Children learned mill work before their first job
In this excerpt, Dodson explains how children would work in the mills before becoming officially employed because their parents needed them to bring meals and watch machines during breaks. As a result, by the time a child became employed for the first time, he or she already had a good grasp on how the mill ran. Toward the end of the interview, he relates how he learned to be a loom fixer as a young man, training that facilitated his rise through the mill's hierarchy.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. 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
And then after we
moved from Appalache to Greenville, my daddy was a-working, and he
worked in the Poinsett Mill some when I was a little feller. It belongs
to Woodside now, but it was the same company, Woodside. I was a little
feller, and they run ten hours a day then, and so I had to carry his
lunch. He'd run the weavers' looms through dinner hour so they could go
eat their dinner. We lived about a mile and a quarter from the Poinsett
Mill, and I'd carry his lunch every day. And he'd
tell me to come on in the mill, and he made me fill his
batteries-and I was just a little feller-while he
run the weavers' looms. See, I knew a whole lot about the mill before I
even went in one.