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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Mary Thompson came from a family of mill workers

Mary Thompson's parents had both been mill workers, though her mother left the mills when she began having children. Mary talks about how mill work affected her father's health and describes how he lost his hand. About midway through the interview, she explains that he had injured his hand when he was nine, and that the cancer began where he had injured it several decades before.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. 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

MARY THOMPSON:
My father worked in the mill. My mother, till she got married, worked in the cotton mill. But she had seven children. [Laughter] You know, mothers didn't work then like they do now. After they started having a houseful of children, they had a job at home. So she didn't work after she got married. But my father worked in the mill. He worked at Camperdown, and then he went to Poe Mill and worked there in the machine shop. And he worked there until about 1928, and he went to Georgia and worked a while down there, but he didn't like it too well. He come back and went to Union Bleachery and worked up there several years. When he retired he was working at Poinsett.
CARL THOMPSON:
I think he was a mechanic in the machine shop.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Was he a fixer?
MARY THOMPSON:
He run all kind of things, but when he retired he was running a lathe. Before then he had a cancer on his hand and had to have his hand took off. And they fixed a clamp, and he could run the lathe, because he had always worked in a machine shop. He couldn't run his other jobs, so they put him on a lathe, and he run the lathe then till he retired. He was seventy-two when he retired.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Why did he move so much?
MARY THOMPSON:
Well, he didn't move so much. He stayed at Poe Mill from the time I was about five years old till I was about eighteen, I guess. And then he got a better job in Georgia. An uncle of mine knew about the job in Georgia and told him about it, and he went down there a while. And then he come back and went to Union Bleachery, and he worked there for several years. And then he went to Poinsett, and he was working there in 1945, and I forget what year he retired. He was seventy-two when he retired, but I forget how old he was then. But he worked there a good many years. But he didn't move too much, but it was always a better job, mostly. But the Union Bleachery got to where it hurt him, that dyeing stuff, you know, there, and so he got the job at Poinsett and stayed there then till he retired, until he was seventy-two years old.