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Title: Oral History Interview with Ila Hartsell Dodson, May 23, 1980. Interview H-0241. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Dodson, Ila Hartsell, 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:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther 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 Ila Hartsell Dodson, May 23, 1980. Interview H-0241. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0241)
Author: Allen Tullos
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Ila Hartsell Dodson, May 23, 1980. Interview H-0241. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0241)
Author: Ila Hartsell Dodson
Description: 119 Mb
Description: 30 p.
Note: Interview conducted on May 23, 1980, by Allen Tullos; recorded in Greenville, Sorth Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
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.
Editorial practices
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 Ila Hartsell Dodson, May 23, 1980.
Interview H-0241. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Dodson, Ila Hartsell, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ILA HARTSELL DODSON, interviewee
    GEDDES DODSON, interviewee
    ALLEN TULLOS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
When were you born?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
January 23, 1907.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Whereabouts?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Buffalo, South Carolina.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What county is that in?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Union County.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Right down the road. Do you remember your grandparents on either side of your family?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I remember the Hartsells. He was a good Christian man, and she was, too. His name was D.J. Hartsell, and her name was Martha.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they belong to a particular church?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
The Baptist church. He enjoyed singing. He was a hard-shell Baptist.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did he mean by that in his community at that time?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
He was real respected in our community. Everybody looked up to him, because they knew he was a good Christian man.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was he in Buffalo?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
He lived in Buffalo when I was born.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they work in a mill or work on a farm?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, he was a carpenter. But all the children worked in the mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about your grandparents on the other side of the family?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My granddaddy died when my mother was young. Just had a grandmother.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was her name?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Her name was Urana Waldrop.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What do you remember about her?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
She lived with us practically all my young life, because my mother's daddy had passed away when she was just a young girl.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were your parents' names?

Page 2
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My mother's name was Bertha, and my daddy's name was Walter Jackson. Everybody called him "Jack."
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were they about the same age?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My mother was one year older than my daddy.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know where they were born?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My daddy was born in North Carolina, but I don't know what part. And I wouldn't know where my mother was born.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Had they always worked in the mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My daddy did. That's the only work my mother ever did, too.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know anything about his life in North Carolina?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. That was before I was born.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they go to school at all?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes, they went to school.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long do you think they went?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wouldn't know about that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you think they might have finished what would be the seventh grade nowadays, or high school?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wouldn't have no idea.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But they could both read and write?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes, they wrote good. They sure could.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Tell me a little bit about your father's occupation. You say he worked in a mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Textile. He was a loom fixer.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who did he work for?
GEDDES DODSON:
He worked with the Draper people a long time . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
The Draper Company.
GEDDES DODSON:
Just going around from one to another, putting in new Draper

Page 3
looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
He installed the Draper looms.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, that's right. But then he was a loom fixer.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So he worked for the Draper Company for a while, and then he got into loom fixing?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
What did I say a while ago?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Hopedale.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Hopedale.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's where the Draper people were from.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
When I was growing up, he travelled around with them. But we didn't move around with him. He had bought us a home over there on West Avenue. We stayed there, and he travelled.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was here in Greenville?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is that the earliest thing that you remember him working at?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Whereabouts would he travel to?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I don't remember but two places: Pelzer, South Carolina, and Central, South Carolina.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You think he probably went some other places, though.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I'm pretty sure he did.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But they would probably be in South Carolina?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Might have been in other states.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Georgia, maybe, Alabama?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wouldn't know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You say your mother worked in the mill a little while. What did she do?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
She was a weaver. That's all she ever did.

Page 4
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many brothers and sisters did you have?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I had seven sisters, and I never did have but two brothers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where do you fit in among all these brothers and sisters?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I was the third one from the oldest.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did your mother keep on working in the mill after she began to have children?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, she sure did.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did she look after the children?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My grandmother lived with us, and she raised us children, practically, because my mother worked.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would your mother take off from work, say, a month or two before she was going to have a child?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
You would bring that up, because she worked till two months before I was born. And I told her that's the reason I always wanted to weave, because I wove before I got here. [Laughter] Now that's the longest I know of her working. She's told me that so many times.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about your brothers and sisters?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Those last ones, she didn't work at all. She had stopped.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know why she stopped?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Because my daddy was making enough to keep us going.
ALLEN TULLOS:
After you were born, how long was it before she went back to working in the mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wouldn't know about that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was that a common thing in the community, that the women would work up to a few months before . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
She said back then they would let you, but I don't think they let you now.

Page 5
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then she could get her job back; it was easy to do.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. She just got so much time off. She told me that, I know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So she might have actually gone back to work a month or two after she had had a child?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I can't remember.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Talk a little bit about growing up and what you did as a little girl, games you might have played or going to church or when you started work, going to school, things like that.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I went to church all my life. Me and my other three sisters used to. . . . We'd moved from Buffalo over to Ottaray Mill at Union. I don't know how old I was when we moved over there, but I remember living there at the Ottaray Mill. And I can remember we used to walk way. . . . I guess you was down there with us, and I showed you the church. We used to come down there below the mill and cross the railroad and go up there to that church. We went to the Monarch Mill Baptist Church.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You all would go every Sunday?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. Never missed a Sunday. I don't know how young I was when we left Buffalo, and it's four miles over to Union. That's where I remember going to church. I don't imagine I was old enough to go to church when we left Buffalo, but I can remember when we moved to Union. I didn't start to school till we moved to Newberry.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why do you think it was that you all moved around two or three times right there?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I don't know. I was too young to understand.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was your father working for the Hopedale people then, or was he still working in the mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
He was still in the mill. He hadn't gone with the Hopedale people

Page 6
then, when I was real young.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So he might have been looking for a better job each time.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I don't remember my Granddaddy Hartsell living in Union. The first I remember about him, he was living in Newberry. And my daddy decided to move up there so we'd all stay together. And then when I started school in Newberry—went in the first grade—we must not have stayed there long, because I didn't even finish the first grade, and we moved over here to Mills Mill. He brought us to Greenville. My granddaddy in the meantime had moved to Greenville, and he followed him up here, and we've been here ever since.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And your grandfather was a carpenter.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. A carpenter by trade always. He never did do nothing but carpentry. He was the best in town. He used to make cedar chests.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Hope chests.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Just like a hope chest.
GEDDES DODSON:
Tell him about the little wagon he made.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes, he made wagons, wheels and all.
GEDDES DODSON:
Like a two-horse wagon.
ALLEN TULLOS:
that small.
GEDDES DODSON:
With tires and the hubs. Looked just like them. With them steel rims on the wheels. With a seat up on it just like a big wagon.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Some of the children has pictures of them now, but I don't happen to have a picture of it now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
He would build houses?
GEDDES DODSON:
Yes. He helped build this house.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
He helped build this house when I was growing up.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is this house part of the Dunean mill village?
GEDDES DODSON:
Yes. This house was built way back about 1911.

Page 7
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
This house wasn't built then, because we didn't move to Greenville until 1915.
GEDDES DODSON:
It was built along 1915.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, not right then. You've forgot things that I told you. Me and my sister used to bring his dinner. We lived over in the Judson Mill village, and we'd walk all the way over here. You know, these lunch boxes would have a handle? And Grandma would fix his lunch, and we would come across that. . . . It'd be dangerous for two girls to walk across there now, but we used to walk across that pasture and up here and bring my granddaddy's dinner. And while he was eating his lunch, we'd play all over this house.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know how your father learned about fixing looms or weaving?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
First I can remember about him, he was a weaver just like my mother.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know what kind of looms they were able to weave on?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Back then, I imagine there wasn't nothing but Draper looms.
GEDDES DODSON:
They had Draper looms and box looms. Crompton-Knowles box looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were they weavers on the box looms or the Draper looms?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wouldn't know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Here at Dunean, this was seen in this particular village as sometimes a better village to be in, because the box weavers made more money, and it was a little higher-skilled kind of weaving.
GEDDES DODSON:
When we come to Dunean, there wasn't nothing in that weave room but box looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When was that?
GEDDES DODSON:
That was way back yonder.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Didn't we move to Dunean in '28? You're getting ahead of us.

Page 8
It's not your time yet.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You all came here to Mills Mill first.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, I never will forget that. We moved here in March, and boy, we had our little white sweaters and little straw hats on. Me and my sister passed for twins till she married. Mama dressed us like twins till she married, and then she had to go to dressing like a married woman. She was just a little bit older than I was.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember moving here?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. I sure do. I don't remember how our furniture got here, but I remember how we got here. We got here on the Southern train. And my daddy met us down there, and we come to our new home on the old streetcar. And then the fare was five cents a ride. We come over here on, it's Mission Street now; it used to be Leland Street. And they had school in the bottom of the Methodist church; that was just how small the village was.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It was the mill's Methodist church.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, down on the mill village. Right over yonder. I hadn't even finished the first grade when my daddy told me, "Ila, you're so smart in your books." And my sister was in the second grade. He said, "They won't never know the difference. You're so smart." (I was making good on my papers.) "You go up in the grade with Novell, and I won't never have to buy but one set of books." And we went through the sixth grade using the same set of books. Then you had two in a seat. And we'd sit together, and he didn't ever have to buy but one set of books. They didn't ever know the difference. We didn't have twin names because we wasn't twins, but Mama dressed us like twins until she married. And I went up with her, and I stayed right up with her; I never missed a grade.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long did you go to school?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Through the seventh. That's when I decided I was big enough to

Page 9
make my own money. I wasn't so large, was I, Geddes, because you met me right after I went to work in the mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you went into the mill the first time to go to work after that.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. I thought I was grown then.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What do you remember about first going to work? How did you get your job? What was it like? What did you start out doing?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Filling batteries on Draper looms.
GEDDES DODSON:
Tell him about you filled my batteries.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
That's where I met him.
GEDDES DODSON:
When we met I was weaving at Brandon, and she filled my batteries. I'd get them all running, and we'd lean up in the window and talk and look out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When was that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
We married in '24, and we went together three years, so that would be maybe '22.
GEDDES DODSON:
We was married three years before Doris was born.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So that would have made you about fourteen or fifteen years old.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
When I went to work. Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you say you had to get a permit.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
A worker's permit. And Mama wouldn't even take me to town to get it. My daddy wouldn't go with me. And I said, "Well, give me the Bible, and give me a dime, and I'll go get it." Because a nickel streetcar fare up there and a nickel back. I went up to the City Hall—they've tore that old building down now; it's got a big, nice building up there on Main Street—and I got the Bible because I had to prove my age. And I got that worker's permit, and boy, I caught that next streetcar home. But Mama did give me the dime to ride.

Page 10
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they not want you to start work then?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, they done everything they could, but I like to worried them to death. I carried my money to school for three weeks to pay for my books. And the teacher said, "Ila, I want you to bring that book money tomorrow." I said, "Yes, ma'am, I'll bring it." I had it right then in my pocket, but I didn't want to give Mama's money away, because I had a feeling I was going to win out. And I just worried her, and every time Papa'd come in from work I'd start on him again. I never will forget, he said, "Bertha, she's going to run us crazy if we don't let her go to work. If you'll give her permission, I will." And Mama said, "Well, I've got to have a little peace around here. Well, we'll just let her go to work." So I won out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why was it that you wanted to work so bad?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wanted to make my own money. I had done had two sisters go to work, and I seen how they was having money, and so I couldn't stand it no longer. But I've never regretted it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did your mother and father want you to go on to high school?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They wanted me to go on to school, yes, but I couldn't see that. Back then, there didn't too many children go on to high school. It was just a common thing that when they'd get old enough, let them go to work.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they have truant officers back then that would come around and check up on the children?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. Didn't have nobody checking up on nothing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There must have been a good number of small children in the mills whose parents let them go on in.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Young like me, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they ask you any questions when you got up to the City Hall with your Bible?

Page 11
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. All they wanted was just the proof that I was fourteen. I went to work in September, and I wasn't fifteen till January.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you started at the Brandon Mill.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
The Brandon Mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many hours a day would you work?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They wouldn't allow you to work but eight hours. They were running ten hours a day, and you had to be off two hours.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When would you be off, during the middle of the day?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. I chose that, from one till three, because I wanted to come out with the majority of the people every evening, and go in with the majority every morning. Go in at seven and work till twelve, and then come out at twelve and go back in at three and work till six.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What would you do between twelve and three?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I was at home, do as I please.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you care for some of the younger children that were coming up?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, I helped Mama, yes. I was her gardener. Me and Mama done the garden work. I just love to work in a garden. And my sister that was my "twin," when we was growing up together she wanted the housework and I wanted the garden work. She'd work at the house, and I'd work in the garden with Mama.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you all can vegetables?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, my mother was a good canner. Sure did. And kill hogs—Papa would kill a hog—and I can just see her now, cleaning them old hog heads. She didn't waste nothing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did the mill provide a place to kill the hog, or did you all do that in your own yard?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
On our own yard, because we lived off the mill village. See,

Page 12
we didn't live on the mill village too long, after we moved to Greenville.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you all first moved to the Mills Mill.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. But we didn't tarry there long till my daddy got this better job over at a better mill, over here at Judson.
ALLEN TULLOS:
As a weaver or. . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I imagine he was still weaving when he went over there, but it wasn't too long till he got to fixing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And so you all moved to the Judson Mill. Did you live in the village?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, we lived on the village a while. We were living on the village when World War I started. When they had this camp out here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Camp Sevier.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Camp Sevier. You done learned about that. Yes, I remember that, because two of my uncles got volunteered. They wasn't never married. I think they volunteered, Uncle Belton and Uncle Ray, and then the War kept going on till they got my Uncle Oscar. And I never would forget, he had two children. But he didn't never have to leave Camp Sevier; they kept him out there. But Uncle Ray and Uncle Belton had to go overseas.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You had a number of aunts and uncles who came into Greenville with you all, or lived here.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. One of these uncles married a girl from Newberry while we was living in Newberry, and then the other one went back and got her sister. Uncle Oscar and Uncle Belton married sisters. Uncle Ray married a girl over here at Poe Mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you all were at Judson a while, and then . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Then my daddy bought our home out on West Avenue, off the village. And that's where we lived when I first went to work in the mill, and where we

Page 13
lived when Geddes and I married.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And your father was working for the Hopedale people about that time.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. He done a lot of work for them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you all have any livestock besides pigs? Did you have a cow?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Mama kept a cow all the time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
On some of the mill villages you had a pasture you could put the cow on.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They did down here when we moved over here. Me and Geddes never did have a cow, but my mother kept a cow all the time. I believe she had a cow when she passed away, didn't she, Geddes? Or if she didn't, she hadn't been rid of it long.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You started out filling the batteries. How long did you keep on doing that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
When I left Brandon and I come to Judson. I went to work in the silk room over here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What would you do?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Run skein winders. But I didn't like that. I wanted to weave. That's all I could talk about, weaving, weaving, so my daddy let me come out of the silk mill, [room?] and he got me a job in the weave room.
ALLEN TULLOS:
At Judson?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. And I learned to weave there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How old were you then?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I was still going with Geddes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But you all hadn't married yet.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. I was just seventeen when we married.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So this must have been in '22 or '23?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
We [unknown] married in '24. So I must have come over there in about

Page 14
'23. We had our fifty-sixth wedding anniversary last Saturday.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's a long time.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
It sure is.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did you learn to weave?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
She was a big old tall woman [laughter] . Her name was Miss Pike.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How would you learn?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They just put me over there. You see, like I said, I just wanted to weave, and I just took right on to it. They didn't keep me with her but about two or three days till they put me on looms of my own.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many did they start you out with?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Eight looms.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And those were the Draper looms?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They were . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Just little old plain looms. Don't you know, Geddes, that stuff that Uncle George used to work on.
GEDDES DODSON:
That was an old Crompton-Knowles one-shuttle loom that her uncle [unknown], and you had to thread them by . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
Hand.
GEDDES DODSON:
Had an oil(?) box up on the sides and . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Didn't have them Draper looms.
GEDDES DODSON:
Before the one would run out, you'd just take it out and get that and throw it in and then fill that one back up and set it up in.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
That was when we just run eight, you see, because it'd keep you busy.

Page 15
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's at the Judson Mill.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were all of the looms like that, had to hand-fill them?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, some of them was box looms. But, see, I was just learning, and I just went on plain looms first.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But they didn't have any of the automatic looms then, with the batteries on them, at the Judson Mill.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they ever change over anywhere you were, from having the old hand-filled kind that you're talking about into the automatic looms, so that you would have weavers who had been used to working on one kind and then changed over to the other?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
They had looms over there then, when I first went to work over there, that made handkerchiefs. They was box looms.
GEDDES DODSON:
Four shuttles and this thing—you know, a wire(?)—that changed from one color to another.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Those were the box looms.
GEDDES DODSON:
Yes. And it run this color a while, and after a while switched over into stripes in there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I've seen those Crompton-Knowles looms. Why did you want to weave so bad?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
[Laughter] I told you, I wove before I was born.
GEDDES DODSON:
It was in her blood.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Mama was a good weaver, and that's all she talked about, and I just wanted to weave. You don't know nothing about this old mill down here at Camperdown, downtown?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes, I've seen pictures of it. They tore it down.

Page 16
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wove there fifteen years. That's the last work I did in the mill. We made plaid cloth. Boy, I had done really got up there where I was a good weaver then. I run the box looms. But we still just run eight looms, because we had to thread our own magazines and run the looms, too, you see. I was down there when they went out of business. When I first went to work down there, this lady working on the third shift wrote me a note and said, "Dodson, I know you're a good weaver, and my bossman asked me last night if I knew any good lady weavers that was out of work and would love to come to work, and I immediately thought about you." Because I had worked with her over at Judson. And she said, "If you'd accept this job, let me know." And I told her daughter, "Go back and tell Mama I don't know whether I can accept it or not, because Geddes said I couldn't work no more." But he come in from work, and I started a-begging him. And my daughter and son, Doris and Geddes, Jr., was in high school. They said, "Daddy, please let Mother go to work. With us both in high school, she could be such a help to you." So we just like to worried him to death, and he said, "Well, send Mrs. Thackston work that you'll be down there"—because I drove the car, and she rode the streetcar—"and pick her up about fifteen to eleven." And I sent Doris down there. I never will forget. And I helped put them two children through high school and then helped them get married, and started the other one through school, but she jumped off like me and got married. And the other boy jumped off and went and joined the Air Force. See, they was all grown up then. When she wrote me that note up here, she said Mr. Foster, the bossman, said the work was just a tight place he was in; it would just last about three months. So I told Geddes, "See, I'll just be working about three months, and I can make good money in that time." So he said, "Okay." So I worked fifteen years, and every few weeks he would

Page 17
say, "When's that three months going to be up, hon? You said you wasn't going to work but three months." Well, we was on the third shift, and I worked three years on the third shift. And then so many boys and men had to go to the Second World War till they had to stop the third shift off, and they put us all on the second shift. And I worked down there then twelve more years, on the second shift.
And I was there when they put up the notice saying they was going to close the mill down on account of Japanese imports. And I'd see somebody go out towards the entrance, and they'd come back and they'd just be a-crying. And the lady next to me, Evelyn Goodwin, she come back and she was just crying. I said, "Evelyn, what in the world's happening out there? What's taking place? Everybody that goes out that way comes back with a handkerchief, crying." She said [imitates crying voice], "Well, I'm not telling you. You go out there and see for yourself." And I went out there, and I come back a-crying. The mill was closing down. So I come home and told my husband that night, "Well, I hope you're satisfied." I was a-crying. He said, "What's the matter?" I said [imitates crying voice], "They're going to close Camperdown Mill down." And there were lots of people working in there that was at retirement age, but they were just holding on. So that's the last mill work I done.
I stayed at home two years, and see, I was just used to working. And I saw in the paper where the city needed some school guards, and I called to put in my application. Sergeant Mitchell said, "Yeah, come up here and get your application blank. I need you, and you can go to work Monday." And I said, "Sergeant Mitchell, how about letting our daughter bring me an application blank out here when she gets off from work today?" He said, "Who is your daughter?" I said, "Doris Marshbanks." He said, "Oh, she's my right-hand buddy. She does lots of work for me." She was a secretary up there. He said, "Sure, I'll send the application blank by Doris." And Doris brought it out here and

Page 18
helped me fill it out. I didn't even have to go up there until I got ready to pick up my uniforms. So I run that job twelve years, and I enjoyed every minute of it. That's the last public job I had. I retired in `70. I went to Washington, D.C. seven times with the patrol boys and girls and went to Florida one time. I went to Six Flags over Georgia two times, and all our school guards got the trips free; it didn't cost us anything.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That sounds like a good job.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, I loved every minute of it. And I've wished since then I'd kept it up, because I could still be on it.
GEDDES DODSON:
Tell him about Doris. When she finished school, she went to work.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Our oldest daughter went to Washington and worked for the FBI.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In the FBI office up there.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. Made good up there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where is she now?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Today she's gone to Raleigh, North Carolina, on a convention. She belongs to the Beta Sigma Phi Club uptown. She's the president, and her and her husband have gone up there to a conference this weekend. But she lives here in Greenville. But when she was in Washington working for the FBI, she found Brother's death certificate up there in the FBI files, and she said she cried the rest of the day. Our oldest brother got killed in the War. A jeep turned over with him.
ALLEN TULLOS:
One of the things that lots of people remember is the flu epidemic [1918].
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, I remember that. I just remember lots of soldiers passed away out here at Camp Sevier. And I remember I had it. Oh, yes, I sure did. Burning up with a temperature. I remember the doctor come in there, and I was asleep. And him and Mama woke me up, and he was examining me, and he

Page 19
said, "Oh, she's got it. She's got a bad case of it, all right." But the Lord didn't see fit to take me. I was just a young girl.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you know many people that died in that . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. I was too young to. We were still living on the mill village then, when that happened.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There were a number of strikes and things like that that went on in the mills back in the late 1920's and in 1934, `35, around in that period of time. Do you remember anything about unions and strikes?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I just remember one that happened here at Dunean. It was while my husband was working down here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was after World War II?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Much later.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about in this earlier time, in 1929, or `30, or `31 or anytime along there? Do you remember hearing about anything like that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Along then was about when the Depression started, wasn't it, `29?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Doris was just two years old. She was born in `27. And Junior was born in `29, and there was a bad depression started then.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where were you working when Doris was born?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wasn't working, period. I had done quit. We were married three years when Doris was born.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you stop working in the mill when you got married?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. I worked over two years after I married, still weaving.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you worked pretty much up to the time when your daughter was born?

Page 20
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. Just as soon as we found out we was expecting a baby, that was it. Didn't work no more.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then your son, Geddes, Jr., was born in '29.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you quit, say, in 1926 and didn't go back to work until you took this job at Camperdown?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. When my youngest child was seven years old, I twisted my husband's arm again, and he let me go back to work. I worked over at Judson again. My sister-in-law was working over there, and they needed some help. And she come to see me and told me that they wanted some weavers over there. So I begged my husband again, and he let me go back to work, but on one condition: that his mother come and live with us. His mother and his sister come and lived with us a while till we got started off, because he didn't want to leave the children. He worked on the first shift, and they wanted me on the first shift, and he wanted his mother there with them. But finally we got weaned off after they had stayed with us a while, lived with us [unknown] left their home, just closed it up down on the lower part of the village. We lived over there at 41 Duke Street then, in that four-room house over then. And then we got us a good colored woman to come and stay with the children.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was her name?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Mary.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where did she live?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
She lived over in Colored Town, off of Green Avenue over here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would she come every day?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Every day.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would she stay all day?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, stay till I'd get home, and then after we'd eat our evening

Page 21
meal, then she'd wash up the dishes and take off home. That was just a common thing then. Lots of people had colored people working for them, you know.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes, I've heard several people say that.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
And Mary was good.
ALLEN TULLOS:
She would cook some, too?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. Four dollars a week. Ain't that something? For six days a week.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was she married with children of her own?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I don't remember about Mary.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What her husband might have been working at?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, I don't know.
GEDDES DODSON:
A car hit her and killed her over here in Colored Town.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Years later.
GEDDES DODSON:
She started to cross the street.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I guess these strikes and things would have been going on during the time in which you weren't working.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, I wasn't working then. I hadn't gone to work, no.
[Laughter] But I remember taking the children. It was something new, you know. What did they call them strikers?
ALLEN TULLOS:
The Flying Squadron?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
The Flying Squadron was coming into the mill village down here, and boy, I took them four children, and the woman next door said, "Come on, Dodson, let's go down there." And we went down there and was sitting across the street and saw them. They had sticks and everything, trying to get in that mill down there. I can remember that. And my husband was in there. But we stayed there till their daddy come out. And boy, he brought us home, too,

Page 22
because [laughter] we didn't have no business down there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which mill was that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Dunean Mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
We'll get that story when we get your side of it. So you do remember seeing that Flying Squadron?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did you all think about them and what they were doing?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
My husband didn't join a union. They come and knocked on his door early one morning, wanted him to go down to the mill and picket down there or do something. But he didn't get up and go. He didn't have nothing to do with them; he just stayed home.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was your opinion of the union back then?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Same as it is now. I'm not in favor of it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why not?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Because it's nothing but trouble. No good in it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You didn't see any advantages that the workers would have had . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Tell me something about your religious habits. You all started going to the Baptist Church when you were very small.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, and we belonged to this Baptist Church down here for years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which one is that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Dunean Baptist Church. And then after our children was growing up, we started going to the Pentecostal Holiness Church, Holmes Memorial.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why did you decide to do that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
There was boys come over here from the Holmes Bible College. They come over here and was preaching Holiness, and we just liked it. So we pulled out of the Baptist Church and joined the Pentecostal Holiness.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Had you heard of Pentecostal Holiness people before then?

Page 23
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Not much, no. Because I know I used to go over here to the Church of God, and I didn't understand them, and them women would shout, you know, and their hair'd fall down, and I didn't know what was taking place.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about things that you were taught when you were a little girl by your parents? Did they have particular things they would tell you about how to act, how to behave, what to believe?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Mama used to tell us not to talk to strangers, not to get in no car with no strange man, and know who you're getting acquainted with. I don't remember our daddy telling us nothing, only just give us orders. But Mama would talk to us.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they take you all to church every week back then?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, I don't remember my parents ever taking me to church. Now ain't that awful? But now I went.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You went on your own.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, us girls grew up together, and we went to church. But I don't remember ever, unless it was funerals or something like that. It's awful. I hate to say that, but that's the truth.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I guess there were a number of people like that. There were both people who went every Sunday, and then there were people who didn't go much.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
But now in their late years, my mother and daddy was both living Christian lives, and they went to church. After we had done grown and married off, you see, after all of us children was married off. Well, there might have been one or two of them still at home when they. . . . But Mama, with them ten children, she didn't have much of a chance. We had a big Sunday dinner every Sunday, and I remember what we had for breakfast every Sunday morning, steak and gravy. I told my husband lots of times, my daddy could cook the best steak, and he'd smother it with onions, you know, and he'd make gravy. And we'd have a big old platter, a big old dish like this, full of

Page 24
peeled bananas on our table every Sunday morning. That was our Sunday breakfast, and Mama would make a big old batch of biscuits.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That sounds mighty good.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
You can't afford them big old dishes. We'd have two big old dishes of steak and gravy, because we had a big table. Not a little old round dining table like we have now. Just a big, long table. There'd be a steak and gravy sitting on each end of the table.
GEDDES DODSON:
As long as it is from here to the wall over there.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
He knows about them old big, long tables. That's right.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Looking back on your work in the mills when you started out and all the different jobs you did, did you like all of that over the years? Did you have any of those jobs that you didn't like?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. That job in the silk mill, I hated it. My daddy said I was too short to weave. He said, "When you grow up and get big enough, I'll get you a job in the weave room." But I just didn't make good in the silk mill. I didn't want that at all, and I complained all the time, and so I got out of the silk mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the main reason that you didn't like that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I wanted to weave. So finally I just worried him to death, and so him and the silk room boss was good friends. Ed Yardow(?) and my daddy was good friends. And so Ed told my daddy one day, "You just might as well let Ila go to the weave room. She ain't doing no good up there. She don't try to do her work." And I wasn't. I wanted him to tell my daddy that, and he told my daddy that. He said, "She's not doing any good. She's not interested in that work, and all she talks about is she'll be glad when she gets down in the weave room. You might as well let her go to the weave room." So my daddy did.

Page 25
ALLEN TULLOS:
When you were starting out, filling the batteries, how were the children treated by the overseers?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, they was good to us. We wasn't mistreated just because we was young like that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you have some time even during your work hours to get caught up and rest or play or talk?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. My sister filled batteries upstairs, and we used to get our batteries caught up and go up to the company store. Bought our shoes and things up there. They'd take it out of our ticket, so much a week. Tell them up at the company store, "Take it out two dollars and a half a week," and they'd take it out two dollars and a half a week at the company store.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you could get caught up on filling your batteries.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Caught up and do what we want to then. Even leave the mill and go up the hill to the store. Yes, we went up there many a day.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How much time do you reckon you'd have off, an hour?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, you couldn't stay off an hour.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you play games or things like that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, didn't nothing like that go on. Just sit out there on the outside and talk and things like that and go up to the store. There was lots of going to the store done.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there be just you and your sister, or several more?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, there'd be lots, because there was other people filling batteries.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many looms did you fill batteries for?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I started off on forty-eight looms. Then when you got to fill them good, they'd put you on seventy-two.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you don't remember any overseers being unkind to the children.

Page 26
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Not back then, no. We got along good.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would some of the children ever go to sleep on the job?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, I never did see nothing like that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about the noise in the mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
It was awful. [laughter] Lots of noise.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But you would just get used to that?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Get used to it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And I understand people could read each other's lips. You'd learn how to do that.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What happened to your brothers and sisters?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I have three that's dead now, but they all grew up and married and had children.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was your oldest sister's name?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Clara. She was the oldest.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she went to work in the mill.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes, she went to work young, too.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she stayed on working in the mills a while and got married and quit?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. She was working in the mill when she married. She worked on a while till she married a guy from New York, and they up and left and went to New York to live.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did she meet him?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I forgot. See, I was young. She was the oldest, and there was one between me and her.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was her name?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Novell. She was the one that we dressed like twins.

Page 27
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she was the one that was filling the batteries, too.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes. All three of us filled batteries. The oldest one [too].
ALLEN TULLOS:
And did she go on and be a weaver?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, Novell never did weave. She filled batteries, and then she filled magazines down here. That's in the weave room, too. But she never did make a weaver.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who comes after her?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Ila [herself] and then Thelma.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And did she ever work in the mills?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did she start out as?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I believe she started out learning to pick out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she become a weaver?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, she went from the weave room, picking out, to the preparation department. When Dunean left [unknown] here and moved to Rock Hill, she left the preparation department down here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who comes after Thelma?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Juanita. She married and lives over here on Hampton Avenue now. She's the only one in Greenville.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she ever work in the mill?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. She worked in the mill down here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How old is she?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, now don't ask me all them ages, because I don't . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
But she still lives here.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
The next one is a boy, Charles Clennon.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did he work in the mills?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, he got burned to death when he was two years and thirteen

Page 28
days old. It like to kill my mother. The only little boy, you see.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was she here when that happened?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Yes, we was living over there on West Avenue, in our homeplace. My sister Novell gathered up our dried cornstalks in the garden, and Mama begged her not to set them afire, said, "The wind's blowing." She said, "Mama, I'll watch it." And she went ahead and set them afire anyway. And Little Brother had a cornstalk and went and caught it afire, and he caught his little apron. Then little boys wore aprons till about three or four years old. And he caught his clothes afire. It didn't kill him right then, but he died about one o'clock in the morning. Loetta would be next.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she work in the textile mills?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. She had to work in the cloth room, though. I don't think she worked any till they had moved to Avondale(?).
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who was after her?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Walter Jackson, Jr.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did he work in the mills?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
I don't believe "Brother" ever worked in a mill. He left school and went and joined the Army.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And who comes after him?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Louise, and then I better put Doris, because her name is Doris Winona, but she goes by the name of Doris now. "Sister" (Louise) was a spinning room hand. She lives in Newberry. And Winona works in some plant down there, but she's a secretary. I don't believe she ever did work in a mill. She finished school and then took that course.

Page 29
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many children do you all have?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Four.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I've got Doris and Geddes. Who else have I left out?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Bobbie Jean next, and Nigel's the baby.
GEDDES DODSON:
Here they are.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Oh, I see.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
We've got a fine bunch of children. We're proud of them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you all ever give them any advice about whether you wanted them to work in textiles or not?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. Doris had a parttime job when she was finishing high school.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she go to Parker High School?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No. Her and Geddes, Jr. finished out here at West Gantt High School. And then the next one, Bobbie Jean, married when she was just fourteen and five months old. And Nigel dropped out of West Gantt High School and joined the Air Force. He spent fourteen years in the Air Force.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where did you all get the name Nigel?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Nigel League was running for the House of Representatives here in Greenville, and he was a very outstanding young man. He was a graduate from Parker High. And I loved that name, and he was a good-looking boy, and I said, "If this baby is a boy, he's going to be named Nigel." And I named him after Nigel League.And he was a good Christian boy, and the Lord didn't want him mixed up in this politics. And he was up making a speech one night and dropped dead, Nigel League did.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you know about him when he was still at Parker High School?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
No, I just read about him. Geddes, Jr. knew him, but I had just read about him in the paper.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When he was running for office and after . . .
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
And when he was in school, at Parker.

Page 30
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you did know about him when he was going to high school.
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Oh, yes. Sure did. Read about him all the time, because he was into everything over there. He was a very outstanding student. He would have got it on the first go-around if he had lived to run.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever meet him?
ILA HARTSELL DODSON:
Just around at the. . . . You know, they used to go around making speeches at the playground and the parks and places like that.
END OF INTERVIEW