Gardin Family Interview

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(inaudible)  (inaudible)


(indistinguishable overlapping dialogue in background)

GEORGE STONEY: I wonder if you could comment on that.

LEON KAY: OK. Here’s what it says. “I am writing you this letter to let you know just how poor niggers are being treated here at Millville Jackson [sic] 2:00Company Loray Mill. They are some w-- work eight hours, some twelve, a day and. All from eight to twelve hours, make only twenty cents per hour, and our boss, Mr. T.A. Gershman tell us you mill code laws doesn’t cover us. Boss man -- oh, (laughs) niggers from $12 a week. It is just for white people. You will please, sir, look after this and do something for us poor niggers. A white man told me to write you about it. He is a man working in the time-keeping office, 3:00and said we niggers were all related, in this man’s office at eight a day and 30 per hour, and $12 a week. And when a NRA inspector comes, they just show him a few timesheets and go on. And he said, the way you catch them, you send a man here on Friday. That is --” see, I can’t see so good. This is where you -- see, I can read it. It runs together on me. “Per day. Let him go with the pay man and see every nigger paycheck.” (laughter) “Please, sir, Mr. Johnson, do something for me. I work eight hours, only make $8 a week. I have 4:00five in the family, and I can’t be -- can’t buy food enough to let me find fro-- from one payday to another. A [ten?] price of food, I can’t have dry bread. Please do something for us, or we will starve. Please, sir. Come to our aid, for we poor niggers can’t help ourselves. Please, put this letter in the newspaper, and a nigger who work at Millville Jackson Company, Lowell Mills.”

JAMIE STONEY: All right. (inaudible) OK.

JUDITH HELFAND: Well, we were -- we were just having a discussion about this, 5:00about -- because, um, toward -- maybe just introduce, give a little context for that letter.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh. This letter was written because the NRA code had just come in, which says that the people should be limited to 40 hours a week instead of 60 hours a week, they should get a minimum of $11 a week pay, and they had a right to join a union. And he’s writing saying, where are we?

KAY: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: Because we are not getting paid.

KAY: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: The way we’re supposed to.

KAY: That’s right. Right. Yes, we was saying, that was the same thing that was happening to us back in the ’60s when we first went in the mill. This man would make 30 cents more on the hour than what we were making, we were doing the same job. But there wasn’t a thing you could do about it. You had to have a job, so you just have to hang in there and do what you could, you know? Although we knew it wasn’t right. What the government should do, they should big backtrack and make them pay us for every day they did. We wasn’t paid for 6:00this. (laughter) Yeah.

HELFAND: That’s what this man in the letter was trying to do.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

KAY: Yeah, that’s right. But, mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Now, you said you found some folks who’d worked at the Loray, at the same plant.

KAY: Oh, this is at the Firestone [Industrials?] that, uh, I was talking to this man. Uh, they said he’d be willing to speak with me, and gave me his phone number, address, and he would tell you how things were back in the 1930s. Of course, this is where you dating back from, and coming up until now. And, uh, his name is Mr., uh, William G. Floyd. And, uh, he got some very interesting stuff to tell you that happened to people back then.


KAY: You know?

HELFAND: Now, he worked at the mill that -- where those black workers wrote this letter.

KAY: Ri-- oh, did he? Oh, OK. Yeah.

HELFAND: Yeah, that’s -- that’s -- that’s the connection. That’s the connection.

KAY: Oh, OK. Right. Well, you on the right track [to find him?] then. Right. That’s good. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: We’ll find out.

KAY: All right. Right. OK.

GEORGE STONEY: As I say, uh, we had Bruce Graham --

KAY: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: -- who wrote that letter from the Eagle.

KAY: That’s right.


GEORGE STONEY: And now, here we hope to have -- find somebody who is in connection with this that -- that, uh --

KAY: Yeah. It’s going back all those years.

GEORGE STONEY: Loray, that’s right.

KAY: That’s wonderful. I declare, it is. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, that’s right.

KAY: Uh-huh. Yeah, it’s remarkable.

GEORGE STONEY: You know, this is -- this was a long time before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.

KAY: Mm-hmm. That’s right. Right. Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: We’re trying to say, it didn’t --

KAY: Didn’t start.

GEORGE STONEY: -- it didn’t just start then, that people back before then.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

KAY: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: And we figure that’s important.

F2: Before -- before we went in there. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: That’s r-- (laughter) before --

GRACE GARDIN WILSON: Before -- when I was about 14 or 15, uh, we had to walk from over here to Priscilla Mill over there to catch the bus. And, uh, at that time, you couldn’t even get on the bus before the white people get on. The bus would come by and pick up, and you had to stand back and let the white people on. And if there were more white people to take up their portion, they wanted to take ours, we still had to stand. So this particular day, I had walked over to Priscilla Mill and was waiting on the bus, and the bus pulled in 8:00at Priscilla Mill, and the door stopped in front of me, and it opened. And I just stepped on, on the bus. And this white woman behind me, she spoke up and said to me, “I wish I had a pen.” And I turned around and I looked her and I said to her -- word -- “Damn you, I’ll give you a pen. (laughter) Now I want you to use it.” At about 15 years old, I said that to this woman. But nothing was done. I went all on the bus, you know? But I -- I did do that. And I --

GEORGE STONEY: Were you paying the same, uh, price for the ticket?

WILSON: Oh yes. Oh yes. Mm-hmm.

M_: I was locked up one time I sat in the front seat of the bus in Gaston.

F4: I was put off of the bus, because I sit behind the driver. (laughter) He looked back --

M_: Yeah, yeah. They locked me up.

F4: -- he said, “I don’t want to sit that close to you.” I said, well, you’re not a [thing?].


(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

M_: They locked a bunch of us up one time for sitting on the front seat. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: When was that?

WILSON: I mean, there’s -- there’s lots of experiences that -- I mean, I just can’t understand. And being a Catholic at that, you know? I just wonder, where is our God? You know? But we have to be patient. That’s the only reason that I didn’t, uh, sue [Burlington?], because I was taught as a Catholic, you know, you don’t do evil for evil. I just only wanted justice. I was -- I knew -- I know that I am a human being. And so I just wanted equal rights.

GEORGE STONEY: But so -- po-- bo-- uh, John said that, uh, standing up for your rights is not evil.

WILSON: No, it isn’t. Mm-mm, it’s not evil. And I -- I mean, I guess -- you see, my father was a Baptist, uh, deacon at Springfield Baptist Church. And 10:00my mother and he attended there. And, uh, after they were converted to be Catholic, you see, my father, being a deacon, knew a b-- a lot about, you know, religious beliefs, right? And so it was always instilled to us to be kind to one another, to treat people equally, to this and that. And it just come up in me as a child. I can’t -- why this? And I always -- it was just in me to always, uh, speak out. And I still do speak out for justice, because God -- no one is any better in God’s sight than other. I mean, it -- it says that he doesn’t see color. And then -- and -- and we all -- he died for me just as well as he did for you. You, you. So, that’s just the way I feel. I’ve always felt that way.


HELFAND: Leon, you were saying, Leon, you went over to the -- to the, uh, barbershop to look for (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)?

KAY: Oh yes. I went to get my beard trimmed up. And, uh, I was telling the fellas about -- that you had been here to the church, and what you was about. And, uh, I was asking some of the fellas around, they -- they’d be willing to speak with you. Some of them said nah, we don’t want to do that. Now, just one guy says, “I know a man that worked at Firestone in the 1930s" that -- that did the trimming of my beard. He said, “Give me a chance to speak with him and see if he’ll meet you here tomorrow.” Said, “I’ll get his phone number, address, and all this stuff.” And said, he’ll be -- he’ll talk with you. I know he’s not scared. So the next day, I went back. Sure enough, he was there. He gave me his phone number, address, and we got to discussing how things went on back in the 1930s there. And he goes on to say that, “I’m retired now, I’m not scared, I don’t have nothing to lose. I’d be willing to talk with you.” And, uh, He’s willing to speak with you. You know, so if you don’t know how to get to his house, I’ll show you how to get there. (laughter)


GEORGE STONEY: Great. That’s wonderful.

HELFAND: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) One other thing. You were saying that you sang in the house?

WILSON: Uh, out in the yard, where we sang in the house m-- uh, in the s-- in the summertime. As we worked in the fields, you know? Uh, the Gardin people are very, very talented people. And my father always said that only education they received was from the Blue Back Speller. And, uh, Blue Back Speller. And, uh, but most all of them, they knew carpentry, uh, without going to school. Am I right? They knew all of this. My father never, uh, took music. And he could, would -- teach us music. After we’d get out of the fields in the afternoon, my mother would be -- have made sweetbread, she called it, cookies. And, uh, maybe baked potatoes.


F_: Parched peanuts.

WILSON: Parched peanuts. And we would sit around outside, and we would eat that, and we would sing. And he taught us, you may notice. She sings, uh, high soprano. I sing alto. What do you sing?

MELVILLE GARDIN: Anything that’s -- (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) whatever comes out! (laughter)

WILSON: We all had, uh, a way of singing. And when we would hit a wrong note, my father would stop us and show us how to hit this note, right? And so we all became -- all of us became very good singers. And not any two, you know, singing exactly the same tune.

GEORGE STONEY: What kind thing did you sing?

WILSON: We sang, uh, all the Negro spirituals, and --

F3: “Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.”

WILSON: Climbing -- we are climbing Jacob ladder. And a lot of them are in the hymnbooks today that we sing. Most of the people here are surprised that we know so many songs that we do.



WILSON: Now, the [unintelligible] and those could, will pick a song and come in. We know it. And sometimes, they will ask us, “Do you know this?” And they want to know how we knew these. Our mother and our father sat in the yards with us at night, and we sang these songs.

HELFAND: Sing some of them.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you dare sing one now?

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

WILSON: Oh, we don’t want -- singing “Old MacDonald.”

F_: [singing] Jacob’s Ladder.

ALL: [singing in harmony] We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder. We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder, soldiers of the cross. (applause)


KAY: It is time that we got [top of this?] (inaudible).

WILSON: Sing -- sing something else, I mean, that we all could get here.

KAY: [The time is now?]. We are gathered here this morning to praise God (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) sometimes appalling conditions -- that this has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But I refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt, so we are dramatizing this condition here today -- to update from the 1930s up until now. And we hope and pray that something will come of this. So black and all in the -- blacks with whites also will be treated fairly in the textile imagery. Thank you.

GROUP: Amen.


GROUP: (singing) Which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, 16:00thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power 17:00and the glory forever. Amen. (applause)

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, that’s beautiful.

GROUP: (singing) We are cl-- [audio break] --cob’s Ladder, soldiers of the cross. Every round goes higher, higher. Every round goes higher, higher. Every 18:00round goes higher, higher, soldiers of the cross. Do you think I’ll make a soldier? Do you think I’ll make a soldier? Do you think I’ll make a 19:00soldier, soldiers of the cross?


HELFAND: This was great.

WILSON: Oh, I [followed the top ones?].

F_: Thank you!

WILSON: That’s the reason we all have -- that’s the reason we all have different -- you know, a-- all those singing in one tune, my father taught us, if we hit a wrong note, he would stop us, say, (singing pitches) whatever it needed, he did that for us.

GARDIN: And his brother Robert taught music in the home, (inaudible).

HELFAND: So what was -- now, (inaudible) there’s a lot of children 20:00(inaudible). He told -- now how many -- how many were in this family?

WILSON: My father was the father -- out of two marriages, the father of 24 children. And I’m number 20.

GARDIN: I’m number 23.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible) (laughter)

F_: Nineteen? Nineteen.

WILSON: Yeah, because you -- you, uh --

HELFAND: I have one other question. A lot of the places where we’ve been going to, when people talk about the mill village, they often say that people that live in the mill village were lintheads.

WILSON: What’s that?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s because the lint (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) in your hair.

M: Lint was in their hair. That’s what it --

JAMIE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) Some people say that’s an insult, some people say that’s a name of pride.

KAY: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, some people use it as an insult, (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

WILSON: Well, I would think they would call us linthead because they didn’t think we had any brain.

HELFAND: Would you say -- did -- I mean, did everything around here revolve around Spencer, Spencer Mill in one way or another?


GARDIN: Us? Well, I don’t think everybody up and down this road was involved in (inaudible).

HELFAND: Could you -- could you -- could you just tell me that? And then in one statement, to wrap this all up about how your family, and, you know, worked with how Spencer Mill was, [and someone?] (inaudible).

GARDIN: With my father working for Sam Love, the owner of Spencer Mountain Mill, he -- he farmed on his farm through the summer. In the wintertime, he would get a job in the mill. And his sons, and people, you know, of his re-- his relatives would, you know, be hard down there if they had something for him to do. So that was just part of -- how we came about, I mean, involved in Spencer Mountain Mills.

WILSON: Can I say this?

F3: Older brothers. O-- older brothers.

WILSON: Can I say this? We had a wonderful, and beautiful mother and father. Uh, we, uh, always had plenty to eat. And you hear some of these letters 22:00talking about they can’t -- they couldn’t make it. And people would think a man with as many children as my father had, that we went hungry. Never. Never. We didn’t have always the clothes that we -- you know, the proper clothes, because the white woman on the mill hill would give us hand-me-down clothes, you know, that, uh, they didn’t need. But as far as being hungry, I don’t ever know of being hungry, because just like I said, after we had eaten dinner at night, we had baked potatoes, sweet cookies my mother had made, and peanuts to sit around and eat around the fire.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

HELFAND: Thank you so much.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

HELFAND: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: We need -- by the way, we need to get your names and addresses on the -- on the, uh -- (inaudible)


(gap in audio) [00:23:01-00:27:15]








GEORGE STONEY: -- the bricks, and what your grandfather did when I pa-- attach you, OK?

JAMIE STONEY: We’re rolling.

GARDIN: The green part right here is part of the old store. And this was the driveway that trucks and everything had to come in, and go around this way, and unload, you know, the stuff that was brought to the store. And the front was around on the other side. And that’s -- you can tell by the old brick that those brick are very old, because they’re not uniform, they’re not smooth. They just almost crude cut, you know? And I think my father might have helped make those bricks.

GEORGE STONEY: Your father then worked in this mill?

GARDIN: Well, he did, uh, after I was -- a little boy, when I was a little boy, I remember him working here.

GEORGE STONEY: What’d he do?


GARDIN: He was -- he worked in the opening room. He opened the cotton and s-- just put it through some suction thing, they sucked it into the card room or wherever that -- processed it in after he -- he handled it.

GEORGE STONEY: Did he expect you to work in the mills?

GARDIN: Well, I -- I would suppose he did, because he didn’t think -- we didn’t have any other way of, you know, no occupational, job of our own. But he figured maybe we would be in the mill or something.


GARDIN: But maybe not this one, but some -- some other, because this is a textile industry place, you know?


HELFAND: Now, you said you’d -- you -- you had uncles that worked in the mill too, but your daddy was the only one who worked inside?

GARDIN: Well, uh, that was not considered an inside job, opening, you know? That was in something like the warehouse, you know?


GARDIN: And we just passed where the -- the train would bring the cotton and the coal and stuff, and they would have to get the truck from here and go up there and unload it from the trains, and then bring it back here to store it. I meant to stop -- up there and show you all that place where it came down, there but I forgot about it.


GEORGE STONEY: And how did you -- how did you find out about all this?

GARDIN: Well, uh, I was a boy at the time that my father was working here. And so we had to walk from our house down here to bring him lunch sometimes, you know, if he -- if he didn’t bring it. And, uh, some of my brothers, they worked here too, you know? Even after my father didn’t work here.

GEORGE STONEY: How did they get to work here? Because it was rare for blacks to work.

GARDIN: They walked. They had no transportation. You know, they had to walk, or either ride buggies, wagon or some things like that.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, but we know that few black people got to work in the mills. Uh, just wait til these cars. (gap in audio) -- would he get to work here?

GARDIN: Well, he -- he -- he was truck farming for Sam Love, the owner of the mill. And, uh, he lived in one of their houses, uh, about a mile from here. And in the summertime, he would farm, and then in the wintertime, he’d work inside the mill down here opening cotton, so --


GEORGE STONEY: OK. Good. OK. Thank you.

JAMIE STONEY: Hey, uh, could you just tell me about the -- the uni-- un-uniform brick again at the beginning?

GARDIN: Oh, those old bricks there?


GARDIN: I don’t know how they were made or shaped, but you can tell by the way they’re made that they -- they weren’t made by machine or nothing like that, you know? They -- they not modern brick. They’re old, old brick that are odd shaped, and un-uniform. You get a close-up of them?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. That’s right. OK, Jamie, let’s --

GARDIN: I remember walking in that store there, and, uh --

HELFAND: Can you start that again? You said --

GARDIN: I remember walking in this store with maybe three eggs and trade them in for sugar, or coffee, or something like that. Uh, maybe we could find some pop bottles, you know, and to trade them in for -- for money to get us some candy or something like that.

HELFAND: You mean at that general store -- at the store?

GARDIN: At this store right here, yes.

HELFAND: Is this the -- the company store?


GARDIN: That was the company store. That’s where all things that was bought here was from the store there. I mean, they didn’t have dry goods like, uh, clothing or nothing like that. It was only, uh, a grocery store.

HELFAND: George, maybe he could (inaudible) walk down to the company store?

GEORGE STONEY: No, no. We don’t need to. We’re seeing it quite enough here, and he doesn’t -- we don’t want to cause trouble over there here, with the -- with --

(gap in audio)

WILSON: -- over the hill. All back in there, back there. We worked, uh, babysat. We cleaned house, just -- just, uh, especially after we went to high school, and we needed money for clothes then. We would work in the summertime, and take our little five dollars and something, and spend it on our clothes. But before we were able to -- old enough to do this, my brothers would have to come to Spencer Mountain and pick up the, uh, white woman’s laundry, and carry 32:00it all the way back up the road. My mother and my oldest sisters would wash it, iron it, and bring it back, for maybe a dollar and a quarter, or whatever. And that’s just the way the -- that’s the way it was, that as all for us to do as far as making any kind of money.

HELFAND: You know, le-- can we walk a little bit? And then as we’re walking, you can tell us about this house? One second. Let’s -- let me get Jamie -- and was your brother with you when this was happening?

(gap in audio)

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)

HELFAND: Like here?

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)


JAMIE STONEY: [When you folks are ready?].

GARDIN: This house here, the Baumgardners used to live there. I went in there many a day to get their clothes and brought them back. You know, and after my mom and sisters had washed and ironed for them, many a time. I can sti--

WILSON: Wells lived on the corner there.

GARDIN: The Wells lived on the corner there, but their house, it burned down. It was --

WILSON: Burned down just about a year ago.

GARDIN: -- it was a year ago.


HELFAND: You were telling us about this house.

WILSON: This one? This one is, well, where the Baumgardners --

GARDIN: Baumgardners.

WILSON: -- Baumgardners lived. And, um, I’ve been in there many a day to clean -- you know, not to clean, but to get their clothes. It was all -- back all around, over the hill, at different places that we worked, different places all over the hill. Up that way, and across, over there, all back around in there, we worked, uh, as babysitters and cooks, and all of that kind of thing, you know? For very little of nothing.

GARDIN: And it was mostly that the -- the most well-to-do was the ones that was able to hire somebody to wash for them, you know? Most of the other ones, that -- just regular workers, weren’t well-off enough to hire anybody. They had to do they own washing at home.

GEORGE STONEY: What about the big house down there?

GARDIN: That’s where the over-- uh, the, uh, superintendent lived. (inaudible)

WILSON: We didn’t do much there. I didn’t, not there. It was just, uh, 34:00laborers in the mill, that we worked for.

JAMIE STONEY: So you -- you used to do -- pick up the clothes?

GARDIN: Yeah, I’d walk -- pick them up.

HELFAND: Let -- why don’t we walk, and you tell us about how [Manny and Danny?] would pick those close up.

GARDIN: Well, sometime, it would be from two or three different families, each -- it was Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday. There were certain days that we washed for each -- you know, for that -- that family. And, uh, we’d come down that morning and get them. And probably the next day, whenever they were finished, we’d bring them back to deliver them.

WILSON: A lot of times it would be a Friday when we would always --

GARDIN: Bring them back on Friday.

WILSON: On the weekend.

GARDIN: After payday. So they -- they would have money to pay us.

HELFAND: What’s amazing is that those mill workers weren’t making much money themselves.

GARDIN: No, not much. But --

WILSON: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) that much, but we wasn’t getting nothing. (laughter)

GARDIN: But we get 45, maybe 50, 75 cent for a bundle of clothes. Now, that -- that was pretty good. And I -- I remember walking one time all the way to Stanley, trying to collect from someone that didn’t pay us. (laughter) You remember that? We had to get up in the morning, early. (inaudible) and Charles 35:00and myself, had to walk to Stanley, trying to collect, I think it was --

F1: They would carry the clothes and we would wash them and iron them.

HELFAND: Say that again?

F1: Re-- my brother and -- and Charles, our baby brother, would carry the clothes, and we would wash them and iron them, you know. Get them ready. Tie them up in a sheet, and bring them back.

HELFAND: Now, can I -- for -- can you describe from here -- you know, in relationship to the mill village, where you lived and how far it was?

GARDIN: It’s almost exactly one mile from here to where we lived.

WILSON: More than that, isn’t it?

GARDIN: No, that’s a mile.

F1: Mill back up to the church. That’s around in there where we stayed.

GARDIN: Oh, maybe it’s (inaudible).

WILSON: [We’d do that?]. Even if -- if my mother needed a box of snuff, she dipped snuff at that time. We would have to walk all the way down here, get it for her, and walk back. And most of the times, a lot of the times, when we would do that, we were harassed by the white boys, uh, “nigger” and 36:00everything, and this all.

F1: Dogs get after us.

GARDIN: I delivered the clothes, and then had to run home because they’d run us back home. (inaudible)

HELFAND: You were carrying their dirty laundry.

GARDIN: Their dirty laundry, and bring it back clean, then we’d have to run home. They’d run us home. That’s right. (laughter)

HELFAND: Now, you told me, somewhere, Spencer Love’s house, right? You told me that he had -- he had a --

GARDIN: Sam Love.

HELFAND: Sam Love. Yeah.

GARDIN: Right up -- that’s up the road here. Where Laurel Hill nursery is, that’s where his -- his house up on the hill, there. Was on --

WILSON: I worked for them.

GARDIN: She worked in the house --

WILSON: Worked in the house for them.

GARDIN: You worked -- you’d stay there week, at the time, wouldn’t you, sometimes --

WILSON: I’d stay there a week, all week.

GARDIN: Come on the weekends.

HELFAND: What’d you do for them?

WILSON: Cleaned, and babysat, you know?

GARDIN: Cooked, cleaned.


WILSON: Cooked, and all -- but I was a type of a person that she knew from working here, for these people. Now, she was a rich lady, show you how I’ve been all my life. Uh, if I come in on Monday morning, down here to work, I would tell them, I don’t wash leftover dishes. And I wouldn’t. So I went -- I went and worked for the white lady -- the rich lady up on the hill up there. I told her the same thing. I’m not getting paid for washing yesterday’s dishes. And so she would always have the kitchen clean. God as my witness, that’s the way I always have been. I’m not getting paid. I expect your kitchen to be clean. When I leave it -- when I leave it clean, I expect it to be clean when I come back. I did that. And she respected me for that. (inaudible)

(gap in audio)

WILSON: The big house (inaudible)?

GEORGE STONEY: No, no. No, no. This is the house.

WILSON: Mm-hmm. That’s one of them.


HELFAND: Tell me what you want to do.

JAMIE STONEY: I just want to get a shot for this.

(gap in audio)

GARDIN: -- out to these people. I don’t know who owns it now, what’s the name of it. I don’t know their names.

HELFAND: But the Loves used to own all of this, huh?

GARDIN: Yes. Mm-hmm. Even had his little own airplane. Airport was --

GEORGE STONEY: I’ll be there.

GARDIN: -- right in here somewhere along where we are here.

GEORGE STONEY: Can’t see it from here.

GARDIN: (inaudible) that strip right there, you know?

HELFAND: Yeah. So when your daddy worked f-- um, sharecropped for him, was the farm around here?

GARDIN: Well, it was up there right below, w-- right there behind the church, when we -- s-- when we wanted to. That’s where our farm was. So, it was just right across -- just -- you could see it from here before it grew up like this. 39:00You could see from that house, over here, on this hill.

HELFAND: But could -- give me a little background, though, in terms of, like, Spencer Mountain and how, you know -- how we own -- you know, Mr. Love, and how he owned it, and -- and how the economy was based on him.

GARDIN: Well, WT Love -- I don’t know what that WT stands for. I think one of them was Thomas and Sam, they were brothers. So they just owned the mill. That’s all we knew. And they owned property, and we just took it from there. We didn’t have any other ways of knowing anything else but that, you know? So, with my father working for him, just surviving is all we knew. I mean, that’s -- that’s all we knew at that time. There wasn’t anything told to us, it was just what we grew up knowing.

HELFAND: And you had told me about Gaston County. You said it was Spindle City.

GARDIN: Yeah, it’s the Spindle City. Because there were so many spindles, you 40:00know? Textile spindles. Well, that -- we got a radio station here, WLTC. That stands for World’s Largest Textile Center. That's what the call letters stand for. So it’s was textile center of the world. HELFAND: At Spencer Mountain, then how -- tell me a little bit in terms of textiles at Spencer Mountain.

GARDIN: Well, that was the only mill. That was all it was at Spencer Mountain, the mill and its village. That’s all it was at Spencer Mountain. And the -- and -- and the mountain itself, you know? So we know that.

HELFAND: Now, was it named for the Loves? Or was it named for --

GARDIN: No, no, no. I -- I guess it must have been the mountain itself was staying from -- from Spencer’s, I guess, you know. But the Loves only just had the mill here. So I would -- I would presume that it was Spencer -- the mountain was named after the Spencers. I don't know.


HELFAND: I think they're calling us. Why don’t we walk while you take us --

GARDIN: OK. I remember when I was up here working for them, they had a maid. I forget her name, but they had a little house. It’s built -- uh, I’ll show you her house where she was -- her house was -- her living quarters was above the garage. And I’ll show you that, just in a few minutes. Oh, they -- oh, this -- his landing strip was right along up there where those flowers are. (laughter) It was! And he had a crash landing one time, so he got rid of his plane. He survived. (laughter) All of this is -- this wasn't here. This was nothing but woods during the time that I’m speaking of. (long pause)

F1: Hey.


GARDIN: (inaudible) That was a shortcut to get to Ranlo. Cut through their property, get to Ranlo.

F1: My first time being back here, when I was -- since I was a kid. Yes, uh-huh.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

F1: My first time being back over on this side, you know, up in here.

HELFAND: Since when?

F1: Since I was a child. (laughter) But I’m 67 years old now. You know, that’s been my fortieth, fifty (inaudible).


HELFAND: And why would -- why would you come up to the house?

F1: Huh?

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

JAMIE STONEY: Don’t run.

GARDIN: Wrong thing to do.

JAMIE STONEY: If you run, he’ll look at you like prey.

HELFAND: All right, everybody. Chill. (inaudible) And why -- why’d you come up here as a child?

F1: Well, my sister worked here. She was working here, and we would -- we would be rambling, and --

GARDIN: Just playing in the woods.

F1: Yeah. Going to catch the bus up here at Priscilla Mill, [whatchamacallit?], stuff like that. (laughter) Git, git. Git.


F1: Here he comes.

HELFAND: Let’s ignore the dog.

JAMIE STONEY: Any growing [at your end?].


CHILD: Whoa, that big old dog! (laughter) I ain't never seen no big dog that big.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: She’s going back to the car.

GARDIN: Go back to the car, children. (inaudible) Go on.

F_: Y’all go back to the car.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, let’s go again.

HELFAND: This is an old dog.

(gap in audio)

WILSON: Right, and one went down. That was it, whoever was playing with it. Uh --

GEORGE STONEY: Did you bring your own children over her?

WILSON: Oh no. I didn’t have -- I was just a teenager at that time when I worked with them.

F_: In school then.

WILSON: Still in school.


WILSON: But... mm-hmm.


JAMIE STONEY: So could you just point out the parts of the house to me again that you were working in?

WILSON: I went into the kitchen there, and then washed dishes right here. And then from the, uh, kitchen, there’s a little elevators and steps, which was the dining room, right in here. And then from the dining room over there, there was more or less a little living quarters. As far as I can remember, I don’t even remember this -- that other brick part might have been there. But I don’t remember going from one part of the building to the other. I stayed in the same building they stayed in, in a little room right back in there, like. Like, that’s where I slept.

HELFAND: Um, y-- Thomas, you told us that from up here, he could see all of his mill and all the village?

GARDIN: No, no, no.

HELFAND: Wrong house?

GARDIN: Uh, no, I don’t think I mentioned that. Down at the superintendent’s house, he could see the village, you know? But now, this was -- this -- this was a secluded house back here, up in by himself over here.

GEORGE STONEY: That's the difference between the owner and the superintendent.


GARDIN: And she, he was the own-- he owned -- you know, part of the mill. And -- and the superintendent had run the mill for him, you know?

WILSON: And I think I was his first -- their first, uh, maid, as they call it.

GARDIN: Now, what was her name? She -- she lived here until she died. (inaudible)

WILSON: Who’s that?

GARDIN: The lady, I forget her name. She lived here. She -- she was with them from the time -- before they even built this house. And, uh, then after she died, then -- then she started hiring from my sisters, Grace, and. Anybody else? Annabelle? Yeah. Yeah.

F_: I worked -- I worked for the [Frehleys?]. The [Frehleys?] moved in after the Loves move [out of here?]. Yeah. Yeah. Frehley, and I worked for Frehleys, because I know his -- you know, some of the children. And, uh, they would crochet, and we [make something?]. (inaudible) learned to crochet, too. She learned me, you know, showed me how. But the Frehleys moved in, and some of the sons moved in.

GEORGE STONEY: So what -- what --

HELFAND: (inaudible)


WILSON: Her name was Betty. Betty had two children, Louise, and what was the other one’s name? One of them was Louise, and I done forgot the other one’s name, that -- uh --

HELFAND: Did you take care of the Love children too?

WILSON: I -- uh, I didn’t sleep with them, but I babysat, you know, and tended to them, when they went on -- out or wherever they would go, I babysat them.

JAMIE STONEY: When was the last time you were here?

WILSON: Oh, I can’t remember. I was a teenager, and I’m almost 66 now. It’s been a long time, right? (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: What memories do you get?

WILSON: Oh, they were nice. Very nice people. They were very -- they didn’t expect -- uh, they didn’t treat me, I would say, like I was black, or -- they just treated me as -- as a member of the family. It’s just like I said, when I come to her, I told her how I treated the other people that I work for on the 48:00Mill Hill, and I told her that, so she always had a clean kitchen for me when I come in, but she’d always tell anybody, “Grace likes a clean kitchen.” (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: Could you tell me the story of how -- the whole clean kitchen story?

WILSON: What, uh --

JAMIE STONEY: The one you told us down by the mill.

WILSON: Well, I told the other -- other people that I work for, OK? They paid me to work from Monday morning to Friday, when I got off. And I always left the house clean, right? The dishes washed and everything. And I go in one morning, and you couldn’t get in the kitchen. Every pot and everything was dirty. And I told them, listen, I don’t wash dirty dishes, right? I leave your place clean, and I expect it to be clean. So when I come here to work, I told Betty the same thing. I didn’t wait until it happened. I told her, I didn’t wash 49:00a messed up kitchen, you know? I leave it clean, I expect it to be clean. And what I mess up, and whatever, I clean up, right? I’m not getting any extra pay to wash up all these party dishes, and not everything -- this -- just everywhere. And -- and, uh, she didn’t expect me to. She didn’t expect me to. She took me as my word, and was very, very good to me.

HELFAND: Did you -- did you tell -- did you tell the women that you were working for what you were going to do and not do?

F_: Well, no. Um, I don’t know, the few of them that I, you know, lived with, we was just all like one, you know? Cook for them, and we would sit at the table and eat. I would sleep with the daughters, and so, you know, they treated me real nice. And that’s just the way it was. I didn’t have no problem with them.

WILSON: I’ve worked for quite a few, uh, I would say, rich white people. And 50:00I’d always go and tell them, I’m not getting down on my knees scrubbing no floor. And I’m not getting out on a ladder washing any windows. You know, I told them at -- at Jump Street where I was coming from, and they respected me for it. They never -- eh, never any hard feelings. I just told them what I wasn’t going to do. You’d get me, uh, pail, I told them, and a mop, I stand up mop. I’m not mopping on my knees, and I’m not hanging out a window washing your windows. Now, that’s just the type of person I’ve been, uh, all my life. Sometimes, I think maybe I’m a little bit too outspoken. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Just -- could you say that again?

WILSON: I said sometime I’m -- I think I’m a little too outspoken. But as I -- as I prove, I see, it’s -- you have to love yourself before you can love 51:00anybody else, right?

GEORGE STONEY: You know what I think?


GEORGE STONEY: I think you’re getting too old to apologize.

WILSON: Well, uh -- well, I’m not apologizing. But at that time, I was thinking that I was a little bit too outspoken. But as I grow, I see it’s -- is it what you call wisdom? You have to have the wisdom and the knowledge to understand, to speak out, and God -- Jesus spoke out, didn’t he? He said what he expected. So it says that we are made in his image and likeness, so I always did speak out. And it was just, like, to me, then, I’ve never been, what you say, independent. But it’s just like, I am somebody, and you can take it and leave it. If you don’t want me, then I won’t be here. But I’ve never been far, and I’ve always been loved and respected anywhere I have ever 52:00worked. Even at Burlington. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter) OK.

HELFAND: We’ll walk back?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, no, I’m -- want to get a long shot of this house, with the --

[00:52:17-00:52:27] (gap in audio)

F7: -- takes it outside and down the steps, and then went to the little garage.


F7: Yeah.

WILSON: But this was the front, there?

F7: Yeah. Well, we -- we’re not sure which is the front. We call that the front. (laughter)

WILSON: Well, when I worked here, this --

F7: Yeah, it had, like, three big boxwoods right there. Huge. Huge things.

WILSON: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) I only dr-- used the driveway to come up and around to here.

F7: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And then there was just, like, a big yard --

F7: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- downhill. They kept it clean, you know?

F7: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Down the hill. And the fields back down there, where the pond is and 53:00all that, my father, eh, farmed that.

F7: Uh-huh. Oh, wow.

WILSON: And the ballpark all across the road out there?

F7: Uh-huh.

WILSON: My father farmed that, too. Oh, so --

F7: Yeah, now. When w-- when -- when we moved over here, the, uh -- the ballpark was just, like, an overgrown area.

WILSON: Right. Mm-hmm.

F7: And they went and (inaudible) --

WILSON: They’ve just built that there s-- uh --

F7: It was before the hurricane.


F7: So (laughter) --

GEORGE STONEY: Everything here since to be time from before the hurricane or after the hurricane.

F7: Yeah, it was a pretty monumental event. Uh, we lost many -- many, many trees came down.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

F7: And the trees, so yeah, everything’s pretty much --

WILSON: Will the dog let us go right through here?

F7: Sure. Sure. He’s very old.

GEORGE STONEY: Now -- now they warned us, this --

JAMIE STONEY: How old (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)?

GEORGE STONEY: -- they warned us this is slippery here, so --

F7: It's how quickly he moves.

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, I know. He’s no slouch.

GARDIN: -- ride our bicycles down there. (inaudible) see it now.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, it’s -- uh --

GARDIN: There’s a wasp's nest. See that wasp's nest right there in that pumpkin?

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, now that’s -- let’s see, where would the -- where would the driver -- she said it'd been mossed over.

GARDIN: Oh, there it is over there. I see the concrete over there. Come up here, and let’s go around this way.


F7: My toes is beginning to hurt. (laughter)

GARDIN: Right there. That was the driveway there.


GARDIN: And these things, we’d get on our bicycle. We’d be doing (laughter) pretty much 90 miles an hour by the time we got to the bottom.

JAMIE STONEY: You know what I was thinking, Dad?


JAMIE STONEY: Why don’t I just go through?

GARDIN: You going to go -- you going to try to walk down?


[00:54:44-00:58:37] (gap in audio)









HELFAND: -- saying you worked -- you worked --

GARDIN: My brother-in-law. Yeah, I worked here for ground on the -- on the grounds for 10 cents an hour. And I -- one week, I made $3, and I clutched that money until I got home. I was afraid I was going to lose it. (laughter) Most money I'd had my life. And I was a little boy, you know?

HELFAND: How old were you back then?


GARDIN: Oh, I was 10, 11 years old, something like that.

JAMIE STONEY: What were you saying about the Ford?

GARDIN: Ford? Oh, my brother-in-law had a -- he worked at the mill down there. So he had an old A Model Ford. So it was too weak to pull this hill, come up here, and -- and -- and -- and forward. So he had to back up. There was more power in backwards, so he had to back up the hill to get up here. That’s how steep it was. You can see how steep it was. You all walk down, and --

HELFAND: What did he do for the mill?

GARDIN: Well, he was outside worker, just whatever they wanted him to do. Truck cotton, unload cotton, unload coal, haul coal.

HELFAND: So could -- would it be that if you worked outside as a -- as an outside man out there, you might be responsible to work for them too sometimes?

GARDIN: Sure, sure. Because he owned the mill. You had to do what they -- if he asked you to come up to his house and clear out some shrubbery, uh, do like that, yeah, you have -- that was part of your job. Just like I was telling you, I helped my cousin run the line up to this house, power line to this house, down 60:00in that field down through there. We had to set the pole, you know, Herman, little Herman. We had to climb -- I learned how to climb pole with those gigs, run electricity up into this house. And when I -- when I was working here, this grass was sodded, you know? And, you know, patches, you know? And it hadn’t taken root good whenever I --


GARDIN: -- (inaudible) never did look good while I was working here, because it just hadn’t had time to take root. And so many trees here, there was so much shade there. (inaudible)

HELFAND: Yeah, all three of you were telling me about what Mr. -- Mr. Love owned. You had sort of explained the whole area.

GARDIN: Well, he owned the mill, the village, and the surrounding properties. You know?

WILSON: Even what we lived on. Up there near the church.

HELFAND: What was that?

WILSON: Even that -- what we lived in, was down here at the church.

GARDIN: (inaudible)

WILSON: That’s why he could build him a little -- him a little party house back over in the woods from us. My father was caretaker there, you see?


GEORGE STONEY: A party house?

WILSON: But we never -- yeah, we never --

GARDIN: Yeah. For -- for his friends.

WILSON: We -- we weren’t, uh, never allowed to go in it. My father never would let us go in -- in that place, but we could be around it because my father farmed all around that house. But it was all --

JAMIE STONEY: Didn’t we say -- did your father -- make your father -- make liquor for him?

GARDIN: Homebrew.

WILSON: Oh, I don’t -- I don’t remember anything about that. Now, he said that

GARDIN: Well, he told us about the homebrew.

JAMIE STONEY: You’re the one (inaudible).

GARDIN: [And then Tom?] --

JAMIE STONEY: Was this during Prohibition or not?

GARDIN: Let’s see.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, oh yes, it must have, because Prohibition came in North Carolina m-- uh, before the f-- First World War.

GARDIN: Well, it was -- it was after ’49, when we were -- that was during, uh, 1949, I remember when he bought a brand new ’49 Buick, Mr. Love did. So from there on back down, ’33 -- I was 16 at that time. When he bought that Buick. 62:00I -- then I started driving the school bus, 16.

HELFAND: Shall we walk?


GARDIN: This is almost flat from here, up that way. It wasn’t this [mounded?], much of a mound. You remember his airplane, (inaudible) airplane?

GEORGE STONEY: He had an airplane?

GARDIN: Yes. Loved (inaudible). The landing strip was right up there. He would -- he would be over at our house, and we could see him taking all, you know, landing. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: That must have been one of the first ones around.

GARDIN: Well, that’s -- well, we had an airport over in Gastonia, but at that time, we never did any further than walking to the mill and back.


WILSON: we never did get to Gastonia but once in a while. It was -- it was quite an -- quite a jump for us to get to go to Ranlo.


HELFAND: Look, she took her shoes off. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter)


GARDIN: -- upstairs, the living quarters. The maid, I forget the maid’s name, but I was --

WILSON: (inaudible) (laughter)

GARDIN: I can still see her face now.

WILSON: (inaudible) a lot of straining (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GARDIN: But when I’d be working out here, she would --

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yeah, sure, yes.

GARDIN: -- come to the door. You know, we’d bring her, she’d bring -- asked us to come out.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah sh-- yeah, she’s got, uh --

GARDIN: And we’d sit on the porch there and eat our dinner, you know, if we -- if we here during lunchtime, you know?

GEORGE STONEY: Oh dear, that’s --



JAMIE STONEY: A lot of memories coming back?

GARDIN: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. Yes.

HELFAND: Can we get a wide shot of that, Jamie? (inaudible)


GEORGE STONEY: Aren’t they?


GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. And all of that -- uh, I think that they’ve done a beautiful job here. Yeah.

HELFAND: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. Yeah.

WILSON: (inaudible) this was nothing but woods. There wasn't no road through here. The only --


GEORGE STONEY: The only w-- road was the driveway up, uh-huh.



WILSON: And it looks like people lived up (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. No, no. that’s just -- that’s the nursery.

GARDIN: I want to look at this place here, see if it’s what I think it is.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s a barn. It’s -- uh, it’s probably where they, uh, store their supplies. You know, they use a lot of --

GARDIN: That used to be something like, uh, I don’t know what he used that for, but it was -- it was a s-- it was a dug out place, then he had that concrete building around it. He made a round of homebrew one time, and capped it in bottles. And he capped it too soon. And one night, he was in bed and it started exploding. (laughter) So the next morning, when I came to work, (laughter) he -- he had me take it out of his kitchen, and bring it up here, and sit it in that building, right? That little place right there. (laughter) 65:00That’s the truth. (laughter) I wonder if one of those bottles had exploded in my face when I was carrying that crate out. (laughter) Right in there, is where I said. I walked in that end, walked down, there, and put it down there. Then after about two months, he gave them to me. I took them home and gave them to my brothers, what was -- what didn’t explode.

GEORGE STONEY: Was it any good?

GARDIN: Yeah, it was good homebrew. That’s what they said. (laughter) Sure did. I just saw that form there, and I was, wondered if that's what it was, and that’s what it is. Yes, that’s the old pump house, original pump house, right there. Memories, memories, memories. And I’m almost 69. I was a little child when this was happening. (pause) That big old tree out here, it 66:00was there, one of the original trees. And all those larger ones, they were here. I think it was a few more around in here that probably blown down from Hugo. That barn wasn’t there. None of that was there. Wasn’t any more structures here, nothing but this building here, and that pump house. We'd come over here and pick blackberries down on the creek. There’s plenty of blackberries in there, you know? Picked them some, you know, just sell them.

HELFAND: You picked their blackberries and sell them to them?

GARDIN: Yeah. But I was -- off their property, yeah. (laughter)


JAMIE STONEY: Free enterprise.

GARDIN: Because, see, we -- we farmed off of their land. So, you know, anything that we, that grew wild, I think it was part of ours. And they (inaudible) blackberries they’d want, they’d [stop?] pick a couple gallons, you know, 15 cents a gallon, you know?

HELFAND: So you’re the only -- were you the only black family around here?

GARDIN: Yes. Mm-hmm. Right on this side of -- yeah, the only one. And (inaudible) any other black was either in Ranlo, Lowell, Dallas or Stanley. You know, we was right here, this (inaudible) right by ourselves. Because of the Loves. He couldn’t afford no -- uh, another family, you know, to do the farm. You know, one family was enough, so we the ones that did the farming. And how he got onto the Loves, I don’t know. I never did find out how he was --

HELFAND: How your daddy --


GARDIN: No. I... just reminiscing. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, does someone have my camera?

HELFAND: I do. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, good. (inaudible) Sorry.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, I’m just getting shots here. [So we followed my father’s feet?] doubling your feet all the way up (inaudible) the drive. Eat your heart out, Garrett Brown. (laughter)


HELFAND: So how many years has your family been around here?

GARDIN: I don’t know how many years, because my father told me that he and his brothers walked and worked from Asheville to Stanley, you know? And that’s where they settled, in Stanley. And, uh, I don’t know what year that was.

GEORGE STONEY: You don’t know how they got to Asheville?

GARDIN: Well, uh, I think that was -- see, my father, he was part Indian, so he’s -- he’s originally from there. And how the -- you see, now, we were -- I -- I mean, I heard my grandmother talking -- his mother talking about slavery days. You know, they were Barnetts before we became Gardins. We were Barnetts and were sold to the Gardins. That’s how we got our Gardin name. We were the Barnetts before we were the Gardins.


GEORGE STONEY: So you were sold from the Barnetts to the Gardins?

GARDIN: To the Gardins.

GEORGE STONEY: You know, uh, there were another possibility was that there were a lot of slaves that escaped and would hide out in the -- in -- in the Smokies.

GARDIN: Well, it might have -- that could have been one of the possibilities.

JAMIE STONEY: And, you know, get married to a Cherokee, or --


JAMIE STONEY: -- just take up living.

GARDIN: That’s right. Yeah. Possible. Because my mother, my grandmother, she had Indian-like hair, you know?


HELFAND: So then how did they get from Stanley to Spencer Mountain?

GARDIN: Well, that was just a short distance to walk. You know, if they had any kind of mules or things like that, you know they would -- I guess that’s how he would get from Stanley to Spencer Mountain to work, the mills. Then he built his own house up there, he bought some land from my cousin, and then he built his own home.


HELFAND: Your father did?

GARDIN: Yes, uh-huh.

HELFAND: But the land belonged to --

GARDIN: No, and the land he bought was -- belonged to my cousin. See, I was telling you I had a cousin that had some land on the north part of the church property, and the Loves owned the south side, and my aunt l-- earned -- owned the eastern part of the property right there, where the church [lived?]. So when my father bought two and a half acres from my cousin, he built his home on there. So that’s where the social hall and those houses down there. That one house down there, below the social hall, used to be mine. And I sold it to my sister. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: OK, I think we got it.


HELFAND: Oh, look at them. They look so pretty.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

JAMIE STONEY: We've got deer ticks up North.

M_: I’ve already got shot up for rocky mountain fever.

M_: No, we got Lyme disease (inaudible).


(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

F_: It’s -- it’s not recording me?

HELFAND: Just a little bit. That’s OK.

F_: It is?

HELFAND: Yeah, just a little. OK, we’re going to get Mr. Stoney to say hello.


(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


F8: How are you doing today?

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter) Come on. OK. You want to interview me?

TAMISHA: Uh, what’s your name?

GEORGE STONEY: My name is George Stoney.

F_: Mr. Stoney.

F8: Um, Mr. Stoney.


TAMISHA: Uh, face the camera. This is Mr. --

F_: Mr. Stoney.

TAMISHA: -- Mr. Stoney at -- uh, my name is [Tamisha?], and, uh...

GEORGE STONEY: You are this rival to Barbara Walters. You’ll be the next Barbara Walters, won’t you?


GEORGE STONEY: And, uh, you -- you know, the -- the, uh, newscaster in Charlotte 73:00named Hunt? What’s her first name?

F_: Gant.

GEORGE STONEY: Gant. Gant. Charlotte Gant, is it?

F_: Sonja.

GEORGE STONEY: Sandra. Do you know Sandra Gant?


GEORGE STONEY: Well, maybe you’re going to replace her. You think so?

TAMISHA: I'd like that. OK.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. (laughter) OK.

HELFAND: Have you ever been in -- ask Mr. Stoney if he’s ever -- if he ever worked in a cotton mill?

TAMISHA: Have you ever worked in a cotton mill, Mr. Stoney?

GEORGE STONEY: I have never worked in a cotton mill. And I think I’m lucky. Because all these people tell me how hard it is.

TAMISHA: It is pretty hard.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

F_: It is recording. That little red light’s on.

HELFAND: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. So I’ve never worked in a cotton mill. Have you worked in a cotton mill?

TAMISHA: Oh, no.

GEORGE STONEY: We’re both lucky then, right?

TAMISHA: Hmm, yeah.

M_: Tell him where your mother works.

TAMISHA: My mother works at Freightliner in Mount Holly.

GEORGE STONEY: Freightliner. That’s a g-- that’s a good company, I gather.

HELFAND: Freightliner has a union in Mount Holly, don't they?


TAMISHA: Mm-hmm. Yeah.


HELFAND: Is your mom a member?


(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

WILSON: Our son us. He was the --

GEORGE STONEY: OK, we’d better go.



HELFAND: Thank you.

TAMISHA: You’re welcome.

HELFAND: OK. Now you press this button right here, then it’s off.

(gap in audio)

WILSON: And so my sister-in-law lives up there in that little trailer, and my niece lives out in the other trailer back, and I don’t know the other people here are rented. They’re rented.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. And these trees here?

WILSON: My father planted them. My father planted these pecan trees here. But they weren’t [buried when he died?]. Hello! These are all my people, my niece lives there.

M_: This used to be my house.

GEORGE STONEY: That used to be your house?

HELFAND: Catch up.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


WILSON: My father's house was right in here. But it’s been torn down now. Right in here. Then all the -- his children, all this land here was his -- he, uh, lotted it off for his children. Eh, this -- his was right here in -- and two sisters back there, brother there, brother (inaudible). My house. He bought the land. Over in Smyre. He put me and my husband there, and his -- my husband’s mother -- sent us the down payment on the house. And, uh, I’m still there. That’s been since ’55. [Dorica?] was born then.

GEORGE STONEY: And the church is just --

WILSON: Right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Behind the trees?

WILSON: Yeah. (inaudible) right up this way, you might could see --

HELFAND: So is this where he farmed?

GARDIN: No, no, no. The farm was back here, uh, down there. See?

WILSON: No, we weren’t living here. My father didn’t even -- he bought this 76:00land, and built. Uh, but during the time he was working for the Loves, we lived back behind that old building. See the corner of it from that gray house right there?


WILSON: It’s right behind there, where my father, uh, lived in the Loves’ house. You know, it belongs (inaudible) Sam Love. But this land wasn’t Sam Love’s.


WILSON: Sam Love's land was back in there, and oh, way behind the creek. You can’t describe. You know, I mean, this is (inaudible).

GARDIN: The Roberts place.

WILSON: Come back to where my uncle, my father’s brother.

GEORGE STONEY: Who lives over here?

WILSON: My -- my sister-in-law, my brother’s wife.


WILSON: He’s been dead, what, about three years? My brother’s been dead. And this was my sister Loretta’s house right here.


WILSON: And my sister Corrine house was right down there where that old car is 77:00sitting. And it burned down.

GARDIN: This is the house that the chapel used to be(inaudible), chapel that they, you know, Corrine’s old house.

WILSON: Yeah, the old house right there.


WILSON: That’s what the chapel was (inaudible).

HELFAND: What chapel?

WILSON: Where the black people went to church. We had a -- uh, St. Helen’s was white, all white. And they built us a little chapel way back over yonder, cross creek and all, by way back up in there. But there were only a few, just the Gardins right in here black, right? My father and Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert became converted to Catholics, and my sister Pauline died at ele-- at eleven, was the indication of my father becoming Catholic. Because this was the only people that you could play with. Uncle Robert, you know, two brothers children, to shoot it back and forth. And by her going to the instruction set, 78:00the Catholic Church was teaching my uncle. Uh, Pauline -- her name was Pauline -- Pauline brought literature back to my father in that old house down there. And he became converted to Catholic. He was a -- he was a protestant, a Baptist deacon, at the church at Springfield in -- in, uh, Stanley. And he became Catholic. And so then my Uncle Fred later bec-- and his family became Catholic. And that was all around in here. Then Clara’s sister, and, you know, just [all?], and then all these children. That’s how it spread. My father, the father of 24, Uncle Fred had 12, and he’s got a son that’s 12. I got a -- uh, brother. You had 12 didn’t you? Thirteen? My sister [Arlie?] had 12. And [Luetta?] had how many?


GARDIN: Eleven.

WILSON: Eleven, and --

GARDIN: (inaudible)

WILSON: Corrine had 13, and --

JAMIE STONEY: So you were responsible for the North Carolina baby boom.

WILSON: My father was. (laughter)

HELFAND: Well, that makes a church, doesn’t it?

WILSON: Yeah. And so -- and my mother was [Froneberger?], Uncle Fred’s wife, my broth-- father’s brother was my mother’s niece. She was [Froneberger?]. And then Clara’s sister, which was Froneberger, come into the church. And so we are the -- we -- this family mix, marrying and bringing another one in, they becoming Catholic, and then all (inaudible) just made the whole -- we all blood. We all -- well, I’ll put it this way. We are, uh, united biologically as one family. And we are united in God’s family, as one family. So that’s the 80:00way I see it. We all family.

JAMIE STONEY: It's going to be impossible to get down there.

HELFAND: Well, let’s get as close as we can.

(gap in audio)

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

WILSON: I was saying, this building here, right here. Is, uh, when they integrated, uh, St. Helen’s up here, uh, we were moved from way back over here to just way back over there, in the woods. That’s where the blacks went. They didn’t have enough priests or enough people to have two priests coming right here in the same. So they integrated, right? And they’d brought us from over here and put us with the white up there. And when they did that the white left. That’s how we get the church, right? That’s how we -- they left it, and we stayed, right? And so this building here is the old chapel. 81:00This is the old chapel, what we used to serve the Lord in. I don’t remember serving him, because it was done in 1926, the year I was born, right? But the -- my father and the ones that were -- had turned Catholic worshipped in the chapel that’s made out of this wood. Built my sister house out of the old chapel wood.

GARDIN: [While her husband?] was overseas.

WILSON: He was overseas when that happened. And, uh, right down there in that clear space is where my father and I and Tom and all of us (inaudible) lived. I don’t know you -- I don’t think there’s a way you can get down there. It’s so --

GEORGE STONEY: Get a cutaway to the dogs.

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, I’m just going to get a shot here.

HELFAND: What were you saying about the clearing?


WILSON: That clear looking spot right down in there is where the house sat that we was raised in, and grew up in. Right down in (inaudible). The house has burned down. I mean, been torn down. Do you see any brick? Shh! (dog barks) Hush! You don’t see no chimney? Some of them --

GARDIN: Chimney used to be standing. I think it’s gone now.

WILSON: Mm-hmm. Right in there, where that clear space is. And so my father let my oldest sister have this lot here to put her house. And --

HELFAND: That -- that clearing, that was -- that was the house -- that house was --

WILSON: The Sam Love. The Sam Love house.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) scream and the (inaudible).

WILSON: That’s the house that Sam Love owned, Tom and Sam. There were two brothers. One is named Tom and Sam. They owned that house. That’s where we lived. My father far-- farmed all that (inaudible), all the way back over 83:00across two creeks. And he was in [Hollis?], and he farmed that down there where I showed you, some back down in here, my father farmed that.

GARDIN: (inaudible) where just left from, just right at the bottom of that -- where we left from, over the to the nursery, farmland, went up to that property.

WILSON: (inaudible) out there where -- when we were lighting up, I told him that -- that we farmed that --

GARDIN: I'm talking about the bottom land over here, you know, went all the way up to the Love property, and

GEORGE STONEY: We’ll get that story when we get away from [here?].

(gap in audio)

(dogs barking throughout; dialogue inaudible)


WILSON: -- put a trailer here. Put a trailer here. That was Loretta’s house, my sister Loretta’s house. Somehow she got in trouble with the taxes and she lost it, right? You know, like I said there, that one out there was brother Tom's house. And brother Ed’s house was up here. So there wasn’t more -- any more room for all those children, right? So he bought me a lot, they were selling land in Smyre, and he put my lot over in Smyre, right? Gave me a lot over there. And my husband’s sist-- mother, him being an only child, she sent us $500 to make the down payment on our house. And we paid for it with seven children, uh, $60 a month. (gap in audio) -- [Dorica] was born. Nineteen fifty-five. That’s how long I’ve been there, in that house in Smyre. That 85:00was Ed’s -- my brother Ed’s original little house they put there. My house was (inaudible).

HELFAND: So as we’re walking, could you just, uh, tell me how everybody was related to the mill in some way in terms of a job? Whether it was for a family or working inside?

WILSON: Well, I don’t really know now -- I don’t know, I can’t tell you anything about I heard, uh, uh (inaudible).

HELFAND: I just mean, like, your father or your mother.

WILSON: My mother did not work in the mill. She did -- she, uh, did washing and ironing, right?


WILSON: My father worked in the mill. And, uh, his first job I think was, like, hauling trash, because this used to be the dumpster right in here where they brought the -- dumped it right at the house. (laughter) This was the dump, you know, where my father built, uh --

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)



WILSON: -- where my father built his house was over the trash pile that come from the mill, right? And, uh, I mean, there’s just so much that you can think of, you know, that you could tell about it, but we have survived it all. And, uh, I think -- I think, uh, God has blessed me, because I’m not under a doctor’s care. I need teeth. (laughter) You may have noticed how I try to avoid that, but other than that, I don’t -- I don’t -- I don’t -- I don’t even visit the doctor.

HELFAND: Look at all those kids.

WILSON: That’s just a few of my -- my, uh, father’s grandchildren. And great. That’s just part of 'em. Yeah.

(gap in audio)


WILSON: (inaudible) Uh, I give my father the credit for being what I am today. He was my first teacher. He talked to me all the time as a little girl. He used to tell me stories like this. He said, “Grace, never keep your hands closed like this, to keep from giving out anything. When you do, you’re refusing help to come into you,” right? And, uh, he always told me some -- follow this first voice that you hear. If you stop to think and to do otherwise than what that voice says, you go wrong. Follow the first voice you hear within, you’ll always go right. And I’ve always practiced that. I’ve had some, well, lots of things that happen to me [as a child?] through s-- the 88:00voices speaking to me, right? But I -- I give my father credit. And my mother But my mother was kind of like [Arlie?]. She was the spitting image of her. She was shy, you know, more or less this shy, but she fed us well, she cooked for us. Uh, she dis-- discipline us sometimes with all the children. I remember, I tell people stories about maybe I do something that I had no business. She’d say, “Go get me a hickory.” Maybe she was making bread. I’d go up in the woods, and I’d stay until she forgets it. I thought she’d forget -- would forget it. Maybe the next day, I did something, “Go and get me a hickory.” She was busy, see? I thought she’d forget it. I said, oh, well, that’s all I got to do is just go up there and stay a while, right? But when she was free, “You know, I owe you a whipping for” 89:00(inaudible). And you remembered you thought I forgot the (inaudible). (laughter) But she wasn’t abusing, you know? She’s just -- she was just that -- she didn’t forget, although as a child, I thought I was forgetting -- she was forgetting, right? (laughter) They dis-- they disciplined us well, you know? Taught us love, to love people, to love our neighbors as ourselves and all of that kind of stuff. So is that it?

(gap in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: -- next to our case. A.W. Hinton -- Hinson -- A.W. Hinson, president of the Local 2115 United Textile Workers of America. R.L. Reed, an active member of the union. And C.J. Haas, who was dropped from the company rolls some time before the textile strike began on September the 4th. They came to me and charged discrimination. Since I was waiting here on an appointment 90:00with st-- Mr. Roland Davis, an investigator for the National Textile Labor Relations Board. I looked into the case and found what appears to be discrimination on the part of the company’s secretary, and superintendent, Marshall Dilling.

JAMIE STONEY: What’s the address we’re looking for?

HELFAND: George, what’s the address? It’s on the --

GEORGE STONEY: It’s -- uh, the address is, uh, 310 East Wilkins in Dallas.

HELFAND: So what my -- what my hunch is, that this man’s father was probably as active as Albert Hinson, and we might -- and the guy is 75 years old.


HELFAND: So his father was. So he was no youngster at the time of the strike.


GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. (pause) It’s interesting that he d-- he tells about the background of Mr. Hinson and Mr. Reed, but doesn’t tell the background of, uh, Mis-- oh, here. Mr. Hinson, Reed, and Haas. No, uh, it doesn’t give the background of Mr. Haas. It doesn’t say how long he had been working in the mill before that. Mr. Hinson had been here since, uh, in the mill since, uh, February 1926, and Mr. Reed since March 30, uh, 1931.

JAMIE STONEY: I’m not sure, but I think this is 310. That’s 308.

HELFAND: OK. This is Wilkins?




JAMIE STONEY: That was Wilkins we were on.


JAMIE STONEY: But here’s East Wilkins Street. Is it East Wilkins Boulevard or East Wilkins Street? Here’s the 300 block, we’re in the mill village.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, it just says -- it says “East Wilkins.”


JAMIE STONEY: Right here.


JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: That’s four -- East Wilkins 400 block. Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: That’s somewhere, I think it’s back on the (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, it looks like it. It’s back there, then. Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)


JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) mill village.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. This is the old mill village, all right.

HELFAND: I wonder which one. Well, my --

GEORGE STONEY: This is -- this is not Smyre's, is it? No.

HELFAND: So George, my -- my hunch is that possibly, this man’s family was evicted.



JAMIE STONEY: I think this might be it right here. This is 201, 203, 204.

HELFAND: And we’re looking for 310?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, (inaudible). [Kind of help?].

HELFAND: So we hope he can tell us a little more about Albert Hinson.

GEORGE STONEY: Right. And his father. OK.

(gap in audio)

(The rest of the recording is audio only)

GEORGE STONEY: --erica, R.L. Reed, an active member of the union, and C.J. Haas.

A: Wasn’t no union down there at that time.



A: No -- wasn’t no union, because I -- no, I remember living in there, and there wasn’t no union there at that time. Uh-uh.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Well, what he says --

A: Well, the only time there was a -- any union at all was at the Firestone, when they had that over there. And he was not in no union. No union at Smyre.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, this was in ’34. Not -- you see --

A: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: -- and I talk about ’29 and all of that.

A: I remember all of that. I re-- (audio cuts in and out) named after Marshall Dilling. “My name’s Marshall, Marshall Dilling.” And he was still there at that time we were talking then, and, uh, (audio cuts in and out). But we’d left and come back.


A: So there was no union there.


A: No, and my -- my brother worked there.


A: It wasn’t -- wasn’t no union at Smyre.


HELFAND: Well, it might be that they didn’t get the union in, but the people were trying. Do you know what I -- maybe they didn’t get recognized, but the 95:00people were trying to organize. Could that be?

A: No. No, they in Smyre had a -- a tight hand on everything there. I know we (loud beep) everything -- everything was checked out.


A: And when you moved out, if anything was wrong, you didn’t get your last check until you everything check the house, there’s anything wrong [took it out of your last check?]. Now, there -- there wasn’t no union there.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter) That sounds --

A: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: He’s explaining why there wasn’t a union there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (laughter) Yeah.

A: I know all about Smyre, now. I grew up down there, and --


A: -- my daddy and my brother worked there.


A: Yeah, they worked there for years.


A: That’s the first job my --

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: Huh?

F: And you moved from Smyre up here.

A: Uh-uh, no. No, we moved from Clover up here.

GEORGE STONEY: How long did you live in Smyre's?

A: A good many years.



F: (inaudible) [Carl lived in?] Clover, but I didn’t know y’all lived in Clover.

A: Yeah, we (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

F: I thought y’all moved from Ranlo Smyre (inaudible).

A: Yeah, we moved from Clover up here.

HELFAND: When did you move off the mill village in Smyre's?

A: I don’t know where.

GEORGE STONEY: Y-- you still in -- you just out of school?

F: Were you still in school (inaudible)?

GEORGE STONEY: Were you just -- you were still in school when you were --

A: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I was still in school. I walked from the Smyre mill village to Lowell to go in school. Walked down the railroad track.

HELFAND: That's a long walk.

A: Yeah. Yeah, by the rain, snow, sleet, (inaudible) right down there, (inaudible) school.

HELFAND: How many years did you go to school there?

A: Three years.

GEORGE STONEY: So you -- I believe you’re 75 now?

A: No, I’ll be 75 in February.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, February. Yeah.

HELFAND: You got one year on him.



HELFAND: George is 76.


A: Yeah, I’ll be 75 in February.

GEORGE STONEY: But then you -- you started working the mill while -- when you were how old?

A: Well, I -- I -- I went to work over here. I didn’t -- we were married and all before I ever went to work. I worked for my daddy. My daddy, he was a -- worked for a -- a machinery company in Charlotte: Schwartz. All over North and South Carolina, taking machinery out for 'em -- me and my brothers -- two brothers worked with him there for several years, doing that.

GEORGE STONEY: Then he quit Smyre's, uh... yeah.

A: I guess we moved down there -- I don't really don’t know, we moved down there a good many years. I just don’t remember exactly how many. But we live in two different houses.


GEORGE STONEY: And -- and had you finished school by the time you moved?

A: No. Uh, I think it was my sister went on the school.


A: Sister lived there, her -- (inaudible) lived in -- on down the street from where we lived (inaudible).

HELFAND: So your father and mother left -- moved away from the village, but you stayed down with your sister?

A: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, then we moved up to [piece?] Gastonia over there, (inaudible) house to the mill village, to have the mills [to there?].

GEORGE STONEY: Did you know a fellow named Albert Hinson?

A: I’ve heard of him, but i-- it’s been so long hill?].

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. We’ve got some pictures of him, and we’re trying to trace people who might know him.


A: But I believe there's no -- no such thing as a union down there.


A: Uh, I went to Firestone, I (inaudible) that is. I mean, daddy’d help me over there, I remember that. And that’s back in that time.


HELFAND: That was in 1929. Your father took you over there?

A: Yeah, I can -- I remember that, because I remember right over here, we come over here to Dallas, we lived in -- down there, and come over here, that they had a meeting on, right down here at this railroad track on boxcars.


A: Yeah, and I remember when --

GEORGE STONEY: That’s fascinating.

A: -- Aderholt got killed. Yeah, I remember that, and that woman got killed, and Fi-- that was Firestone. Yeah, I --

HELFAND: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


A: -- I fi-- i-- if it had been in union, I could have -- I’d remembered it, because I --

GEORGE STONEY: Because -- (laughter) sure, that --

HELFAND: What kind of meeting did your daddy take you to?

A: Huh?

HELFAND: What kind of meeting did your daddy take you to?

A: It wasn’t any meeting, they -- they were just having a meeting (gap in audio) where they were at.



HELFAND: And who was talking?

A: I -- I really don’t remember who it was. Some of them from the union over there at, uh, Firestone.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Do you remember another big time, when you were about, uh, 18, I guess. No, you were about 16. In ’34, there was another big attempt, uh, when the whole Gaston-- the whole Gaston County was out for about three weeks, and the National Guard came in again.

A: The National Guard come in when that -- that happened.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, but the National Guard also came in again at -- let me show you some pictures. Do you mind if I show you some pictures? I got some pictures here, it may -- it may help you to remember.

HELFAND: Is that your [daughter?] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Let’s see. Uh, oh. Uh, on September the 3rd of ’34, there was a great big Labor Day parade in Gastonia.

A: Oh yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever go to any of those?

A: No.


A: No, that wasn't -- No union things. They didn’t -- I never had anything to do with no unions, nothing but this -- like that there come down here.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. And see, this is -- this is --

A: -- we went up there after Aderholt got killed, at they sent to (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm, see, that’s a big rally that followed it.

HELFAND: (inaudible) picture with the Ranlo people in it, right?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Uh, here’s -- here’s -- here’s the folks 102:00from Ranlo. So there are just lots of people out there.

A: Yeah. Well, that don’t mean that it was a -- uh, the people from -- I mean, there might have been people from Ranlo wrote that, but that don’t mean it’s Ranlo that then had a union down there. That -- that’s the thing about it, and therefore, the union wasn’t (inaudible) going -- showing [parade?] at Firestone.


A: Now, the only -- the only other union I’ve heard of around here is over, uh --

F: Freightliner.

A: -- Freightliner. That’s the only other place there -- that I -- that they can tell anything about a union, is Firestone is --

HELFAND: Well, you know, sometimes, uh, maybe -- maybe what you’re thinking of is the union that the people voted in and that the company recognized.

A: Well, I -- I -- like I said, I w-- there might have people -- been people down there at Smyre trying to get union, but they -- they -- they wasn’t --

HELFAND: They didn’t get it.

A: -- there wasn’t nobody (inaudible) [talk nowhere] at all. When I was a 103:00young -- [knows what everything?] (inaudible) asked if [they could back going on?] (inaudible) Dilling.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, that’s not -- that’s not -- that’s not something that would have slipped his mind, so --

A: No. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

A: Because I was up there around, close to the mills. We lived, oh, (inaudible) after this road right out there, (inaudible) mill. And we were -- well, the railroad and the mi-- mill was on that side, (inaudible) first house right there, and [behind?]. And, uh, that was all around it and all anyhow, and then Daddy and my brother worked there. Daddy worked there a long time, then brother went to work when he was over there (inaudible). I didn’t want to [go to work?].

HELFAND: Is your brother still living?

A: Yes, yeah.

HELFAND: Yeah? Where does he live?


A: Now, he -- he got too many problems to have anything to do with you. Got a son that, uh, been about six months ago (inaudible).

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: He -- well, he -- they had -- really had to take care of him. He had a brain hemorrhage, but --


A: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) -- brain hemorrhage. They finally got him -- got him home out -- home, but, uh, now the brother and his wife is in bad shape, so he picked up more than he could do. And he would --

HELFAND: Sounds like it.

GEORGE STONEY: Sure sounds like it. Yeah. Mm.

A: Yeah, he got -- he w-- I doubt whether he can remember after being through what he has been through.


HELFAND: Sure. So -- so, this Mr. -- maybe you could show him a picture of Mr. Hinson, George?

GEORGE STONEY: All right. I got -- got a picture here of Hinson, yeah. Here. Yeah. This is -- there he is, at -- uh, he’s making a speech at the -- uh, in front of the Parkdale Mill. Well, this man, you see what he says, is that, uh, 105:00talk about Mr. Hinson -- Mr. Hinson, Reed, and Haas charge that the company has used pressure on them to curb their union activities. Su-- superintendent states --

A: Uh, superintendent was still Marshall Dilling. He -- he was --

GEORGE STONEY: Well, let me --

A: -- he was about that kind of a man. Now, he -- he -- (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Well, here’s what he says about Dilling. See if this matches what you th-- uh, remember. Uh, the superintendent states that it does not discriminate against union men, though he admits some opposition to unionism. He admits his --

A: Well, that -- I knowed Marshall Dilling. I’m named after him. You know, I 106:00was named after him. I -- know him all along, because he stayed there.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmmm. Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Was he a nice guy?

A: Huh?

HELFAND: Was he a nice guy?

A: Yes. Yeah. He was [tricked?]. He wanted to be (inaudible). He was raised -- he was run that way.


A: As long as they -- as long as they have, [as long as he lived, they had him?].

GEORGE STONEY: You a member -- a member of his church?

A: Huh?

GEORGE STONEY: You -- were you a member of his church?

A: He was -- no, he -- he was no [pastor?]. He was just [up there?], superintendent of the mill.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. But he was also superintendent of the ch-- of the Sunday school.

A: Well, he could have been that. That -- that would have been the -- uh, I didn’t go to the -- that church at that time.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, you didn’t g-- you didn’t go to his church. I see.

A: No, I didn’t go to church at all at that time.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Uh-huh.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible) (laughter)

HELFAND: You didn't go to church until you [were made?] to go to church, is that right?

GEORGE STONEY: Because other people have told us that, uh, he was superintendent of the -- of the Sunday school, yeah.

A: No, I wouldn’t know that. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

HELFAND: You know, you might know some of the people that we --

GEORGE STONEY: And that’s what this letter says.

A: I -- I knew him as the man at the mill. He --


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.

A: -- he didn’t -- he -- he never said one word there to me out of the way whatsoever. Now I -- now I wasn't that old or what -- now, [up there around the mill?] and all there.


HELFAND: We interviewed two people that you might know. Rose Slayton? Did you know Rose Slayton? She lives on Smyre's.

A: It’s -- uh, I can’t remember names now back then. Well, I can’t remember names now. Uh, uh -- it’s hard for me now to do -- to remember things like that. Uh, I can remember back then, but, uh, something I could think of that just -- somebody tell me something then, I might not remember two hours from now that the -- it’s like, daughter -- uh, daughter-in-law (inaudible), granddaughter out there bought a dog (inaudible). And then I -- I’ll forget that dog's name and can't think of it, and then all at once, it comes to me. Uh, this -- this -- that way in the last -- (inaudible) well since 108:00I had the heart -- uh, had a [balloon?], and had a heart attack --


A: -- (inaudible) put in just about a year ago.

GEORGE STONEY: Is that working?

A: Huh?

GEORGE STONEY: Is that working?

A: Well, I just really don’t think it is, because it -- they didn’t get it, and just two of them would stop. One, then they got one at 90%, one 80% --


A: -- [clear?], (inaudible).

HELFAND: Why did your parents [leave from Smyre's village?]?

A: Huh?

HELFAND: How come your parents left the Smyre's mill?

A: Well, uh, he went in -- I forget what he was doing, but we moved -- uh, this next mill, though the mill village, mill had shut down. And we moved over there, and I forget what he was doing, them started doing, but he didn’t go back in the mill at all. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

HELFAND: Never did?

A: And he never went back there. So he -- we l-- we lived there for a year or 109:00two, then moved way down on the -- the other end of Clover.

HELFAND: Oh, then you moved to South Carolina?

A: Then mo-- huh?

HELFAND: Then you moved to South Carolina.

A: Yeah, then moved to South Carolina, never moved back up -- up -- up -- back over -- over here again before we moved it down.

HELFAND: Oh. Well, that’s something that they named you after Marshall Dilling, I’ll tell you that.

A: Huh?

HELFAND: I said that’s really something that they named you after Marshall Dilling.

A: I was the first boy, uh, that was born on the --

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, in -- in the Smyre's village?

A: Yeah. (inaudible)


A: First boy born on the -- on the Smyre village. That’s when it was just a vi-- mi-- village way down on the yonder end. It was-- wasn’t all (inaudible) houses up on this, see? And it just down b-- way down below the mill.


A: It was just the one mill there, though, this one mill.


A: Two mills, just one.


HELFAND: Because there was Smyre's and there was Rex, and there was Priscilla, and then there was Ranlo, right?

A: Yeah, but I’m talking about the plants in the mill there.

HELFAND: Just the plant.

A: And i-- it was just one plant.

HELFAND: Just one.

A: So this one -- one up here now, one -- one be up there, and then that (inaudible). That, with three of them now. Just the one, one went back up here, and that -- see, that’s almost joined right there together. Have you been down there

HELFAND: I have been.

A: Well, then -- you -- you seen where the reservoir is there. Well, this mill up here was the one that used to be there. And anything else, then (inaudible) one of the mills over on the other side of the road. Well, then they built them on (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Well, that -- that mill was built, what about ’24, then? Or ’28?

A: I don’t know when it was built.


A: No, I was born in 1918.

GEORGE STONEY: And it was -- was it built --

HELFAND: You’re thinking of the Eagle. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: I’m thinking of the Eagle. Yeah, that’s -- Eagle was in ’24, that’s right. We’ve been talking to a lot of people over at the 111:00Eagle Mill, you see? That ’24.

A: Well, I -- I can’t say anything about no union. I just don’t -- never heard -- heard of it. If it -- even if it was, it was awful quiet, and then -- then -- and then we knew it -- we knew just about everybody down there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, let’s see. The three people he mentions here are, uh --

HELFAND: Ha-- C.J. Haas.



GEORGE STONEY: Reed, yeah.

HELFAND: And A.W. Hinson.

GEORGE STONEY: So those are the three people. Uh, who was Reed, Mr. Reed? Was he a neighbor of yours?

A: Who?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, Mr. Reed. Uh, R.L. Reed.

A: I don’t know any -- any of them. I’ve heard of that one, the first one you just said.


A: But I -- that's the only one (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).


HELFAND: You’ve heard of Albert Hinson.

GEORGE STONEY: Albert Hinson. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm.


A: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve heard of that one, [he had?] --

HELFAND: He had five boys, I think. One of them was named Milford, Milford Hinson.

A: That -- now, that’s the only one I can remember of the -- the name.


A: I can remember his name.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, that’s -- this meeting you went to -- no, well, it wasn’t a meeting, but this -- this thing down at the, uh, Loray. They were up on the boxcars, huh?

A: Uh, we -- we went over (inaudible). We went over there in the night, because --

F: No, that was down here in Dallas, he was talking about being up on the boxcars now.

A: (inaudible) right down here, they -- they had -- they had ma-- they had meetings [that ran?], but the mill didn’t have nothing -- maybe they had one down there, but, uh, it would have been w-- (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) GEORGE STONEY: I see. That was -- it was in Dallas’s too, yeah.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


A: And this -- this right over here, of course, this is where y’all come in on the railroad track --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

A: -- it’s right there, right over to there. And --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. You know, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking 113:00that 1929 thing was only at Loray. Now, we were talking --

A: It wasn’t down there because we come up here to see it. It wasn’t down there, because --


A: -- we’d come down up here and -- and we went up there when the -- Aderholt was killed. Chief Aderholt (inaudible).


HELFAND: Uh-huh.

A: (inaudible) I remember that. Then -- then we went over, a woman, I forget her name, all across the bridge over there, they killed her out there in the field.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

A: I remember -- I remember that, now.

HELFAND: How’d your father feel about those killings?

A: Well, the -- (inaudible) come to see him here. And he -- he was i-- just a big something, (inaudible) hadn't been nothing like that around here nowhere. That -- that -- that union all the way down and all (inaudible), it was just something that everybody wanted to see, i-- but, uh, why, you couldn’t get nowhere near that over there, where Aderholt got killed. And everybody was -- it was just a big thing, and everybody was going -- going to see what was going on.


HELFAND: Were you living around here then?

A: There wasn’t -- wasn’t up at the -- wasn’t up at the mill then, it was -- it was a mile, mile and a half --

F: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: -- away from the mill, and I --


A: -- I know exactly where it happened there.


A: I can go show you right now where Aderholt got killed.

F: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: I can -- I know the street, but I don’t know the -- the name of it, and I -- (inaudible) I know where it’s at. What street is the florist on?

F: That’s not Ga-- Gaston?

A: No, I ain’t talking about the one. I’m talking about the one that goes right up the side of it.

F: You’re talking about the one that goes -- Carolina.

A: Goes (inaudible) goes down, not -- not --

F: Carolina goes up --

A: [Their line?] is the one that goes that way, but I’m talking about the one that crosses it. That right down there is where Aderholt got killed, where the union hall was, is it -- it’s just an old wooden building. It’s not as big as this house, I reckon.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember when the two fellas got stabbed with bayonets 115:00over at, uh, Belmont? By the -- by the -- the National Guardsmen. One of them was killed. That was in ’34.

HELFAND: Do you remember that? So where were you living at this period of time?

F: I guess we was living over on College Street. That's where I (inaudible)

HELFAND: Was that a -- a mill village too?

F: Yeah, it’s right over across the railroad, you go down to the right. Where his dad and mother used to live.

HELFAND: Which mill was that? Also Smyre's?

F: No. Unh-unh. I said, they used to live over here on North College Street.

HELFAND: Uh-huh. But you grew up in a mill village also?

F: Oh yeah.

HELFAND: Which one?

F: Over on College Street.

HELFAND: Uh-huh.

F: Well, dad worked, uh, over here in the -- this [red?] mill that don’t run now.

HELFAND: What was it called back then?

F: They used to live right out there. Used to be the old Monarch.

GEORGE STONEY: Monarch. Ah, yes.

HELFAND: Monarch. Sure.


GEORGE STONEY: Because we’ve got some records of Monarch. Yes, that’s right. Yeah.

HELFAND: Yeah, we’ve been --

A: New South now.


A: They really fixed it up.


A: It was -- it was falling all to pieces, and I don't know (inaudible).

F: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) [retired that?].

A: I don’t know who -- I figured it was --

F: He lived out there in that (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: You thought it was going to be abandoned, eh? He thought it was going to be abandoned --

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: Well, it had been abandoned for a long time --


A: -- all but this one little place back there, some foreigners got a little place in the back side of it. And then the rest of it, and --

F: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) we built this one down here, and my son bought (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

A: But they -- they’re not doing anything either. I -- uh, I kind of believe it belongs to Parkdale.


A: Their -- their trucks when they were taking the -- places for the trucks to back up, the [load they wrote?], their trucks over there (inaudible) Parkdale.

GEORGE STONEY: I see. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

A: Well, and I don’t know what is -- [the thing the name of?] New South.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. But Parkdale’s buying, uh, arou-- a lot of this stuff down there.

A: Yeah, they got lots of mills (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).


HELFAND: That’s great.


F: Uh, we have another son that’s right back here at the back office.

HELFAND: So you’re surrounded by your family, aren’t you?

F: One in back of us and one right there in that house. Got one over on [Stern Highway?] and one over in Cedar Valley.

HELFAND: That’s terrific. So you’re very lucky to have all your children so close to you, aren’t you?

F: Yeah.

HELFAND: Wow. Well, I -- you’re the first person that I think we’ve ever met, and we’ve met a lot of people, came from a lot of mill villages, but we never met anybody who was named for the superintendent. (laughter)

A: Yeah. That -- Marshall Dilling. That’s where I was born at.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you have any -- do you have a picture of yourself with him?

A: No, they didn’t -- back then, they didn’t take pictures 75 years ago. (laughter)

HELFAND: They (inaudible) I bet -- you don’t have a picture of you and your dad?

F: You got a picture of your whole family, where is it at?

A: Yeah, I got -- no, it’s right over there. Yeah, that -- that -- the whole generation.


(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: It’s that -- in that drawer.



A: That’s a -- that’s a whole generation.

HELFAND: Oh, boy. (gasps) Oh, is that beautiful!

GEORGE STONEY: Let me see?

HELFAND: Where was this taken? Photo by Shelly of Gastonia.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

A: I’ll show you my daddy. That there is my daddy.


HELFAND: That’s your da-- are you in this picture?

A: Yeah, (inaudible) and my brother -- brother’s legs right there. No, right. There, that’s me right there. Right there, between my brother’s legs.

GEORGE STONEY: This must have been taken at the --

A: The -- the -- where is it?

HELFAND: Is that a beauty? (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)


A: There is my great-grandpa and my grandmother.

HELFAND: Oh. Now, did all these people work in the mills around here?

A: Well, that was took at Ranlo. We all lived near -- uh, around Ranlo at that time. That’s right beside my grandmother’s house.

GEORGE STONEY: I have never seen one quite like that.

HELFAND: So this is -- so was your --

A: That's the whole family. That’s all of them.


GEORGE STONEY: (whispers) I’ll be darned.

A: And I got one of all the -- my -- my daddy’s family.

GEORGE STONEY: Wow. That’s beautiful. Yeah.

HELFAND: Isn’t that an incredible picture?


HELFAND: That is an incredible photograph.

A: Yeah, that was -- that’s my sister there. She’s dead.


A: That’s my -- one of my sisters. That’s my mother.


A: Mm, that’s my dad right -- right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. And this is your -- your grandfather?

A: Yeah. Great-grandfather.

HELFAND: Great-grandfather.

GEORGE STONEY: Great-grandfather.

A: Grandfather, great-grandfather. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: He looks a bit like my father.

A: He, uh -- he didn’t ha-- have but one eye. And I can remember daddy -- my daddy, uh, me and my brother, you see how big we were there we -- we get out (inaudible) knee-high [box?]. They big-old Nehi [box?]. And my daddy would make homebrew for him. And had a thing to prop it up for him (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. (laughter) Nehis were -- were big drinks. You remember? Yeah. Yeah.

A: Yeah, they were b-- back then, they were big -- big drinks.



HELFAND: Oh, orange Nehi, grape Nehi --

GEORGE STONEY: That’s -- yeah, yeah, yeah. But that’s --

A: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) And he would -- and he would take the -- but the brewing and (inaudible) in the house.


A: And (inaudible) he would put them box, and put -- had a thing, put the [thumpers on there?] with him.


A: And he would -- (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter) He was the only one who got it, eh?


A: Yeah, he -- he was -- I guess it was a -- between a quarter and a half mile to our house, he would come down there, every day.


A: Now, that’s the house at Ranlo, went and saw the -- her house. And most of them dead on there now, though.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

A: There was some of --

HELFAND: And they all mostly worked in the Ranlo Mill villa-- they all mostly worked at Smyre's? Or in -- they lived in the Ranlo area?


A: They were -- they worked in Ranlo, and Rex and in Priscilla. Not at Smy--

HELFAND: So they were all mill workers? Everybody worked in the cotton mill?

A: Yeah. Yeah. A whole company of people. Yep. One uncle lived in Belmont, he was -- they worked in the cotton mill down there.



GEORGE STONEY: Uh, in -- in --

A: And one of them -- the -- (inaudible) pictures on there.

HELFAND: (inaudible) story of him and his -- and Mr. -- about Mr. Dilling.

A: No, his picture ain’t on there. (inaudible) Yeah it is, down there.


A: There -- there -- his picture at the --

HELFAND: That could be George’s son, he’s sitting in the car.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s my son out there. Yeah. Yeah.

F: Oh, it probably is then.

A: Yeah, lately, it don’t --