Joe Lineberger and Mrs. Lineberger Interview 1

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

 (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. So we can...

M1: Uh, could you come with us?

JOE LINEBERGER: You -- uh...

MRS. LINEBERGER: Yeah, sure.

M1: Good.

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh...

MRS. LINEBERGER: I don’t know whether Joe told you: we built this little house when our grandchildren started arriving so we’d have room for two families, and then we use this in the winter. We can close that house, and this one is very easy to heat, so we can leave this open --

M1: So you come up here --

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- come and go in the winter --

GEOGRE STONEY: -- Christmas and that kind of thing, yeah.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- anytime.

JOE LINEBERGER: We’ve got little gardens everywhere (laughs) that go here, back in there.

STONEY: Oh, that’s -- yes.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, uh-huh. [We do, just?]...

MRS. LINEBERGER: Good morning.

STONEY: Is it always so green up here?

MRS. LINEBERGER: Yeah. Always is. This used to be a big --

1:00

STONEY: (whistles) Wow! (laughter)

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- used to be a big --

STONEY: Look at that!

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- garden.

STONEY: Look at that!

JOE LINEBERGER: (inaudible) we don’t know how many flowers (inaudible) picked out of it. About half in there, we’re givin’ ’em away and everything, (laughs) all the flowers, [you know what I mean?].

MRS. LINEBERGER: I keep (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

STONEY: I mean, this is a, this is a, this is a serious cutting garden.

MRS. LINEBERGER: That’s right. (laughs) I like to have plenty of flowers --

STONEY: Yes, mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- to cut and take in the house --

STONEY: Yes.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- and give to friends, and so forth.

STONEY: Jamie, this is like [Cindy’s?] garden.

JAMIE: I was about to say, it’s like the Wellingtons’.

STONEY: It’s a very -- there’s a place we used to -- we --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- visited a lot on Long Island.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: The s-- unfortunately, it’s no longer there. The lady who had it, uh, gave the, oh, about 400 acres to the federal government --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Oh, uh-huh.

STONEY: -- for, uh -- when she died, she left it. And the cutting garden, of 2:00course, has since then just gone to --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Seed. (laughs)

STONEY: -- seed, and it’s -- oh, it’s so sad, because it was --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: You ought to get a picture of it from here.

STONEY: -- kept up just beautifully before.

JOE LINEBERGER: Here, (inaudible).

MRS. LINEBERGER: I do have a few squash plants down at -- watch that f-fence there.

STONEY: Oh, oh, that’s right. That’s --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

MRS. LINEBERGER: That’s to keep the rabbits out. (laughter)

STONEY: Rabbit fence. I know what that is. We have so --

MRS. LINEBERGER: They do, they do take over.

STONEY: We have so many rabbits on Long Island --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- that it’s, it’s terrible.

JOE LINEBERGER: (inaudible).

STONEY: That’s really pretty.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Have you been in the house?

STONEY: No, we haven’t yet, no.

MRS. LINEBERGER: The house is full of flowers, too --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- so you can see how much is left over --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- (laughs) after all my pickin’. And we had two friends who had guests come in for the weekend who’d been over and, and picked flowers for...

STONEY: Who designed the scarecrow?

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, (laughter) our, our, uh, yard man, the fella that keeps the --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- yard for us, uh-huh. He decided last year we needed something to keep the crows out. (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, let’s, let’s go in the house.

3:00

MRS. LINEBERGER: All right.

STONEY: OK.

MRS. LINEBERGER: [Do your thing?].

JUDITH HELFAND: What’s your dog’s name?

JOE LINEBERGER: Gigi.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Gigi.

JOE LINEBERGER: (laughs) Gigi. She knows...

MRS. LINEBERGER: These are the, uh --

JOE LINEBERGER: You really have to...

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- honeysuckles, you know, the...

STONEY: Oh yes, uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: She understands everything you say. (laughs)

MRS. LINEBERGER: Woodbine, the yellow and the red.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. See her turn around and look at me when I said that? (laughs)

STONEY: Do you have bittersweet here?

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh, I don’t have any, I don’t believe, now. I’ve got some, uh, uh, sweet shrubs --

STONEY: Don’t have bittersweet. That’s --

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- in back of the little house.

STONEY: Once you get it, it just -- you can’t get rid of it.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: That’s what we found out this place I spend a lot of time in Long Island in. It gets into the roses.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: You clear?

HELFAND: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: We have such beautiful ram-- you know, big rambling roses.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Like mint, when you plant mint. (laughter)

STONEY: But it gets, gets into it.

MRS. LINEBERGER: You, you plant (inaudible) ivy. (inaudible) trying to take over.

STONEY: Your husband was telling me about the rhododendrons, how quickly they grow.

4:00

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh. Oh yeah, you have to cut ’em back.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: They, they grow a foot and a half, two feet every year.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, yeah, cut them back.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Did you want to look in the little house?

STONEY: Yes, sure, let’s take a look. Wow. (laughs)

JOE LINEBERGER: [You really?] get a good view here.

STONEY: Isn’t that lovely.

JOE LINEBERGER: (inaudible).

STONEY: That is lovely. And it feels so settled. (laughter)

MRS. LINEBERGER: It is settled. It’s been sitting here since four-- 1946. (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Come in.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm. (inaudible). There you go, [walk in?].

MRS. LINEBERGER: [Light?].

STONEY: Mm. Oh, this is a great family place.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh, and comes in very handy, as I say, when the, uh, children --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- and grandchildren are here. (clears throat) But this, this little, uh, house is self-contained with its own --

STONEY: Yeah.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- refrigerator --

STONEY: Yeah.

5:00

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- and freezer and stove --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- and so forth.

STONEY: Well, well, as a father of three --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- I know what it’s like --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- to have a place you can visit people but they don’t have to put up with your three children (laughter) all the time.

MRS. LINEBERGER: And it has, uh, two bedrooms and a bath --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- and a half, so...

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: And you can heat this with the high ceiling?

MRS. LINEBERGER: It ha-- yes, has electric --

JOE LINEBERGER: Electric heat --

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- baseboard heat.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- controlling...

MRS. LINEBERGER: Very easy to heat. In fact, you can come up here when it’s, uh, 20 degrees and turn on the heat and in about an hour and a half you just (inaudible) toasty warm.

STONEY: Nice, yeah. It’s a nice watercolor there, Jamie. Isn’t that beautiful?

JAMIE: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: That’s one of Philip Moose’s early watercolors. He’s a local artist here who’s painted all over the world, and that was done way back --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- when he was just getting started.

6:00

STONEY: I’ve known Blowing, Blowing Rock chiefly as a place where people from my hometown, Winston-Salem --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Oh, yeah.

STONEY: -- come. Are there lots of people from Winston-Salem who still have houses up here?

MRS. LINEBERGER: A good many, uh-huh. Of course, Blowing Rock has grown so in --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- the last 20, 30 years. It’s not the same little village that it grew --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- (inaudible) same little village it was when, when I first started coming up here. My father built a house up here in 1922, and I’ve been here every summer since then.

JAMIE: One second.

STONEY: Sorry, your maiden name was?

MRS. LINEBERGER: Rankin.

STONEY: Rankin. Lots of Rankins around Chapel Hill.

MRS. LINEBERGER: I don’t think any of ’em are very closely --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- related --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- [and I’m?]...

(break in audio)

STONEY: Fifty-eight?

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Wow.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Did you drive up from Charlotte this morning?

JAMIE: Yes, ma’am.

HELFAND: Gastonia.

MRS. LINEBERGER: You left pretty early.

STONEY: Uh-oh! (laughter)

JAMIE: It’s about (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

7:00

STONEY: I see you’ve got something that’s gonna occupy your -- the rest of the summer. (laughs)

MRS. LINEBERGER: Yeah, it’s, what, about two hours and...

JAMIE: About an hour and a half (inaudible).

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: You know, somebody gave us that, uh --

JAMIE: I’ve driven 321 a number of times --

JOE LINEBERGER: -- one of our daughters did.

JAMIE: -- and I, I know it pretty well. I know where it [slows down?].

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: She’s a, she’s a regent for Mount Vernon.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Did you, did you, did you come up 321?

JAMIE: Yeah.

STONEY: Uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: We usually come up I77 and I40.

JAMIE: Come 40.

MRS. LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) Mount Vernon. That’s what it’s good -- that’s what it looks like.

JAMIE: I just kept hearing about all the -- there was a lot of, uh, single-lane traffic on 40 --

JOE LINEBERGER: Now, you can imagine putting that together.

JAMIE: -- last time I was [still?] --

MRS. LINEBERGER: Oh, there was? Uh-huh.

STONEY: Oh, look at all of this.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

JAMIE: Yeah, they’ve been doing a lot of construction.

MRS. LINEBERGER: I haven’t been down that way lately.

STONEY: Oh, gosh.

JOE LINEBERGER: I don’t fool with it.

STONEY: Yeah, you’ve got a...

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh...

STONEY: Uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: This, uh, kitchen we enlarged and added to about, uh --

STONEY: Ah, that’s [coming?]...

JOE LINEBERGER: It’s a nice little piece.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- six years.

STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: And these old beams came from Joe’s --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- grandfather’s farm.

JOE LINEBERGER: They --

MRS. LINEBERGER: They’re about 150 years old.

JOE LINEBERGER: You see those (inaudible)?

MRS. LINEBERGER: Came out of the old granary over at the Lineberger farm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That came from my, my, my grandfather’s farm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: And we thought it would be nice to use ’em.

JOE LINEBERGER: When we added to it. These things --

STONEY: Oh, huh.

MRS. LINEBERGER: This one --

JOE LINEBERGER: -- they’re over 150 years old.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- the one here and the one there are actually supporting beams. They’re holding up this end of the house. (laughter)

HELFAND: So what, what were you saying that? That they hold...? These (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

MRS. LINEBERGER: I say the, the beam --

JOE LINEBERGER: Th-this --

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- there and this one here are actually holding up this end of 8:00the house. (laughs) Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: You see? Yeah, they’re not there for look.

STONEY: They’re not decorative, they’re loadbearing.

MRS. LINEBERGER: No, they s-s-- they’re support beams, and these others are notched into ’em, as you see.

JOE LINEBERGER: You see how we added to it, and, uh, I’d say these beams -- over there, they came from a, a granary at the house --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and I, I’d go over there. The house is still standing.

STONEY: Yeah, mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: It was built in 1830 --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and this was all outside, where they put the grain and all, around, oh, 20, 30 years ago. I said it was going down. I said --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- “I’m going to save these.” (laughter) And I took 'em over and put ’em in one of the warehouses at the mill, and when we got ready to do this I pulled out some, brought ’em up here, and this, uh, this fella knew how to work ’em --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and he architect and put ’em on in here.

STONEY: Huh, huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: So they’ve been here a long time. (laughs)

STONEY: Mm-hmm. OK, let’s figure out where we --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, let’s (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) here.

STONEY: -- Jamie, let--

(break in audio)

MRS. LINEBERGER: It’s a very comfortable house, and it’s, (clears throat) it’s stretched and shrunk and stretched as the --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

MRS. LINEBERGER: -- children and grandchildren came along. (laughs)

JOE LINEBERGER: I like this end.

(break in audio)

STONEY: -- [very?]. (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: I say, “Oh my, you don’t mean it.” (laughter)

9:00

JAMIE: Could you do that one more time? Do the books one more time.

JOE LINEBERGER: (coughs)

JAMIE: Seriously.

HELFAND: George has been teaching me the books of the Bi-- every morning, when I put a microphone --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

HELFAND: -- on George, he says -- George, what do you do? He paces back and forth and he says to himself:

STONEY: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. STONEY: -- Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second --

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh my. (laughter)

STONEY: -- Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Song of Solomon. Then I get stuck.

JOE LINEBERGER: (coughs) I better clear my throat and all.

HELFAND: Would you like a glass of... (break in audio) -- up there, or do you want to reach down and get it?

STONEY: Uh, no, it should be there, and these are (inaudible). OK? OK? Mr. Lineberger, so many people think that, uh, textiles came from New England, came south, and that we learned everything from the Yankees. You are a third-generation textile manufacturer. Could you tell us about your, your 10:00grandfather and your father?

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm. (clears throat) Well, (clears throat) my grandfather -- I d-- I was very young. And, uh, and I remember him. He lived to be 98, and my father (clears throat) would take me over there to see him sometime, and he lived at this old place. And he, uh -- I wouldn’t -- he had him talk, and I was -- I don’t know, I guess I was about six years old. This was, uh, uh, right after the Civil War. And, uh, but my grandfather, he had built a mill there, and started in 1856 on the river, with the water, you know, water power. Uh, and, uh, so that’s how I began to learn (laughs) about it. And then my daddy let, uh -- he, uh, uh... There wasn’t any schools or anything around 11:00there. He went to some kind of a public school for a while, and then my grandfather decided that he should, uh, be educated. And so he, he told -- (laughs) he -- somewhere or other he got him in a, a school up in Baltimore, to, to learn business, uh, accounting or something. And, and he told me that they went out there and stopped the Southern Railroad train. It came through our property. There wasn’t any... (laughter) He stopped the train, and my father got on it and ended up in Baltimore. (laughter) And that’s how he got... I don’t know what year that was, but he was -- that was way back. And, uh, that’s been a... Then they had trouble, uh, after the Civil War. Of course, they had their problems, and they told me that the way they got out of it, the business there, they had, uh, (clears throat) uh -- the business was so bad, you 12:00didn’t know what to do, anyway, and the money situation. And I, I meant to tell you, I’ve got a -- I ever tell you I’ve got a, a dollar that my, my, my grandfather started printing his own money after the, uh, right after the Civil War. They couldn’t get anything, and they had a big store there where the -- all the employees went. And they’d, uh -- so he printed this money. (inaudible) dollar. (laughter) And, and they’d go -- they’d -- he’d pay ’em off with that money, and then they’d go to the store, and that’s the way they lived for --

STONEY: Mm-hmm, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- I don’t know, several years. Then, then, uh, they had a big fire in the place, uh, uh, cotton that they had stored there and everything burned up, and business was bad anyway. That was the end of it. And then he -- my, my father went back there. They had a big, several thousand acres there and, you know, they had slaves and everything before the war. And after that, he, he went, went back and started working with s-some of the slaves and people 13:00that stayed there until he got the chance to go to, uh -- somebody asked him to come up there to Tuckasegee. And, uh, so he went up there, and he ended up -- I think it was some of the [Ryans?] -- he ended up running that whole [it’s a big?] -- everything. He ran it, ran the (laughs) -- looked after the stores and everything, looked --

STONEY: Your, your father.

JOE LINEBERGER: My father did. I don’t know how many years he stayed there. That’s when most of my, my, uh, brother and sister were born. And, uh, then they were, uh, they were having a little trouble down there in Belmont. And you’ve probably heard the Chronicle Mill.

STONEY: Yes.

JOE LINEBERGER: It’s those -- it started that in (inaudible), and they were in trouble, and somebody told ’em if they’d get AC Lineberger they’d, 14:00they’d see if he -- they could borrow some more money. (laughter) As a matter of fact, it was Anna Boyce’s, uh, uh, grandfather who was president of the mill, and he was a banker in, uh, in Gastonia.

STONEY: That -- your wife’s...

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Yes.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: (laughs) But --

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- they couldn’t -- they were in, uh... He said they can’t get any more money, and this fella came up [with them?] -- Ryan, I think -- came up and said, “Get AC Lineberger down here and, and we’ll do it.” Anyway, he -- they made him a offer, and he came down there, and, and, uh, and that’s where I was born. He built a house right there, and I was born down there (laughs) in 1910.

STONEY: In Belmont.

JOE LINEBERGER: In Belmont.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I was the last one.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And, uh, and he brought that mill right back, and that’s when they started building other mills, and he was president of ’em, and so --

STONEY: Eventually, how many mills did your father have?

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh gosh, uh...

STONEY: Just name ’em.

15:00

JOE LINEBERGER: He -- well, I... Uh, I mean, uh, he was president of -- and ended up, uh, president of that old mill, the Chronicle, when he came there, and then they built the Majestic Manufacturing Company, Imperial Yarn Mills, National Yarn Mill, and, uh, and, uh, there were other mills there. Then he, then he went up and built mills in North Belmont -- Acme and the Linford Mills, and s-- and, uh, Acme Lin-- and Perfection Mill. And later on he -- somebody -- they, they built a weaving mill there, he -- at South Orchid, and it didn’t work out well, and he... So he changed that over and made a spinning mill out of that, (laughter) and did that one. Then he, the... He was such a good builder, and a manufacturer, and he did the whole thing. And people would come 16:00to him and say, “We want you to start a mill for us, be president.” And, and he would organize the whole thing, the builders, get them, and, and he’d buy the machinery, ’cause he knew just exactly what to do. And they came to him from Salisbury, and that’s when he went up there and built Rowan Cotton Mill. And there was another old mill up there. I don’t remember it, and they wanted him to do... But then he came to Ch-- they got him at China Grove, and he built China Grove Cotton Mill. And it ended up a lot of farmers and people would invest in it. And, uh, they really -- he en-- he enjoyed that. So they’d make him president, and he wouldn’t -- he’d automatically take, say, 10 or 15 or 20% of the stock. That’s all he -- he didn’t try to get control.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: He’d do that, and get ’em all started, and then these -- everybody come in and take shares, you know?

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

17:00

JOE LINEBERGER: And, uh, that’s the way he did it, and...

STONEY: Now, you learned the business first by being -- you’re AC’s son.

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, yeah. I, I, uh -- you had to be 16 to work, and I remember one or two summers, uh, after I was, uh, uh, at s-- uh, home in Woodbury, I’d, I’d go down the mill, get a job. (inaudible) actually was not far from... I’d walk down the railroad tracks to it, a half a mile away or something.

STONEY: Well, that’s quite a --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- contrast from being in a, in a pretty prestigious --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, yeah.

STONEY: -- private school, and then --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- coming home.

JOE LINEBERGER: This is what I wanted.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: I did it myself. I went down there and got the job. And, uh, uh, ’cause I, I liked it, I just always did, and that’s where I got started. And, and then, as I say, after I finished college, I went back, and I went back over there (laughs) and talked to my dad, and I says -- I thought he’d... My -- you know, my brothers had gone to -- AB had gone to Harvard Business School, 18:00and the other one had gone somewhere else, and, and, uh, I finished -- I’d just come back from Europe. I’d been over there for about three or four months, and I came back, and I asked Dad, I said, “Well, what do you want me to do?” I thought he’d say he’d fix me up a big place. Says, “Go down to the mill here and see if you can get a job.” (laughter) So I went back there to Climax and I got a job, sweeping.

STONEY: Oh, no! (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: After I’d finished (inaudible) Chapel Hill, I got a job sweeping. And, uh, and it paid off in m-money. And I made $13 -- I still got the envelope -- in cash they paid off. And, uh, we worked -- and I worked 55 hours a week. So I did that for darn near a year. Of course, I had, um -- no, I, I wasn’t dependent on that (laughter) for a living, but I said, “I don’t believe I’m going to continue with this.” And so I went back and 19:00told Dad, “I believe I’d go back to school.” He said, “Go anywhere you want to.” And that’s when I went to State, went down there in, into the, the --

STONEY: NC State, to the --

JOE LINEBERGER: NC State.

STONEY: Now, they had a textile engineering --

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, oh, yeah.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s -- oh yeah, that was a big thing there.

STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. And, uh, I went into that, and came back, and then I was lucky enough to get a, a little better job as somebody’s assistant, and then, as I told you, the -- this fella, Baumgartner, I remember him. Daddy brought him down there from Tuckasegee, and he ended up -- they called him Superintendent then; he was superintendent of the Climax Majestic. And he got sick and, and, and, uh, stayed sick a while. And I went down there sort of as his assistant, and ended up -- in, in a year I, I had one of the best jobs in Belmont after, (laughter) after I got just lucky that this guy --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- passed away, and my -- and he was an old man, and that’s 20:00how I got started. And I ended up with, working with other mills in the north, Belmont Mills. And, and I left them down there, went with the Mills in North Belmont. And I was -- worked with the -- I was on the board, of course, at, at Rowan and [Johnny Grove?], and I helped them on machinery and stuff.

STONEY: So you spent the rest of your life, then, in --

JOE LINEBERGER: Absolute--

STONEY: -- in, uh, managing mills.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s right, in --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- in the management of mills.

STONEY: Mm-hmm. Well, now --

JOE LINEBERGER: And --

STONEY: -- going back to the late ’20s, the -- according to the records we’ve seen, textiles was making a, a pretty fair income --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- and then it got very competitive, and people --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- started making changes in the mills. And you were going -- you went to NC State.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, could you talk about how, uh, the ch-- engineering changes?

21:00

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. Well, it, it was. It was nothing spectacular like, uh, happens now (inaudible), but I remember we, we learned, uh, to cut out certain operations, like the beginning when I went back there, mills had opening (inaudible) cotton out in the -- next to the warehouse, opening equipment to tear it all up and then we’d blow it over to the mill, where the pickers were.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That -- the one that made the laps.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And so one of the first things I did then, I found out to put it all together. So I pulled that over there, and had the opening, and, and, uh, it’s automatic, would, would feed the pickers, and then you’d go into the car (inaudible). And then, of course, later on -- this, this is what happened then. And then long draft, as I remember, we still had a lot of mills that 22:00didn’t have the long draft. It was just, you know, three rolls and -- on the spinning frames --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and then later on they made long draft out of it, and put an apron in between ’em, and, and so you could draft longer and wouldn’t have to make such -- the roving so fine. So you --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- save money there. We’d cut out. I had -- at Majestic, I was making hundreds there, hundreds, spinning hundreds, 120 sometime. And went through four different frames in the for-- in the [cauldron?], (laughs) and before it was over with I had cut that down to two.

STONEY: So, so --

JOE LINEBERGER: And so -- to make the roving, from two --

STONEY: So it meant you had, uh -- that you could cut out two --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- two people.

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, yeah, or more --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- depending on, uh, what... But it was a matter of knowing, uh, different drafting systems --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- you see, and we cut out the other, going from one machine to another, drafting before you --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- got to the spinning.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

23:00

JOE LINEBERGER: And I had put in new slubbers, and then the other one, another new frame, and that was -- two, didn’t go through but two. Before that, it went through four different machines.

STONEY: Mm. Now --

JOE LINEBERGER: And --

STONEY: -- we’ve talked to a lot of, uh, old workers --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- who started working in the mills. Actually, we talked to some people in their eighties who started working as children in the mills.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: And they have surprised us by saying that the work wasn’t very hard at that time.

JOE LINEBERGER: No. Mm-mm.

STONEY: And then they kept -- then they start telling us that it, that it began to get with more efficiency and so forth. Uh, would you remember when that began to happen?

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm. Well, I -- like I said, when we -- business got sort of bad, more competitive, we had to -- the ones that stayed in business had to do something. When we’d get new machinery, and then we would pay ’em by what they did --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- you see? In the, in the card room, is how many -- w-what they 24:00ran, and this and that. And before that --

STONEY: On production.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, on production. Before that, we’d just pay ’em so much an hour --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and s-- uh, you’d walk around and go out and smoke and do everything else, but (laughs) finally realized that, uh, what we were doing. And, of course, we still gave ’em the houses for nothin’.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: Twenty cents a room a week --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and power and everything. And so they, they didn’t, uh...

STONEY: Well, let me ask you something --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- that’s going back a bit.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Could you tell us wh-- uh, how and why the mills started building houses for the workers?

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, uh, that’s the first thing they did, right, uh -- because it -- we did-- we didn’t have people there. We didn’t have enough people that, that would come and work in the mill, and, uh, I remember Dad was talking about w-- that they got a lot of people from up in this area, from the mountains. They would come down here, and we could offer ’em -- say, “Come down here and we’ll give you a house [with this?],” you know. And they 25:00didn’t -- there wasn’t anything up here for ’em to make money out of.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And so a lot of people from the area, in the mountain area, I remember Dad talking about that they’d come down there, because it was, it was something new, and, and they could make a living. They could make some money. And, uh, so that’s why we, we had houses on every mill we ever built. I mean, I don’t know, we had, I guess, a thousand houses, and we put two or three hundred houses at each mill --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- sometime.

HELFAND: How’d you pl-- how did they, uh, plan for those houses?

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, uh, Dad would just -- he knew builders, and, uh, he -- they were very simple. They were just -- they’d build three-room houses, and, I believe -- and four-room houses, and then another one -- the biggest one would be a six-room house, in case, you know, somebody had a big family.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And we hadn’t many of them, but we’d charge ’em so much a room, and we’d have, uh, these builders to... And they’d just hire 26:00carpenters, you know --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- around to, to do it. But, uh, they, they -- I don’t think there was any contract price.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: It was just a matter of building them, and he would watch it, and they would make sure that they would build ’em just like they wanted.

STONEY: And then you kept up the houses.

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh yeah, we kept ’em up in entirely. We’d have outside men. That’s where we had... We had outside men to do the job, and we had electricians, and -- that did another job, and then we had people in the shops, the mechanics. So that, that’s why we were getting, you know, more exacting. We’d say, “This is your job, head mechanic,” and you’d have an assistant or whatever it was. But that’s how we, I think, learned to cut our costs and do things like that. Everybody had a particular job.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: They knew what it was.

27:00

STONEY: Well, now, we’ve heard some talk from some of the work paper we were talking about, about the stretch out. What do they mean?

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, that’s -- stretch out... That’s when we gave ’em more to do, like in spinning. If they were -- started out doing five, ten sides -- we’d call one side each frame --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and there’s two sides a spinning frame, but we would, uh -- after we would change [row?] and make it bigger and whatnot, so they wouldn’t have to do so much work, we’d say, “All right, we’re gonna give you two more sides,” you see? They call that stretch out, because you’d give ’em, like, more to do.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: They call that a stretch out, but where they didn’t have -- we didn’t think they had a full job. They didn’t.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And so same way in winding. Would -- they would have so many bobbins, and so many spindles there that they would put the bobbins on, and, and then we’d buy a new winder. It wasn’t automatic then. We’d buy --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

28:00

JOE LINEBERGER: -- a new winder. We’d say, “OK, you’re gonna run this old winder now, because we got bigger bobbins, and all we expect you to do is stay busy.” And we’d -- then we’d start paying them by how much they did, too.

STONEY: Mm-hmm. Uh, what --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Excuse me. (inaudible), sorry. Can I (inaudible) for a moment? I hear a [big sound in the background?].

STONEY: OK. All right.

(break in audio)

JOE LINEBERGER: -- but the --

STONEY: She’s hitting [me?] right now. (laughter) OK. That microphone is -- she can hear everything.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, yeah. (laughter)

HELFAND: They’re very low, but they’re --

STONEY: Yeah, OK.

HELFAND: -- they’re loud.

STONEY: Now...

JAMIE: Got speed.

STONEY: You ready? OK. Uh, in... You remember 19, uh, November 1932, Roosevelt got elected.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. Yeah, I know.

STONEY: What do you remember?

JOE LINEBERGER: I didn’t, I didn’t vote for him.

STONEY: You didn’t.

JOE LINEBERGER: I don’t, (laughs) I don’t know whether I ought to tell you or not?

STONEY: What?

JOE LINEBERGER: All right, I was at Chapel Hill, and I had just turned 21, and I could vote. And I was in this class, this history class, and there weren’t but about 15 people in the class, then, you know. And the professor got up and 29:00says, “Now, how many -- who’s gonna vote for Franklin Roosevelt?” Everybody in the class stood up except me. (laughter) Said, “What are you gonna do, then, Lineberger?” I said, “I’m gonna vote for Hoover again.” I said, “I think every -- this thing’s about to get over, and I’m -- I think he’s the man. I don’t agree with everything that Roosevelt’s doing.” And I thought I was gonna (laughter) make a flunk out or something, make an F. I made an A in the course, and, and I, and I still have never voted any other way, (laughter) I’ll tell you that.

STONEY: As a North Carolinian? You’d been --

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, I was registered a Democrat in North Carolina, because we -- I had to be, ’cause I was a county commissioner, but I never voted nationally --

STONEY: I see.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and the people didn’t know. Oh, I was a county commissioner, and I was run-- had been running the county. (laughter) 30:00I was trying to keep the taxes right for all the mills, you see?

STONEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And I was on there for years.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And everybody thought I was a National Democrat, but I, I was a registered Democrat, but I voted Republican nationally, and, and, and they agreed with me on everything that was going on.

STONEY: Well, then --

JOE LINEBERGER: And, and, of course, I was in, in -- trying to represent the people, and, and, and we’d had a, a good government there, a Democratic government, no doubt about it. But I just didn’t agree with national.

STONEY: Now, could you talk about -- you remember when, uh, the, uh, the cotton code, the textile code came in? The NRA?

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh. Oh, that’s when you had to... I don’t know.

STONEY: That was, uh -- that was in June of ’33 --

JOE LINEBERGER: What, you had to use it, or what was it?

STONEY: -- when the Blue -- that when the Blue Eagle came in, and they said, uh -- they had, uh -- they cut the hours from 11 down to eight.

31:00

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s when we, uh, went on three shifts.

STONEY: That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: We had to -- then we had to bring in another shift, and we had -- it took us a little while to get that many people. And, uh, and then if you worked over eight hours a day, over 40 hours a week, then it was time and a half, you see.

STONEY: OK.

JOE LINEBERGER: And then when the business wasn’t that good, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t run on Saturday unless we had a lot of business, ’cause it was time and a half we had to pay.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And, uh -- but the business got better, and we, we ran six days a lot of time, most of the time after that.

STONEY: And there was a minimum wage that came in.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. Yeah. I forget what it was. Something like four --

STONEY: It was, uh, $11.

JOE LINEBERGER: Eleven dollars?

STONEY: Minimum.

JOE LINEBERGER: Minimum.

STONEY: That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: Forty, for-- forty hours.

STONEY: For 40 hours.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: For-- forty cents an hour would be what? That’s be s-- it’d be --

STONEY: That -- it was about 30 cents, a little over 30 cents an hour.

32:00

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, mm-hmm. But we, we didn’t -- we’d pay more than the minimum wage --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- most of the time, as I remember. Outside people, now, we -- you know, the people that mowed the grass and --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and that sort of people -- called ’em outdoor people -- we paid them, uh, the minimum, but then the people inside, we’d try to come up, because we were paying them then by what they did.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And so some of ’em would make a whole lot more than others.

STONEY: So you tried to get -- keep everybody on production that you could.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s right.

STONEY: Yeah. Well, the --

JOE LINEBERGER: Inside the mill, that’s [all?] --

STONEY: -- the codes had minimum wage --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- uh, they had, uh, hours, they set the hours --

JOE LINEBERGER: Hours. Yeah, 40 hours, and then --

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and then, and then you paid time and a half.

STONEY: Yeah. And then they also limited -- they tried, at least, to limit the number of hours that machinery could run to about 80.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Remember, there was a --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

33:00

STONEY: -- it was, it was a whole big thing that manufacturers agreed together, trying to cut down on the, on the competition.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm. I didn’t remember much about that.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I just remember that we -- it was competitive.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And, uh --

STONEY: And there was one other, uh, section of this, uh, thing that -- called 7A, which says that the workers had the right to organize.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, but they never did organize with us. They tried --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- a lot of time, but, uh, our people -- and I, I was always close to my people --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- ’cause that’s the reason I enjoyed it, so I worked with ’em when I started, and they were just family to me, and --

STONEY: Mm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and we tried to be honest with ’em. We gave ’em everything. And then when these outside people came in to try to organize, most of ’em just shake their head, say, “Listen, we don’t need you.”

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: “We’re doing all right.” And they never organized a 34:00single one of our mills. They tried a few times, but they couldn’t do it.

STONEY: So you never had --

JOE LINEBERGER: They, they (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

STONEY: -- organization in your mill.

JOE LINEBERGER: No, sir.

STONEY: Mm-hmm, yeah, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Never had a union. They weren’t -- they didn’t need ’em.

STONEY: Well, one of the things --

JOE LINEBERGER: And happy with...

STONEY: I don’t know whether you’ve seen this book out of Chapel Hill --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm...

STONEY: -- uh, Like a Family: The Making of a Cotton Mill World.

JOE LINEBERGER: Didn’t... Unh-uh, I haven’t. And, (inaudible) you do -- excuse me, I don’t know why I...

STONEY: Well, I’m gonna leave that with you, because it’s, it’s a book that --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- uh, we’ve used a lot.

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: But there’s one section of that that I want to talk about. Uh, they’ve got a, a chapter here on this big strike that came in 1934. You probably remember --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- something about that.

JOE LINEBERGER: Over in Gastonia? Oh, yeah.

STONEY: Uh, well, th-there was a big strike in ’29 in Gastonia.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, the Loray Mills.

STONEY: But then in ’34 there was a strike that closed down mills all over the place, all over the country --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

35:00

STONEY: -- uh, including Gaston County. Do you remember --

JOE LINEBERGER: They didn’t close us.

STONEY: They didn’t close you.

JOE LINEBERGER: No, sir. We didn’t --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: Not in Belmont. That’s...

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I was opposed to the union.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I am today.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And I (laughs) shouldn’t say that, but I’m not in business anymore. It’s just... But, uh, we were fair and square to our people --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and they realized it --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and we had one or two mills where they came in there and tried to organize --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and they couldn’t do it.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I remember in a knitting mill, they came there -- my brother was -- Henry was running the Belmont Hosiery -- I mean... Yeah, Belmont Hosiery, I believe you called it. And it was a knitting mill, and they --that’s one of the first ones they tried to come in and organize.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: And, uh, and wouldn’t let people -- some of ’em would come, they wouldn’t let people go to work. He just called [Rowley?] and got the -- uh, what do you call it -- Reserve unit down there. They came down there and pushed ’em back, said --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

36:00

JOE LINEBERGER: -- “You can’t stop people from going to work if you want to.”

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s the only mill that we really were having trouble with, and he just called, got the Reserve down there, and that was the end of that.

STONEY: The National Guard.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, National Guard.

STONEY: Yeah, mm-hmm. That was Governor Ehringhaus, wasn’t it?

JOE LINEBERGER: I guess it was.

STONEY: Yeah --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- I think it was --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- Ehringhaus, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And we’ve seen the -- we’ve got some, some footage of that --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- uh, of that, uh, activity with the...

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s the only time that we have any problem at all --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and that was just people, mainly people from not Belmont, people coming in there from Gastonia, where they’d had -- been successful in one or two mills, and they were gonna do it there. But our people didn’t want it, and it, and it wasn’t fair to, uh, not let ’em go to work if they wanted to.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That was my idea.

STONEY: Did you -- do you recall anything about the flying squadrons?

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, I remember some. (laughs) I think that’s, you know -- maybe there’s that one that came down there --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

37:00

JOE LINEBERGER: -- uh, at, at this time, maybe at that -- at our knitting mill. (laughs)

STONEY: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, let me show you some --

HELFAND: I just wonder --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm.

HELFAND: -- you mentioned that they were from the outside.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Was, was it really far away or just Gastonia that these people came from?

JOE LINEBERGER: I don’t remember ’em coming further than that. I think it was --

STONEY: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- mainly Gastonia. I don’t remember.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I know they called ’em --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- flying squadrons --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- I think.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: But we never had much trouble with ’em. That’s about the only place I remember --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and that wasn’t in the cotton mill; it was in the --

STONEY: In the hosiery mill.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- in the, in the hosiery mill.

STONEY: Uh-huh, yeah. We’ve got copies of the, uh, of the, uh, Charlotte Observer of the time --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- that -- reporting on a lot of this. We’ve gone back and read that.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, Helfand, let’s get the, the file out of the car.

HELFAND: Sure.

STONEY: I’ll show it to him. It may...

HELFAND: You can, um -- the sound is fine, so you could just keep [going?].

STONEY: OK.

JAMIE: I’m gonna do cutaways of the dog real quick.

38:00

STONEY: All right. (break in audio) I think -- reason I want you to --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- reason to particularly --

JOE LINEBERGER: Read that.

STONEY: -- check this is because there’s a chapter in there about the ’34 strike --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- and it’s based almost entirely on letters, which, uh, people in the factories, workers, wrote to Washington.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: They wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt. They wrote to, to Franklin D. They wrote to --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- Johnson. They wrote to Madam Perkins. And we’ve got copies of those letters which we’ll show you.

JOE LINEBERGER: You see, now, I was at State then.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I went up there in ’34 and finished in ’35.

STONEY: Aha, oh, OK.

JOE LINEBERGER: But I did come home --

STONEY: Yeah, OK.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and I remember --

STONEY: OK.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- this, and I remember --

STONEY: I --

JOE LINEBERGER: -- my brother telling me about it at the mill.

STONEY: OK, I want to show you these letters, because my concern is that they take these letters --

JOE LINEBERGER: (coughs) Yeah.

STONEY: -- as fact, you see, without --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- talking to people like you. And I’m saying --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- what -- I want you to look at some (laughs) --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, all right.

STONEY: -- and give us another side of it. That’s the reason.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: So she’ll be bringing the letters back in just a moment.

39:00

MRS. LINEBERGER: Is this (inaudible)?

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. Well...

STONEY: But we’ve got some pictures of the... Uh... We’ve got some pictures of what it was like here. Uh... This is, this is in Gastonia --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- on the -- on Labor Day --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- uh, 1934. That’s a whole --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- group of them. And here’s another scene. Uh --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, (inaudible) at Ranlo.

STONEY: Ranlo.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, Ranlo workers, yeah.

STONEY: Do you recognize the, the street? It ha--

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s -- yeah, that’s Gastonia.

STONEY: It hasn’t changed too much since then.

JOE LINEBERGER: No, it, it, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s gone away. That --

STONEY: Yeah, I --

JOE LINEBERGER: It’s gone, you know, the --

STONEY: Yeah.

40:00

JOE LINEBERGER: -- over there now, the -- on our farm, that new, big place. That was part of our farm --

STONEY: Yeah. Ah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- we -- that my daughters sold it to ’em --

STONEY: For the, for the shopping center.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. That was part of the farm.

STONEY: Yeah. Well --

JOE LINEBERGER: Still, and still own a lot of land there.

STONEY: It’s funny, we were showing these --

JOE LINEBERGER: When --

STONEY: -- on the street the other day --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- and one of these merchants came out --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- and he said, “Where are all those people? They don’t” --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- “they don’t come around here now.” (laughter)

JOE LINEBERGER: No, sir. There’s not much going on. This, uh -- there’s just -- there’s more going on in this new shopping center than there is all --

STONEY: That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- of uptown Gastonia, I think. (laughs)

STONEY: Yeah. Now, here’s a pi-... Here’s a picture you’d particularly like to see. You see all of those, uh, union locals --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- here, and that’s in Lineberger Park.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. I don’t know. (laughs) Yeah, I never had much to do with that.

STONEY: So that’s why we’re trying to get --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- the point of view of people like you.

JOE LINEBERGER: When I was up there in, in Gastonia, I don’t know, we didn’t have anything to do with that park.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: It was...

STONEY: In, in Belmont.

41:00

JOE LINEBERGER: It was this Lineberger [Park?] was in Gas--

STONEY: This --

JOE LINEBERGER: This was in Gastonia.

STONEY: Gastonia.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: That’s right. Oh no, this is...

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: These people walked over -- in fact, we, we talked to a fella who was, uh, uh, beating the drum --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- at the head of this.

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, yeah.

STONEY: Uh, at the head of this, uh, parade.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Just the, uh, day before yesterday.

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, I see, very nice.

STONEY: Yeah. Uh...

JOE LINEBERGER: And I don’t know how you ever locate all these old folks. (laughs)

STONEY: Well, Helfand is a, is a wonderful --

JOE LINEBERGER: Like, like me. (laughs)

STONEY: -- research person, and we find the names, and then we look in the telephone directories, and then one leads us to another.

JOE LINEBERGER: I see.

STONEY: That’s really what -- the way, way it happens. OK, you’ve, you’ve got those files?

HELFAND: Which file? An Observer?

STONEY: Uh, yes.

JAMIE: I’m [only seeing the one hand?].

STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Um, 7/13/34. Would that be about right?

STONEY: Uh --

HELFAND: Did you want the big book?

STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: OK.

STONEY: Uh, let’s, let’s just see. Ah, let’s see... Uh, that’s August. 42:00Let’s see, August thirty-... Uh, “Going to address the strike rally here Sunday.” That’s the fella -- the head of the thing. Uh, let’s see, get over here... That’s ’31. (inaudible) four... The strike began on Labor Day, and then moved on from there. And for a while, uh -- see, that’s the parade that we were just showing you.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, mm-hmm.

STONEY: And, uh, uh, the Star-- Charlotte Observer has an editorial lamenting 43:00the, the strike. Well, let’s see...

JOE LINEBERGER: And this is in Gastonia, or --

STONEY: This is in Gastonia and Charlotte.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, mm-hmm.

STONEY: Actually, you see, uh, industry and Labor Day, again, for conflict.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: This was on the third when it all happened. And according to the Observer, uh --

JOE LINEBERGER: In ’34, yeah.

STONEY: -- they shut down every mill in Gaston County for several days, until the National Guard came in.

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: And then they opened.

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh, [the strikes bridge?], yeah.

STONEY: The 200.

JOE LINEBERGER: ’Cause that’s... Mm-hmm.

STONEY: So it was a, it was a great big thing. We have newsreel footage, for example --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- of this scene --

JOE LINEBERGER: Oh, yeah.

STONEY: -- where they closed down the, the belt of the, the, uh, Piedmont.

JOE LINEBERGER: Piedmont.

HELFAND: Parkdale.

44:00

STONEY: Parkdale.

JOE LINEBERGER: Parkdale.

STONEY: That’s --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Closed down Parkdale.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, uh-huh.

STONEY: That’s one of the places where the flying squadron went to.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, yeah.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: You see, I was at State then.

STONEY: You were, you were at State.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Well, sure. That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: Before. But I, I re-- I remember they were coming home, and where they’d -- when they were having all this problem, and they did close down, and they were -- none of our mills were ever organized. They were -- people just --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- wasn’t for it.

STONEY: Well, now, according to, uh, the statement of the em-- manufacturers at the time, Sloane and that group --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- they said, first, that, uh, they were overstocked, and so they’ve got warehouses full. (laughs)

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: So they’d, they’d almost welcome a strike.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. Well, in those days we did, uh -- when we were making 45:00yarn for knitters or for mercerizes, you know, we knew exactly what it was, and, and we did stock a lot of yarn just to give it -- so we wouldn’t -- so the people would have something to do, and it was -- rather than keep it in cotton we just put it in yarn, because it --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- we -- it was what was going on in those days, and you knew what, what you’d been selling and what you could sell. So it’s true, we did stock a lot of yarn lot of times, put ’em back in the warehouses where --

STONEY: Mm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- the cotton was, where a, a month’s run, maybe.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: Really.

STONEY: And one of the, one of the manufacturers was saying that, uh, he welcomed --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: A number of the people said that they welcomed the strike, because it --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm, th-- they didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to run the mills.

STONEY: That’s right.

JOE LINEBERGER: They didn’t have to take care of the people, I guess. (laughs)

STONEY: That’s -- yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: But anyway, it as -- I can see it was... I know there were times -- I didn’t know -- I wasn’t there at this time, but I know there were times that we would make big stops --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- so we could run and so the people --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

46:00

JOE LINEBERGER: -- would have something to do.

STONEY: People talked about short time.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, well, that’s when we built up all the stock we could, then we’d go down to --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- two or three days.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: Then later on you -- they, they’d get on welfare, whatever you call that. If you didn’t work more than (sighs) three days, they could get on this -- what it was -- Welfare, was it called then? Or whatever it was.

STONEY: It was, uh, the WPA... Unemployment.

JOE LINEBERGER: Un-- Unemployment.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And so (laughs) I did have few trouble with some of them later on, ’cause, uh, we’d, we’d -- they’d, uh -- so they, they wouldn’t come in on Thursday, some of ’em wouldn’t, so they could draw the Unemployment, you see?

STONEY: (laughter) Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: We had some of that.

STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And I had to get at them. I said, “Wait a minute. You’re sick -- you’re not sick.” We’d have to -- we’d go to check on ’em. 47:00“Now, you keep on doing that, and you won’t be here.” But we had some that would do that, claim they were sick, and that’s what, uh, people -- my --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- overseers and all --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- would tell me. And we didn’t have many of ’em, but we’d have --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- just a few down here.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s why it’s hard to control that sort of thing.

STONEY: OK. Now, let me show you some of these letters that the -- that some of the, uh, people wrote. They’re written on tablets --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm.

STONEY: -- uh, semiliterate, many of them, but, uh, they express, uh, real, you know, worries.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And I know this was two years before you were in the factories, but you knew these people, these kinds of people.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And I just wondered if you could kind of interpret for us. Uh, these are just mimeographs out of the National Archives that we got.

HELFAND: That’s one of the early ones.

STONEY: Oh, OK, this is --

HELFAND: That’s ’33.

48:00

STONEY: -- ’33. Uh, this is to Hugh Johnson, who was head of the Code. Uh, “Dear sir...” You can just read it there.

JOE LINEBERGER: [That’s it?]. Where, which? Uh... I don’t know, you... What, what does -- they say in there about the unions, or what (inaudible)?

STONEY: Let’s see, uh...

HELFAND: What, what date is that, George?

STONEY: This is, uh, September the 21st, 1934.

JOE LINEBERGER: What’s this pertaining to?

STONEY: This is, uh, uh, Imperial Yarn Mill, to Mr. Hugh Johnson, who was head of the, of the NRA at the time. “Dear sir, I just want to let you kn-know how things are going on here in Belmont, uh, especially the Imperial Mill. I’m 49:00just going to give it plain in every way, just how we have to do, although I’ve been told it wouldn’t do any good, and also said I would lose my job, but I feel like if you know there would be something done, we have to go -- then we have to go in an hour to two hours before work time to get our cleaning up.” Uh...

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: “They have speeded, uh, so high, it, it works us from the time we get in till stopping time at nine o’clock that night. There’s only six to eight here -- that is, uh, in the union. Uh, the superintendent, we don’t like him 50:00at all, for he, uh, means to work us to death if we -- if he can, and they are afraid to -- and they are afraid to join the union.”

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, was there any reason why --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- they should be afraid, do you think?

JOE LINEBERGER: No. I -- as I say, I wasn’t even close to that Imperial when --

STONEY: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- Daddy was president of it, but... And I remember -- I forget the fella, (clears throat) boy that worked for me in the -- he was in the lab, and I think -- I forget his name. And, and, and he went over there and got to be superintendent of the Imperial Mill --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- at a later date. And, uh, I guess he was... I don’t remember anything about --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- making ’em work, come in extra.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: When they -- anybody came in extra like that, they were paid for it --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- far as the mills I was --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- concerned about. And, you know...

STONEY: Now, there are -- as I say, these letters in the National Archives --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

51:00

STONEY: -- are literally in the thousands --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- from mills all over the South.

JOE LINEBERGER: That right? Yeah?

STONEY: Uh, and --

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s the only one you got from Belmont, I bet.

STONEY: Oh, n-no, we’ve got --

JOE LINEBERGER: Really?

STONEY: -- a number from Belmont.

JOE LINEBERGER: Re--

HELFAND: Hundreds.

JOE LINEBERGER: Really?

STONEY: Yes.

HELFAND: Yes, sir. (laughter)

STONEY: This is from Belmont.

JOE LINEBERGER: I mean, I just wonder what the other mills were --

STONEY: Yeah, let’s see...

HELFAND: Um, there’s a bunch.

STONEY: There’s Imperial.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s all right.

STONEY: Uh... This is from Belmont, August the 16th, 1934. Uh, “Mr. Roosevelt, we know that you are doing everything you -- in your power to help the” --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm.

STONEY: -- “poor people, but we know that you do not know what all is going on in these mills.”

JOE LINEBERGER: What mill is that?

STONEY: Uh, Belmont, uh... This is in the Imperial.

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s the same mill.

STONEY: Yeah, the same mill.

JOE LINEBERGER: Same mill, yeah.

STONEY: Uh --

JOE LINEBERGER: I think they might’ve had some trouble --

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- more trouble over there than they did the other mills.

STONEY: Um...

JOE LINEBERGER: The superintendent the -- wasn’t that popular or something.

STONEY: Who was the superintendent?

52:00

JOE LINEBERGER: I’m trying -- I’m trying to think. I don’t know.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: In ’34... I don’t remember.

STONEY: We have to work --

JOE LINEBERGER: It might’ve been an old fella that was gonna retire soon after that. I don’t know.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: I think it was. Maybe it wasn’t too close.

STONEY: It says that, uh, “We, we have to work so hard in this mill in Belmont, North Carolina, we do not get time to stop and eat our lunch, and if we do our work just, uh, tears all up.”

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm.

STONEY: And so he goes on for that for --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- three or four pages. Uh, it’s interesting that... Uh, now he says -- let’s see -- at the end of it he says, uh, uh, “Not every man that’s here belongs to the union in this mill, for they are scared to join.” 53:00You see this?

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: [7A?] said that they had a right to join, you see.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: “They are afraid they will lose their job. We’d like to very much look into this situation. This mill is the Imperial Mill in Belmont. Yours truly.”

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s -- uh-huh, that’s -- I’d say that’s the same mill.

STONEY: The same mill.

JOE LINEBERGER: I think, I think -- I believe --

STONEY: OK.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- I remember they did have more problems there --

STONEY: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- than the others, and it probably was a superintendent didn’t --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- get along with ’em as well as the others did, or I don’t know.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: But...

HELFAND: Th--

STONEY: As I s-- as I say --

HELFAND: They’re also responding to the -- it’s the eight hours at that point --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- so...

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, another thing we’re interested in that we’ve got a petition from some of them protesting the hiring of people out in the country with farms, instead of hiring people in --

JOE LINEBERGER: In their village.

STONEY: -- in the village, because they said they’re getting short time because they’re hiring all those farmers.

54:00

JOE LINEBERGER: We, we never -- I never remember that. We didn’t do it --

STONEY: Yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- because we had the houses there, and, and we wanted to keep ’em filled up. And, uh, and if they didn’t -- if they didn’t work, they had to move out of the houses.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: So we didn’t hire any -- I don’t remember --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- hiring anybody else to work --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- unless we’d needed more people than we could house, you see.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: That was in China Grove.

JOE LINEBERGER: At China Grove? Uh-huh? Yeah.

STONEY: Uh --

JOE LINEBERGER: It may have, uh --

STONEY: -- now, here’s an interesting letter. Uh, “Dear Mr. Johnson,” writing Hugh Johnson, who was head of the NRA --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- uh, “the negro laborers of Belmont, NC that work at the cotton mills are told by the employers that they do not come under the code because they do not -- they do outside” --

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh-huh.

STONEY: -- “and inside work. Some drives trucks, and s-some scrubs insides. 55:00Others do the, the trucking of cotton, and, uh, unloading it and all of that.”

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, the wages per week are $8.25 and $9.79 for 55 hours. Uh, s--

JOE LINEBERGER: What year was that? Golly.

STONEY: This was, uh, October the 6th, 1933. That was after the code, you see.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah. I thought you had a minimum wage then.

STONEY: You did, but, uh, the difference was that the minimum wage was $11 --

JOE LINEBERGER: I see.

STONEY: -- for people who worked inside. People who worked outside --

JOE LINEBERGER: They weren’t in (inaudible).

STONEY: -- weren’t included in that. And so this fella doesn’t understand that, you see, and he’s saying they were working inside and outside.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: But he names this. He says, uh, uh...

HELFAND: And he’s black.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Yeah, “These mills, the Acme, the Eagle, Climax, Perfection” --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm.

56:00

STONEY: -- “Linford, Linford-Stowe, Linford-Stowe Spinning” --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah, (inaudible), yeah.

STONEY: -- “Imperial, the National Crescent, and the Chronicle.”

JOE LINEBERGER: He’s naming ’em all. (laughs)

STONEY: He’s got ’em all there. “The colored people are afraid, uh, to send in their pay envelopes, uh, the emp-- for the employers say that we will not, uh, have no more jobs around Belmont, so I wish that you would send someone to investigate this report. You said the NRA is supposed to help everybody, but the employers are unfair to the colored workers of Belmont.”

JOE LINEBERGER: That’s a colored gentleman writing that?

STONEY: That’s right, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: And he was at what mill? Imperial, or...?

STONEY: Uh, he was in the Imperial, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Now, it’s interesting that we talked with -- we, we had a complaint like this --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- from the Eagle --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- which you didn’t have anything to do with.

JOE LINEBERGER: No, no, (inaudible).

57:00

STONEY: And, uh, we found the guy who wrote it. He’s 85 years old.

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm. Yeah. (laughs)

STONEY: And he told us -- he t--

JOE LINEBERGER: He had read -- he said this was right, did he?

STONEY: That’s right, yes. Well --

JOE LINEBERGER: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- but it was interesting thing that he was helped to write that --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- by a white man in the mill --

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: -- who -- and -- whose, whose complaint we found, as well.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: It was interesting that they were working together.

JOE LINEBERGER: Well, I know at a later date, uh, we, we had minimum wage, and we -- and as I remember it when I was there, we -- the minimum wage was certainly people that were going outside and --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and didn’t have regular jobs, you know --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- or something to do. But -- and, uh --

STONEY: What was --

JOE LINEBERGER: But, uh, they all seemed to be happy. We didn’t -- they didn’t, didn’t many of ’em want to come in --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JOE LINEBERGER: -- and learn something. I know we later on brought some in. We were -- had to, wanted to. And, uh, you’d pay ’em so much to learn the job, and then, then you’d -- they’d get to -- get minimum pay while they learned 58:00it, and then they’d go on, so you’d be paid for what you did. And a lot of ’em never tried much after that. They just wanted to get inside, and we, we tried to be honest with ’em, and some of ’em did come along and do very well. But, as I remember, I didn’t have any of ’em that were -- never got to be superintendent or anything like that. They didn’t have the b-- training.

STONEY: You’re talking about blacks now.

JOE LINEBERGER: Yeah.

STONEY: Uh-huh.

JOE LINEBERGER: But --

STONEY: Uh, now --

JAMIE: (inaudible), we gotta reload and (inaudible).

STONEY: OK, yeah.

JOE LINEBERGER: Uh --