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Title: Oral History Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979. Interview H-0239. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cline, Paul Edward, 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 Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 108 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© 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:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-01-11, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979. Interview H-0239. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0239)
Author: Allen Tullos
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979. Interview H-0239. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0239)
Author: Paul Edward Cline
Description: 125 Mb
Description: 27 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 8, 1979, by Allen Tullos; recorded in Greenville, South Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Sharon King.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 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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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979.
Interview H-0239. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cline, Paul Edward, interviewee


Interview Participants

    PAUL EDWARD CLINE, interviewee
    ALLEN TULLOS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
My name is Paul Edward Cline. I'm fifty-eight years old. I went to work in a mill with J. P. Stevens in 1938, sweeping. I swept two small weave rooms, upstairs and downstairs. That was my job, to keep the floors clean. Well, I rocked on and I was making $8.10 a week.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What mill was this?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
That's Slater, South Carolina. That's one of J. P. Stevens' mills now, but it belonged to the Carter boys that bought it out. It merged with J. P. Stevens later on. Married Nick Carter. It was a filament, run filament then.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was that used for?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
They made dress goods, all kinds of fancy goods. After fill order on that, they would get order on cotton. They'd run cotton, they'd fill order on that. Then they'd run anything they could get. Then the government come in and give them a government order, and they put cotton back on. I was always looking to try and get ahead and get a better job. Just young, kept my eyes and ears open. Doffing cloth paid a nickel more a hour, so I got a job a-doffing cloth and made a nickel more a hour. It's been so long, I forgot what I was making a hour, but you can count it up, it's not very much a hour. Then I hauled filling a while. The jobs wasn't stretched out like they are now. I kept watching people how to start up looms, when I got caught up. I always tried to learn something more. I got wanting to weave. I'd run these women's looms while they was going to eat their lunch, or go to the bathroom. They got to watching me. I guess the war was coming on. They was going to have to have some help, so that might a speeded me up getting a job weaving as I did because they started drafting people in the army right after that. In 1940, I went to weaving on the third shift. They had spun rayon on then, take that off and put the filament back on. We got in the war after Pearl Harbor. When I heard of Pearl Harbor,

Page 2
I was going to work on Sunday night. As I went out the door, everybody standing around, I thought something was wrong. Just talking, and I said, "What's going on?" I thought somebody died, and they was. A bunch of our boys died over in Pearl Harbor. My supervisor, Mr. Sartain, he's dead now, I never will forget it, he said, "The Japanese is bombed Pearl Harbor," and I said, "Where in the devil is Pearl Harbor?" I knew, but it just come to me then I forgot it because we studied it in school. I knew it was in Hawaii—Pearl Harbor. But I just couldn't sink in. He says, "Over in Hawaii." So it rocked along there till they drafted me.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which mill were you working in then?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
At Slater's. I went on through the war two years, come back, went back to work at Slater. I worked there with. . . . they started putting cotton on a while, different other stuff—whatever the market was doing. They said the market was so changeable, they'd run anything they could get. Well, they started putting fiberglass on. We all had to learn over. You couldn't tie a end on that, you had to glue it. We had to learn all over how to weave with that. During that time, they put asbestos on my job, three or four looms at a time with the fiberglas. They told us that was to make the uniforms for the steel mill people that works close to the furnaces.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who owned the [unknown] company at that time?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
J. P. Stevens, I believe, had it after the war. They bought it out. After I come back, somewhere in late '46, they done bought it out. They didn't tell me about the hazards of cotton dust or fiberglas, but anybody with common sense knows fiberglas is worse than anything. It'd get on your clothes and you couldn't get it out. It's on your skin, it just stick. Then the asbestos with the fiberglas and all that, about fifteen years ago, I started having smothering spells. I went to the company

Page 3
doctor and he said it was my nerves. He introduced me to the valium tablets; that's the first time I ever heard of them. That's a common thing now. They helped me to sleep and it felt pretty good, but went back in there, I was exposing myself to the same thing. I'd still smother. I'd go back to him, I say, "That ain't doing me no good." He give me a TB test. He didn't find no TB, he said, "You got emphysema." I said, "What in the devil is that?" The first time I ever heard of emphysema is when it come out in the Reader's Digest. People didn't know what emphysema was. I said, "What causes it?" He said he didn't know what caused it. I asked him, I said, "Is it cause of me working in that mill?" "No, no." If he'd of said that, I would a got out. I don't know whether he knew or not. But if he'd a said by working in the mill caused me to have emphysema, I'd a got out then. But he didn't know. He said, "No, that don't cause it." He said, cigarettes—he told me to quit smoking. Course, I didn't do it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were you a pretty heavy smoker?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
No, I wasn't too bad. I smoke maybe a pack a day sometimes. A lot of times I wouldn't do that because I'd work. When I worked, I didn't smoke because we had to split the smoke in the mill. I'd always take pride in my job; I wanted to run them looms. I didn't have time to smoke. I'd get it off my mind. I'd smoke when I'd go out.
It kept rocking along. I left Slater and went to Dunean. I worked there about three months. I got another job on the first shift—I was on the third shift at Dunean—I got a friend of mine was superintendent at Brandon Duck Mill. He give me a first shift job. I worked six weeks in that plant and couldn't make no money. I cut my pay. The old job I run, I had a different kind of loom, they call a Hunt loom—this fella Hunt down here made a loom, his own— [unknown] bought him out. It's a pretty good loom, but they just couldn't keep parts for it. It just didn't pay as much

Page 4
as Stevens.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When was this that you were moving around like this?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
That was during in 60's. I went to Monaghan after I left Brandon Duck Mill. I worked there about on up till I retired in '77. I just got to where I went to my doctor after I moved from the country down here. Was living up at Travelers Rest, and Dr. Lipston, I went to him, he told me, "I don't want you to go back in that mill because it's killing you. It's going to kill you." I said, "You give me a leave of absence." So I took my leave of absence over there, but it made them mad. What they wanted to do, they wanted to fire me. If I hadn't give them a leave of absence, been under a doctor's care, they would have fired me. Anything pertaining, if you're injured or not able to work, they want to get rid of you because they don't want nobody around sickly like that. They're not going to take care of nobody like that, and they the one that done it. So they couldn't fire me because I didn't never go back. I get a new leave of absence for six months and I drawed my insurance, seventy-five dollars a week for six months. That's all I drawed, that's all the insurance I had. When that was all, I had nothing coming in. J. P. Stevens ain't going to pay your bills if you don't work for them. So I went and put in for my social security. I had to go to court to get that. Had four doctors said I was disabled and they still had to have a hearing on me. Because you see, it was on the inside of me, my lungs and all. I tell them, I says, "I can't breathe and can't work." They'd look at me like I was a fool, trying to get something for nothing. I had to go to court to get it. I got my social security started and my veterans started. I still wasn't getting any better.
Kept rocking along there, my wife called the Lung Association. They referred us to the Brown Lung Association. That's the first time I've ever heard of the Brown Lung Association. I went to have a screening clinic that

Page 5
day. I went over there and blowed through that spirometer and I didn't have but fifty-seven per cent breathing capacity. My wife, she used to work with Mr. Clark there, she knew him, so we joined it. Seeing what good work they was doing, and we just joined it and went around to see what they was doing. Since they was doing good work and checking people's breathing and getting people aware of what kinds of hazards they been a-working in and what they'd been exposed to all these years. There's nobody told them nothing about it, and the Brown Lung brought it out in the open. It started in 1975 in Columbia. It got five chapters in South Carolina and seven chapters in North Carolina. They started some new chapters in Virginia and some in Georgia.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the result of your particular case after you had had the lung test?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I got to talking to [unknown] staff worker. She referred me to a lawyer—Don Morehead. I went over there, he said, "Sure, you've got a case, of course, we've had some laws changed in South Carolina. "—Workmen's Compensation Law. Brown Lung had some influence to do it, I don't say they done it by theirself. They kept putting pressure on them and they done away with the medical panels there in Columbia. Used to, if you had a lawyer that wanted Workmen's Compensation, you go over to the medical panel. There would be one doctor, one commissioner for you, one for the company, one for the insurance company. It's no way possible you had a chance to win. A lawyer couldn't even cross-examine a doctor, but all that's changed now. That's the reason my case went through. It rocked long, and I had a deposition about it. I told them how I got brown lung. I went to Dr. Plumber at Emory University, my wife both, cost us five hundred dollars. We had to pay that out of our pocket. It should've been come out of the company's pocket. They should of had to pay it. The burden of proof's on us to prove that we sick, and we're already sick. You don't have to do that, you can do that by just

Page 6
looking at us with our breathing. The burden of proof's on us, but it should be on the mill. They should have to foot the bill for examinations. The Liberty Mutual after that, three weeks later, they sent me to Dr. Harris, their doctor. I never did have no better examination, no harder examination when I went in service. I told him, "There's no need to check my knees and feet and everything. Right up here is what the matter with my lung." See, they trying to find something else wrong with you so they could lay it on that. They didn't want to come up and say you had byssinosis. I couldn't get him to admit that. But this other doctor done had it. I told him, "Dr. Harris, a specialist down at Emory University—that's a famous university—he said I had byssinosis number 3" and he couldn't even find out the asbestos in my lung. "After fifteen years, you say that stuff's out in three weeks?" His mouth flew open, the nurse's mouth flew open. He said, "I'll tell you what I'll do, Mr. Cline. I'm going to have somebody else to read them x-rays." That caught him right there, he was the expert. He supposed to been a expert on that. I just called his hand. The man that tell me asbestos been in my lungs fifteen years, and three weeks ago it was still in there, and he said it was out in three weeks. I said, "I hope you're right. I hope there ain't nothing wrong in there." But see, he was company doctor. There's no way in the world he would give me a good recommendation or a good report because they don't pay him for that. They pay him to find out things besides byssinosis. If you had a broke toe or anything like that, he might put that down, or a tumor on the brain or something. He'd be glad to put that down.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did that all turn out?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I didn't even look at the . . . He said I did have a bad breathing problem. I said, "I could have told you that before I come up here." They run me through the whole rigomorole of stuff. What they done is try to get the blood out of my arteries. Both of them blue and black. They like to

Page 7
never found them veins in there. They had to go get an old intern from the hospital. Some of the people in our association, women, these ladies, they have to go to bed to take an examination. They do everything they can to try to discourage you to go through all that stuff. People's already sick and old and nervous and to have to go through something like that is a shame and a disgrace. A big corporation, as much money as they have and as loyal workers as we was to the company that they treat them . . . When we come from the farm—I told you we farmed before we went—we had an old mule one time. It got old and got to where it couldn't pull a plow good. So my neighbor says, "Why don't you send him to the glue factory." My daddy said, "That mule has made us a living for several years. I'm going turn him out in the pasture and let him live the rest of his life in peace." That's better than the mill do, they'll turn you out with nothing. They don't even think that you're worth, think you're like cattle. They'll turn you out with nothing, won't take care of you. There's lot of people don't even have a pension. They just started this pension here a few years back. The only reason they done that to keep the union away from them. But one of these days, they going to reap what they sow. Their past sins is finding them out because they're cleaning the water houses and the canteens up better than what they used to be. They used to be so nasty you couldn't get in there. They got them all spic and span. Then, if you got a birthday coming around, bunch of them in the same month, they'd give you a little cup of coffee and a little cake with a candle on it, and the second hands sing "Happy Birthday" to you. Instead of giving you money in your paycheck and giving you some Workmen's Compensation when you're sick, they do something like that. They pat you on the back as long as you're able to work, when you ain't able to work, they kick you out. That's a fact. It's been that way ever since there's been a cotton mill. If you don't produce, you don't stay in there. All the people that I

Page 8
know and everybody that you can find out is loyal to a company—stand up for them. But whenever you want them to stand up for you, they're not around. We got people running around here with J. P. Stevens stickers on, "Stand up for Stevens." I got news for them people, I stood up with them for nearly forty years and look what I got—case of byssinosis and twenty-two dollars a month.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you get a settlement out of that?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I got a settlement out of that. I settled out of court. But I didn't know how long I'd live because they'd keep putting it off. Another thing that the Brown Lung is trying to do is speed up the cases because people is dying. We had two people to die here in the last three or four weeks in our association down in Columbia. All the money in the world won't bring my lungs back. My lungs are just about gone. I don't know how long I'll live, nobody knows how long they'll live far as that goes, but the future generation down the line is what we want to do. I got people coming in there, grandson, and other people got people going to work. That's honest work. Mill work's all right. I've been proud to be a mill worker, but I didn't know that they's doing us that way. I was loyal to them, worked overtime for them, but when I got disabled, they wanted to kick me out with no pension, nothing. I was just lucky to get that twenty-two dollars a month. They didn't tell me it was a hazard to my health. I don't want the future generation to come up with something like this. I'd heap rather buy clothes here made in America, than go over here to Korea, China, or Japan. I don't want to see nobody lose their job, but they create their own unemployment. They'll go overseas and buy this high speed machinery and put in these mills. The people are getting old, and these machines are speeded up and used. They'll cut out, and if you can't run them, they'll lay you off and try to get some new people in there. They're going to get sick on down the road just like us if they

Page 9
don't clean them up. They'll lay off a bunch of people that ain't able. After you get a little bit of age on you, you slow down.
When I went to work, they had a "E" Model loom. They advanced to XD's and XK's and things, more speeded up, more advanced. That's good, I like to see people and technology advance. They went to the moon, I's glad they could do that, but the company says it can't clean up because it's too much. But we got a chart here. In 1978, it cost 4.2 million dollars for people to be out of work, disabled. That's in 1978, that's what cost the tax payers. That should be the mill's duty. They'll tell you, there's a lot of people in the association, when they get to where they can't work, can't hold a job, they'll say, "Why don't you quit and get on social security?" See, they don't have to foot that bill. They take that out of your ticket. They'll get you on social security. You're expendable, see. The machine is worth more than you are.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You think it's been that way?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Been that way ever since there's been a mill been built. On down the line, as my father worked in the mill.
Come out here in 1900 from Tennessee and met my mother. They married at Arcadia Mills.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where was Arcadia Mills?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Up in Spartanburg County. They married, and I think they went to work up at Clifton Mills after they got married.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is that in Spartanburg?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Spartanburg. In 1900, I believe, somewhere along in there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How old were they when they. . . .
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
My dad, I believe he was around fifteen or sixteen years old. See, didn't have to have a license then. All he had to do was get a preacher and marry them, get some witnesses. I think my daddy was sixteen and my mother fifteen, I'm not sure. She was weaving, and she taught my daddy to

Page 10
weave. They weren't making but five dollars and something a week—very little.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they come in to work with their families or did they come by themselves? How did they get to the Spartanburg Mills?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Well, my granddaddy moved the whole family from Newport, Tennessee out here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know about when that was?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
It was just around 1900. I might of got some dates wrong, but anyhow, they come out here in 1900. Maybe my mother and father married maybe on down the line a little farther down. Anyhow, they all worked in the mill before they married. There was three boys and three girls and my granddaddy all working, and they put the paycheck in one. They lived in a big house. They furnished water, they had pumps out there. Different people go get pumps. Didn't have water in the houses like they got now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was at the Arcadia Mill?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
That was at Clifton, had pumps. They didn't have no electric lights. It was run by water wheel. That's the reason they built their mills on the river. The big old wheel turned, and they had belt drives in the mill. Big belts pull them pulleys in there, that pulls the machinery. When night come, they had to shut down. Just had one shift.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Didn't have any kind of lights?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Didn't have no electricity at all. I have to check up on that. I don't know when they first started having lights. It's in a book somewhere or another; I've read it. It was somewhere on down a few years later.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So your mother and father then actually started working in a mill that was run by water power?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
That's right, wasn't no electric light. They was living at Clifton Mill, and they's a article—you can dig it up somewhere—they had a wash out. Back years ago, my daddy was living there. He's living up

Page 11
on the hill—villages down there built on hills and things—it washed half of the mill away, big rain.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the river that they were on? Was it a creek or a river?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
It was a little small river in Spartanburg. I don't know what they called it the Tyger River or what. You can look that up later.
We moved from there [unknown] after my mother died. She died there at Arcadia. My dad moved to Greenville. He married again after I was a year old. We moved to Dunean Mill where I live now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When you were a year old?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I was a year old when we moved out of Spartanburg.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That would be about 1922?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah. He worked at Dunean a while. He had a friend come down enticed him to go to Shelby, North Carolina, Cleveland Cloth Mill. He brought a truck and moved us back to North Carolina. We stayed there a while, then he moved back to Judson Mill and worked there a while. Then we moved to Monaghan Mill. My daddy was a box loom weaver, and my sister and my brother, all of them was weavers. Box looms paid a little more. They had twelve shuttles in them, make fancy cloth, pretty cloth. They was complicated. You didn't have too many of those big old looms—Compton-Knowles looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There are lots of harnesses.
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah. Sometimes the pattern chain goes plumb up to the top of the ceiling on some of them. They was pretty good experienced on box looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's not what they call a Jacquard loom is it?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Some of them are. They've run all kinds. There's Jacquards, and Compton-Knowles. They had all kinds of makes of them. That was working in the mill way before I was born. They's five of us, each of us born in a different mill—five children.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why did your family move around so much?

Page 12
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Different places, paid a little more. It wasn't all in a chain like it is now. Maybe this mill is going short time, and they're hiring some of the weavers over here at this mill running at full time.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Some of the mills was more stronger than others, bigger, had more capital. They could afford to run.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me go back and get this; when your grandfather moved in from Tennessee, was he married and his wife was alive, and they both came?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah. All the family came.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But she didn't work at the mill?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
No, she didn't work. It kept her busy cooking for the whole family. They didn't give them but a hour for dinner. You had to work from six to six. Then it was from sunup to sundown. Soon as it got light enough, they could go start them looms up before they had electric lights. They start them up, and in the summertime, it don't get dark till about 9:00, so them's long days. Then they'd run till dinner time on Saturday.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they run those looms before they got what they call the automatic looms?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Oh yeah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember anything about the early kinds of looms? What your mother or father might have said or what your grandfather might have said about how those looms worked?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
My grandfather died when I was just a baby. You might interview some more of these people around here that might know. Since 1938's when I worked. They's a lot of people you can interview around here in our association that worked in different places. Some of them a whole lot older than I am that can tell you a whole lot more, like that Mr. Wood up there.

Page 13
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever hear your parents talk about the conditions?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, I heard them talk about it. When that Depression hit, they cut wages. They weren't making anything, and I heard my daddy say, "I just don't see how in the world I'm going to make it if they cut wages any more." If you made a bad roll of cloth, they'd dock you for seconds—maybe fifty cents or a dollar. Well that's a dollar out of your paycheck and that hurt. Then you bought your coal and wood through the company. You had a wood stove and burnt coal in the fireplace. When you wasn't making just a little bit, maybe a man's got a big family, it was a struggle. You had to knuckle under. It was almost like slavery. They tell you what to do, you couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. They tried to run your life—tell you what to do outside the mill. You had to kind of watch what you done. Like Mr. Wood says, if a man wanted to take a drink of liquor or drink some beer back in them days, that man found out about it for him. That's just like slavery, you didn't even have no free time. That was before my time, but that's the way it used to be. They thought they owned you. It's not like that now, but it's almost as bad. About this time, now, the only thing that I can think about these mills now—I don't mean it to sham them—the only difference that it is now and a penitentiary, you can go home at night. They got them things bricked up, you got a fence around, and they got a guard there. That's it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember when they first bricked up the windows?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Oh yeah, I remember when they bricked them up.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did they start doing that?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
That was back in the 40's, late 40's. They said they wanted to put in air conditioning, but it was a long time before they did. I know'd it to be one hundred ten (degrees) on the second shift where I worked. You get so hot in there, you nearly stifle to death. Then they

Page 14
start blowing off all that stuff. You sweating, stick on you. Just like that picture there; that's the way it is.
ALLEN TULLOS:
A lot of that equipment they put in there for humidity wasn't really for the workers. It was really for the cloth and the. . . .
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
It was for the company's benefit. They didn't put anything in there for your benefit. They had one water house for a great big weave room. Maybe you's way on one lower end, you had to go way back the other end. One water house and one water fountain.
[interruption]
Come home from school one time, we was telling about having a itch in the mill, I mean in school. We'd start breaking out between our hands and fingers. She just knew we had the itch. She start putting sulphur and lard on us. Next morning, we broke out with the measles. We kid her about that a long time. She couldn't wash it off of us. She had to put us to bed—me and my brother—after two weeks till them measles went back in.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did she think they were?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
She thought it was itch. We come from school telling . . . that's why itch, you start breaking out, and there's a lot of eczema out
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long did you all get to go to school?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I went six years. I went one year for my brother. I was six and a half [Laughter] He wouldn't go. He went about five years. Daddy put him to work. He had to go to work, help out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What age did you start to work? How old were you when you started?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Seventeen.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Your first job was sweeping.
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sweeping.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You had one sister?

Page 15
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I had two sisters, one dead. They all worked.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did they begin, how old were they?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
[unknown] was twelve years old. Both of them around twelve years old.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were their names?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
One of them's named Agnes. She married a Ross, Agnes Ross. My oldest sister, she was named Alma Cathcart.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is she the oldest one in the family?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, she's the oldest one in the family, and my brother was next.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his name?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
His name was Felix Cline. Then I got a brother named Harley. I'm the youngest.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where does Agnes come in?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
She comes next to my brother there, oldest brother. Then Harley, then me. All of us born at different mills. Agnes was born at Woodside, and Harley was born at Brandon over here. I was born at Arcadia in Spartanburg, and my brother Felix was born at Buffalo Mill in Union. My oldest sister was born at Clifton Mill. My daddy used to tell them he had an old rooster. When he seen the wagon coming, he just lay down and cross his legs, he know'd it was time to move. That's how my dad moved. [Laughter]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you all ever have a garden?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sure, we had garden. My daddy had a garden all the time. Had plenty to eat. We had a cow, had hogs. The company'd let you have it them. My daddy always had a cow. He raised some of the biggest hogs you ever seen. It really helped out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would your mother do things like preserve foods?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah. I miss them good old preserves. We used to fuss, me

Page 16
and my brother, about doing this and that, but boy, when winter come, we didn't mind eating it. Kids, you know, growing up, but after we got a little bigger, we wanted to do all there was to it yourself. We picked blackberries, peaches, and put up beans, canned sausage, and all that. Very seldom, there for years, we didn't buy too much stuff out of the store. We was more fortunate because daddy was a go-getter about working side jobs. He could farm, he could do anything. He'd make money on the side.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his job in the mill?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
He's a weaver. He was one of the top weavers back in them days. That's the reason they come and get him. My sister and brother, all of them was good weavers. I couldn't even carry his reed hook. You never would make a good weaver as my daddy could. I couldn't. I was a good weaver, but I never was a good a weaver as he was. He really knows what he's doing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long did the other members of your family stay in mill work?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
My brother stayed in it till he died. He died of cancer about twenty years ago. He was a supervisor at Judson for years. He got sick and died of cancer. My sister, she worked. She retired in '62.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was she doing when she retired?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Weaving. Her husband was superintendent. He died in North Carolina. He lived, you know that little town of Mebane. They got a rug mill, he got a rug mill—Cathcart Fabrics. He got some rug machines. If you're ever up in there, stop in there. His name is Willis Cathcart. He had a small machine makes these small rugs. Had made to his specifications, cost him $7,500. He got some molds, mold these floor mats. He made all them things. He sells floor mats for the cars, got a good business. He was superintendent up Dan River one time, been plant manager several different mills.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Can you talk a little bit about the Depression in the late 20's and

Page 17
30's and what that was like for the folks in the mills?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
You'll have to get somebody that was there. That's a little bit before my time. Mr. Hardin and them could tell you, but I could hear how it was. Back in them days, it's locally owned companies. It wasn't like it is now, but it was hard work. They had old machinery that run by belt drives and things, it wasn't speeded up. They making more cloth right now on one loom than they got on a dozen back then. See, they couldn't run, them belts'd slip off and the whole thing slip off. They'd have to put the belts back on. It'd break up there, and they'd have to get somebody to fix the belts in them big old claws. Them belts has down and killed people. I know over at Monaghan years ago, before they got the motors on, it cut a fellow's arm off. They give him a life time job. He's dead; he stayed there till he died. Instead of suing them, they just give him a life time job. He been in there and worked with one arm. Back in them days, in the 20's, I was just a kid. I's just born in '21. That fellow over there at Poe Mill is ninety years old probably could tell you.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember your father and mother ever talking about being out of work during that time?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, I know when they was out of work. When that Depression hit, they's out of work. A lot of people was out of work. Mill's running a week and stopping a week. The first time I ever heard of curtailing—that's what they call curtailing is stopping off—I was living there at Monaghan Mill over here, I was going to school. I was eight or nine years old when that crash hit, 1929, I was eight years old. They's fixing our front porch—companies owned the houses then—I heard them say they was going to curtail. I don't know what they's talking about, I ran around and asked my mother. I said, "What is it they're going to do? Said the mill's going to curtail." Said, "The mill's going to be off next week." I thought that was something.

Page 18
My dad'd be home, you know, didn't realize it. But later on, boy, things got tough. During that time, my sister was married and working there—Agnes. They laid off one of the family. One in a family could work—not two, just one, so somebody else. That's the fair way to do it. The head of the family could work. Laid my sister off and my brother-in-law worked. Then they'd run a week and stop a week, and they went three days a week and stopped a week. That was a rough time. That's where a lot of that pelegra come in. Wasn't getting a balanced diet.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember people having pelegra?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sure, they just didn't get the B vitamins. They didn't eat right. Eat fat back meat and gravy and biscuits and some pinto beans. That's about all you had to eat and you's lucky to get that. That's not no good diet.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would you remember enough to have an opinion about whether that pelegra happened more among people who were in the mill villages or living on farms or. . . .
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
It was mostly the people on the mill villages. It was all over, I guess, in a lot of places, but mostly it was in cities—not only in the mill villages, in everywhere else, unless you had money to buy it. There wasn't no money floating around then. They cut wages. Some of the domestic help was making five dollars a month. Some of them making four and five dollars a week at the mill—fifty-five hours. That's the reason people say, you could buy fat back. They'd get it for a nickel a pound. We didn't have to buy it, we raised ours. We didn't have to pay, because we always kept something to eat. We had chickens.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there some mill villages where you couldn't have a garden?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
You could have a garden if you have a place big enough. They didn't say nothing about it. They didn't care. You had to get out there

Page 19
and make you one. My daddy made one that wouldn't be no bigger'n this right along in here. Wasn't bigger than that, just so we could get maybe two rows of beans, some tomatoes and things like that, some potatoes. Always raised something. He had a green thumb. I believe he could throw some seeds out there on that highway out there, and it would grow.
Things begin to get better in 1933 when the NRA come in. I could remember the eight hour law coming in effect. Everybody had to work so many hours and be off in the evening. Then they put on the second shift. They'd have Saturdays off. You used to work till dinner time on Saturday. People just didn't know what to do with theirself and they raised wages. They had that old saying, song of Roosevelt's, "Happy Days Are Here Again," well, it was. Far as I know, to me, the President got us out of a hole, back in them days, put people to work.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember hearing at all about the strikes in 1934?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sure, I remember them. I wasn't working, I was going to school. I walked right by the National Guard over there at Monaghan. They setting up, it was like a army camp, tents. They had bayonets. They had to protect the people that wanted to go in there. The company told them, said, "If you don't come on back to work, you're going to have to move." Scared the people up.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was Mr. Marchant, he was still there at Monaghan Mill at that time?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember him? What sort of fellow was he like?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I remember him. He was a good man. He's got some peoples here now, children, ancestors. Mr. Marchant from Monaghan was a good man. He looked out after the people back in them days. I can remember back before Cecil and Stevens bought these mills out. That's where it ruined everything. See, these locally owned people, they knowed the people. The Woodside boys,

Page 20
come through there. Mr. Hardin, when you interview him, he'll tell you, he would used to meet them, shake hands with them—the one that built it, big Woodside Mill. Shake hands and ask you how you're doing, how's the job running. Over there in Greenwood, Mr. Self, he's dead now. At Greenwood, he had all these mills, Mr. Self. He had brick homes for people to live in. He knowed how, he kept that mill village spic and span and all. He looked out after you. But see, after these old timers die out and these other people gets it, all they're after is more work and less pay.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You mentioned once earlier about the children being in the mills and somebody giving them a whipping.
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sure, my aunt and uncle [interruption] They'd go tell his granddaddy and his daddy.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What would that be about?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Well, just goofing off how kids'll do. Playing around, they'd get to playing, and they was supposed to be in there working. They go tell him and daddy'd whip them. Afraid they'd fire them, you know. They wouldn't make but ten cents a day. I got a uncle down there that's eighty-four years old. He'll be eighty-five if he lives till Christmas, cut his leg off. One that's got his hand cut off. He said they used to stick the kids out with their heels, hold their heads out and stick them out the window, said, "I'm going to drop you if you don't behave yourself." That actually happened.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who would do that?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Some second hands in the mills back years ago. Hold them out there and say they was going to drop them. They just threaten them, but what if they had a dropped one of them. Take them with their heels, little old kids, with the heels and say, "If you don't go to work, I'm going drop you." That's the way they done. Now my uncle down there said he's seen it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did the second hands or the overseers ever whip the children

Page 21
themselves or. . . .
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
No, no, that's something they didn't do. If they did, somebody'd get their head cracked. That's one thing about those people back then, they didn't let nobody else whip their children. You don't go around whipping other people's children. You go and say tell their daddy if they done something wrong. You better watch out, he'll whip you! But back in them days, people stuck together, mill folk did. We's poor, we's humble, and we's honest.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Sometimes the second hand or the overseer would step out of line, and the mill people, there would be kind of a line drawn. They would know what they couldn't
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
We didn't have a leg to stand on. They could do what they wanted to. Course they didn't beat you or nothing like that, second hand, but they could do what they wanted to. They could fire you if you's five minutes late, or if they didn't like the way you combed your hair, anything like that. If they wanted to put their girlfriend on the job, they'd fire you and put them on there. You didn't have no say-so back in them days. You had to knuckle under. The way it is now, if you work with them, they can't throw you out of your house because they don't have houses now. Peoples now is waking up, getting more educated, and the younger generation is not going to the mill.
My brother's raised two children and he sent them through school when he died. One of them teaches at Greenville Tech. She went to the University of South Carolina. The other one had a scholarship for Vanderbilt University to play football, graduated from Parker High. But brother got sick, and he had to come on back, but he went on back to Peaberry College and studied different places. He's in real estate. Said, "I don't want you in that mill." My sister Agnes has got two children, a boy and a

Page 22
girl. One of them's a nurse at Furman, and the other one works for Bell Telephone, puts in business phones.
ALLEN TULLOS:
At the time when you and your sisters and brothers coming along, your parents, did they ever say anything like they didn't want you to work in the mill?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Well, they didn't say it, there just wasn't no other jobs available. You either worked the mill or . . . if you want to make any money, you had to work the mill unless you got a job at a grocer. It wasn't like it is now. That's all it was.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about attitudes of people who were living in town had toward people who were living in the mill village?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
In some instances, they looked down their nose at other people. They used to call them lint heads. One reason, people didn't have the clothes to dress up like they do now. People wore overalls to town. They didn't make enough money to buy nothing. Course, they'd go clean. Some of them didn't, some of them did. They can wash. Water's free, and get some soap. Some people didn't have much hygiene lessons back them days, but, when we moved in a house and these people moving in, we'd scrub that house when we left, and me and my brother would fuss. My mother make us scrub it when we left. Says, "We not going to have the name of coming in here leaving a dirty house." We'd scrub it and have that thing spic and span. Old boy [unknown] told us, says, "We moved in one of y'all's houses, we didn't have to scrub. It's already clean." I said, "Yeah, we done it." That was how clean my mother was. Daddy would make lye soap—used to make that in Tennessee—put them on them floors and get them just as white as they can be—we didn't have rugs—but they'd be so white and clean, smell good. There's a lot of chinches back in them days. That killed them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I heard of people taking their beds. . . .

Page 23
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Take your beds outside. You don't hear that no more.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there ever any cases that you remember where the relations between the town folk and mill folk would get into fights, things like that?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
These baseball teams they had, one village'd have it in for another one. People back them days, they'd fight a circular saw. My daddy would. He had more fights in the mill than Jack Dempsey had in the ring.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In the mill?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, he'd fight at the mill. A lot of awful down there Spartanburg, I mean Greer. He had a fight with a guy over there at Woodside, he busted seven shuttles over a guy's head. It's a wonder he hadn't killed him.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was that about?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I don't know. I had a aunt and she's a good looking woman when she's young. Had a lot of fights over her. She come, somebody insult her or something, she'd tell him, and those boys there, they kind of look out after her, you know. I've heard my daddy say, "I've had more fights over my sister than I have over anybody." She caused a lot of them. She'd fight you too.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about in the mill while people were working?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
They'd fight in there. My daddy run a guy all over that place one time trying to catch him.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know what it was about?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, he made a break out on his job or something. Something or other about cloth that—it's been so long—made a bad place on it where it looked bad on him.

Page 24
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
He skipped it and went to his girlfriend's. He went over there and told him. This guy knocked my daddy down. My daddy was short, but he had him some shoulders and arms like a blacksmith. He come up, he always used a knife to cut the thread. When he cut that fellow on the jugular vein with that knife, scared him. Said every time his heart beat his blood would squirt out. They took him across the street over there at the drug store and sewed him up. Went on back to work.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What would happen? Would your father lose his job?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
No, they didn't fire him. He knowed the man that was over there at Woodside. He knowed Mr. Alexander. Mr. Alexander said, "Now you fellows behave yourselves. We need you." Both of them good workers. They done that. Back then, jobs was easy to get. My daddy moved from Greer, him and my uncle, in a wagon—that was way before I was born—to Monaghan Mill. It was raining, they'd plenty empty houses back in them days, they just moved in, stayed all night. Put his furniture out of the rain and hitched his mules, things up. That's the way they done back in them days. They went over there and got a job the next day at the mill. They asked if he wanted a house, he said, "No, I done got one. I don't like where it's at." Said, "Well, pick you out one." They's just building these mills back then, see.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was early in the century?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Yeah, they could pick out. That's the reason he moved around. They build this mill over here. My uncle at Greer, when he was living at Brandon, he was seventeen years old. He went over here to Judson Mill and climbed up that smoke stack while they was building it. This guy says, "I dare you to go up it." He got up on that thing, just a-swinging. He was seventeen years old when they built Judson Mill. Brandon and Judson been

Page 25
here a long time. He's eighty, he'll be eighty-five.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Things got much tighter in the 20's and 30's when you couldn't get a job.
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Oh, it was pretty rough. When that Depression hit, there just wasn't no job for nobody. Peoples lucky that held onto them. They couldn't sell the cloth. There just wasn't no money going around. There's never been a Depression. We've had recessions. You all don't know what Depression. I hope you never see one like that. People lost their farms, money, and everything.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me just ask you, this fighting is a real interesting topic. Did people ever get into fights with the overseer or the superintendent?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Oh yeah, I knocked the fool out of one, walked out one time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When was that? What was that?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
I just didn't like what he said to me. I busted his jaw just about.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would they be trying to speed people up, or. . . .
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
No, he just wanted to ride me, and I told him I wasn't no horse. I didn't care back in them days, and I was already mad. He hit me when I was wrong, I just whirl around and hit him. I knocked him down, I knocked him plumb out. Somebody throwed a bucket of water in his face. I just went on home. I got in a fight downstairs. Old boy cut my overalls. He started cutting them, and I told him to cut it out. He just playing, kept on and got bigger and bigger—brand new overalls. I knocked him plumb out the door. His daddy come running in there—that was before I went to weaving, I's young. I come off the farm and I was proud—his daddy come running in there, "What's going on?" I hit him before I knew who he was. I knocked him plumb out there. I went back up and told the second hand and showed him what was done. He said, "Just don't worry about it,

Page 26
I'll go straighten it out." That's the last time. Last time I had a fight, I hate it now about it. That don't make that I'm no biggity or something. I hate the way I done things about people, but see, you lose your temper. I guess it was about as much my fault sometimes. It's a wonder I hadn't got killed, I had a awful bad temper. I'd quit at the drop of a hat, for I could always get a job. That don't do you no good, but, there's a lot of pressure these people under in these mills. Any job's got pressure, but whenever you're doing the best you can, and they still want you to do better, but you're doing all you can and can't breathe and getting nervous and all, finally gets under your skin. That's what a lot of people has nervous breakdowns and things like that—all that pressure. You know, afraid they're going lose their job, some of them's got kids coming in school. That's something to have to worry about. If they'd only wake up and get a union down here. I've tried to tell them that, and I've tried to tell them that. If people'd get a union, where they'd have somebody to talk with, times would be a whole lot better. It's coming later on.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember any attempts to organize any unions in the 30's?
PAUL EDWARD CLINE:
Sure, sure there was. I signed a card myself right after I went to work. They tried to organize them. See, people was too poor. That's the reason they couldn't. You stay in a company house, they find out you joined a union or signed a union card. They had stool pigeon, they's always somebody. They'd tell, they'd fire you, they don't have no excuse. The government wasn't sticking behind them like they do now. They'd kick you out. They kick people out of their house or don't kick them, they just moved them out—out in the street. You try to go over here and get a job, they'd find out where you work. They'd call up and want to know what's the matter. They had a union of their own. Say, "We fire him on account of union activities." Well, they, they wouldn't hire him for nothing.

Page 27
Sometimes you had to leave the state to get a job. That's the way it was. They moved these mills from (New) England down here to get this cheap labor, and they made millions off of us. They made us sick, now they don't want to remedy it or nothing. It's their fault, because they give us jobs, and we give them our life's work just about and come up with a case of byssinosis and no work compensation or nothing. Twenty-two dollar a month, a lot of people ain't getting that. That's wrong, and the Carolina Brown Lung Association is working to right that wrong. That's their motto. Getting people workmen's compensation, clean up the mill, and a safe work place. That's all I got to say.
END OF INTERVIEW