't faze me at all. And then it was three months I had to dress that, till it healed plumb out. And now, oh, he's got a terrible-looking scar. He went back—I believe it was September—for his checkup, and those doctors said they had never seen a stomach like that in their life. And he can't eat very much at a time; he has to eat four or five different times. But he suffers real good([unknown]) sometimes, so he's on disability, too, now. But if they hadn't done that, he might have could have worked some, drawing his Social

Page 44
Security. He won't be able to work anymore.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would a lot of your friends from the plant go to church with you at Bethany?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I was down there among mostly Baptists. [Laughter] It was a few other Lutherans down there. But we've had lots of discussions and things and enjoyed it, talking during dinner hours and things. I just loved all the people that worked there. We got along just fine. They all just dreaded when I quit. They begged me to stay, but I just couldn't. I just knew I couldn't do it, so I just quit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who did you have that took care of your health problems before you got involved in this whole thing with the VA Hospital and Duke? You had a family doctor?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That you had gone to for a long time?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I went to Dr. Seele for quite a while, a long time. But then he just got so busy. You would have to go down there and sit maybe an hour, two hours at a time before you could see him. So these three new doctors came in town, Dr. Young, Dr. Hodges, and Dr. Earle, so I changed doctors. So I'm going to Dr. Young; he's our medical doctor now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who delivered your babies? Did you have your babies at home?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had them in the hospital?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
All of them?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The first one, I didn't. It was Dr. Phipps. He's dead. But the others, I went to the hospital. Dr. Shuford and Dr. Hunnysucker. They're all dead.

Page 45
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were growing up, did your mother treat you for childhood diseases?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she have her own remedies?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Used to have to wear asafetida around your neck. Said that would ward off diseases. And when I'd get the earache, she'd make little salt poultices, make a little cloth and put salt in it. And make me lay down in front of the fireplace and put my ear on it. And give me castor oil. [Laughter] No, I don't ever remember when I was small, hardly, going to a doctor. And when you'd get a cough, they'd just plaster Vick's salve, and then mustard plasters. They'd make mustard plasters and put on if you had a deep cold or bronchial trouble or something like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you use any of those same remedies with your children?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Not any of them?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How come?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Sometimes I would put the Vick's, but they came out with Musterole. It was mild for children and strong for adults, and I'd use Musterole some and grease them with it. And I'd give them Castoria, but I didn't give them no castor oil. [Laughter] I never could stand it. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you went to the doctor's.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I generally took them to the doctor's if they got real sick. But you know, it's lots of these old ladies yet that's eighty and ninety years old believes in the old remedies.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't believe in them?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Well, they might help, but since the modern world's come along, has

Page 46
doctors and things… But I'm telling you, it looks like we're going to have to go back to some of them, as high as doctors are and medicine.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's the thing.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I'm telling you, it's going out of this world. [Whistles]
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your mother ever treat anybody else in the neighborhood?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Not as I know of. She may have before I was born; I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you raise your children in the same way that your mother raised you, or did you try to be a different kind of parent?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I tried to make them listen and all, just like she did us. I let them go a little bit more, but it was about the same pattern.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What have been the happiest times in your life?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I've really been happy all my life, just a happy-go-lucky person. [Laughter] But I don't know. I was happy when I got married. [Laughter] And I was happy when I joined the church.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you join the church?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I was thirteen when I was confirmed. And I've just been a happy-go-lucky person. Try not to worry.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You've had real ups and downs, though, haven't you?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, sometimes we didn't know where food might be coming from, in them other days, and bills to be paid. But when the time rolled around, the money was there. I just asked God to provide it or something; anyway, it was there. Of course, with children going to school and all, it took something, but we always got by. That's one thing I always thought about my mother. I wasn't born then, but she would tell me about sometimes she would get down low on food and stuff, and she'd just pray, and somehow or another it was a way provided.
JACQUELYN HALL:
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you'd do differently?

Page 47
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know if I would or not. I wouldn't want to go back and live my life back; I just want to look forward to the future. Some of them said, "You're getting older." I said, "Well, my age is getting there, but I hope I don't get older." [Laughter] I hope I can stay young. Of course, some of these people that has real bad health, that makes their age older.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you always had good health?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I've had pretty good health. I was in the hospital right much before I had my surgery, because I've had three, but after that I've been healthy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you have surgery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The first surgery I had was gall bladder. That was back in '51 or '52. I'm awfully poor about remembering.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's real hard to remember dates.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And then I had a hysterectomy about six years later. And then about a year after that I got a hernia and had to have that. They had to go down the same incision. Of course, they took my appendix out [unknown], but that's all the kind of surgery I've had. But I've felt real good since I had my gall bladder and hysterectomy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You haven't had any problems after having a hysterectomy? It didn't make you feel bad [unknown]?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. See, I just had a partial. I still have my ovaries. Oh, I have arthritis up in there, and I have two ruptured discs in my back, and some burrs on it. Every once in a while it flares up maybe a week or two. I can't get up and down.
PATTY DILLEY:
How many children did you say you had?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Five.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever think about having less?

Page 48
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. I always thought that was a pretty good family, five. I have sixteen grandchildren. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's a lot.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
So I think that's a big enough family. Of course, I don't guess I'll have any more grandchildren. My youngest daughter still can, but the rest had to be fixed so they couldn't have any more.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Kathy, on account of her heart, she did. And my oldest daughter had to have a hysterectomy. And also my two daughter-in-laws.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Wow. That's a lot.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
[Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you do anything to limit the number of children that you had? You didn't use any kind of [unknown]?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, they didn't have the pill and all that stuff like that. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you think about doing that, trying to use different methods to keep from having so many children?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Had them, and that was it. [Laughter] And I wouldn't take nothing for none of them. The change of life left me when I was forty-five. And then I had to have a hysterectomy after that, on account of my uterus would just keep on…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was going through the change of life hard on you? Did it make you feel bad?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, I had one hot flash, is the only one I can ever remember. And I thought I was going to die then. [Laughter] And I was talking to my friend about it, and I told her how I was. She said, "Well, you had a hot flash." "Well," I said, "I thought I was going to die." And I didn't have any more. And I never did have to take no hormones.

Page 49
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you felt any differently afterwards than you felt before?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I feel lots better. [Laughter] How about that.
PATTY DILLEY:
I don't know if we ever found out why you decided to leave the Ivey Weavers?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I got pregnant with Kathy. It was three shifts on my work, so while I was out they cut it down to two shifts, and they put the woman on the third shift up on second shift on my job. So when I went to go back, I didn't have a job, but I got to sign up.
PATTY DILLEY:
For unemployment?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's the first time I got to sign up, for twenty-seven weeks. They didn't appear against me, because they didn't give me another job, you see.([unknown]) Then Mother got sick, and I had to wait on her while I was out. So that's the reason I went to the hosiery mill. I went down for a job and went to work that day. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Was there a difference in the pay? Would you have made more if you had been able to stay on at Ivey Weavers?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes. But still, I got raises on up, and I liked it, so I just stuck with it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Had you always liked hosiery better than textiles?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I have. One thing, it's cleaner. See, textiles is so dusty, all that old dust and things. And hot. Oh, it's hot in a textile mill. But a hosiery mill is cleaner.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are there any health problems associated with hosiery work? What about working in the dye room?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know. We didn't have any dye room where I worked. See, that's in the finishing plant. I've never worked in a finishing plant. It was always the knitting plant where I worked.

Page 50
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are there any dangerous machines or injuries on the job?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, it's been some injuries. You can get your hand caught in a knitting machine or something like that and different things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did that happen very often when you were working?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, not too often while I worked at the [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
What would happen if somebody got their hand caught in a knitting machine?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They'd have to turn it off real fast, or it would just cut it off, I mean just mangle it up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you seen that happen?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, but they've told me about it. That's the reason they wanted them to wear pants and shirts. They wouldn't let them wear dresses. That was before we all could wear pants. They'd want them to wear them on account of the machine, so they wouldn't get caught in it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a rule that other people had to wear dresses to work?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Before pants came in style we did. But I was real tickled when pants came in, because they're so much [more] comfortable to work in. I've worn them so long, when I have on a dress I just feel kind of funny. I hardly ever wear one, only on Sundays to church. But now at lots of churches you can wear pants. But I like to dress up once in a while. But it's comfortable to work in pants, especially because when you wore dresses you had to keep your legs together and everything. You had to mind how you sit. [Laughter] And when you have pants on, you don't. I think dresses are coming back more and more, but I don't think pants will ever go out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They're too comfortable.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I think so, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The changing dress styles have had a lot of effect on the hosiery industry, haven't they? Once skirts started getting shorter, then hose …

Page 51
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I know. Out there now you can wear shorts, but they've got to be so long. You can't wear short shorts. But that's a rule out there. And you couldn't wear those mini-skirts. That was one of the rules out there, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But once women started wearing pants all the time, they quit wearing hose as much.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Didn't that hurt the industry?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, it didn't seem to, but we made men's hose. And leotards they made out there. But I worked in men's hose. If the men ever get like the women, decide they're not to wear hose, they're going to miss it.([unknown]) [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's right. Was there anything else that you …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I'm just kind of disappointed in our town, though.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Because the town is… So many stores is going to these malls. I've heard that several stores are coming back. I just hope our town can be built back up. Because I think the way they've got the common fixed is beautiful. But it's just like a ghost town when you go down there. I just don't know. I always loved to go to town, and it just kind of disappoints me the way it's gone down. But these shopping centers is a problem([unknown]). It's not only our town; it's other towns. Now up here at Lenoir, their town is getting like ours, moving out to shopping centers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where do you do your shopping?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Mostly at the shopping centers. [Laughter] But sometimes I go downtown. But it's just not too many stores down there to shop at. We used to have cafes down there. We have two theaters down there now, but we did have three more; we did have five, and three of them they did away with. But I just hope… I heard that Montgomery Ward might come back in the

Page 52
Sears building. Now I like that store; I've traded lots at that store when it was downtown.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How else has the town changed from when you were growing up?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The common sure has changed, because back in my young days they called it "Lover's Lane," and lots of cars would just go down there and meet and ride around and around and around. [Laughter] I met this woman the other day, and she said that she used to do that, too, when they were young. Get five or six in a car and just go down and just have a good time. And now they've changed it. And there was the depot. You could get on the train right at the depot. Now it's made into a cafe. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, right. We went down there yesterday.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I want to go in. I never have been in it. They say it's kind of old-timey. Is it?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes. We just had a bowl of chile, which was real good and not too expensive.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We've been talking about going in there one of these days. I just want to go in and see, because I've seen it so much as a depot.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It's very different.
Were people supportive of you or did you feel and disapproval from your family …
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You know, people's going to talk. I don't care if you're good or if you're bad, they're going to talk. And one girl said, "Why, Carrie's got more friends than I've got, and she's had two children." They said, "Well, Carrie's just Carrie, and she's friendly and she loves everybody, and that makes a difference." [Laughter]

Page 53
JACQUELYN HALL:
But your mother didn't get upset or anything?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Naturally she did, but she was good to me. She helped me raise them and kept them while I worked.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you scared about trying to support kids by yourself? Did you feel confident that you could do that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I did. That's the reason I went to work, and that's what I said today, that the girls that had them and they say they can't support them, if they go to work they can support them. But I'm thrilled, too, over that one thing this day: it's more girls keeping their babies than [giving them up for] adopting, and I think that's real nice of them to do that. Because, you know, back then, oh, adopt them, give them away.
PATTY DILLEY:
Is that what [unknown] ?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Well, shoot, I wouldn't give mine away. I loved them. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did anybody try to persuade you to put your kids up for adoption?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. It was one family said of my oldest little boy that they'd love to have him. He was so sweet, they loved him so much. Said oh, they'd love to have him. Said, "Won't you give him to us?" I said, "No way." But they loved him anyway.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people have abortions in your day?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I had a friend who had one. But she almost died. But she never did tell nobody, and I never did either. But she got over it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where would they go?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It wasn't public like it is now. I forget the name of the doctor that did it. He did it illegally; it was illegal back then. But I had mine. I didn't want no abortion. And now I'm glad. They're just as sweet, grown up and got children of their own.

Page 54
[interruption]
JACQUELYN HALL:
We didn't ever get to talk about how you got married and started to work.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She didn't have any children.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I raised my brother-in-law, though. My husband's baby brother stayed with us, and then his other brother stayed with us.
I was married in 1925 and left that September.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you meet your husband?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In Gastonia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had already gone to Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. I went down there to work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you go to Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Me and two girlfriends of mine went down there. He was engaged to another girl, and he met me, and me and him got married. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that happen?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know.
ALVIN YELTON:
Think of the poor little girl. [Laughter]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know how it happened, but it did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to her, the poor fiancee?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
She was a friend of the family's [unknown], and his mother done picked her out. But it didn't work out that way, and me and him lived together forty-four and a half years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Then he died?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. He died in 1970 on the ninth day of March.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You weren't able to have children?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I could if I'd had an operation, but I didn't. I'd say something about it, and my husband would say, "Aw, what's the use? We're getting along

Page 55
all right." [Laughter] And I never did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of operation would you have had to have?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I'd have to have my womb straightened. I had a friend that had that done, and that's what caused me not to. When we was living in Hickory, I went to Dr. Medsey([unknown]), and he told me this and I went home and told her. Her and her husband was living in an apartment at Highland, and me and my husband was living in another apartment beside of them. She said, "You reckon that's what's the matter with me?" I said, "I don't know." She said, "Will you go with me if I go up there?" I said, "Yes." She went up at Love's. She was married six years and two months and didn't have any children, and in the next six years and four months she had six. [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They had the surgery. That's what was so funny; they had to give her surgery to quit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you didn't want to follow that example.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. But she loved… I mean she was more… Everybody ain't alike with kids, you know. Of course, I wouldn't have minded if I had one. I thought well, if I was supposed to I would have; if I ain't, I ain't, so I never did go to the hospital.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you went down to Gastonia with two other girls?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did you live?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We got us a boarding place, and I met him in the plant. He was a second hand in the plant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you want to leave Hickory?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We couldn't find no job that we wanted. They paid pretty good down there. I never did like Hickory to work in.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?

Page 56
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I never could find a job in Hickory that really paid me as much money as they did down there. I always made more than my husband did down there. When we drawed our Social Security, I drawed $1.60 more a month than he did. Then when he died in 1970 I went to the Social Security Board and asked her his Social Security. She said, "No, you won't get none of his. You draw $1.60 more than him." See, she would have given me that if he'd drawn $1.60 more than me. Of course, he took his at sixty-two, and I got mine at sixty-five, because I got mine on disability. I got hurt in the plant while I was working out there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
A lift hit me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And broke your leg?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
You know what a lift is, that loads yarn, and that forklift hit me. A piece of iron at the bottom caught my shoe (sandal) and throwed me in front of it and missed pushing me out in the Akers Motor Line truck. There was five big bales of yarn up on top of me, and I was under it. I forget how many thousand pounds they said it was. It happened that the shipping clerk saw me under it. They said I screamed, but I don't remember nothing about it. I really don't remember getting hit. My husband worked on one end of town, and I worked over at the other one. I worked at Ranlo, North Carolina, and he worked down in South Gastonia, and so the last years I got a ride with Pete [unknown]. And I was waiting for him to come out to get the car. It was awfully hot. It was on the twenty-second day of August, and I didn't want to get in that hot car. I saw him on the other side of the spare door([unknown]), and the next thing I remembered they was telling me to lay still. I come to. It must have knocked me out when it first hit me, because when I come to I was on the floor. And he carried me to the hospital. But this leg is the doctor's fault.

Page 57
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He wrapped it up and sent me home and saved the company a little money. You see, that's North Carolina compensation. And he told me to see him the next week, to call him the next Thursday—that was on a Thursday—and he'd let me know when he could see me. My leg wasn't broke, but I had a big old old purple knot([unknown]) right there, don't you see? It was a blood artery busted. And I took gangrene, and by Monday night I couldn't lay down, and my husband took me to our family doctor. And when he unwrapped that leg… And I didn't know what it was to be sick, because I'd just had a physical about two weeks before that, because I thought my blood [pressure] was a little high. And it was, just a little bit. That's the first time my blood kind of was getting high. And he'd given me a little mild medicine two weeks before that. And he told me to come back in two weeks. I was supposed to go on Friday, but I got hurt on Thursday. And when he unwrapped that leg, he got mad at [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
And he said it was the doctor's fault?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, he said he couldn't do nothing for that leg. I'd have to go to a surgical doctor. And he said, "You'll have to get you a surgical doctor," and I said, "You better get me one." So he called Dr. Williams, and I went in the hospital that evening and I stayed four months and eight days at Gaston Memorial Hospital before I ever went home.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did the company ever pay for all your doctor bills?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They paid the doctor bill, yes. It was a little over $12,000 then. It would have been a whole lot more than that now, but that's what it was at that time. That was in '63. And they gave me sixty percent of my wages for a little over two years. That's all. I never did [unknown]. Two lawyers told me in Charlotte if I'd sued the doctor in Aberfall's—Aberfall's owned

Page 58
this plant, but Textiles owns it; they bought it while I was in the hospital—they'd got to give me $10,000, but I never did sue them, because I just didn't… I had my family all to die, and I never would take it on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your family …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, both of my brother-in-laws was buried a week apart. [unknown] mostly. And then my husband didn't live too long. He died in '70. So I just never did do it. That's a job to go in, a lawsuit like that, so I never did.
There was a news report from Channel 9 up here, wasn't it, on the busses in Hickory. He said me and him was going to do conversation down the road one of these days, but he ain't come back yet. [Laughter] From North Carolina. You know, he does that on things.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She and my husband were on television.
JACQUELYN HALL:
About what?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The busses in Hickory. We want busses for senior citizens in Hickory.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you all been trying to get busses?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, I've been in on a meeting or two on it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Whose meeting?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The aged and the senior citizens.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And the city won't provide special [unknown]?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Well, they're talking it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They said that they might by 1985.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We're in on a committee to get that building over there at Westmont [School]—they had first, second, and third—for the Senior Citizens' Recreation Center. And then we're going to have a recreation center over here on Seventeenth Street, a government… I reckon the city give them the land, helped them, and the county.

Page 59
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were on a committee that got them?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who started this committee?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It started with this program at the church, eating, and went on. I'm on the planning committee down there now for the eats, make out the menus.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you in Gastonia during that 1929 strike, the Gastonia Strike?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I was living in Hickory at that time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know any of the people involved in it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, I knowed Addie Holt and all of them that got killed. Addie Holt didn't get killed by the strikers; he got killed by the cops.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. That's what everybody in Gastonia… Greedy. Somebody wanting a job. It was almost proved one time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know anybody that's still around that was involved in that strike that we might could talk to?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I don't.
ALVIN YELTON:
Oh, you do. You know Glenn Lowdermilk.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Lowdermilk.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They're talking about Gastonia.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I'm talking about Gastonia. Addie Holt got killed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you know him?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I knowed he was chief of police of Gastonia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You just knew him as the chief of police?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I knew him. I knowed Earl Armstrong, the evangelist preacher down there. I knowed almost everybody down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How was Earl Armstrong involved in it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He wasn't involved in the strike.
He was good in his way, but he was an evangelist preacher, had that big tabernacle in Gastonia that the working

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class of people built. He's been dead about twelve or thirteen or fourteen years. That tabernacle was built from donations. In fact, me and my husband gave two days' work apiece on it, when it come to the pinch([unknown]). His name is what got it. Now they're using it for a warehouse.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know. That's the way it happened.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What denomination was it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Wesley Methodist. That's what he was. But Earl Armstrong's Tabernacle is what they called it, I think. But I think everybody had it in their head down there—or I did; I don't know if everybody did or not—that it belonged to Gaston County, because the people built it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The people paid for it.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Give most of it to the… They really had some good meetings there. My husband's people was that denomination, Wesley Methodist.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of work did you do?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Wound in a mill and run creel warp machines, different things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Earl Armstrong a real well known revivalist in Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, he was. He was a fine preacher.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And this church, have you heard of this tabernacle?
PATTY DILLEY:
No.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I don't guess you all have, because it's been used for a warehouse ever since he died, for years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did people feel that they needed to build their own church?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Everybody else went to church, but they'd have revivals and things here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, so this was not just a regular church.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Well, yes, he preached there every Sunday evening, and he broad cast it on the radio. Nobody hardly ever would miss an Earl Armstrong

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sermon on Sunday if they didn't go.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it was really a church that working people built and working people went to.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It was more for evangelist work.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
For different denominations.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They would let different denominations have it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Kind of like evangelism work.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That's what it was. That's what he turned out to be. He was at one time pastor of the Wesley Methodist Church there in Gastonia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But he wanted to leave there and have his own ministry.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
His brother and his people run Armstrong and Ford. That's his brother. I think his brother's still living.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You don't know how many's living, do you?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I don't. Earl Armstrong was a fine preacher. I mean he was a real evangelist preacher. But the Ford place down here in Hickory is from his people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of effect did the Gastonia Strike have on that community afterwards?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It tore it up for a good while. I wasn't living there when they had the strike that they called the Wild …
JACQUELYN HALL:
The 1934?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I was living up here in Longview then, right here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Wildcat Strike.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. That shut down the plants everywhere. You know, Gastonia was very involved in that. They went from one mill to the other.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Flying Squadron. What did you hear about that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I was living up here then. They did shut us up one night up here

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at Hickory's plant. And I knew a lot of them at Enka([unknown]) when they got up there. But Alec Shuford got us out before they got there, shut it down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Got us out of the plant up here at Longview. That's the last I lived in Hickory then, and then I moved.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you keep moving back and forth?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
My husband liked Hickory better, and I liked Gastonia the best. [Laughter] He did. He could get him a good job. He got pretty good-paying jobs up here. But I never could get one, and I always liked to make all I… I never did like to work for nothing; I wanted to get pay for it. And I always could make good down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you involved in any of the strikes or ever in a union?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. My husband was in a lot of the unions, but I never did join one. When they struck up here at Hickory Spinning, my husband was president of that union, but I didn't join it. Because I always knew that North Carolina would never stick. I always had that in my head, and they ain't never. And that's what it takes. You've got to stick together to win anything, and they won't do it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know, but they won't do it. Now Alec Shuford come to me at the plant. You see, he had a list of the ones that belonged, but my name wasn't on it. And he come to me on Friday; he knowed they was going out on strike Monday.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he find out?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They told him. They knowed it. The organizer notifies them. Anyhow, he come to me and he said, "Are you going to work next week?"

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I said, "No, Mr. Shuford, I ain't going to work." He said, "Well, you don't belong to the union, I noticed." I said, "No, I don't. I ain't never joined. But let me tell you something, Mr. Shuford, I'll have friends out there on the picket line, and I'm going to have friends in the mill working, and I ain't going to make neither one of them mad. I'm going to stay at home." [Laughter] But I did go up there and watch them on the picket line [unknown]. But I never have joined a union. But it's not that I don't believe in them; that's the only way you get anything. And if it wouldn't be for up north, we wouldn't have nothing in the South. You know that, good as you are. But they won't stick in the South; it takes sticking. Up north they stuck it out.
PATTY DILLEY:
What makes the South different?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know, but they just won't do it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did your husband join?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He always believed in it, and he joined. He always believed they'd stick, but they wouldn't.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He tried it.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, he tried them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he ever get fired or lose his job?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It was the Textile Workers' Union of America that he was in?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
CIO. He worked nineteen years at the mill, and he was secretary-treasurer of that union and president of it a couple years, at CDA's in South Gastonia. They had a union there at South Gastonia, but it wasn't no good. It wasn't enough of them would stick, see, to get nothing. They wanted the benefits from them, but they didn't want to pay union dues; let's put it that way. And you can't have nothing if you don't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you noticed any changes in recent years, that people seem to

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be more likely to stick, or that there's more interest?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I ain't worked none since 1963, so you know I don't know too much about it. The last work I done was in 1963 in August, and then I got my disability when I come out of the hospital. I didn't get it right away, because I didn't think I'd get my disability. But Dr. Williams, the doctor who waited on me, said I would. He knowed what he was talking about, to go ahead. So I waited. I waited long enough I got $800-and-some dollars back pay, after the six months. It was six months, at the time, you had to wait. But I was in the hospital four months and eight days of that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I wanted to ask both of you what kind of difference it's made since they started hiring blacks to work in the mills.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I've not worked since much.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any trouble when that happened?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Where I am, of course, we didn't have too many.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We had some before ever I quit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people get along pretty well?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I liked them. They were just as sweet as they could be, the ones that works out where we do, and friendly. And they're good workers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There weren't any clashes when they first started coming in?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Not where I worked.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
What you all trying to do, be news reporters?
JACQUELYN HALL:
No. [Laughter] [unknown] beginning to sound like it.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I guess I thought you all fixed the night news report([unknown]). [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Not out where I worked, it wasn't any clashes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Thank you very much.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

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JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you first move to Gastonia, when you and those other two girls went?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In 1924 I went. Then I got married in '25.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which plant were you working in there?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
At Modeener Mill.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they have a mill village?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was that like?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The first house we ever lived in was a mill house there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You had never lived in a mill village.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, not till I moved there, because we owned our home. But later, after we sold ours, my mother lived on the mill village.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you like living in the mill village?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, it was all right in them days and times.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your house like?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
You had to pretty well keep it up yourself. They'd give you stuff to fix it, but I was always fixing mine, painting it. They didn't have any paint during the Depression times, but you know what I done? I went to the branch and got this clay mud and put Putman's dye in it and painted my house. And then the dirt daubers nellied us up. [Laughter] I done that at Rex Number 1, in the thirties.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any company-sponsored recreation or any social welfare work?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, there wasn't no such thing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In any of the places that you lived in Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In later years, after Roosevelt got in, there was, but there wasn't before. No, there wasn't no such thing before Roosevelt. You resisted

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yourself, or you didn't. That's the way it went.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Tell me about how you got interested in Democratic Party politics.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That was in the Depression years. But the first time I voted, I voted for Hoover. The next time come around, why, it was too bad; we had four years' depression. Two years of it was really bad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to you during those first years of the Depression?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I just done like the rest of them, resisted it. That's all anybody done that didn't have nothing. A lot of the big men jumped out the window and killed theirself. Lost their money, and they couldn't take it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You said the other day that those were the hardest years of your life.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, that was the hardest, and the bluest time in my life. Because I ain't a blue person. A lot of people sets around and broods about things, but I don't. The worst thing I brooded about was when I lost my husband and when I got hurt, them two things. But that didn't last long. I got over it.([unknown])
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you out of work?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you get laid off?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. They just worked the people that had children, and me and Cobb didn't have no children. But we still had a family; we had his brother, and then a woman and her son stayed at our house, and we took his aunt and her daughter.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you happen to take in all those people?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
His aunt and her daughter didn't have nowhere to go, so they come in. We done the best we could about them. And Ann Davis and her boy was staying at our house when it hit, so I wouldn't want to tell her she had to leave. And so her and Cobb just combined their… And they laid me off at the plant to work the ones that had children. It wasn't nothing against my work.

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So that throwed me out of work. Then I went back to work about the time Roosevelt was elected. And then everything picked up in Gastonia. All the mills went on six days a week, twelve hours a day. Then when he come in as President, he put twelve hours in and forty cents an hour. And when Roosevelt come in President, if I'd have got to work, I'd have made $7.60, and my husband would have made $9.60 on his job. And he was running second hand in the spinning room department, next to the high boss, and he was making $9.60.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get by during those years?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Everything was cheap. When we got to work, we could make a pretty good living. But you see, we didn't get to. My husband didn't get but a day or two. Now Rex never did shut completely down; he'd get a day or two. Enough you could get you a little bread.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you able to keep on staying in the mill house rent-free?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, they didn't charge us any rent.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You could stay there and just work every once in a while, when you'd [unknown].
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, the rent didn't cost us nothing. If one hit now, it'd be terrible. We didn't pay no lights, no water bills.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you vote for Roosevelt the first time around?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How come?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Because I wouldn't, because I was mad at the world. [Laughter] Because it was so hard, I wasn't going to vote. I couldn't risk with nobody. But the next time I did; I voted for him from then on. That's why I turned a Democrat. I have always been a Democrat.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But your family is …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Is Republicans.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know why they're such staunch Republicans?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I can't figure it out. A lot of people don't pay no attention to that, but I do. I listen who votes in the Congress and Senate on each and every bill. They put it in the paper, and they put it on TV. Anybody that wants to can look it up, when a bill comes up. Now every little old bill I don't look, but anything that's concerning me or our living in America, I look that bill up. You hardly ever see a Republican who votes for it. Most of them's Democrats. Votes for bills that benefits you. I saw that. That's the reason I'm a Democrat, a whole lot.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of bills have you been especially interested in in recent years?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
All the aging bills in the past or anything, now like the Panama Canal and different things. And they make out like the Panama Canal shouldn't have been. Now this bill they're looking at right now, that he's over there, is going to make a speech on tonight, well, they claim that shouldn't be. But why did the other presidents behind him, Nixon, Ford, all of them, they was trying to get that. Why? If it wasn't all right, why did they start it? So I don't know. I always look at it. But you can tell. A lot of people don't pay no attention to who votes for who. Now you take Broyhill up here. He's a good man. I imagine he is a good man. He gives away furniture by the bushels, on TV and everywhere else. But you look up his record, and he'll go all the way to get you Social Security. And any kind of war veteran, if it goes to them he'll help it. But you notice his voting record. He never votes on a bill, Broyhill don't, in Congress, the Senate. We don't need them up there if they ain't going to vote yes or no. They should vote one way or the other, I think, don't you?
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes.

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MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Every one of them should. Let it be a Republican or a Democrat, I think they should vote yes or no on all bills. But he's never there to vote. But he's the best man you ever saw, and that's where he gets his votes. He don't help pass them bills, but he'll help everybody to get them after they do pass. See what I mean? That's the way he is.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember the night that Roosevelt was elected?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you remember about it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They was tickled. Everybody knowed-Hoover would get beat. I believe if they'd run anybody, he'd have got beat, honey. Roosevelt wasn't no outstanding president right then, but in later years he was. But I think most anybody would have beat Hoover, because he was so down. But I've had people tell me… A man stood up to me last week and told me that was the best president we ever had.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Hoover?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. I told him he wasn't in my eyes. [Laughter] Because I know him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were telling me the other day about listening to Roosevelt's inauguration address on the radio.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. That's the first president I ever listened at, I mean ever come over the air. It wasn't no radios or nothing for it to come over the air. And he was the first President of the United States that they broad casted on the radio. It wasn't TV; it was radio. I had never saw a TV. The first TV I ever saw was in New York. That was before we ever got it. I was in New York and saw one. Roosevelt was swore in for president on Saturday in March. I forgot what date. He was elected the first Tuesday in November, but the presidents didn't go in at that time till in March. Now they go in in January. And he went in, but he closed every bank in America what was open; there wasn't

Page 70
very many of them open. I think New York had one open, and one or two different places, but I don't think these little southern towns had any open much. Atlanta might have had one open; I don't remember. But anyhow, he closed the banks, and they was closed five weeks, I think. Then he done something, made them for… They couldn't do that any more. They say they can't, but, you know, I'm still a little shaky about it. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you put your money in the bank?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. I told some of them if Ronald Reagan got elected, I was going to pump me a hole, that I didn't have much but I wanted to save it. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were most of the people around you strong Roosevelt supporters?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, never was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about your husband?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, he was convinced to be a Democrat the same time I was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did Roosevelt do then?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The first thing he done was close the banks and then made them [unknown], and then he put eight hours in. That's the best feelings I ever had, about. I'd worked them long hours all my life, and we'd get off at two o'clock in the evening. I went to work the same time I always went to work, at six o'clock, and get off at two. Boy, that was the best feeling. I never will forget that. And I went home at two o'clock in the evening. It didn't seem like I'd worked but half a day. It was just a little over half a day. Then he raised our wages to forty cents an hour. That was twelve dollars a week; that was a big raise, from $7.60 to twelve dollars. That was the lowest you could pay, was forty cents an hour. Some of them raised it a little bit more than that. Anyhow, they put us on piecework, and then I made a little bit more than that. So we just got along fine then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you ever been involved in Democratic politics on a precinct

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level?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, me and my husband have hauled them to vote. I'd knock at the door, and he'd haul them.Oh, yes, lots of times. I've worked at the ballot box. I worked in the city election since I come up here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the Hickory city election?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about in Gastonia? Were you all in city politics?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We worked lots, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember Governor Max Gardner?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you think about him?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I liked him good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which North Carolina politicians have you supported or thought were good?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I've supported all of them on the Democrat ticket. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You're a real straight ticket.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I vote straight. I figure that when the Democrats picks them out, that they're all right or they wouldn't run them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But there haven't been any local politicians that you had thought were especially good.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I just don't split my ticket. When they pick them out, I think that they're all right. I just go ahead and vote for them. I don't see no sense in that. I'll tell you what I think's wrong on this registering. The Democrats, all these back years, has had primaries. The people that don't vote Democratic go, and they register Democratic to get to vote in the primaries. That's the reason, I think, a lot that the Democrats gets bad people. When the primary comes up, then they vote for whoever they want

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to in the Democrat primary, and then when the big election comes up they don't have to support him; they vote the other way. I don't think that's right. I think that if they vote Republican, they ought to be registered Republican and they should not vote in the Democrat primary. It ain't right on nobody; anybody knows that. But they have; they've done that all these years. But I don't think they should be allowed to do it. I wish they'd pass a law that they couldn't. If you vote for that man in that primary, you ought to be made to support him in the big election. If that's the man you want then, you ought to be made to vote for him in the big election. That's the way I think about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'd like to hear a little bit more about your husband. You said he was the president of the local union at Hickory Spinning?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did he get elected to that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It was in the thirties. I don't know just what year it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he get involved in the union?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He just believed in organized labor and was always pitching.
JACQUELYN HALL:
From the very first, as soon as you married him?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, all the time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had he already been involved in some organizing drives [unknown] ?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. He didn't get involved till later years. But in the South, why, you never could have nothing, because they won't stick. People won't stick together, and that's what it takes to have a union.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they win an election at Hickory Spinning?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. Alec Shuford went and signed a contract, yes. Yes, they won an election up at the Hickory Spinning that one time, and then he went down there and signed a contract when they struck. And he was involved with

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the one in Gastonia with the CDA's. They had one for years there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What is the CDA's?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They've got three mills there at South Gastonia. CDA. The last he worked was in the Armstrong, and he worked there nineteen years in the Armstrong mill. Claire, Dunn, and Armstrong is what they was called, CDA. That's what they call it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long was he at Hickory Spinning?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He worked there for two and a half or three years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he there when they won the election?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. There when they struck.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How were they able to win the election?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They had the most votes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he go around house to house and talk to people?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, just in the mill. They had meetings at different places, but that's all. There wasn't no rough stuff or nothing. Grady Falls went all the way; Hickory Spinning didn't. And Grady Falls come over here and tried to start some rough stuff, tried to shut them down up here, but they never got it done completely. That's when Alec went and signed a contract with them. But what made their union weak, they wouldn't pay the union dues, wouldn't sign up for the union. See? You can't make nothing out of nothing if you don't support it. So that's the way it went.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is there still a local there?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know, but people went on out. All Shuford's mill was on a contract there for years, but they ain't anymore. But you remember when they was on a contract, don't you, Carrie?

Page 74
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was the local able to get any of the grievances that they had settled?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They got a few of them, yes. But the ones that didn't pay union dues called it more than the ones that paid union dues. I mean they wanted more out of it. It don't work that way.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he involved in any strikes?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Nothing only this one up here at the Hickory Spinning. They never did strike over at the CDA's; they just signed a contract. They never did have no trouble over there. Because they knew them people wouldn't stick and they wouldn't pay union dues, so naturally it would go down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you think they just went ahead and signed the contract thinking that …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It would go down. They signed a contract there without striking.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your husband try to keep people from… Talk to people and try to convince them to stick and to pay their dues?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, he just asked them to join. Most of them joined voluntarily from the organization, and then they just put him as president, that's all. And then he was secretary-treasurer a while.
JACQUELYN HALL:
At Hickory Spinning?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, down at CDA's. He was secretary-treasurer there for a couple years. They had their union in there about eight or ten years, but a factory that way, they change hands, see. It's a different turnover every two or three years, a lot of …
JACQUELYN HALL:
A different management?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, not different management. Different hands. But I never did join a union, and I wouldn't if I was beginning working today, because southern

Page 75
people won't stick together. I don't know, some of the people's scared they'll go hungry or something, in the public works. They ain't going to do it. And a lot of people, they ruin their organization; they think just as soon as they get the organization started, they think they'll strike and get something. That ruins it. There's their first downfall.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why does that ruin it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They shouldn't go out on strike. They ought to try to work together and see. I don't think they should go out on strikes. You take that trucking outfit right now, running around, going, doing all that. That ain't doing them no good. They're just wasting their energy, their gas. If they're getting gas to do that, why come they can't get gas to haul? [Laughter] That's right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
We were talking a little bit the other day about Gastonia and the strike at the Manbo Jinx Loray Mill in Gastonia. Did you know people who worked at the Loray Mill?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I wasn't working there at that time, but I did know a lot of them that did work there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you heard any rumors about conditions being bad there, that anything was going to happen?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I wasn't living there. I was living in Hickory when the strike was. But I knew a lot of people that worked there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you hear stories from them about going on strike?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, but that was just rumors. They always had rumors going around Gastonia that Addie Holt wasn't killed by the strikers. Anyhow, they cleared him in later years, the man over the union. He come out of the penitentiary, walked a free man. I think they even paid for what he did serve.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
What about Ella Mae Williams? Did you know her?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I didn't know her personally, but my sister-in-law did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you ever heard of the songs that she wrote?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. My sister-in-law had some of them. Maude Croft knowed her pretty well, but I didn't. Because Maude, my sister-in-law, was raised there at Firestone([unknown]). She married my husband's youngest brother next to him. She was raised right there, too, I think, and they knowed each other.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is she still alive?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Maude is, but I don't know where she's at.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You haven't been in touch with her?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. Her and my brother-in-law parted years ago, and she married again. And my brother-in-law's dead.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So she left Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The last account I had of her, she was living in Charlotte. I don't know where she's living now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you hear stories about the National Guard being out and all the violence in the picket lines([unknown])?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I just heared rumors. I wasn't living there, and I don't know too much about that strike. All I know is what they told me. My mother-in-law and father-in-law lived there, and all [my husband's] people. Me and him was living up here at that time, in '29. That's when that happened.
JACQUELYN HALL:
About that same time, there was a big strike at Marion.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I didn't know nothing about that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did your husband think about all of that that was going on?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He never did say too much about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was already involved in the union?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, not then. In later years, he was. When the CIO come out,

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he got into it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He liked the CIO more than the AFS?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know, but he did. He was involved with the CIO, not the AF of L.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the difference in those two?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I don't know. I never did study much on that, because I never did think I'd want to join it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I was real interested in Earl Armstrong. I had never heard about the tabernacle.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We had a big tabernacle there. They've got a warehouse in it now, though.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know when the tabernacle was built?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I believe it was built in the Depression years, right about the time Roosevelt was elected. I know it was in '29 my mother-in-law died, and he was pastor at the Wesley Methodist Church. He was her pastor, and he preached her funeral. It was about in '31 or '32—it was up in the thirties—when that tabernacle was built, and he preached there, and they had some good preaching there. Then they could let other preachers come and run revivals there. They had big singings there, and it was a nice place to go. And a lot of people had a lot of confidence in Earl Armstrong. He was a good evangelist preacher.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he ever talk in the pulpit about what was going on in the country at thaat time, anything about Roosevelt or the organizing drives?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, he never did preach on nothing much like that. He always preached the Bible the most. He was that kind of a man. But I always had

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a lot of confidence in Earl Armstrong. And he was my mother-in-law's pastor, and she had her funeral picked out and everything, songs to sing.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
PATTY DILLEY:
Have you gone through and gotten all of the places she worked and followed them through, one after the other?
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'm not sure if we ever did get that straight.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In Gastonia I just worked at two places, and I worked at the shoestring factory and the hosiery mill here, and in textiles.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Modena Mills was the first place you worked, and then where?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
At Rex Number 1 at Ranlo, North Carolina. That's about the only two mills I ever worked in any length of time, in Gastonia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your husband worked at CDA's, but you didn't.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, I never have worked there. But I think you got that all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Carrie was talking about liking to work in the hosiery better than textiles in some ways. But you almost always worked in textiles, didn't you?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She did work when she was young in the shoestring.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In the shoestring factory at the hosiery mill. The first place I ever worked was in the hosiery mill, and then I worked at textiles.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's something to see, making shoestrings.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How is that done?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It's braiders knits the shoestrings, and I run sixty braiders. Walter Riley, that used to be Mayor of Hickory, owned it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you like working in textiles better than working in hosiery?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes. I could make more money in Gastonia than I could here.

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That's the reason I'd rather live there. Now I'd rather live here, in the living part, but the working part, I'd rather be in Gastonia. If I was going to work, I'd be down there now; I wouldn't be in Hickory, because you can make more money in Gastonia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But what about the work itself? Do you think the work is more pleasant or less pleasant?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I always could get along better on it. It could have been me, though, but I always could. I never did have a good job in Hickory. The only good job ever I had was down here at the Highland Mill. I was working for Bill Shuford; he was super. And my husband. And that was when the Depression was a-hitting, and they done cut wages down here. They cut my husband's wages from $17.80 to $9.60. And they hadn't cut wages at Gastonia yet, and that's the reason he went to Gastonia. And Bill Shuford come to me. When you lived there on the mill hill, your husband's name was on everything, your house, rent on the house and everything. He come to me and said "Sis"—he knowed Bill called me "Sis"—don't go down there with Bill. I ain't trying to part you. Now if you don't go, Bill'll come back. Stay down here." And that was the best job I ever had in Hickory, but it didn't pay nothing cut, and that was straightening up the winder room. I could work about thirty minutes, and then I'd have about two or three hours' rest. I went on with him anyhow, and that's when I went to Rex. And I had a pretty house down at Highland. I had one of the bossman houses, and it was painted pretty. It was four rooms.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get that house?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They give it to us. They furnished the houses to the help, and they let me and him move in it because they didn't need it for the bossman [and] because we didn't have no children to tear it up. So I moved down at

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Rex in a little old three-room. It was an apartment, three rooms on one side and three on the other, and I never was so sick of anything in my life. That's where I got the mud and put it on the wall, these plastered walls. Me and a friend of mine, Ann Davis, went down there and dug out that white clay in them banks, and we heated it and put some dye in it and painted our walls.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you think of that? Had you heard about [unknown]?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, we just… Mrs. Rudisell was nurse at Rex Number 1 and Number 2, and when she heared that I was doing that, she come by. I never heared a woman laugh so in my life. They wouldn't give you nothing. They didn't have no money to buy no paints or nothing. But they was pretty good to give you stuff if you'd keep your house up. I always had a pretty good, nice house, because me and Cobb would paint it. The company would give it to you back, but in the Depression they didn't have it to give. You see, they wasn't working, wasn't making no money, and what they was making they stored in the warehouse. And then when Roosevelt come in, they went and got on top, because the market opened up and they sold all that. So that put them on top.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any health problems from working in the textile mills? You've been hearing about the brown lung?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, I've heard about it, but I have never knowed nobody who really had it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I mean personally know them. I just heared of it. I got along good, but I got hurt in the plant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But up until that accident, you hadn't had any problems?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I enjoyed my job. I loved to work. And I always liked to be right at the top of the payroll, [Laughter] on piecework. I tried to anyhow.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
And did you, usually?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Usually I did, yes. I tried. I had a bossman come to me at Rex and told me one time—Jim Wilson; he's dead now—"Cobb, you're going to have to cut down. You drawed more than I did this week." He was overhead seer. [Laughter] I was just fighting that, though.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You've got to fight if you make anything on piecework.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, you do. You have to fight it. And I enjoyed it. I was pretty active. Before I got sick I wasn't sick nor nothing, and I'd go in there and fight that eight hours. But I'd go down and set down and eat my lunch. Now I wasn't too tight to do that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did some people not even take any lunch?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, they wouldn't even sit down. And one time they put a stretchout, this man at Modena. That's when they started giving you more work. Burlington's bought it, and Burlington's put it in.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did they have it?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
In the forties.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And they put in a stretchout?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Well, Burlington's always do. Anyhow, they was putting the stretchout in, and I didn't work that day. There was something I had to be out. They come around that day and told them not to set down and eat their lunch. I went in a day or two after that. I was setting over there eating my lunch. I never did pay no attention to it, you know. I sat down to eat my lunch. The rest of them… One friend of mine was standing there. I was doubling at that time. It's something like winding, but it was doubling your threads. I was running a big, long doubler. And this lady was standing up beside, watching her doubler, eating her lunch. Then a big dressed-up man looked at me and went over to her, and he asked her, "Little lady, why come

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you ain't setting down over there like that other lady, eating your lunch?" She said, "They don't allow us to." He said, "Well, why come she's setting down over there eating her'n, and you ain't?" She said, "Well, I've got children to keep up, and I'm scared they'll fire me, and she don't care if they do fire her." [Laughter] See, I didn't have nobody but myself.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who was this guy in the suit?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He was out of Raleigh, on the wage-hour program. And you ain't allowed to tell them not to set down and eat their lunch. They got laws for that. That was in the late forties, and Roosevelt made laws to that effect. You couldn't tell them not to set down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But they'd do it anyway?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They did that time. But when he went out, the overhead seer come along and said, "Everybody set down and eat their lunch, but don't take too long." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you mean people would keep on working and eat at the same time?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. I saw people do that when they didn't have to do it, though, in public work, because they was so greedy. That's what I told you a while ago; I never was that greedy. I always liked to stay on top, but I went to the lunch room and set down to eat my lunch. I wasn't ever that way. I don't think it pays you to be that way. It makes you nervous. If you set down and relax a little bit and drink something and eat a little something, when you go back you can do a whole lot more. That's the way I always had it figured, in this here lunch business working. And I never would work on a job that got on my nerves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have to quit any jobs that got on your nerves?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, I quit a few that got on my nerves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of jobs would that be?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
At Modena they tried to put me on a warp machine one time, and I

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never did like to run them. Because it was confinement; you had to stay right there on it. And theirs didn't run too good, and I didn't want it. And I had to quit to get away from there. But I wasn't home for two days, they sent down for me to wind. So I quit, just rebelled against doing it. And I hurt myself when I got my Social Security. They was putting in the stretchout system at Rex, and they laid you off according to seniority of how long you'd been there. Ones that had been there the less got laid off. And I had been there seventeen years—I was there a little over nineteen years when I got hurt—at the time. And the day Kennedy was swore in for President on the twentieth day of January, my second hand come to me and said, "All right, Cobb, you can come in on the third shift Sunday night." See, I had to take somebody else's job. But I'd done went up to the unemployment office and asked Brockman—I knew him—"Is it a law that I have to take another person's job?" And I told him how it was. He said, "You do not have to do that. You can draw your unemployment." I said, "Now, Mr. Brockman, that woman might have kids— I don't know whose job I'm going to take— and I ain't got none, and I don't want to take nobody's job." He said, "You've got the first choice at the layoff. You don't have to take somebody else's job." So when he come to me and told me that, I asked him first, "Have you got a job for me open on the third shift?" He said, "No, we'll lay off the other woman and give you the job." I said, "No, you won't. I don't take other people's jobs." And he said, "Well, let's go out and see the super." Jack Ryan was super, and I told Jack Ryan, "All I want is that little paper, ‘No work available.’ I ain't going to take another woman's job." He said, "I can't make you do it." I said, "I know you can't. I done been and see."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were they going to do that? Why were they going to lay off another woman?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They were stretching out the jobs, putting more on them. They had

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more hands than they could work. And I thought that was the last layoff. And Jack Ryan, the super, asked me, "If I send after you and I need a hand, will you come back?" I said, "Yes, provided it's on the first shift." So I loafed six months and two weeks. And Kennedy put thirteen weeks on the unemployment after everybody drawed out, and I done drawed one week of his. I drawed my six months and one week of his, and they sent after me. And it was on the thirtieth day of July. I never will forget; that was the hottest time I've ever knowed. And me had been loafing and having a good time. I was drawing my unemployment; I was just eating([unknown]) fine. And I went back in that plant, and I thought I would die, it was so hot. They wanted me to go to work on Thursday, and I wouldn't do it. So I went to work on Monday, and I'd signed up on a Tuesday. When I got out the Tuesday I went [back to work?], my husband took me by the unemployment office and I signed out. And I told the man I wouldn't be signing up any more, that I went back to work. And the man that signed me up at the unemployment said, "You know what I'd have done? I'd have stuck a gun in my pocket and shot whoever sent after me, [Laughter] hot as it is." And I worked two years and till August, and I got hurt, so I worked there nineteen years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you had stretchouts like that at a lot of places?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. I was out at Modena when Burlington's put it in Modena, and then I was at Rex when they put it in there. And about the time Hickory Spinning struck, they was putting in one up here.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's why the strike happened, against the stretchout?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, they was against that stretchout.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did people feel?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They just take the board and go on and do what they can do, that's all. You can do that or quit, either one you want to do.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
How do people feel about the more greedy workers, the people that work on their lunch break and everything? Do people dislike them, or is there some resentment toward them?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, they'd think it was greedy. I always have had pretty good friends where I worked. When I got hurt, they sure did have a fit about it. The hands were so nice to me. They brought me enough cosmetics to do me and the whole nurse staff up at Gaston Memorial Hospital. [Laughter] Because they knowed I used it right smart. Everybody got me Avon and all kinds of cosmetics, and I had three or four drawers full up at the hospital they brought to the hospital to me. I told them they was going to make me smell good, anyway.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who helped you get your workmen's compensation? Did the mill cooperate with you on that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The doctor that operated on my leg, Dr. Williams. And then I went to their doctor. I'll tell you how that was. See, I had six doctors in the hospital. I had my doctor. Then we had the doctor that wrapped my leg up and sent me home. And then when my doctor sent me to the hospital, he hired Dr. Williams; that was the third one. Well, Dr. Williams went to California before they put the skin graft on me. He hired Dr. Tyner; that's the fourth. [Laughter] Then something happened to Dr. Tyner; he wasn't my doctor but a couple of days, though. Then Dr. Larry was my doctor there at the hospital. He wasn't my doctor but a couple of days. I didn't put in for my disability for a good bit, because I was still hoping I'd get better where I could go back. I'd rather work. Because I wasn't but fifty-six years old, and that ain't old, I mean to maybe set down and not have nothing to do. When I did have to and I realized I'd have to, I made the best of it, though. And this brother-in-law of mine that I raised fell on the ice and broke

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his wrist, and he was at home. He was working in Asheville in a government plant, because he'd spent twenty-one years in service, and he'd learned his trade in the service. So he was doing it; he was working in the government plant. So he was driving me around to the doctor's office and different places I had to go. So by that time it had been a good while; it had been a year or over. And Dr. Williams asked me, "Have you ever put in for your disability?" I said, "No, I ain't never went." He said, "Why, you better be going. That's got a deadline on it. It can't wait forever." He thought Bill was out there, my husband, but it was George, and he told George, "Take her down there and make her sign up, because that's got a deadline on it. You tell Mr. Cobb I said to make her go." So on Monday I went. I was on compensation. I was drawing sixty percent of my wages. And I went by the mill and told the personnel manager that I was going by to sign up for my Social Security disability. He said I wouldn't get it, but I went on. And I said, "Well, I'll tell you one thing. If I don't get it, I'm going to come on into Washington after it, because my doctor tells me, and he's pushing me to do it and told me to do it, I never would stand on this leg and walk." So I went on down there, and I signed up, and I put Dr. Williams. He's the one that operated on my leg. And Dr. Wallace got me over the heart attack, blood clot. You know, some doctors will not sign them papers, and everybody don't know that. But I didn't know Dr. Wallace wouldn't sign them. And so I give them two doctors' names—you've got to have two doctors to give—and so Dr. Wallace wouldn't fill out that paper. Never did. So that made me wait months and months on. So Dr. Ward from the Social Security Board called me up and told me she couldn't get him to sign the papers, and so she asked me if I'd be willing to go to one of her doctors, and I told her yes. So I went to their doctor, and I never did hear from it more till my

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it come in. I got $800-and-some back pay.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why do you suppose he wouldn't sign the paper?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He didn't sign it for nobody. He was one of them old conservatives, didn't believe in it. He didn't believe in nothing that you could get. He didn't believe in Social Security; he didn't believe in no welfare; he wouldn't even take a welfare patient. If he could get out of it, he wouldn't. The only way he took them was pushed on him; he was a specialist and had to have them. But I didn't know that at that time, see. But he was a good doctor.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you get your workmen's compensation, your check that you were drawing, sixty percent of your wages?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They're supposed to give it to you if you get hurt in the plant.
PATTY DILLEY:
The mill just went ahead and …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, they carry that insurance on you.
PATTY DILLEY:
I was just wondering because some people have problems getting that.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, that ain't what they have problems getting, honey. If you get hurt in the plant, everybody's entitled to it. In North Carolina, that's a law. Didn't you know that?
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes. What were you saying, Carrie?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I said I didn't get it for my surgery on my arm.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. If you get hurt in the mill, though, in the plant… Now at that time, at the mill, I was paying $1.10 for myself. That was a whole lot of insurance pay. It come out of my payroll every week, but I never collected a nickel on it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Ninety([unknown]) bucks is what I had to pay.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you did hurt your arm in the plant?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, about eight years ago, it slipped off a board and I hit it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were inspecting?

Page 88
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. Well, the compensation paid the doctor bill, but then I was out two weeks. They didn't pay me nothing.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
But when she went back, they didn't pay her nothing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why didn't they?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know why they never did pay [unknown]. [interruption]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
So here three months ago, I was lifting a sack. They got some new sacks in the mill, and they were just old big stiff sacks, so big, and a knitter started putting lots more dozens in them. And we were behind, and up on the rack I tried to get one down. And when I got it down, it just wrung this wrist around. And oh, I almost went through the floor. So I worked a week, and it just got worse and worse and worse, so they sent me to the doctor's. I went to Dr. Peters, because there was another woman got her arm hurt, and she went to him, and he did surgery. Did the same thing that I did the first time, did it on the board. But Dr. Peters said he didn't think he could do that surgery, because they thought I had ruptured an artery. So he sent me on to another doctor, Dr. Gardner, and he was off for vacation for a week, so I had to stay out a week; he wouldn't let me go back to work. So he came in on Monday, and I went and I had surgery on Wednesday. But when they got in there, it was a ganglion cyst that had growed all these years where that first hurt, and it growed in my artery. And they had to cut that all out. So I turned it in on my compensation, and they didn't have no record of the first time, so they didn't pay anything, but my own insurance paid eighty percent of it. But all of it come from working down there, being hurt in the plant.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you think they conveniently lost the record? Do you know that they made a record of it the first time that you'd gotten hurt?

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CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I told them that I went to Dr. Siegel and that they should have it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The doctors should have a record.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He should have had it. But I don't know if they called him or not, but they wrote and said that since it was a ganglion cyst they couldn't pay it. But it was caused from my other hurt. [interruption]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I was in there one day, and my bill was $1,230. For one day.
JACQUELYN HALL:
One day?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I stayed overnight. I went in on Wednesday morning and came out about lunchtime on Thursday.
PATTY DILLEY:
And twelve hundred dollars.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Twelve hundred dollars was what they charged.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's still a whole lot, even if they paid eighty percent.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, I had to pay $179 on my hospital bill, and I just paid $48 on the doctor bill.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do a lot of people have problems?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, lots of them gets hurt like that, just minor things that they have to go. Because they have us report anything; if it's small or large, we're supposed to report it. And they didn't send my disability, so I called Barbara, the one personnel woman that looks after it, and I told her that the nurse over there had put it on the doctor bill so he wouldn't fill it out. So she called in at our main office and said that the girl down there said that she would send me a check in the next couple days. I don't know if I'll get it or not.
PATTY DILLEY:
You're still waiting for it, then.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
I wanted to hear a little bit about the things that you're involved in now with the senior citizens and the aged and so on.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, I just help them out a little bit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you said something about trying to get bus lines in Hickory for the…
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What is that about?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We was wanting busses to run in Hickory to take these old people, pick them up, that can't drive a car.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And we don't only need them for the old people.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We need them for everybody in Hickory. We need a bus line in Hickory the worst of anything that's ever been.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And especially since the gas is getting …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, and it's so many old people, when they get old they can't drive. And then we've got a lot of children could ride the bus. And a lot of people would ride the bus if we had …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They've got four busses for the aged.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, we've got four, but one of them's at Newton, and one of them's at Maiden.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
… got a bus that was donated to us, and all we have to do is pay for the gas and bum us a driver or get us a driver. We've been lucky so far; we don't have to pay nobody to drive it. We've always got somebody that volunteered to do it, Mr. Buie and a lot of them, different people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What have you done to try to get the city to rent busses?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We just put a film on, and we asked them to.

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ALVIN YELTON:
Me and her has been on TV for it and everything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They put you on television?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, me and him both was on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that happen?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Somebody told them I run my mouth, I reckon. [Laughter] They come up here. And then I got out, and when I found out what it was… You see, I didn't know. I was just getting over pneumonia. We just had moved up here. And somebody just called me out of the blue and told me who they was and said he wanted to come up here and ask me a couple questions, just like you did. And I had on my gown and house coat. Really, I'd been in bed nearly all day, hadn't I, Alvin, that day? Set up a little bit. And so I told Alvin, "I'd better get me some clothes on." I started just to leave my house… I told him I'd been sick and had pneumonia. He asked me if I felt like talking, and I told him yes, I would talk to him if he wanted me to. He said he was from WSOC in Charlotte. And my Lord, when he drove up… He said he'd be up here in thirty minutes. Well, I run in the bathroom, talk about cleaned up. Put on a top and a pair of pants. And boy, I was glad I did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And so you were on the six o'clock news?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I was on the six o'clock news, but I never saw it. I was out running around. [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We looked for a week.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, and never saw it. And we went to the mall, and all them TV's at that new mall, we could have went We never saw it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
… and they were on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That always happens.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
And I never did get to see it. I didn't see it yet. Alvin saw it,

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but me and Carrie never …
ALVIN YELTON:
They ain't never here when nothing happens, and the telephone, I have to answer it all the time.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He has to answer the telephone.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a committee that the senior citizens organization set up to try to do something about that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
You see, the taxi drivers of Hickory fought the busses that they got. Then we set up a committee to go, and they picked me to go with them on that committee, and we met on this committee with the taxi drivers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You talked with the taxi drivers.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They was talking to get us off; I was talking to keep us on. These here busses that hauls us to eat and hauls these old people to the doctor's, they don't want. They say it's ruining their taxi business.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you been reading about this? Was it a public hearing?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, they had it in the paper a couple of times, haven't they? This one taxi driver from Newton got up, and he said that he didn't think the taxpayers ought to pay for it, said people that's on the welfare is all they hauled. And boy, he sent me a blow there. Boy, I jumped up and told him, "Wait a minute, there, wait a minute. Everybody that rides that bus ain't on welfare. I ain't, and I know a whole lot more who ain't, and don't you go talking that way. We ain't on no welfare, but I think it's nice that they provide a way. What do you all just for the old people for? You've got a whole lot worse things going on than that." And I do think they have. He said, "Oh, I didn't mean to offend you." I said, "I ain't on welfare, though I wouldn't be too good to go on it if I had to. But it'll be a have-to when I do."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you all do voluntary work at the nutrition center?

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MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things do you do?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We dip up the eats and go on to meetings with them. I help plan the …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She calls bingo most all the time.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I call bingo, and she used to, and I go and help Betty Holmes over at the plan out the meals, what we eat every quarter.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just started, and I guess this is about the fourth or fifth week.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I imagine she'll put you maybe on that …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
The secretary, like, who keeps the names at the center …
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I can't remember names. She wanted me to do that, but I told her I couldn't.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
[unknown] asked me to do that, so that's what I'm doing there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, you're the secretary.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And then the ninth, the aged wants us to be on a committee to go somewhere. I don't know where Marge is going, but she wants us to go with her, because it's three more nutrition places or more.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Carrie, she wants Maiden, and they're different.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I know, but we're going to talk up for more money, our part and maybe a little more, for our new building site over here.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
From the way we understand it, it's going to have to be a lot of volunteer work over there.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
But that's what we're going to them; we're going to talk up for our nutrition centers([unknown]).
JACQUELYN HALL:
Get some more money.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Betty was talking to me today that she would help us on the others if we'd do a little vol…

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She said she was going to have to have a little volunteer work.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I'd rather do that.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Than just set there. A lot of people goes down there ain't able to do that. I hope I stay able.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And like I say, I hope I can work up that I can work with the elderly.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Doing this voluntary work would be good experience. Then if you wanted to find a job, you'd have the experience.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I'm too old for a job, though, but she ain't.
ALVIN YELTON:
You're like me. I'm too dang old for that.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I told her, I done quit work lots of paydays.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But Mr. Yelton doesn't go down to the nutrition …
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He's going to our new place, though, when it opens up, he says.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are there more women than men?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, there are everywhere you go.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Well, I tell you, the men died out quicker than the women.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Do you remember reading in the Bible where he said before the end of time it'd be seven women to every man's coattail? There are twelve already.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[Laughter] It's true.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Our recreation director, Theresa Farley, got up the Senior Shufflers, a dancing group.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I've danced for a man for two years.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They have to have women dance as the men partners.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
When we go to dance for the public, I dress as a man. I wear black

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pants and a white blouse, and the lady wears a black skirt and a white blouse.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of dance do you do?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Different. It's only similar to square dances.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
About five or six different dances she's taught us.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
But we're losing our Hickory Recreation Center woman, Theresa Farley. She's moving with her husband. Transferred.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She's very young, and she's so sweet, and she just loves her work.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, she loves to work with old people. Kids, too. She's good on either one of them. I hate to lose her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are there any other issues that you've worked on, things that you've wanted to get changed to make things better for older people in Hickory? The busses are the main things, and the money for the nutrition science. Are there any other…
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Anything that connects senior citizens, the aged. I used to help Margie, but I ain't helped Margie too much lately because she's got somebody to help her now. She was running it by herself. She's got a woman who works in the office now. She's got more time. I do help them a little to put on parties. We're going to have a watermelon feast down there the tenth of next month at the bridge at Conover. You know where the bridge is?
PATTY DILLEY:
The covered bridge?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The covered bridge, that's where we're going. The AARP's coming, and the aged, Margie Abernathy's crowd.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And the aged meets once a month at the YMCA.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
At Conover, Margie Abernathy's bunch.
JACQUELYN HALL:
This is the Council on the Aged?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes. They meet every second Monday.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long have you all been involved in these organizations?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She has for five years, and I've been going about six weeks.

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MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They started this in January, and I moved up here in April, and then I started in July. I got kind of homesick when I moved, leaving all my friends. My sister-in-law called around, and they come by and picked me up.
PATTY DILLEY:
Is this sister-in-law still in Gastonia?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No, in Hickory. I'm talking about my sister-in-law on my side, Lucille Sigmon who lives over here on Twenty-fourth Street.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Now she could tell you lots about schools, because her daughter finished over here, and she's a teacher at St. Stephen's, and she worked in the lunch room.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She worked in the lunch room at the public schools?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, up at Westmont for years. And her daughter, Judy Bass, is a schoolteacher.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I believe it was two years she taught in Maryland. Then she came back to live. She's been at St. Stephen's ever since.
JACQUELYN HALL:
It sounds like the Sigmons were a real close family.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We were. Over here now where the Snack Bar Number 2 is, all that used to be a cafe and a shoe shop, and they'd hang out over there. And my brothers would get together, and they'd just jabber and go on and talk to each other. Some of the strangers would say, "Well, those boys is going to get in a fight, aren't they?" They said, "Law, no, that's the way they go on all the time. That's the Sigmon boys." [Laughter] The fellow said, "Boy, they sure can have a good time together." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are you still close as a family, even after all these years?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes, we get together once a We all live right around together.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We're all up here now, since I moved up here.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Have there been any family feuds, where people would get mad at each other?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Not as I know of. Not our family.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, we'd argue lots. You ought to hear me and my brothers argue politics sometime, them Republican and me Democrat. [unknown] fight, [unknown] over. Ain't it, Al? [Laughter]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Murphy was down here the other day telling me how lowdown Carter was, and I started in on Nixon. [Laughter] You ought to hear [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you feel like you had a closer family than a lot of other people?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I never remember being mad at any of my brothers or sisters.
ALVIN YELTON:
[unknown]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, that shouldn't be said. That's when she house. No, I don't remember that.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, we always was a pretty close family.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And we could always joke and get along and not get mad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have very many occasions where you all got together? Did you all spend Christmas together?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Not lately, but…
ALVIN YELTON:
[unknown] two or three years
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We did when our mama and daddies was living.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
But we ain't since.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
After your mama and daddy dies, your family's…
ALVIN YELTON:
[unknown] down to the Sigmon reunion?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We have a Sigmon reunion every summer, down at Oxford Ford.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We get together with all our families.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
The whole Sigmon generation.

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CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Everybody's dead now except for cousins. We have one aunt, and she was my daddy's brother's wife. She's the only aunt we have left. But the cousins, we all get together.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How many people came to the reunion last summer?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, we have a hundred, a hundred and fifty, I guess.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How far away do they come from?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They come from Florida.([unknown])
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Let me show you my six brothers and my daddy, and my husband.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And I've got and his brothers.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Here's my brother-in-law when he went in service. He was seventeen. My husband signed for him to go. Here's when he come out, twenty-one years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He certainly grew up.
PATTY DILLEY:
He looks like a boy there.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That's the first picture he had made when he went in. This is the last one he had made coming out. I like to have one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How old was he when you started raising him?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He was five years old [unknown].
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to his parents?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
His mother died when she was twenty-nine. And that's how he looked when he come here. And this is my daddy right here, and this is his sister and his three brothers. They give them a birthday dinner, and I took that.
PATTY DILLEY:
What's happened to this one fellow's leg?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He'd had a stroke. That's Van Sigmon. Now that's Wes Sigmon; this is Dad Sigmon; this is Zeb Sigmon; this is Cebe Sigmon. And she married a Sigmon, John Sigmon's wife Aunt Vi Sigmon. And this is my six brothers. Next to this one that died [unknown]. And I'm between

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this one and this one.
PATTY DILLEY:
Which one is still living?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
This one's a-living, and this one's a-living, and this one's a-living, them three, and the other three's dead. I've got four brothers dead, but this was taken before any died.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where's your husband?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I believe he's further back. This is my husband.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was really nice-looking.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That was in later years, though, whenever his health was going down. That was about the latest picture that was taken.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where was that picture taken?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I really don't remember where that was taken.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you have any pictures of the two of you together?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I'll show you one of the last pictures we had made. There's the Sigmon reunion. That was all the cousins that was living in the whole Sigmon family. This boy I raised sent me this picture when he went to Frankfort, Germany. He was driving that jeep and hit that telephone post. He showed me where it dug him. Sent it to me. And this is him when he was in Frankfort, Germany. This was when I was in Florida. Some of these pictures is real old. But I don't see that picture.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you have any pictures of you and your husband when you were first married or in your early years?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. This is Carrie's daughter there, that baby.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She is beautiful.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's the one that plays the violin([unknown]).
PATTY DILLEY:
Susan? What's her last name?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Lale.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
This is my niece that takes me a lot of places. This is Carrie's

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oldest son and his wife when they got married.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I have a picture here. That was one of their wedding pictures. They got married in Maryland.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Now here's all that's living now. It was taken at the Sigmon reunion. Me and Carrie and my two brothers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Of the brothers and sisters?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, that's what's living right now. That's my big dollar bill. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where do you have the reunions?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Down at Catfish, down at Oxford School, out there at the Bethel Lutheran church.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Here's a picture of me and my husband taken at the beach just before he died. And this is my daddy's [unknown] my daddy's [unknown]. This is my and Carrie's mother. That's just exactly like Mama. Everybody says I favor her.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
This one's the best. She wouldn't ever hardly have a picture made.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's a wonderful picture. Did she not smile very much?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. She didn't like pictures taken of her.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I can't figure out where that picture of me and Bill is. I must have that in my pocketbook.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
That's Alvin's mother. She's dead. Now this is my father and all of his brothers and sisters.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's another sister?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I bought that down at the reunion. They had them way back, and they had pictures made, so I bought [unknown].
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
This was taken at Seattle, Washington, when we went. That's how George looked when we went to Seattle.

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CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Let's see the twins now. He had three sisters.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
This was taken in Virginia on a boat when we was on a holiday outing.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Th [unknown] twins.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
It must be in my billfold. That's a good picture of me and Bill. I wanted you to see it. But it must not be.
PATTY DILLEY:
I love these pictures.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
[unknown] of them are old pictures. I had that one enlarged from a smaller picture. And, you know, back then she just wouldn't wear anything but black. She'd wear black and white checks or black. We couldn't get her to wear colors.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
She would just not wear them.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you think she was oldfashioned?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Back then they didn't wear many colors.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Does somebody cook for the family reunion?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We take a meal, fix a basket.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who organizes those?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
One of our cousins in Catfish. He died.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who's going to do it now?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know who will take over this year. I always help remind them up in this end. But we'll have to get a new president.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you elect a president and everything like that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's neat.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
But we'll have to elect a new one this year. We meet the second Sunday in September.
PATTY DILLEY:
And you all meet out there at the Bethel church?

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CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's neat.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
This is my baby brother and his wife, Murphy Sigmon.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I hunted up all my pictures. Now I've got to them and put them in.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Mine are all just in a box.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I've got them that far; maybe I'll get them in there one of these days. [Laughter]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That's Preacher Huffman over there that we were talking about.([unknown])
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know if she has or not.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that…
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That goes and sees them all at the hospitals and all, but he's just about past going now. Preacher [unknown].
END OF INTERVIEW