Ernest Moore Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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0:00

GEORGE STONEY: They charmed Judy. It was, Judy felt they were, you know, old cowboys, and they charmed her.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, for a cowboy –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: There’s the old theater.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Here’s where I saw all the old westerns.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: I’ve been here in this theater.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: That’s where I saw the westerns.

GEORGE STONEY: Huh. Now that, is that on the – no, it’s this way. Let’s get around this way, and then you can see it. See, there’s, there’s this building over – (break in audio) They’re going to be collector’s items soon.

1:00

ERNEST MOORE: You know, that’s where the old post office is, right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? OK, we’ll start down. OK? So, what was that building over there?

ERNEST MOORE: Bank building.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. So we’re walking right down where this Labor Day parade was –

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: In September.

ERNEST MOORE: Right down Main Street, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? And where was your father?

ERNEST MOORE: He was – he was way up in front of this parade. So they don’t show him anywhere.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. What building was that over there?

ERNEST MOORE: That was a, that was a bank building.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: Big building.

2:00

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. And, ah, this clock tower there?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, that –

GEORGE STONEY: It’s on this side, you see.

ERNEST MOORE: It was almost, it summer at that time. I just can’t tell where the –

GEORGE STONEY: Right in front of Woolworth’s.

ERNEST MOORE: Woolworths. It’s Woolworth’s, precious –

JAMIE STONEY: This is priceless, Judy.

HELFAND: Hmm?

JAMIE STONEY: This is priceless. It looks great.

HELFAND: Good.

GEORGE STONEY: That looks like an old theater marquis.

3:00

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, yeah. I’ve seen a lot of movies in there.

GEORGE STONEY: So you used to come over from the Grove?

ERNEST MOORE: Oh yeah, we’d come walking and catch a streetcar, there wasn’t many automobiles around. Street – catch the streetcar right up the corner there. (inaudible) the theater was about seven cents –

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

ERNEST MOORE: Each way.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Ah, it was 15 cents or a quarter to get in to see the theater.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: I think the most, probably about a quarter.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh? Well, the other night when we were showing you your father on the TV, in the head of this parade, how did you feel about that?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I can't hardly remember just how I felt. Well, I know, well, we was in a strike, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out. But 4:00I was that young, and I didn’t think too much about it. I wasn’t, I wasn’t uneasy. But I, I was told I was doing right. I still think I was right.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, this was the first day of the strike.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: So everybody feels pretty happy, I guess?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, they’re pretty jolly.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: Pretty jolly. There was so many, see, so many.

GEORGE STONEY: When, when they came out, did you think there were going to be so many?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I really didn’t know how, how many it was organized, because it’s – you see the spectators?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

5:00

ERNEST MOORE: See? An old ’28 Dodge, that’s –

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: – it’s almost like that. Well, we was way back here. We come up last, see, what was in the cars?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: We come up back to the parade.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.

ERNEST MOORE: A lot of women in there.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. A lot of women. Yes. All out and all dressed up.

ERNEST MOORE: (laughs) Yeah, there was, there was some of them. There’s – way back there, see, if you got your Sunday clothes on, well, you can see the difference in some different types of – different dress?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. Yeah, here’s one man that’s still got his overalls on.

6:00

ERNEST MOORE: That’s [Lane Elevent?]. Jewelry store. He is, he’s right in here, somewhere. Past the (inaudible), here. And, ah, the way it’s changed now, it’s hard to – it’s hard to pick out the...

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. But it’s Gastonia.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, it’s Gastonia. Efird's. Probably Efird’s.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh? Efird’s is down this way, then?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, they’re right here. They’re by (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: That’s the (inaudible) –

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: That’s right, right in here. Woolworth’s.

GEORGE STONEY: One of the things I not–

7:00

ERNEST MOORE: I believe that’s – I believe this is the mill store, right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: We’ve got that mill store there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. One of the things I’ve noticed is that all these signs are, are homemade.

ERNEST MOORE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. About all of them. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: All those men with straw hats on.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. I believe my daddy wore a straw hat too, (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. That’s right.

ERNEST MOORE: He wore one, had it a long time.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

ERNEST MOORE: They was proud in Gastonia –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: – that day. Most of the mills shut down.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? Well, in the Charlotte Observer, the two days before, it said that North Carolina wasn’t going to celebrate Labor Day. And yet, when all these people came out for 8:00Labor Day, they, they did celebrate it.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: I think that fooled a lot of people. Yeah. Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: You could come on Saturday, you come town on Saturday, the streets were just practically full, it’s all them shopping centers. So you’d meet everybody in town on Saturday.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: If you wanted to meet anybody, you’d come to town, they’d be here on Saturday.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: If you remember back –

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yes. Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Well –

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Now, I, ah –

HELFAND: Do you think that we could let him walk by himself?

GEORGE STONEY: Sure.

HELFAND: Without talking?

GEORGE STONEY: Oh yes, yeah.

HELFAND: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, we want you to go back and do the same thing, just walking by 9:00yourself, just looking around.

ERNEST MOORE: Go about where they’re coming out?

GEORGE STONEY: No, about where the mailbox is. Remember where we started?

ERNEST MOORE: Way up.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Way up there?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Yeah.

HELFAND: Ernest, what I want you to think about while you’re walking down here is how – (break in audio)

RUBY MOORE: – see it really good.

GEORGE STONEY: So just thinking, I don’t, can’t remember how my daddy walked. But he walked everywhere, because –

RUBY MOORE: (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: – we never had, we never had a car.

RUBY MOORE: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: So, ah –

HELFAND: Well, grandpa (inaudible) –

HELFAND: OK.

RUBY MOORE: (inaudible), if he knew how to drive –

HELFAND: You can talk. What’s your question? Did you think that, what I was thinking, from the footage, you know, when his father’s walking, (inaudible) walking down, you know what I mean?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, if I can get that close.

HELFAND: Well, when he comes up close –

10:00

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, right. Now, let me just grab this (inaudible).

11:00

(long pause)

JAMIE STONEY: Got it! (break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: Because it’s so white, it flares. The parade’s coming – just a minute – the parade’s coming down like this. What was that building there?

12:00

[overlapping dialogue unrelated to current scene]

GEORGE STONEY: See the detail up there? The windows?

ERNEST MOORE: Mm-hmm? That’s the bank building.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, that’s the bank building. We built a post office here.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? Mm-hmm? And the parade came down this way.

ERNEST MOORE: Came down this way.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. OK, let’s go on down, then. (break in audio) Rocky Hall? This has changed, right?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: Hold it right there, let me get across the street.

ERNEST MOORE: Oh –

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

ERNEST MOORE: My guess is, was it your father that owned [Dragon Mill?]?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: So tell me about this.

ERNEST MOORE: This is an old theater.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: That’s where we used to come and see our cowboys. Tom Mix.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

13:00

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, I can’t name ’em all, but we’d come two or three times a week to see them.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, do you think that newsreel that we showed you with your father in it, do you think it played here?

ERNEST MOORE: I don’t know. I do not know. I don’t think so. No. No. He didn’t, ah, he didn’t show them back then there –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: – like they like to do now.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. OK. Keep on, let’s keep going down here. Oh, all these empty stores here now.

ERNEST MOORE: This is just a, used to be Chris’ Dime Store –

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh? Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: – right here.

GEORGE STONEY: Where have all these stores gone now?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, we don’t got no dime stores no more. Woolworth’s (inaudible) closed, they were going to build across the street on the, right on the end down there, Woolworth’s. 14:00They’re the last dime store to close.

GEORGE STONEY: What was all along here?

ERNEST MOORE: This was a jewelry store.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: This was that –

GEORGE STONEY: Where the clock is here? It must have been.

ERNEST MOORE: Jewelry.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: This is, see – yes, this was a jewelry store by –

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh? Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Back there.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, it’s sad now.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. Cotton – see up there?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: Cotton Company is there. Cotton broker. His office is up there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. Oh. Well, they’ve done their best to try to save it with these – (break in audio) Ah, I’d rather them march there. Yeah, 15:00that’s fine. OK? Ready?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Ah, back there, September, Labor Day, 1934, how do you feel seeing this big parade here, folks?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, it – you felt pretty good about it. To see that many people interested, they get into something that they think will benefit ’em. And it made you plumb proud, there’s no way to – that many was fighting for their rights.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, where were you?

ERNEST MOORE: I was in, I guessed I was back in the back. But I drove out, I drove a car. Back where the parade was following them, too. It marches in 16:00front of me.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) And where was your father?

ERNEST MOORE: He was up at the front, leading the parade with the flags.

GEORGE STONEY: Where did the band come from?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I don’t know. It must have come to someone local, I don’t know – I don’t know who was in the band, or I don’t remember. But back then, you know, you didn’t – take near the Belmont, you didn’t too much know what was going on in Belmont back in them days.

GEORGE STONEY: What about the music?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, they had music. But I wasn’t close to it. I was in back at the back.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, thank you.

HELFAND: George, you weren’t looking at the picture more.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: Could you tell him the story about the newspaper –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

HELFAND: And that they weren’t supposed to have the parade?

17:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. OK. I’ve been going back and reading the Charlotte Observer –

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah?

GEORGE STONEY: – for that time, and the Saturday before the Monday, they said that North Carolina isn’t going to celebrate Labor Day, and the mills were going to run on Monday.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And that was supposed to be the first day of the strike.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And yet you had this huge Labor Day parade. Ah, that must have been a surprise to a lot of people.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, I guess most of the mills shut down.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: Most of them. But it might have been a few still running, I don’t know, you see, for –

GEORGE STONEY: Had you ever had a Labor Day parade like this before?

ERNEST MOORE: No. No. Sometimes we would have a celebration, but not a parade. Not like – nothing like this in number, no. Hum-um.

GEORGE STONEY: Ah, did your local have a big sign, like this?

ERNEST MOORE: They’re supposed to – they’re supposed to have a sign. Now, I don’t remember for – I wasn’t that far in the parade, and I just don’t 18:00– don’t remember. I imagine it’s – I even forgot the number of local clothes (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: But you remember what the –

GEORGE STONEY: I don’t.

ERNEST MOORE: No, I don’t either.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: Thirteen twelve.

GEORGE STONEY: Claude said that the number was 1312. I don’t see that there. Way back then?

ERNEST MOORE: Hum-um.

GEORGE STONEY: No? But look at the local. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine –

ERNEST MOORE: Seven, eight nine – so they’re still in – see, this ain’t, this ain’t the front end of it. I mean the front of the parade.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. So they just kept coming and kept coming.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Oh they’ll – there’s quite a few in it.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: I think if, ah, if they hadn’t called a general strike, then the way that, ah, 19:00kept building their membership up, I think the union went over.

GEORGE STONEY: But one of the problems was, for the whole year beforehand – we found this true in Georgia and Alabama – they’d start up a local and they’d fire all the officers and make them move out of the village. Then they’d have some more officers, and they’d have to go.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. But what they – of course, they didn’t do that here.

GEORGE STONEY: Um-hum.

ERNEST MOORE: They didn’t do it in Gastonia. But they about done it – you know, someplace a little bit rougher than that [inaudible].

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Well, I think –

ERNEST MOORE: I think – I think we spotted the most of them.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: I think that’s what happened here, it come up so quick, we just spotted them, you see.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: They might have done this if they’d had more time or something, to just talk about it.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: And they might have done that here.

GEORGE STONEY: But of course, they would have had more time to destroy your union, too.

[overlapping dialogue unrelated to scene - interference]

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. When I think back, I think if I hadn’t have – well, I don’t know. It’s only how strong you are, if you 20:00negotiate, and you got a hundred, nine hundred percent, they’re going to listen to you, you see. But if your local (inaudible), they got the number, why they consider that, what, how they’re going to barter with the unions, see?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: So when the strike is called, it was – there wasn’t – it’s kind of the way, the living condition, you just wanted to recognize the union. And it – I don’t think it should have come off, not that time.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: Too early. We didn’t really have time to get as many in the locals we should have had.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

21:00

ERNEST MOORE: And if it went on maybe a year or so, I think it'd been different.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm? Well, this morning we were talking about the – we were talking with the fellow over at Loray. He was talking about the, the One Hundred Club.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah?

GEORGE STONEY: Ah, which was “100 mean men,” I think they call themselves.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, they – some of them call it the Black 100.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: They got that Black 100. That’s what some of them called it back then. And, uh, they was organized. The best, the union, that’s what it’s organized. Most of them is – had a pretty good job in the textile – there’s a bookkeeper, overseers, and different ones. But and, ah, but it, ah, I’ll say it had a 22:00more high paying job than the regular workers.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: I say that’s where they got their 100.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, was there anything like that in your mills? In the Grove?

ERNEST MOORE: Not in the world.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: Not in the world, huh, no. No.

GEORGE STONEY: Um-hum?

ERNEST MOORE: That was back – that 100 was back in ’29.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: That wasn’t in the general strike.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Well, we have – I beg to differ there, because we have material out of the National Archives that –

ERNEST MOORE: Mm-hmm?

GEORGE STONEY: – tells about the 100s operating in ’34.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, we didn’t know nothing about that.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, we didn’t, we didn’t know nothing about that.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, that – yeah, when we speak, this morning, you know, he called that the 100, where Miss Wiggins was killed.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: See, that’s the only one I know anything about.

GEORGE STONEY: I see. Uh-huh.

23:00

ERNEST MOORE: He called that the 100.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. That’s right. Well, it continued –

ERNEST MOORE: Well, it might have been –

GEORGE STONEY: – in the Loray. Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: It might have been, they might have carried it on.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: I don’t know. I didn’t hear nothing about it.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: Not in the general strike.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Uh-huh. Now, when your fellas got organized, how did you – did you have any trouble with what might be called “discipline?”

ERNEST MOORE: No. No. Hum-um. No. When the organizer come to Gastonia, it was advertised, and wanted to speak. And when he come to our plant, well, it was advertised – they went to the, the meeting. And that’s the way they organized.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: And, ah, started off with just a handful, and they kept growing, and kept growing. So our local – we had a (inaudible) that’s a strike.

24:00

[interference]

GEORGE STONEY: Well, after when the strike got started, ah, were there problems with some people doing things that you didn’t like, who were some of the pickets?

ERNEST MOORE: You mean in the picket, as the strike started? No, not in our plant. No. Hum-um.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: No, peaceful. We just, well, we picketed – we backed up to the gate, four or five rows of pickets. And that’s all the picketing we done. We just let nobody in the main gate.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: We didn’t bother the owner and some of the office workers, they didn’t bother them. They let them in, saying how they would run the machinery, no way.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, what about – you mentioned a truck trying to get in.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I’d rather not say too much about that. The truck driver, 25:00he didn’t much like it. And one morning, he pulled up to the gate and told us if we didn’t move, he’s coming through. And the one that was standing there, he was going to run over him. But he didn’t go through.

GEORGE STONEY: What kept him from running through?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, that was the truck driver, I saw his name this morning. His name is Paul. He was sporting a girl, and she might have been on the picket line. His sweetheart. And he just happened to walk up that morning, here’s a big truck driver, and you know what, you know about what a truck driver was. He 26:00pulled out a big, long knife, walked up to the side of the truck, told him, he says, “You ain’t moving this truck.” He said, “If you do, why, you know what’ll happen.” So he sat there a few seconds, and he put it in reverse, and backed off and went on off. And he never did come back.

GEORGE STONEY: Did they ever get married?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. They married.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, they married.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

ERNEST MOORE: Paul Kinkaid.

GEORGE STONEY: Paul Kinkaid. Oh, you remembered it!

ERNEST MOORE: That was the truck driver. Paul Kinkaid.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. That’s a great story!

ERNEST MOORE: He’s a – he’s a pretty good-sized fella.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: Of course, the truck driver, he was a tall –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: – tall fella, too.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? That’s a good story. OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Ah, ah ah ah ah ah.

HELFAND: George, before you move, can you ask – I have a question.

ERNEST MOORE: I had it closed –

JAMIE STONEY: First of all, hang on a second. Guys, guys, guys, guys... (break in audio)

27:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK? Could you tell me what happened about that truck?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, we was all – I was out that morning, I might have been the captain of the gate, I don’t know. They elect some devil who wanted to tell them the rules, who to let in and not let in, and keep the peace. That’s the main thing, keep peace. And the truck driver for the company, he drove the company’s truck. He drove up that morning, stopped, told them to move. They didn’t move. He told them if they didn’t move, he was coming in, if he had to run over them. And it happened to be a truck driver of theirs named Paul Kinkaid. He was a pretty good-sized fella, he was a truck driver. And he was sporting one of the girls, I think she was on the picket line that morning. And 28:00he might have been the bunch, I don’t know, but he was standing there. And just then, that truck driver, that’s what he did. He walked up and took this big, old, long knife out, raised it up pretty close to his throat, and told him, says, “You ain’t going nowhere!” [interference] That truck driver, he sat there a few seconds, he put it reverse, backed up and drove off. He never come back.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Thank you!

ERNEST MOORE: That’s only – that’s the only thing, any disturbance in –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: – in all the strike. I mean, nothing happened, but it could have happened, you see.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, sure. OK? Yeah?

JAMIE STONEY: Dad, take a half a step back.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: And look towards over here. That – right about there.

GEORGE STONEY: OK?

[interference]

JAMIE STONEY: It’s easier, it’s easier not – ah – go over that way and (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Now look serious.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

JAMIE STONEY: Look down at the photograph. Now, look up at him.

29:00

M1: Sir, I need to ask (inaudible).

JAMIE STONEY: Sure.

M1: If you’re taking that on the (inaudible), you’re going to have to –

JAMIE STONEY: But once you’ve shot them, we’ve got nothing, a non-descript background.

M1: It’s not in that (inaudible)? (break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: A parade. You had secretary?

HELFAND: Vice president.

MOORE: Bud [Hartman?] was the vice president of our local and they didn’t want to put him back. So he moved, went to work in a feed store right up there, right across the street there. He worked there until he retired.

GEORGE STONEY: You mean the company fired him because he was –

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I asked – they told they wouldn’t put him back to work. They wouldn’t – of course, they had the [break in audio; interference]

30:00

HELFAND: It just doesn’t – it was great before you did that.

RUBY MOORE: (inaudible) yet?

GEORGE STONEY: Now how is it?

HELFAND: He can’t, it doesn’t look, for some reason, [break in audio - interference].

GEORGE STONEY: Tell us about that man again.

JAMIE STONEY: Mr. Hartman.

RUBY MOORE: Mr. Hartman.

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, Bud Hartman was the vice president of our local. And after the strike, they told him they wasn’t going to use him, I mean, he wasn’t going to go back to work. So he went up and got a job at the feed store, and he 31:00worked there until he retired.

GEORGE STONEY: What did he do about a place to live?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I don’t know right then, but he, he – you know where we had lunch at?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: That street coming right down behind it, see, he owned a – he bought a house up there, a nice house down that street, there. What they call Myrtle School Road.

GEORGE STONEY: You know, how many people do you think had to leave?

ERNEST MOORE: Just, ah – I think just the president. President and vice president.

RUBY MOORE: This is our church down there.

ERNEST MOORE: They were told that they – was not – it wasn’t going to 32:00work. And the one that they wouldn’t put back – it ain’t what they done, I think they just talked a little bit too much. I don’t know what – nobody ever violated the law or anything through the strike. But they might have said things that maybe the company didn’t like.

GEORGE STONEY: Why did you think they kept Claude out so long?

ERNEST MOORE: He was a secretary –

RUBY MOORE: Secretary, treasurer.

ERNEST MOORE: – and I’ll tell you just about the reason. I wasn’t about – one of the first to – here’s where the trolley used to go.

RUBY MOORE: Right there.

ERNEST MOORE: And go into Charlotte, that’s the trolley line there.

RUBY MOORE: Now, see, these are the groves houses over (inaudible). Ernest, you going out by –

ERNEST MOORE: Well, let’s make a round.

RUBY MOORE: Let’s go around –

33:00

ERNEST MOORE: Let’s make a round.

[interference]

RUBY MOORE: You’re going to have to come back for the background.

ERNEST MOORE: I was a captain down at the gate one morning. Mr. Upton come in, he was one of the superintendents of the dye plant. And he asked to go, and he said he had some book work to do on his payroll. [interference] You want me to stop here?

RUBY MOORE: Right here.

GEORGE STONEY: Is that into something there?

RUBY MOORE: (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Well, she’s gone through it, too. I believe she did. I’ll leave that to the (inaudible).

RUBY MOORE: Pull up over there.

ERNEST MOORE: Huh?

RUBY MOORE: Just pull over there and park, then you can go up there and let’s see it.

ERNEST MOORE: I’ll just pull up there.

GEORGE STONEY: All right. OK.

HELFAND: Can you tell him to say that about Edna again?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. OK.

ERNEST MOORE: That’s Mrs. Presley sitting on the – her, her husband was the one that run that elevator up on the town.

GEORGE STONEY: Who is this?

RUBY MOORE: The woman that was sitting over there. This was grandpa (inaudible)’s house over here.

ERNEST MOORE: Ms. Presley?

RUBY MOORE: Where this lady is sitting on the porch.

ERNEST MOORE: Right there is where my daddy lived.

34:00

RUBY MOORE: That’s where they lived. Oh, sorry. That’s her.

ERNEST MOORE: Her mother and my mother [interference] were good friends. We lived in Haywood County. Got one of the same here.

HELFAND: Wait until – just wait, wait one second. Don’t get out yet.

JAMIE STONEY: Let’s finish the story we were on about the –

HELFAND: I’m waiting for the radio to go away, that’s all.

GEORGE STONEY: This is Ms. Presley?

ERNEST MOORE: She worked at the groves. But I’ll – I’ll believe that – not for sure, but I’ll believe it was in – I’ll believe it was in the strike, I don’t know. I’m going to get out and tell her what we’re here for.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

RUBY MOORE: I don’t know whether she recognized him or not.

ERNEST MOORE: Hi, Edna.

EDNA PRESLEY: Hi, how are you?

ERNEST MOORE: You didn’t know me?

PRESLEY: I didn’t until now.

ERNEST MOORE: Oh. They’re going to take a picture of this house; this is where my daddy lived, you know.

PRESLEY: Yeah.

35:00

ERNEST MOORE: Now, this is – they out of New York. And they’re getting a record. The general strike back in –

PRESLEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: – thirty-four, was you in it?

PRESLEY: No.

ERNEST MOORE: You wasn’t on strike?

PRESLEY: (inaudible).

[interference]

ERNEST MOORE: And I told them my daddy lived here.

PRESLEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: You know, he was the president of (inaudible), and they done interviewed me. They (inaudible) the town. We went up the (inaudible) up there, and they stopped there (inaudible). (break in audio - interference) Can 36:00you cut me off a minute?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: And she’s one that Emma – she (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: I used to go through girls. She’s a pretty girl, before I met Ruby. But she did snuff. And I said I’d never marry a woman who did snuff. And I didn’t marry her.

RUBY MOORE: Oh, that’s the reason you married me!

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

ERNEST MOORE: I was her (inaudible). Ruby’s met her, she knows what we’re talking about.

RUBY MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: So it’s all right. I mean, she (inaudible). So –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: Her husband’s been dead, like a few years. He run that elevator up there, and he retired in the city. He went to work for the city.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: You'd going to get out, never got –

RUBY MOORE: Well --

37:00

(break in audio) Way back in the ’20s and ’30s, this street wasn’t paved. It was just dirt. Dirt street. And here’s where my father lived when I worked at the Grove’s Thread.

[interference]

GEORGE STONEY: And this is a –

ERNEST MOORE: Where he lived when he organized the union.

GEORGE STONEY: How different was the house then?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, it was more – not too much different. They might not have had the – we had a big vine –

JAMIE STONEY: Dad, we’ve got to start over again, please.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

[break in audio; break in video]

GEORGE STONEY: OK? Tell me about where this street was, and so forth, when –

ERNEST MOORE: Well, back in the ’20s and ’30s, this street wasn’t paved. This was dirt, a dirt road. And this is the house my father lived in. And he 38:00worked at the Grove’s Thread. And when they organized the union, they elected him to be the president of our local. And that’s where he lived when the strike, the general strike –

GEORGE STONEY: Were you born here?

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, no. I was born in Haywood County.

GEORGE STONEY: When did you move here? Or your father move here?

ERNEST MOORE: Up in – I say up in, in the ’20s. The blasted ’20s.

GEORGE STONEY: And, ah, could you tell us something about the house? How many rooms, and all that?

39:00

ERNEST MOORE: It’s a four-room, four-room house. Bathroom at the back. You go out, go in the bathroom. This is a bedroom. That’s a bedroom. And must have been a three-bedroom house. Three-bedroom house, that’s what this was. Three-bedroom and a kitchen, that’s what it was. Four-room house. That’s what it is.

GEORGE STONEY: And do you know how much they paid for it? The rent?

ERNEST MOORE: I’ll say about 75 or something a week. It could have been a little bit more, or (inaudible). They didn’t charge as much for three-room, than four-room and five-room houses. That was a – that was a five-room house 40:00there. That’s probably the house.

GEORGE STONEY: So you weren't a child in this section?

ERNEST MOORE: Oh no, when I come to Gastonia, I was 14. Come here in October, and I went to work in the manufacture – 14 year old when I went to work.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, tell us something about this village.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, this is what they call a “new village.” My daddy come to Gastonia way back there, early. This building wasn’t – this was cotton fields in here. The Number Two Mill wasn’t built. They had one mill, and we moved in the old village set back the other side. So we come over there, and he decided he’d go back to Haywood County, he moved back. When he moved back, he 41:00moved at the green house there, see that green-colored – dark green there?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: That’s the house they moved into. Well, we stayed here a while. I think my brother talked him into going back. So he moved back to Haywood County. And it wasn’t long he come back. And that’s when he moved in here. When we moved in that house there, there’s a new house. We swept the sawdust and shavings out every day, the new house, we were the first to ever move in that house. They just built this village and built a new mill.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: When I went to work at the (inaudible), they ended up putting machinery in it.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now, this house is all fixed up, you’ve got the trees –

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: – and all of that. When was that done? Did you have grass and all that here?

42:00

ERNEST MOORE: No, we didn’t have grass back then. I mean, we had – didn’t have the grass like this, no. But a few houses had it. Back then, you know, they swept yards. We swept – they swept yards. And –

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: – you knew when you sweep a yard, you’d sweep it all the way, ain’t no grass would grow.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. That seemed to be the style then.

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, yeah, they – there wasn’t too many people had grassy yards back then.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: No.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Not in the mill village.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Was it much more like the country then?

ERNEST MOORE: No, ah, when we moved in that house, there was still stumps on the side of the road there, see? They must have been the county itself, Pine tree right here, I remember stumps. They didn’t have all the stumps out on the side of the road.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: When everything else was just a mill. Now, back in here, there used to be a big cotton, before they built the new plant, there used to be a big 43:00cotton field in here. I remember coming down in there. I was in – I believe I was in first or second grade, school, the first time I moved into Gastonia County.

GEORGE STONEY: What are your memories of living here?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, it was pretty good days. That was back in my young days. That’s when I’d start sporting. (laughter) And I liked to go to parties and dances. And you know, back in your young days when you’re a teenager, it’s kind of a hard time, but you didn’t pay too much attention to it. Many people back then did not have much, just the regular working man, he didn’t have nothing much, just – my daddy, I owned a car, and there’s a fellow who 44:00lived up the street here, he had one. Mr. Hilton, that’s Claude’s daddy. He lived in that house right there. He had a car. He had a great, big old Packard, turn car. Fellow lived down here, he had a car, and that’s just about the only car that was on this street, see, back then. And, ah, anybody wanted to go anywhere, they’d all – they kept you busy (inaudible) summers, you know, that’s – now Claude, you was talking about, he owned him a little store here, that was his little store right there. He run that little grocery store, sat there for several years, Claude did.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, right up there?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: That little white building?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, that little building there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: That was Claude Helton’s – that was his little store.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

45:00

ERNEST MOORE: And he lived there. His mother and daddy lived there, you see.

STONEY: You remember trading there?

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, both – I didn’t buy my groceries there for – I bought a – I mean, I’d buy a lot of stuff from him. Bread, and (inaudible), a lot of stuff. But I didn’t buy all my groceries from him. He had – he sold – (inaudible), little store like his didn’t have just everything in it, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Yeah. Did you ever have a company store here?

ERNEST MOORE: No. No, they done – they have but one company store, as I remember. And I was up here at the – back when I left town. I believe there’s a Armstrong, Clara, Dunn Mill in there. Fellow Long run the mill. 46:00And they had a little company store there, that’s the only one that I remember. Way back they didn’t even have a company store.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm? Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: The only one in Gastonia, as I remember.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you get into debt with the company?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, I don’t know. I don’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: Sometime you could go in and borrow money from them, and they’d take it out on you, you need to enter debt sometime, if you know the Super just right, the bookkeepers, they might loan you some.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: I know the flint manufacturer across the street over there, I had to put friends over there, young boys and they could go in the – they used to have a good firm up here in town, they could buy anything they wanted to. They’d lend out money then, and they’d take it out of their payday. But I never did, never did try it. I never did. I went to work when I was 14, and 47:00after I had got my first payday, I never have been plum broke. I’d always, if I had nothing else, I’ve have change in my pocket. I never remember being broke after I got my first payday.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, is there – what –

ERNEST MOORE: My mother would give us just an allowance, you know. It wasn’t much, but they – I turned my money over to my mother, but she’d give us an allowance every week until we got to a pretty good size, then we build up and get more, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now, when did the companies, I think you told me something about the companies putting everybody’s pay into one envelope.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, they done that back then, yeah. Back then, they put in – I still got a, I believe it’s 25 envelope. I still got it. When my father and my oldest brother and myself, we got it in one envelope. His name, my 48:00brother’s name and my name, and what we made, and they’d give it to my daddy, see, in one enveloped, cash money back then.

GEORGE STONEY: And so whatever money you got, you had to get from your daddy.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah, well, he – mother was, she was a pretty good manager. My daddy, he’s a - he liked to go and he’d spend money. Of course, he drawed a little pension back then, he was a Spanish war veteran. And he drawed a little bit, he drawed a check. But he had this fever when he went to kill so many people in Cuba, he had took the fever down there.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yellow fever, I guess it was?

ERNEST MOORE: Yellow? Well, there was a company out of, I believe it was Ohio. And when they hit Cuba, they took this fever, and it wiped nearly the whole 49:00company out, he said.

GEORGE STONEY: I remember reading about that, yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. He said about the, yeah, I believe he said from Ohio.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. I think more people were killed with fever in that war –

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: – than were killed with bullets.

ERNEST MOORE: He was a, he never did, it wasn’t no battle. But they lined them in one morning to go into battle. And I believe (inaudible) fleet, they sunk the Spaniard fleet and they surrendered, they couldn’t get – they know when their fleet was sunk, why, they surrendered.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: They throwed my daddy in battle, gear and everything, he said, he said, “Man, I was scared!” He thought he was going to – you know, they’re an island. They had soldiers there just like America did, the Spaniard was.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: But when they sunk their fleet, why, they had to give up, because they didn’t have no supply line. And they surrendered.

GEORGE STONEY: Did any of your brothers go into the First World War?

50:00

ERNEST MOORE: No. They had the Second World War. I had two brothers there. And they went in the Pacific. And, ah, when I was drafted, I was to go into the Navy. And I was to leave on Monday, and the headlines come out, any over 26 not report for duty. And that’s the reason I wasn’t drafted.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: I stayed out, I wouldn’t join, my brother, both of them, wrote me, says started long (inaudible), they said it’s rough. So I didn’t volunteer, but when I was drafted I was supposed to leave on Monday.

GEORGE STONEY: Are there any favorite places you’ve got around here?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, not particular, but when I come down these streets, it seems like I’m back home. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s go over and look at Claude’s place.

51:00

[break in audio; break in video]

JAMIE STONEY: OK, guys.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Start walking right there.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ll walk right in here. What do you think of this over here?

HELFAND: We just gotta [inaudible].

JAMIE STONEY: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

ERNEST MOORE: Oldest brother, he lived the last house on this street. And, ah, my brother-in-law, who married my sister, he lived in the second house here, behind this, he lived there. And back then, practically everybody that lived here worked in the groves. Well, you knowed everybody. You knowed their politics, where they went to church, you know, you just, well, it’s pretty close-knit.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

52:00

ERNEST MOORE: So that’s the reason, ah, if you’re a pretty good politician, you knowed everybody, you knowed if they were Democrat or Republican. And when I drove back then, every election I’d drive, I’d haul people – voters to vote. I knowed where everybody lived, see. And they knowed it, so I’d see that they got to the polls and vote. They don’t do that no more.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, if everybody knew everybody else’s business –

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah?

GEORGE STONEY: What did you do if you didn’t want other people to know your business?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, you just keep quiet. You keep quiet. You know, some things, you don’t tell.

GEORGE STONEY: Is it possible to have secrets in a village like this?

ERNEST MOORE: Everybody’s got a secret, you see. Everybody’s got a secret. [interference] Some if they feel they want to – (laughs) Everybody doesn’t 53:00know, they’d know enough about you, see.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: Working with them, living with them, they know just, they know what kind of person you are, what you were, you see.

GEORGE STONEY: What about the bosses? Did they know what everybody was thinking and doing, too?

ERNEST MOORE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: That must have made it pretty hard to organize. (inaudible).

ERNEST MOORE: My main boss man, he lived up that street. I’ll show you, we’ll go around the road, I’ll show you.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

ERNEST MOORE: I lived on that street up there.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, let’s walk around.

ERNEST MOORE: Ah. Second time my daddy moved to Gastonia, it’s a new village. And this was the house he moved into.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh?

ERNEST MOORE: Four-room house. And my brothers, he – first time ever, they didn’t have one mill. He used to work and I was going to school. But he 54:00didn’t like mill work, and he talked me into going back for him. Then he come back and this is the house there, the mill, new mill in (inaudible), go to work. I had two uncles here. I had one of them on my daddy’s side, and one of them on the other side. He lived – one of them lived over on the front street up there. Mother’s brother did. They come from Canton (inaudible) down here, you know where Canton’s at.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: He come, he worked in Champion.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, Champion Paper Company.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah. He worked there.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: And, ah, he come there and his family, then we moved in this house, and we swept the shavings, we were the first to ever move in that house.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

ERNEST MOORE: See, there was a house right in here, it burned down. There was one between this house, see? It burned down.

GEORGE STONEY: I remember the smell of that shavings.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

55:00

GEORGE STONEY: Fresh.

ERNEST MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Fresh lumber.

ERNEST MOORE: And when they sold the houses, my brother-in-law lived in a three-room house, and my sister, and this is the house they bought. Brother-in-law. And, ah, this is their son, owns this, him and his boy own this racing team. They’ve been doing that now for a few years. He used to be in the fire department. He went to – he was in the Navy, and he was in the fire department. He went to Greenland in Florida, and he was in the fire department. Come back, and he got in the fire department over here. And they stayed there because he retired, you see. He lives in West Gastonia now. He bought a house up there. But his son still lives here.

GEORGE STONEY: Did everybody back then have a dog?

ERNEST MOORE: Dog?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ERNEST MOORE: No. No. No. I used to hunt some, possum hunt and rabbit hunt. I had the, I had a few hounds, but I didn’t keep them regular –

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

56:00

ERNEST MOORE: -- when I lived there. We had an old possum dog, and we’d hunt it. And the neighbors I mentioned, Milton down there, he was a possum hunter. And his brother had possum hounds, and we’d hunt at night. Rabbits hunt back then. We had one little dog who lived there, I called him Cricket. A little (inaudible), black and white. And I’d take (inaudible), and learn him to tricks. I learned him to roll over and speak, and when they left here, they took him to Caldwell County with him. And he made one of the best squirrel dogs. He’d tree a squirrel, and he must have had one tree, he’d come in, somebody’d cut his throat. That killed him. Nice pretty little dog.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm. It seems to me from what you’re saying that this wasn’t very far from the country. I mean, that people lived kind of like they had 57:00lived in the country.

ERNEST MOORE: Well, see, they had their, they had the running water, electricity here. No telephones yet. Back then if you, if you wanted to call anybody, you had to go across over here, cross the road, Flint Manufacturer, the time keeper over there, fella, [Herschel?], he had a telephone. Everybody (inaudible) have to have a doctor’s thing, go to Mr. Herschel. He had a telephone. Wasn’t no, wasn’t no telephone, no anything. No telephone (inaudible) back here.

GEORGE STONEY: What about gardens?

ERNEST MOORE: Gardens? Oh, yeah. Everybody had a garden. Dad had a garden there. He had a garden back here. Small garden here. Everybody – most 58:00people had, you know, they put out a small garden.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm?

ERNEST MOORE: And my daddy set out a bunch of peach trees. He quit gardening and –

GEORGE STONEY: But when he set out those peach trees, that was in the, the, on the land that the mill company owned?

ERNEST MOORE: Oh yeah, here’s, there’s your back yard. Back yard.

GEORGE STONEY: Did they furnish the peach trees?

ERNEST MOORE: Well, they borrowed, but he didn’t keep them like he ought to, and they didn’t buy his fruit like they should, but he’s – once he got them set out, he didn’t fool with them too much. (laughter) And he liked to pitch horseshoes.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

ERNEST MOORE: He would be right where that little store was, he’d have a stake here and down here. And that’s where most of them pitched horseshoes, see?

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm.

ERNEST MOORE: And my daddy did, he wouldn’t go to town unless you changed clothes and dressed up, you know. He’d come, go to town in his best clothes. 59:00And if ever there was a horseshoe game, he’d stop, pitch a horseshoe, and he’d get dirty, and my mother’d get on him about it. (laughter) Told him he was dirtying up his best clothes.

GEORGE STONEY: I remember –