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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Avoiding extortion at company store

Evitt remembers that her father, who worked at a sawmill, refused to allow the mill owner to cheat him at the company store by paying cash for supplies rather than deducting his purchases from his wages.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. 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

JIM LELOUDIS:
Did he own that sawmill or just work there?
ALICE P. EVITT:
No, he just worked for it. He hadn't bought any then. He just worked for the man'd owned the cotton mill and all; he owned the saw mill, the mill hill and everything. So they just had one store there, and they'd take out of your wages-when you worked-they'd take out of your wages what you owed at the store. If you didn't have enough to pay it, they'd take it off and put on the envelope "balance due." My daddy told them they couldn't take 'em out on my sisters'. He wouldn't allow it, and they didn't. People started up there and said that frogs sit on the river and hollered, "Balance due." [laughter] They'd tell that around cause so many people didn't draw a thing. They'd just take everything they had. But they didn't take any out of none of our family. My daddy wouldn't go through with that.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Well, how did he manage to buy stuff at the store and all?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Well, they let him have it. He paid it every week. They paid it up.
JIM LELOUDIS:
He just paid cash rather than let them take it out.
ALICE P. EVITT:
He wouldn't let them take it out the tickets even. That's the only place I'd ever knowed to do such a thing, but it's cause, I guess, he owned the mill and owned the store and everything. But some of them people there, they wouldn't draw a thing; they wouldn't have nothing.