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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Letha Ann Sloan Osteen, June 8, 1979. Interview H-0254. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Many children enjoyed performing smaller jobs at the mill

Osteen was one of many children working as a spinner in the mill. They were responsible for a smaller workload than adults and they seemed happy with the work despite the low wages.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Letha Ann Sloan Osteen, June 8, 1979. Interview H-0254. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
Describe what you were doing exactly.
LETHA ANN SLOAN OSTEEN:
Spinning. If you know what spinning is.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes'm.
GEORGIA:
Putting up ends.
LETHA ANN SLOAN OSTEEN:
Well that was what I was a doing. And you know them bars, cross-bars, where they wind the traverse up and down, well I'd stand on that standing rope and I was short. And I couldn't set in rope in without getting up on that bar. And a lot of 'em had to do the same thing that I did because they was a little short. And some of 'em so poor and skinny, they looked pitiful. Everybody seemed to be happy, they wasn't depressed over what little they made or nothing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you have any time to be outside in the sunshine?
LETHA ANN SLOAN OSTEEN:
Oh I guess so, days that we didn't work. But days we worked, we was in the mill long hours. And we ate supper and went to bed 'cause you get a long night's sleep because you had that long hours to work.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The other folks that were working on spinning, were they girls, all?
LETHA ANN SLOAN OSTEEN:
Yeah, I had my sister younger than me at work and two brothers, and they all would work. But you know they just give children then a half a side of spinning or like that.