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Title: Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Hatcher, Jean Cole, interviewee
Interview conducted by Tullos, Allen
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 136 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-05-22, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0165)
Author: Allen Tullos
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0165)
Author: Jean Cole Hatcher
Description: 151 Mb
Description: 37 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 13, 1980, by Allen Tullos; recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Rachel Osborn.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980.
Interview H-0165. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hatcher, Jean Cole, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JEAN COLE HATCHER, interviewee
    ALLEN TULLOS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
First of all, something about the Cole family and the McClintock family. What is your understanding about their occupations? Were they farmers? I noticed one article said they had been one of the two oldest families in this area, in Chatham and Randolph counties.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Mm-hm. They were farmers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You know the scale of what they were doing, or how large their operations at the height, or anything like that? Could they be considered planters, in the sense of having lot of slaves on the plantation?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, they had slaves, but not a great number of them. From their background standpoint, I have a sister who knows great deal more about it than I do. The farm in Chatham county, where they were born and raised, for a number of years, still is in existence between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill. And is now owned by cousins of ours whose name is Fearrington, F-e-a-r-r-i-n-g-t-o-n.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I know that sign, you see it on the road as you go by.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Mm-hm. And the little old burial plot is still there, where great-great grandparents are buried. The Fearringtons eventually ended up mostly doing dairy farming, I believe. Then my grandfather left and went to Carbonton.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now which one is that? That's the Cole, or—?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
That's Cole. Where he had a mill on Deep River. Isn't that Deep River at Carbonton? And I understood, not long ago, that that mill was still standing, on the banks of that river. But I don't know, I haven't been down there to see.

Page 2
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of a mill?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I think it was wool. I'm not sure. I'm vague about all that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you have any idea how many slaves they might have owned? Or were they considered to be sort of a wealthy family in that community?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
They were considered well-to-do. But by the time my father and uncle came along—all the children were educated, college educated persons. As far back as we can determine, they were people of education. And substantial, of course, but as far as any great wealth was concerned, or being applied per se—no, I don't think they ever came into that category.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever hear about their politics before the Civil War? Would it have been Democratic during that time? That's going a good ways back.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
My grandmother Cole was a Henley. And I have heard her say that her family were Republicans. Now, whether that was immediately after the War Between the States, or whether they were Republicans prior to that, I don't know. But she died in 1927. Being age seventeen at that point in time, I was not questioning and following up on things that she would tell me about. My memory is terribly vague, I'm sorry to say.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, what about the McClintock side of the family?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
My mother was a McClintock. My grandfather—that family came into Chester County, South Carolina, approximately seventeen hundred and fifty-three. [unknown] buy a piece of property. That platter there came from Scotland to Ireland to South Carolina, in 1753.

Page 3
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, do you know which way they got to Chester?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Into [unknown] Charleston. On my grandmother McClintock's side, she was a Hunter. And the Hunter, Huntersville which is ten miles out of Charlotte, was their area. And they also came into Carolina through the port of Charleston. The Coles, as far as we can determine, came in through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and came down the turnpike, through Virginia, in the Carolinas.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know why it was that the McClintocks came over?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
They were plain Scotch-Trish Presbyterians that came over for just the same purpose that all the area of Scotch Presbyterians came from. [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, that's real interesting. Now, what did they do, the McClintocks?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
My grandfather, of course, fought in the Civil War, and he lost an arm at the battle of the crater at Petersburg. And then came back and finished his education at Davidson College. For a time, he and my grandmother were teachers. And then came in from Huntersville, or from where I don't know. They went to Fort Mills, South Carolina, I think, and taught for a while. Then came to Charlotte, and he was a farmer. But he wa also the Superintendent of Education, Mecklenburg County, for a number of years, and was also Chairman of the School Board. I think they call it Chairman of the Education Board, or something. But was School Board Chairman. Then his son, Banks McClintock, followed him as Chairman of the School Board. So we've had a long history of education.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why do you think that was? On both sides of the family, seems

Page 4
like, education and going to college, and all that was
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I never stopped to ask that question. I simply took it as a matter of fact, or [laughter] matter of course, and never paid any attention to it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, it was very unusual.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
But my father was even president of college, you see, when he decided to come into industry. Both he and my uncle taught for a while.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, did the Presbyterian tradition stay in your family, past your grandparents?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It's still in my family. Except for my immediate family, practically all my aunts and uncles and cousins are still Presbyterians, of the old First Presbyterian Church here in Charlotte. My mother joined the Methodist church soon after she married my father. used to think it was quite a joke, because somebody said to my grandmother, "Janie certainly is making a grand Methodist!" And my grandmother said, "Of course. She's got a good Presbyterian backbone." [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever wonder about the fact that the Presbyterians were so much involved in some of these educational enterprises, and stressed education so much?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, actually not much more so than Methodists were. My own college, Greensboro College, is 1838, and it's the oldest chartered women's college in the South. Second oldest one in the United States. And we've got Trinity College in Durham, which is now Duke. So we go back. Seems that it might be more appropriate to say that

Page 5
Protestantism might have done it. Or there was some influence back in the old country that was deeper rooted than we know about.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you think there are any kind of family stories, or traits that would have been passed along in your family, in some way that connected you with that Scotch-Irish tradition. Did you ever hear that referred to, in any sort of way? Any kind of reference about habits, or behavior, or character?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
That has been alluded to and talked about so many times, in so many various ways, that there again, it's almost like the air you breathe. Because your association was with so many people who have similar backgrounds. Similar habits, similar peculiarities, or what have you. That as far as my selecting something that would be outstanding in that area, I couldn't tell you. You're getting me
ALLEN TULLOS:
We'll get back to more factual kind of things. I was just interested in some of your speculations about these things.
Another one, while we're speculating, would be, do you detect any difference between the sort of folks who made up the society along the coast, or out east, in North and South Carolina, and the people who were in the Piedmont?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Very definitely.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you talk a little bit about—was that something in your family, that you could see a difference?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] Well, probably I would not confine it to family. I would confine it to people who live in the Piedmont, versus the families and people whom I know quite, quite well who lived in eastern

Page 6
part of both the two states.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That would be interesting to see.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
And, of course, the coastal area developed earlier than our area developed, because the sea was the [unknown] transportation, in those days. Or communication, as far as that's concerned. And there was no industry in the eastern part of the state. It was all fisheries, or shipping, tar, pitch—that sort of thing. The different [unknown] made a difference. And always does, any geographical division of areas.
I might say the eastern Carolinas, now, not just definitely North or South Carolina. And the people in eastern Carolina, they are much more relaxed . . . much more easy social relationship. And that probably stemmed from the cultures of the earlier years, when all the money was in the eastern part of the state, of both states. And they had the big plantations, and the rice fields, and all that sort of thing. And built beautiful low country mansions. Had numerous slaves, and many, many acres of land. And farming leads to a certains amount of relaxation and free time, as versus a nine-to-five or industrial type activity. Does that answer your question?
ALLEN TULLOS:
That sounds good to me. I'm trying to get your interpretations based upon your [unknown] experience. And you've thought about this.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I know this, that I had many eastern Carolina friends, both in prep school and in college. And when I would visit Wilmongton, or Elizabeth City, or Charleston, places like that—and Edenton—I had the time of my life. And was just total difference, way they lived and the way I lived, here in Charlotte.

Page 7
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's real interesting.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
There was not too much difference in basic education, basic culture, basic family background, but there was a difference in the momentum, or the speed, or the manner in which they lived. There wa was more graciousness in the eastern part of the two states. [Pause]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me ask you this question, which I haven't seen in any of these things that have been written, yet. What was the effect of the Civil War upon the kind of family fortunes, on both sides of the family? Do you know how it affected them?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I never heard that it had any dire effects on them, because they were not planters with vast acreages, you know. They were not in the area where the homes were burned out from under them, and that sort of thing. I know that my grandmother and her sister were in a girl's school in Statesville. They lived in little town of Davidson—well, Huntersville is just a mile from Davidson, or more or less. And Statesville is not very far from there, twenty miles, let's say. They were going to school in Statesville when the War Between the States prohibited them doing that. And they had had uncles and people who had graduated from Davidson College. Those two girls came back, and completed their education at Davidson College during the War Between the States. And did not receive a diploma. They graduated, and it's so noted. I mean, it's recorded. But they couldn't receive diploma from Davidson College, because it was just chartered to educate young gentlemen. So they did not get a diploma. And that's really the biggest effect, as far as effecting their economical circumstances. It surely must have, but how badly it did, I don't know.

Page 8
The only other story—I have heard a great deal from a great-aunt of mine, who never married. Miss Ann McClintock, who lived in Chester for a number of years, and was living there during the War Between the States. And she remembers when brother Sherman came through. She remembers sitting out in the yard with her voluminous skirts over a barrel of something. Some people say silver, other people say salt and sugar, I don't know. But something that was very precious to them. And they took the horses, but they didn't take what she was sitting on.
And she got very—she could not stand the name "Sherman." I got a relative, a very close friend of ours, married a young man in Washington, whose surname was Sherman. And she brought him out to introduce him to the McClintock family, shortly after they were married. She walked in, and my Aunt Ann was sitting in the room, and the name Sherman—she got up; she said, /sniffs/; and walked out of the room just like that. [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did your great-aunt have that education, too, that you were talking about?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah. Oh yeah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was she one of those that went to Davidson?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, no, that was on the Hunter side, the Davidson. And my grandmother McClintock, who was a Hunter.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I see. Well, that's an interesting little point, too, there. I don't know if you would agree with it or not, but there does seem to be a number of women who were, in some ways, better educated, and after the Civil War there was just no one around then for them to marry, in some cases. And many of them, then, never did marry.

Page 9
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
That's true. I know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There's a whole large group of those, it seems, that turns up.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah, there were several in our family. I never really stopped to analyze that, but that's what it would be, very likely.
ALLEN TULLOS:
They were just too good for anyone that was around, after the War. Well, let me ask a little bit, then, getting into the history of the Cole brothers.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Now, you recording this, or you got it turned off? You got it back on?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes'm. The one that's usually credited with being the inventive character is Eugene—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
That's right. That is entirely correct.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you have any more insight on how he first began to do this? Why it was him, and not the other brothers, who got interested in this sort of—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I think that it is an inherited trait, in the family, for things mechanical. Which came from my grandmother, who was the Henley. My grandmother Cole, nee Henley. She was very clever about those sort of things. Oh, she was sharp. Very sharp person. Had right much influence on my growing up, I would say.
I think that her influence [unknown] as I say, there's a family trait in there. Because a cousin of ours, whose name was Worth—and that goes back to our old government, Jonathan Worth, and on into that area—later became quite a prominent engineer with Cummins Engines. You know, I think they built the first internal combustion engine? Or, the very leaders in the field. So that flair seems to have come from the

Page 10
Henley side of the family. And my son, who is now President of Cole Manufacturing Company, has got good many patents under his belt. He's got the flair, too.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Can you remember specifically anything about your grandmother? Her name was Annie?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Mm-hm. Annie Mariah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Anything that leads you to say this. Any little anecdotes, or stories, that might illustrate that?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh, I don't know that I could. For a thing like this—I don't know. It was more just conversation between a grandmother and a little girl. `Cause I was seventeen when she died, so I'd had my formative years really very close to her. And she was an ambitious person, and she said, "You're going to have this," and, "You're going to do this," and "You're going to be that." She was furious because my mother and father did not want me to go very far away from home to college. Being Methodist, they chose the little old Greensboro College, and she was furious because she thought her granddaughter ought to go to Wellesley and really get a [laughter] high-powered education. Which I did not get. And did not want. But she was that kind of a person.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's really extraordinary. Can you take it back any further with her, to understand where that might have come from?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Goes back further than my memory would—
ALLEN TULLOS:
It's a very extraordinary family. Well, do you remember any stories about Eugene Cole, maybe as a child, or as a little boy?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Unfortunately -..
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was there anyone else in the family—his father, for instance—

Page 11
who had worked on these ideas about planters, and seeding equipment?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, the story I get about his father is that he was a dreamy . . . student . . . Lived in an ivory tower type person, had no practical sense. I think that may lead to my saying that my grandmother was the spark. He got part of his education, as I understand it, in England; read his Testament in Greek. And the most horrible story of the whole kit and caboodle, is the fact that when my father was born-E. A. He was reading poetry written by a Greek poet whose name was Eusebius, E-u-s-e-b-i-u-s. And he was in john, reading his Greek poetry. And the time came to name my poor little baby daddy, and he insisted that he be named Eusebius. And the poem he was reading was called "Adonis." And they named him Eusebius Adonis Cole. And he was never—nobody, to this day, knows his name, except those of us in the family. He was E. A. from then on out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's why you say Eugene Macon, and E. A., in the same biography? [laughter] [unknown] [Pause] Well, do you know any more about the work that he did before, say, 1901, when the company came here to Charlotte?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
The company came here, we actually were chartered in 1900, so I don't know where you get this 1901 business. And they actually came into Charlotte, probably ninety-eight or ninety-nine. Getting the thing started. And he got his original patent in probably ninety-eight or ninety-nine. When he got out of college and came back home, planting was very, very crude. There were one or two or three crude planters being used, but they were not effective. The most ways that things were being planted was the fact that they would plow the

Page 12
field, then do the furrows. And as they were doing the furrows, why, the wife, or somebody-a child—would walk along and hand-drop the seed. That way. And those planters that were being used were not refined enough, and they were crushing more seed, as they were trying to meter the seed out, than they were planting good seed.
My uncle, as I said, where his flair came from, or how the idea came to him, I don't know. But I do know that he made the first planter for his father's farm, in their blacksmith shop. They had a blacksmith shop on the farm. And he made the first planters that we used on their farm, in that blacksmith shop. Then people in the neighborhood, in the general area, began to see what was being accomplished by his planters. And he would make one for a friend, and make one for a friend, and maybe loan his, and that sort of thing, until he found out . . . he believed that they were marketable.
The Coles, at that point in time, had no money, period. Evidently. They'd spent it all on educating the children, or—I don't know why. But at least they had no capital. Let's put it that way. And, as I say, my father was president of [unknown] Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia. He was the only one in the family, at that point in time, who was making any sort of a salary. And I think it was the very munificent sum of fifty dollars a month, if I'm not mistaken. But he had managed to save a great deal of it, and that sort of thing.
And he got in touch with my father, to see if he was interested, and he was. And they came to Charlotte, and started. I think most of these histories and stories you'll find where they borrowed money, and financed it. They were able to attract the top-notch people in the

Page 13
community to back 'em, that was one thing for sure. President of the bank.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you mention some of the people that backed them?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah. The brother Belks, for instance. Or Mr. B. D. Heath, H-e-a-t-h, whose family is still in Charlotte. They were quite prominent in textiles, and farming, and that sort of thing. And . . . Mr. John M. Scott, who was the founder, and president for a number of years, of the Charlotte National Bank, which is now Wachovia Bank and Trust here in Charlotte. They were early people who bought stock, and put money into the company. 'Course they have all the old minutes, and all that sort of thing, back to those days. And our minutes reflect their presence at the Board meetings, and that kind of thing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about D. A. Tompkins, was he a supporter of them? Do you remember him being mentioned then?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I don't believe he came up in any of the histories. They were friends, of course. But I don't believe he had anything with the company. I think you might find those things alluded to in that little newspaper account, I'm not sure. [Pause]
ALLEN TULLOS:
It seems a bit interesting that E. M. Cole would kind of call upon all of his brothers. In some ways, I don't guess it's unexpected, but it does seem most interesting to note that he tried to involve all of his brothers in this enterprise. Did the different brothers have different kinds of positions, or specialities, within the operation? How did that work out?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It didn't. The one brother who was around the plant the most—he was never married—was a dreamer like his father, as far as I

Page 14
determine. Very sweet, very dear uncle to have. And he had a certain flair. And he would tinker. Getting people to [unknown] And he loved to think that he probably did a great deal more than he did. He sometimes resented Uncle Gene, said Uncle stoled his ideas. Which I don't think is true, in my observation for a period of about thrity-five years. He drew a stipend from the company, but to say that he was any part of the company . . .
Then the other one, E. O., who was a Methodist minister, and did have some stock in the company at one time, and did hit my uncle to death, occupied the chair of the president for about ten years, almost. Had no business ever being president of the company. That's the harsh—is a factual thing to say. Because he was a man who did very many wonderful things, but he was not a proper person to have been president.
The majority of the stock of the company is in a trust. But my sisters and I, we own the majority of the stock, through the trust. And our voice is the one that's heard the most. And we were too young not to—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Along with daddy and Uncle Gene, came to me, because my uncle had no children. Daddy had three daughters, and I was the one who trotted around on his heels, all over that plant, from the time I could walk, I guess. Because it was within blocks of where we lived, anyway.
And they came and said, "You've got to do something about it. The company's deteriorating rapidly, and it isn't growing at all. It's going backwards." And it being a closely held company, and it never had had a

Page 15
principal officer who was not a member of the family. Between these men who worked at the company, and the backing of my sisters and cousins, and the urging of my husband, I became president of the company, having never had a job in my life. Mean, that's how it came about. And, through some God-given gift—what it was, I don't know—I was able to turn it around. Mainly because I was giving support to the men who had the ability and the know-how to do it, not because I had any know-how. Probably the only flair I have is being a people person. I like people, I like to work with 'em. And I was able to give them the backing. They did the work.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was in—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
1953. I had been on the Board since 1942, and had been vice-president of the company. 'Bout many times I started at the top, and worked down to the bottom, [laughter] and started back up again.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But you say you had actually, as a child, gone in and—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It was amazing how much I knew about that company, and how much I knew about planting, and how much I knew about Cole planters that had gotten to me by osmosis. 'Cause, as I say, I was the oldest child, and just trotted around on my father's heels all my life. And I had gone down there so much that I knew. And I'd go down there when they would get out direct mail advertising, when they'd put me up on a high stool, and I'd stuff envelopes. And got paid a penny an envelope. Was the only job I had before I got to be president. [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Your other sisters, would they follow around as much as you?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Never did. And they still, through all the years, were never interested in the plant. They both have served on the board of

Page 16
directors. One sister's not living now. And were completely supportive of me. Was a very lovely family situation. But as far as the nuts and bolts, and that sort of thing, you couldn't find anybody less interested. I doubt that they could even tell you what a planter did, to this day.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, maybe you could say a little bit about some of your early memories about growing up around here, and going to school. Where you went to elementary school, a few things like that.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I went to a private school in Charlotte, which was run by Miss Harriet Orr, who, incidentally, is still living. I'll be seventy in October, and she was my first-grade teacher when I started to school.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the name of that little school?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Unless it was called Harriet Orr's School, I don't know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who else would have been there? How large of a class—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Everybody I knew in Charlotte was there, seemed like. [laughter] We went through the eighth grade, and then I went to a small Methodist school in Lenoir, called Davenport—which is no longer in existence—for my high school, prep school, and then to Greensboro College. So I'm total private education. Fact, our families are still total private education.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why did you go in that direction? Stay within the state, and go to school?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Why?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes. Was there any talk, ever, by your mother or father, about what they wanted you to do or be? Did they want you to have an occupation as opposed to being married, and not having one?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, I think it was absolutely assumed in those days that

Page 17
if you did anything, you would teach school. And if you didn't teach school, you traveled, and busied yourself with civic works—which I did—and eventually you would get married. Which I did. So there was never any intimation that I should finish school, and get myself into some sort of a career.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were your own early thoughts about that? Did you have any visions of what you might want to do?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, I sort of liked the general philosophy that they had. It seemed to fit my energies and personality. [laughter] So I never had any desire to—try the wings, is that the word, maybe?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me get back and ask a few more questions about the operation of the Cole Manufacturing Company. Do you remember who the competition was, when the company first started up. Would there have been other Southern companies? Would most of these machines been coming in from out of the South, or were there just not any other machines like them?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
There weren't any other machines like it. Oh, there any number of machines which had been developed, for agricultural purposes. The McCormack [unknown] machine, and all that sort of thing. Big machinery, harvesting machinery. One of the older plants that I can think of now was called Avery Plow Company, in Georgia, which I think maybe, eventually, made planters for a while. But they were principally for plow, cultivation tools. And it was not until after the war years, the Second World War, really, that John Deere and Ford, and the big people—the long-line manufacturers are what they're known as—went too much into the planting equipment end of it.

Page 18
So, as far as competition was concerned, we had a great deal of problems along the way, a good many times. One of our biggest competitors was Covington Company, which was in Dothan, I guess.
ALLEN TULLOS:
This is before World War II?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah. But they purely copied. They had started out being farmers. In those days, all of our equipment, of course, then, was animal drawn. They were dealers who sold for Cole Manufacturing Company, and they proceeded to copy Cole planter, and market it. And, to this day, what Covington planters are found around, and they can still put Cole seed plate in it, and it'll work. And there were a good number of suits about people who infringed on the patents. Of course, the patents, until more recent ones, have long since worn out.
But we had competition, of course. But, I can't remember it ever worrying us, other than just keeping us on our toes, and making us probably a little more alert, and a little more alive, and a little more aggressive. I think competition is the life of business, anyway.
ALLEN TULLOS:
As back as far as you know about, the teens or twenties or thrities, or you've heard tell of—how did the market develop? Was it first a North and South Carolina Market, or was it a whole South? Were there other parts of the country?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
You mean for Cole Manufacturing Company? It was the thirteen original states, really. I mean, the Southeast.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you-all were sending things North, and Northeast?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Not in the early days, no. In the early days, I said Southeast.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I see.

Page 19
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida. The bulk of our business was in the southeastern part of the United States. Then it stretched up. Then it went west to Texas. Pretty well all over, now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you-all ship rail, in those early days?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Mm-hm.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And did they change over to truck, later on? Or how did the shipping develop?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It changed over to truck, but not until way after World War II. We had our own railroad siding to receive our raw materials, and to ship. And warehousing was no problem, in those early days, prior to World War II, let's put it that way. Because tractor planting, as such, did not really come into being a force until World War II was over. It was beginning to burgeon, but it didn't come into its own until after the World War II.
Everything we make now is designed to be drawn by any tractor which is built, by mounting what we manufacture onto a tool bar type thing. And then having the device that is properly fitted to whatever kind of linkage the tractor has itself. So we don't build anything that has a motor in it. We sell our goods through tractor dealers. All of 'em.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's say—again, trying to draw a line about World War II, about 1940—what would have been the variety of things that the company would have made in 1940? Would it have just been planters, or would there have been—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, [unknown] was always planters and fertilizer distributors.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Ok. And those were all, that were made. Would there have been

Page 20
other items?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
There would have been other items that were accessories to the planter, or the fertilizer distributor. That adapted 'em to different soils. I don't know how much you know about farming.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Not a lot.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
But, in certain soils—well, you have Alabama soil, where you got your blackstrap. All it does, on certain types of wheels—you know how sticky and bad it is—it would just build up mud wheels. And you finally had no traction, nor nothing. And using opening plow devices, if you'd used an ordinary plow, you'd just build up—so you have to have a disk, which is just a round sharp-edged thing, that would cut through that, rather than push through it. You had to develop certain devices to adapt your planter to the type of soil in which it was being used. So we did manufacture those, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's helpful. You mentioned earlier, or kind of suggested, that, by comparing International Harvester, that they were really dealing with a different scale of farming, perhaps, than you-all.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Right. Well, here's the thing. There are two divisions in agricultural manufacturing. One is called the short line, the other one is called the long line. The long line would be John Deere, International Harvester, Ford, J. R. Case. The ones who build tractors, motorized equipment. Then they build harvesting equipment, planting equipment, highway equipment, as far as that's concerned—big equipment. In other words, their line is a long line of variety of things.
The short line manufacturers are people who specialize in their one field. Our speciality is planting and fertilizing. You got other

Page 21
agricultural people, throughout the Southeast, as far as that's concerned. Very good ones, who specialized in other things. Tobacco farming, tobacco curing, tobacco planting. But we, for row cropping—we like to think we're still considered the leader in that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there any other companies like what you call the short line manufacturers in the Piedmont, before World War II, that you can think of? In the Carolinas?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh, yeah. Long Manufacturing Company in Tarboro. There was a company in Sanford who built planters, and I can't think of their name at the moment. There was a company inSuffolk, Virginia—Ferguson—who built planters. Several manufacturing plants in Georgia, and Covington, and Alabama. But you're sort of taxing my memory, now, and not making me probably be as factual as I should be.
And we have an organization called the Southern Farm Equipment Manufacturer's Association, which is an arm of Farm Equipment Manufacturer's Association, a national organization. And they've got numerous companies in it, throughout your Southeast.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me return a little bit more to your own biography. Now, you mentioned going to Miss Orr's, I think it was, to school, and then off to this school that's no longer—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Davenport, which was a preparatory school. And then Greensboro College.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, after you finished there, what did you do?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I came home, and did volunteer civic work, and traveled. Graduated in 1931, got married in 1933.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of groups did you get involved with in the voluntary

Page 22
work, in the thirties?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Gracious Moses, I was chairman of the . . . oh, now you talking about the thirties, I'm coming up a little beyond that. You remember, those were the Depression days? And I worked a lot with what was then called—I think in those days it was called Associated Charities. You went around with a case worker, and did things, and held classes. The mills were not operating, there was just poverty spread all over the place.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you go into some of the mill communities, then?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which communities? Some in North Charlotte?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
North Charlotte would be the community. That was the mill community.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, maybe you could talk a little bit about that, since we've interviewed a number of people who used to work in the mills, in north Charlotte. What, exactly, would you-all do there?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, the person I went with the most there was a Deaconess. The Methodists had two Deaconesses here. You know, I can't remember the name of what their organization was, but it was under the auspices of the Methodist church. And they worked, just purely trying to see that people had something to eat; trying to educate them about health; we had classes for the children to teach them to sew, to knit, to read. [Pause]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember there being any kind of nutritional programs?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh, that was part of it, yes. I did not deal with them directly because I was not skilled or versed in that sort of thing, but there were cooking classes, and nutritional things. And the mill owners

Page 23
here in Charlotte cooperated fully with anything that could be done. I mean, they couldn't afford to keep the mills open; maybe two or three days a week, or something like that. But they . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
They would support you?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
They were supportive, very supportive. And, in fact, the Johnson's built a YMCA building out in north Charlotte, which is still—
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes, I've been there. Now, how long w re you involved with that?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh, off and on, for the two years between college and getting married.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you teach some of these classes yourself?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Mm-hm. Mm-hm.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Can you remember any of that? What that was like, or what your impressions of people who lived in those communities was?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, it's rather hard for me to jell that, because I graduated from college when I was twenty. And I was anything but dry behind the ears. All I can remember is just the compassion that you felt for other human beings, and how much they responded. Always made you feel like you were doing something that was worth something to them. But as far as having any real jelled ideas, I was not mature enough to do it. 'Cause a twenty year old now is whole lot sophisticated, more mature, than a twenty year old in 1930 was.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was there any sense that you got about the mill workers' own feeling about their plight? Were they angry at anyone, or did they—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I never encountered anybody who was angry. They accepted it. Not happily, of course. But, as far as I can remember, in our area, they had always fared well, at the hands of our mill owners, mill

Page 24
operators. And, I'm sure there was bitterness, and I'm sure there was hurt. And that was what I felt more than anything else, rather than anger. Because it was condition that they seemed to sense that people couldn't help. Remember this, too. They were living in mill villages then, and mill owned houses, and their burdens of rent, and that sort of thing were not as heavy as they have been since World War II. It's a whole different thing. I don't suppose they are any mill villages anywhere, any more, are they?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, there's very few that are still owned by the company.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
By the company.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And it's pretty hard to find them here in Charlotte, or to realize that it was once a textile center.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, lot of those houses are still standing in north Charlotte, but they're no longer owned by the mills.
One story I think that probably would not be a very good one to go on the record, that I remember most, was this woman that we visited with regularity. (Miss Bame was the deaconess' name.) And had a number of children, five or six or seven, or something like that. We went there one day, for what purpose I don't know, whether it was taking food, or going because somebody was sick. But I can remember this little old maid, Miss Bame, saying, "So-and-so, you're going to have another baby!" And the woman kind of hung her haad for a minute, and then all of a sudden she jerked it up, with a little bit of indignity. She said, "Listen, Miss Bame, we're not on but two days a week in the mills—or three days a week, whatever—and we haven't got any money. We don't even have any money to go to a picture show! I can't deny my husband every pleasure!"

Page 25
[Pause] That was that. [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's an important story, to me. Well, was there any effort at that time—pursuing this a little bit—to teach anything about birth control methods, for instance, to folks in the—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Not that I had anything to do with.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever hear about that being done?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No. No, I don't think it was. Don't really think it was. In fact, it was not . . . well, as far as I know, the methods of today weren't, when I was married. [Pause]
ALLEN TULLOS:
In some cases, we've talked of some different mill communities, and now and then people who live in mill communities remember themselves being called "lint heads." A class feeling coming across between the people who lived downtown, or in the city, and those who lived in the mill?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I never came against that. Now, I know that that existed, having read widely and seen it. I know that, over towards Gastonia, and that area, there was more unrest, there was more feeling there than— It could have been here in Charlotte, but I did not come into it. And I don't remember running across anybody, that I ever heard, talk disparagingly about people who lived in mill villages. They were accepted as being there. Now, as I say, I don't remember ever, in a group or conversation with anybody, doing something or saying something detrimental about these people. That was just that. Could have been going on, I just didn't get into the areas where it was being discussed, or being done. I don't know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, that gets us in to about 1931, or to thirty-three, or so. And then you were married in thirty-three. Could you say a little bit

Page 26
about how you met your hsuband, and what his background is? A few things like that.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, I met him through friends who, for about a year, while I was still in college, kept sending out a very nice young man coming to Charlotte they'd like for me to meet. And I kept on talking about I was engaged to somebody else, who at that time was an Oxford scholar in England—or Rhodes scholar at Oxford, I'll get it right in a minute. And I kept saying, "I wish they'd stop telling me `bout that Hatcher man, and not ever producing him." And finally . . . are we recording this?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes'm. This is an important part of the story.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] Well, they didn't produce him. I had finished, majored in what was called "Spoken English and Dramatic Art" at Greensboro College. There was a church reception, here in Charlotte, a few weeks after I graduated. I had just given my graduating recital. At which time, the thing you had to do was dress yourself up, and stand in the middle of the stage, and elocute about various things. So I was invited to be one of the entertainers at the church reception. So I dressed myself up back in my pink lace dress, and gave one of the things that I had recited for my recital.
And the people who had been talking to me about what an attractive, charming person Reuben Hatcher was, were there. The husband said, "You mean that's Jean Cole? Is that the girl you been talking about Hatch meeting, all this time?" She said, "Yes." He said, "Well, I'll be [whispers] god-damned." He said, "Well, you pointed her out across church to me, and that's not who I looked at." So it was not long, that summer, until I met Mr. Hatcher. [Pause]

Page 27
It seems that every time Mr. [unknown] wife would say, "Hatcher's going to be in town this weekend, we'll call you," Marshall [unknown] would say, /whispers/ "You don't want to meet that girl. You don't want a date with her. I think my wife's lost her mind!" And Rube would say he had something to do, and would go to the picture show by himself, to avoid having a blind date. But we got married, after all that. [laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, how long did you-all date, before you married?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, that was late in the summer . . . I graduated in 1931. That was in the fall of 1932, and we were married in December, 1933. So approximately a year, I would say. Little over a year.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his background? What did he do?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
He was a traveling salesman. Sold funeral supplies for the [unknown] Company, out of Springfield, Ohio. Born and raised in Jackson County, Florida. Little town, right out of Mariana, and it was called . . . oh, phooey! Horrible.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDEB]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
—Central and South America. Japan. They're trying to go to tractors, as hard as they can. A year ago, when I was in Japan, I saw plenty of bullocks doing work in the fields.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, this would be a
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
You want to take that? If we've got to go to the Ivey's, let's go. `Cause they close at four-thirty. And if you want to leave things here, and pick `em back up, when we come back, why it'd be perfectly— [Interruption]
ALLEN TULLOS:
I could ask you another thing or two. I noticed that it was your father who was president, once, of the Chamber of Commerce here in

Page 28
Charlotte. When was that?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I must say, between 1920 and 1927, but I'm not positive. It was pretty close to the World War years, actually. World War I. But I'm going to say about 1920. But I may be wrong about that. I mean, it may have been a little earlier than that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There are a lot of people I'd like to ask you about in terms of—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, go ahead.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Thank you. Not sure how to get it all together. There were a number of people involved in Charlotte, back then, who were significant people in the whole South. Did you ever know, or hear tell, or your father know, Stuart Cramer?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I knew both Stuart Cramer, Sr., Stuart Cramer, Jr., and I know the first Mr. Cramer's grandson, John Scott Cramer, who is now president of Wachovia Bank and Trust. Or one of the big head officers, in Winston-Salem. Quite well. Knew all of `em.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The Cole brothers, would they have had anything to do with Mr. Stuart Cramer, in any—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No business other than civically, and socially. [Pause]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who would be some of the people that you would think would have been most important, in kind of shaping the direction that Charlotte was going to go? Or active in the city during the time, say, when your father was president of the Chamber of Commerce?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] Mr. Belk, Mr. Ivey, the Dowd family, the Heath family, the Cole family, the J. A. Jones Construction Company folks . . . Oh, the Johnson—Johnson Mills—the Gossetts, the Daltons.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you go to school with some of these women in the families, or along the way?

Page 29
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you would have some friends in those families who'd go back
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Yeah. I know. Julia Morrison Harris, whose father was Governor Cameron Morrison, is still living, and a friend of mine. She lives here in Charlotte. He was, of course, a lawyer for a number of years, so he got into politics. And came to Charlotte from, I believe, Rockingham, or somewhere in that general area. When, I don't know, because he was governot in about 1920 or twenty-seven, something or other./ [Interruption]
See what other families—I haven't named all of them yet. [Pause] I guess I've named the principal ones. Then the Myers family, from Myer Winn what is known as Myer's Park, were prominent people.
real estate, and farmlands. This was all farmland that was owned by the Myers family. They're nearly all, what's left of them, now in real estate.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There was Stephens—?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Well, Stephens was son-in-law. George Stephens married a Myers, so he was the man who did the developing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever know some of those people who were doing the developing? Like Nolan, who came down to draw the plans, and Earl Draper, did you know—?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I knew Earl Draper. I don't remember Nolan; and I have met him, but don't remember. I knew Earl Draper, very pleasant.
Then, in the banking end of it, we've got John Scott, whom I mentioned. And, of course, he is also a grandfather of Scott Cramer. His mother's—

Page 30
Scott Cramer's— still a Cramer, married a Scott. And then we've got the Keesler family, which is in the building and loan, old building and loan thing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It seems like Charlotte developed more banking and financial institutions than other parts of the state, maybe with the exception of Winston-Salem.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Winston-Salem.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why would that have been so? Do you have any idea?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] We're certainly not centrally located, in the state. But at the time all of that got started, we were, definitely, in the middle of the textile region. And it was textiles which developed the Piedmont—which started the Piedmont crescent area. I'm talking now from Greenville, South Carolina, to Greensboro, North Carolina. Essentially, I believe that's the curve that they like to follow the most. [Pause] Now, what would you ask me? I got started—
ALLEN TULLOS:
I was asking about the reason why Charolotte developed as it did.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Oh! We were on the main line of SouthernRailroad; number one. Which made us overnight from New York, which was the financial center of this country, at any rate, if not the world, at that time. And we had more central, better, railroad facilities. I think that's the only—I think that's the reason that they point to the Piedmont Crescent. Which was conducive to the fact that Greenville, Spartanburg, Charlotte—well, you start in Atlanta, really, you know, and come up, on your main line of Southern Railroad.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, what about when Morrison was governor? One of the things he's known for is the road building.

Page 31
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Highways, mm-hm.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could that have contributed, then, to Charlotte's—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It did. And it caused Charlotte to become a very, very large trucking center. I've forgotten now whether we're next to Chicago, or Atlanta, or what. But we're supposed to be a tremendously big trucking center.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I just wondered, because Morrison lived here in Charlotte a while, if that had anything to do with him pursuing the road building idea more. Charlotte benefitting perhaps more, this Piedmont area.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I can't say whether Charlotte benefitted more, or not. I don't know. I don't know the history of it all. But I always assumed, and I think everybody else has assumed, that it was a statewide thing; that he was a man who simply believed in good roads.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the effect of the Depression upon the Cole Manufacturing Company?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
We went through very, very interesting times during that period. We never closed the plant. We never laid off men. We had to curtail hours, and curtail days, but never fully closed. The idea being to equalize the work burden, and give everybody in the plant work to do. And a livelihood, such as it was.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I wonder, how many folks you-all had working for you, during that time?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I could look it up, but I don't know. Very many interesting things we did. The price of cotton, of course, went down to the bottom. And people still were having to plant, because food and fiber had to be produced. And people who were into farming had to keep on farming.

Page 32
And my father had the really brilliant idea of allowing our dealers to accept cotton as payment, at the market price. We built a steel warehouse on our property, and had a warehouse full of cotton that we accepted on the dealer's account, with us, for Cole planters. And sold the cotton—didn't make a land office profit, or anything like that on it, but we got our money out of the planters. We were able to keep in production, we were able to move planters, we were able to keep farmers in the field. And keep our heads above the water.
Another device that we used, one he used very early in the days of selling. And he used it again during the Depression. Was taking notes from dealers, in little [unknown], and then discounting those notes at the bank, to keep our working capital going.
/Commenting on view from car/ Now, Cole property begins where we are now. We've got a lot of it leased out to various things. But we're all line over here. Just in a minute, you'll see our foundry, which is one of the most modern, automated, foundries in the South. There's part of it, rising up right there. We've always had our own foundry.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes, I was wondering about that.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
It's the most fascinating part of the whole operation.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you learn all of the chemistry of that process?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No. I know it. I can listen intelligently to foundry men talking, and I know what they're talking about. But as far as actually being able to go, and telling somebody what to do to make a casting—no.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Are any of the folks who work in the foundry here belonging to various unions
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No, we're not unionized. We have had a union election, but

Page 33
it didn't work. And we've never been approached again. /Microphone rattles./ Oh, there was quite a study being made about nervous wreck—/ [Interruption] —move to inside factory/
—Assembling drive wheel assemblies, or assembling the seed plate businesses. But he brings to conclusion a finished product. In other words, if he's a hopper man, he's got to be sure that the gears and sprockets are all working, and in order, and that he's put the proper seed plate equipment to go with it. And he finishes a hopper. He doesn't put the seed plate in, and pass that hopper on to another man to do something else. He does it. Therefore, he gets the satisfaction, and has a pride in having done, totally, a thing.
Instead of the assembly line concept, just sitting there putting [unknown] or something on it. Tightening nuts, or something like that. Just the fastest thing. And they were very interested in that, very interested in how we operated. And they had a national conference on the thing, and I went up and explained our system, and what we did with our men, and how they did it. An audience of about three thousand people, I guess.
Then another thing that was innovative, that is followed now in a great many places—another time that I spoke to an enormous audience in Washington—was the fact that we are, primarily, a seasonal business. We do not have a twelve months turnover period. We have a selling season; a booking season for our products. And then our retail outlets have their selling season from January one, until planting time, when farmers are getting their equipment ready for field, and ready to get back out and do their planting. So we told our men, as they were approaching

Page 34
age sixty-five—I'm the one that thought that up, because I know some of `em I just hated to see leave, not be on the premises, and not be with us. And we worked out a formula by which they could retire, and then come back, at management's discretion. We couldn't just tell everybody they could come back. But if we needed them. In their specific department, they could come back with all their skill, and all their know-how, and work for us during our big producing months; and earn up to what the Social Security formula allowed then to earn. Be the maximum they could earn without giving up their Social Security. We still do it, and it works like a charm.
And, then, not nearly all of them, but a great majority of them live out in the county. Lot of them have small farms, and large gardens, and that sort of thing. When we need them is from January one until about April one, or May one. Some as early as December. That's the winter months where they can't be fishing, they can't be gardening, they can't be planting, they can't be doing anything. So they can come back, with all their know-how and skills, when we need extra labor. And it's a tremendous asset to us, and a great satisfaction to them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's the thing.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
As I say, it is being used, now, in companies that can use it. Not every company can use it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, what about the notice you have, that photograph of Black foundry workers? How early were there Blacks working in the company?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
From the beginning.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were their jobs, as compared to the white workers? Were they different?

Page 35
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
They were all over the plant—no. No. There was a preponderance, of course, of Black labor in the foundry. And the old, old system in foundries was that you had a molder, who was a skilled molder. And the man has to be skilled, and he's got to know about his metal heat, and how to pour, and all that sort of thing. How to make his molds. And he had a Negro, who was called a "helper." So each molder had a helper. If we had fifty molders down there, we had fifty helpers. Those helpers were invariably—almost always—Black.
And as time went on, and as attrition was the main thing, those helpers became skilled. When attrition, health, or age would cause one of our skilled molders to retire, [unknown] leave his job, we'd very frequently, as early as the nineteen—/ [Interruption] : commentary on the traffic lights./ We would promote that skilled helper—who had learned his skills by helping the molder—into a molder's position.
Then, we've had a high percentage of Black labor all through the plant, all through the years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The molders' jobs were the highest skilled of all the jobs. /About the machinery/ That'd be the conveyor, going . . .
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] No. [Pause] The most skilled job in the whole place were our pattern makers. And then we make our own dyes, for the different steel-cutting machinery, and the steel-farming machinery. And we make our own dyes. So those two jobs are very skilled, extremely skilled. Then . . . our chief assembly men are considered equally as skilled, I would say, as the foundrymen. Probably not as specialized as foundrymen.
Therefore, according to your way of thinking, probably you would say

Page 36
that a molder was amongst the most skilled. But we've also got to have skilled machinists who, in their field, are equally as skilled. So we've never made a distinction about which was the most skilled.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there have been differences in pay, for all of these different occupational . . .
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No. [Pause] As many times as I have worked that payroll, and that sort of thing, and considered raises—because you've got merit raises (before we had so much restraints from the government, stuff like that) that might get a little bit more per hour than another man, because he had become more proficient, and had been more productive. But I can't answer that question fairly, because I've been out of that area for so long that I don't know what criteria management's using now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Well, what about back in the twenties and thirties? Could you guess at that?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] I'm not sure that I could.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I see. Do you know of any significant number of people who have worked for the Cole Manufacturing Company, back in the early days, who would have been brought here because of their special skills, or from another part of the country, or—
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
No. No.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It's always been people who were, essentially, local.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Until the last ten years, yeah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's interesting. [Pause] But your uncle and your father, that generation, they didn't really know all of the how-to about the foundry business.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Uh-uh.

Page 37
ALLEN TULLOS:
They hired foundrymen, and people who did know that, but they didn't really do it themselves.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
You know, I can't tell you whether they got experienced men, or whether they got somebody to learn by their bootstraps, or not. I'm going to go with the fact that I think they learned by their bootstraps.
ALLEN TULLOS:
They must have, originally, hired a couple or a few, some experienced people from somewhere, either here or somewhere else.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I think they relied on my uncle's knowledge, and what he had learned before he started in the manufacturing business, probably. Because he eventually got to the point where he was operating a small foundry in their blacksmith shop to do his local distributing of Cole planters, in that local area. And I got an idea that they probably just . . . um, the s not a soul living that could tell me the answer to that question, I don't believe, either.
But I've know, ever since I was old enough to know—and I'm going to say, since I was six years old—the names (and I can rattle 'em off to you now) that have been through that plant in the last fifty to sixty years. And they were nearly always men who put prior knowledge or prior skills they had, before they came to Cole Manufacturing Company. I don't know, but they weren't hired as engineers or specialists, of any kind, like we do now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I guess your uncle's degree would have been in mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Um-hm, Um-hm.
END OF INTERVIEW