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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

George Dyer moved in search of higher wages

George Dyer moved to Virginia and New York in search of better wages and worked in a cotton mill. The mill was so large that it only hired new employees who already knew how to weave yarn.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161. 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

LU ANN JONES:
Then where did you go?
GEORGE DYER:
Different places. Went up Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, tried it up there a while. Utica, New York, and all around.
LU ANN JONES:
Were you working in mills then?
GEORGE DYER:
Work in a mill in Utica, New York. I knew how to weave and all that stuff.
LU ANN JONES:
What was it like up there?
GEORGE DYER:
Utica, New York? It's cold up there. They don't have but two seasons - summer and winter. It's right close to the Canadian border.
LU ANN JONES:
Is that the first weaving that you had done?
GEORGE DYER:
No, I did weaving in Virginia, Danville, Virginia-Dan River Mills? I lived there a while until the home was broke up. I had two sisters that lived there. Their husbands was mill workers. I went down there and I got a job in the mill. It's just like anything else, don't take you long to learn.
LU ANN JONES:
Did you go in with them? Did they teach you how to weave?
GEORGE DYER:
They wasn't weavers. They worked in another department. One of them was the boss and one was an employment agent. They have an employment building there, and they hire people all the time. They work around 10,000 people. People going and coming all the time. If they hire you there and you don't know the job, they don't keep you. You have to know the job, they let you go. You can tell them you know so and so. You go in that department, and what you tell them you know, and if you don't know it, they'll let you go. I come on down here later on. I quit there and come down here. That's when I met my wife.
LU ANN JONES:
Why did you decide to leave Danville and go to New York?
GEORGE DYER:
My brother was a printer and another friend, they wanted to go on up there to find out if they could make bigger money. I made a little more money up there, but it cost more for a living.
LU ANN JONES:
How much were you making in Danville as compared to how much you were making in New York?
GEORGE DYER:
I was making around twenty-seven dollars a week. That was in '37. I got to New York, I made about thirty-eight. But the expenses of living was high.