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Excerpt from 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) See Entire Interview >>

Favoritism in the mills

Yelton describes how she found her first job and then lists the jobs she held subsequently. Her favorite task was creeling, but when the boss's wife wanted Yelton's position, he transferred her to winding and spooling, jobs she greatly disliked.

Citing this Excerpt

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) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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 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, 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.