Heyward M. Doster

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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GEORGE STONEY: I did, yeah, yes.

JAMIE STONEY: I could not believe the machine -- the, the -- was it self doffer?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, that’s it.

JAMIE STONEY: And the guy said, “Watch this.” And he just goes with his knife and cuts the strong. And this little finger comes up, ’cause (inaudible), top automatically traps the thread and this thing goes down, grabs the string, brings it up, and then just ties it. And then comes back down and it starts spinning -- just, you know, spinning it down.

HEYWARD DOSTER: Well, they got them now that don’t tie the, the thread there. They splice them.


DOSTER: And you don’t --

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, they just (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: -- you don’t -- don’t, don’t see the knot.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah. So, you just covered that. Could you say that again?

DOSTER: How does it -- uh, they don’t make knots anymore. They, they splice it. And then -- and then you, you can’t see the knot.


DOSTSER: That -- you got on these new, modern looms -- the air-jet looms -- you’ve got to have perfect yarn if you want to make good cloth.



DOSTER: And, uh, going to the -- that route, this -- the industry now is, is so, um, much improved until machinery that was made 20 years ago is, is obsolete.


DOSTER: And --

JAMIE STONEY: Is any of the machinery American-made anymore?

DOSTER: Not to my knowl-- not, not weaving machinery. In the -- Japanese-, and German-, and Swiss-made machines. And the -- what they call the -- instead of a shuttle going back, carrying the yarn back and forth across, they got the air jets and water jets that, that shoot the yarn across.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, we were talking a little while ago about the computers, and, and you were saying something about the computers and -- but they couldn’t replace...


DOSTER: Well, I said the computers had their places and was well worthwhile, but eventually they -- they’d go back the other way, because I think the computer is, is, is doing away with the connection between the management and the -- and the -- and the employees. The, the computer is -- well, if there’s any mistakes made now, the management says it’s a malfunction of the computer. (laughter) But, uh, the, the human touch is what means more than anything else. Knowing the people and being able to talk with them.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, as I was saying, I come from Winston-Salem. And when I grew up, uh, two thirds of the people in the Reynolds Tobacco Company were, were black. And I could never understand why there were so few blacks in the cotton mills.

DOSTER: Well, I never knew either. Never gave it much thought. But, uh, back 3:00in the early, early days, it was said that there was three classifications of people in Chester. There was, uh, the rich man, the farmers, and the cotton-mill people. Cotton-mill people has come further in their standard of living than any classification of people in the world. Most of them -- 90% of them now, in this area, own their own homes, and well-thought-of. Most, most of them are, are, are good people, and, and, uh, it, it -- just continuously changing. They’re just -- uh, and I say that the textile people has im-- improved more than any classification in the world.

GEORGE STONEY: Now we’ve seen that going around, you see? We meet all these people, and then it -- it’s just amazing to me, because I grew up in Winston-Salem where, to be frank about it, we -- some -- you know, the 4:00lower-middle-class people -- we felt we were kind of better than the cotton-mill people. Was there any such feeling here?

DOSTER: Oh, yeah. And that was -- it was true, because I knew cotton-mill people back in those days to work in the same clothes, same overalls and blue shirt. They work 55 hours a week and go up and stand on the corner of the street on Saturday [at noon?] -- stand around with the same clothes on that they’d worn all week in the mill. But you won’t find that today. People go to them cotton mill this, this day and time -- they’re air-conditioned. They come out with, uh, (inaudible) still standing up, and they feel fresh, and they go home, take a bath, and then go up town -- down around... (laughter) That’s a difference in the classification that the textile people...

GEORGE STONEY: Now, this may be ri-- ridiculous to you, but you were -- you were 5:00a boss [and that?], some of the women have been telling us about the revolution in, uh, uh, clothing there were ro-- allowed to wear in the mills. At -- when they first went in, they’d wear dresses and that -- how long it took them to be -- get so they could wear pants.

DOSTER: Well, there was some of that, to my knowledge, that I’d -- I have heard and seen some of it. But I, I never did take any part in it, (laughter) in passing out the regulations on that. But there, there was some talk of women wearing short shorts on the -- on the job.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) That I haven’t heard about. But these women were t-- saying how, you know, the, the foreman wouldn’t let them wear pants. And then, finally, they all wore pants, and then he couldn’t do anything about it.

DOSTER: Yeah. Uh, that -- but that’s, that’s, that’s probably true, because when women make up their mind on something – they want to do something, there ain’t nothing else to do but let them do it. (laughter)


GEORGE STONEY: Did, uh -- you had a lot of women under you.

DOSTER: Yes, sir. I had probably more women than I did men.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, the thing that, that, amazes me is that, again, the women were doing so much of the work, and yet we’ve found almost no women who were second hands or anything like that.

DOSTER: Well, there don’t grade second hand, this day and time, like they did when, when I come, come along. I got my job because I was a good mechanic. I could fix machines. And I knew the machinery. But now, you don’t have to know the machinery. You got to know your people. The, the difference has, has shifted from machines to people. A supervisor this day and time, if he’s got a good education and got a good sense of humor, he can go in a, a plant and, 7:00and, and run a job, whether he can fix a machine or not. But my experience -- a supervisor had to be able to tell his maintenance man how to fix a machine, and if they couldn’t do it on those instructions, he had to show them. That’s, that’s the reason that the -- that I see the difference in the men and women, ’cause, um, it don’t make no difference whether they’re male or female now. They, they, they can -- they can carry out their orders. They, they, they, uh, got all kinds of training programs. We, we, we never had a training program. If we wanted to, to get a person, uh -- promote a person up from one job to another, we pick out one person that was -- made a good sweeper. We’d promote him to, to [batcher?] hand. And from a batcher hand to a weaver. And from a weaver to a fixer. And, and he had to be that fixer before we’d -- I 8:00-- I’d pass him on to a shift supervisor.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Now, you were in the -- you were still in management, uh, I think when the federal government said that, uh, you had to let blacks come into the mills. Were you still -- were the -- you there when that happened?


GEORGE STONEY: How did -- how did that -- how did you persuade people to accept that?

DOSTER: Well, you never did persuade all of them, because they, they -- they’re, they’re not fully sold on it yet. But, uh, the black people -- they -- they’re, they’re a little, little bit harder to teach, simply because they don’t have that educational background. And a, a person that’s got the education -- they’re easier to teach how to run a -- the job than they are to -- if they haven’t got the education. It was -- I learned the hard 9:00way. I, I had to get, get in, putting my hands in it. So I, I, I went to school, in grammar school, for, for four years. And when I went to work in the mill, I, I went to night school for about seven years.


DOSTER: And I -- four, four more years, I was taking correspondence courses. And I, uh -- I think I ha-- had a well-rounded education that -- as far as a, a high-school graduate, graduate would have -- would have. But, uh, you, you got to have that education in, in a -- and to be able to read instructions. Now, if, if you can read the instructions, it’s a -- it’s a lot of help.

GEORGE STONEY: And, uh -- has it -- was there a lot of resistance among, uh, the whites to having the blacks there, or...?

DOSTER: Well, uh, yeah, the, the -- I’ve had them that -- had the white to tell me that we were partial to the blacks. That the -- that, uh, we was scared the government was gonna come in and, and, uh, overrule us, uh, and was... I, I 10:00had some good blacks when I come out of the mill. Some, some of my, uh, people there that been with me all the time, still resent some of the blacks. But most of them has come -- the, the, the older people resent the blacks more so than the young ones. The young ones come along with them, they’re going to school with them now, and then they -- and they -- it’s not so much different this day and time.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Well, I ask that because, you see, I’d -- I grew up in Winston-Salem, but then I went north.


GEORGE STONEY: And I looked -- I looked at your local paper today, and I see a picture of people going back to school. A black teacher (laughs) -- black and white, uh, all together. And, of course, I knew nothing like that when I was growing up.

DOSTER: Well, this day and time -- well, for instance, back in the ’60s, I was 11:00looking at a picture of the Chester football team. Every one of them was white.


DOSTER: If you looked at it today, you might see three white ones on there.

GEORGE STONEY: I noticed there were more whites on the baseball team. (laughs)

DOSTER: Oh, yeah. Well, uh, there’s some important positions that, that, that -- they, they got to be a little more intelligent. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: I see. Yeah. Uh, let me show you some pictures that we got and, uh, see if there’s -- because it must have been a pretty exciting time even though, uh, you know that, uh, uh, Colonel Springs was gonna be in control. Was there any kind of excitement among your, your fellows in the troops when you got called out that day, and watched those people come into town?

DOSTER: No, no, we, we were -- we were excited (phone rings) riding out there on the fire truck. But, uh, well, uh --

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Just a moment. Just [a moment?]. (phone rings)

F: [in background] Hello? How are you, Will? So my (inaudible) --


DOSTER: Maybe (inaudible) [call for efficient and?] -- in, in our products.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think that anybody’s got pictures of your unit, uh, in, uh, ’34?

DOSTER: Well, just offhanded, I, I’d -- I knew -- I know one boy that -- that’s got it, but he lives in Sumter, South Carolina. And if anybody in Chester’s got it, [Dewey McCann?] -- he was -- he was a private in the National Guard back in the ’30s, but he went on and made 30 years.


DOSTER: And, and then he retired as a lieutenant colonel. So he may have one of the pictures. I’m not sure.


GEORGE STONEY: And did you have a kind of off-- uh, an official historian, you call it?

DOSTER: Uh, not to my knowledge.

GEORGE STONEY: Of course, I keep forgetting, you were only in the guard for 10 years, so...

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: But here’s, here’s --

HELFAND: And he was telling us how excited they were on the trucks, George.


HELFAND: On the fire truck.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, when -- and the phone rang, so...

DOSTER: Yeah, and then s-- he, he asked me if, uh, there was any excitement. I said nothing more than riding out to the Eureka Plant on the fire trucks. And that’s when the, the truckload of people rolled up near the plant and looked at the plant, and says, “Well, she’s running now, but she won’t be running long.”

HELFAND: What was your response?

DOSTER: Uh, well, the company com-- commander had already instructed us not to get in any argument with anybody, and we just -- we just ig-- ignored all those comments the best we could.

HELFAND: What would you have liked to say?


DOSTER: Well... (laughter)

HELFAND: What was -- how did you feel? I mean, do -- you knew some of those folks, I assume.


HELFAND: Had you ever -- uh, what was it like to be confronting people that you knew, and you in a National Guard outfit?

DOSTER: Well, um, some of them knew members of the National Guard by name. And they, they, they talked, talked with them. But, uh, I reckon that’s one of the reasons that we got along as well as we did. That there’s, there’s some of the same class people on the -- in the -- what they called the organization over there -- the union is -- [wasn’t?], uh, uh, working for Springs.

JAMIE STONEY: Did they issue you ammunition for the rifles?

DOSTER: No, never did.

HELFAND: So the rifles weren’t loaded?


HELFAND: Could you ex-- could you tell us that? Because I always thought they were.

DOSTER: Ours was not.

GEORGE STONEY: Just say, “Our rifles were not loaded.”



GEORGE STONEY: Could you -- mind saying just, “Our...” Well, “Our rifles were not loaded”?

DOSTER: Our rifles were not loaded.

HELFAND: Then how could you have protected the mill?

DOSTER: Bayonet. (laughs)

JAMIE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).


HELFAND: Could you ask him that, George, [so we have you on tape?]?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m gonna -- because we want to get that clear, uh, how -- if your rifles weren’t loaded, how could you protect the mill?

DOSTER: Well, um, man power at the gate, and just -- we were on the -- we done everything according to orders. We’d -- and we never were issued any live ammunition.

GEORGE STONEY: So what did you have then?

DOSTER: Just physical strength and bayonet -- man power.

HELFAND: Did you -- after -- did you get any other orders from your superior officers in terms of h-- what to do?


DOSTER: Well, to be honest with you, I can’t remember the exact words. But, uh, they did not want us to have any physical contact with anybody, just to avoid that. So, if anybody wanted to come in the mill, why, we would just stop them and, and send them by the office, not allow them to go in the mill.

HELFAND: One, one other question.


HELFAND: I -- I’m just also wondering, I mean, I’ve heard this term -- protecting jobs -- protecting jobs. And I’m just wondering if you could comment on what people’s emotions were in (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: I don’t know what these politicians mean when they say “protecting jobs.”


HELFAND: I meant -- I meant back then. They said, you know, “We were there to protect our jobs.”

DOSTER: Well, we wanted to keep the mills running. That was our motive. And 17:00most of my contact with people was that we did not need a union to get what we wanted with... The management could come in and talk to the people. The people could go to the management and talk. My people -- they didn’t have to come to me if they didn’t want to. They could -- they could skip me and go to the top boss if they wanted to, and, and talk to them. And then, they -- they’d give them an answer. Close communication with their employees was a key to Springs’s success.

HELFAND: And Springs is still running. How does Springs -- how have -- how -- and over the years, as you became, you know, higher up, how did you deal with the union then, if there was ever any tries?

DOSTER: Well, I don’t know how the top management handled that part of it, but I got enough from grapevine information through the management that, uh, we did 18:00not need a union, and they wasn’t gonna have no union. If they had a union, then the mill would close down.


HELFAND: And they never came in?


GEORGE STONEY: OK, here is -- uh, this is some stuff from, uh -- showing that every place wasn’t as well organized as you were in handling it. This is Greenville, South Carolina. These are some of the pictures that, uh, appeared the papers at the time.


GEORGE STONEY: And this is from, uh, Greenville. And that’s not too far away, so, uh...


DOSTER: No, it -- it’s... Them old uniform looks familiar.

GEORGE STONEY: So this is what people knew the National Guard was doing in other places. See the --


GEORGE STONEY: There were all --

DOSTER: They, they (inaudible) something -- those machine guns had live ammunition over, uh, around Honea Path, in that area, because there was some people shot over there.


DOSTER: But they tried to force their entry into the plant.


DOSTER: But, um, we, we didn’t have anything like that here.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ve been over at Honea Path, uh, some time ago. And we’ve got two eyewitness accounts of what happened over there. Pretty, pretty --

HELFAND: Did you hear about what happened?

DOSTER: I heard about it when it happened.

HELFAND: What did you hear?

DOSTER: That they was -- they was having the, uh -- an incident over at -- where there had been people shot. Said the machine gun was on top of the mill, and, 20:00and the -- and the -- these, these people failed to, to, uh, cooperate with the management. And, and the -- was -- the, uh, guardsman was forced to, to fire on them.

HELFAND: So, uh, you heard that it that it was the guards?

DOSTER: That’s right.

HELFAND: That must have frightened people.


DOSTER: Well, they probably -- they -- the National Guard, when they’re f-- sh-- shooting the, the machine gun, because that was -- that’s what they, they was killed with.

GEORGE STONEY: Hm. Well, uh, let’s see. That’s -- back to your being in the National Guard, we -- the only other guardsman we’ve talked with in this trip was somebody up at Cooleemee, North Carolina. We interviewed him holding the picture of his wife at the time, who he met while he was on duty there. 21:00(laughs) He was out of town, you see? So there was -- there was some talk back and forth.


GEORGE STONEY: Uh, but, uh, there, like here, there was -- there was never any trouble. It’s just that we’re -- we’ve -- of course, a lot of trouble around, uh, Gastonia and Charlotte and, and Greenville. So that’s what we’re getting (inaudible).

DOSTER: Well, uh, up around Firestone they (inaudible) had a little tr-- problem too.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, that’s right, yeah.

HELFAND: Did you -- did all the National Guards ever all get together for a big natio-- you know, meetings with each other, or big maneuvers, or (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

DOSTER: We’ve t-- we’ve talked about it, but there’s not but three of us left --


DOSTER: -- from the original company, uh, then -- when I was in there.

HELFAND: Do they still live in town?

DOSTER: One of them lives in Sumter, and the other one lives here.

GEORGE STONEY: You might get their names.



GEORGE STONEY: Well, they’re -- they were in, in the, the same -- at the -- this same time?



HELFAND: Did they also work in the mill?

DOSTER: No. Uh, one of them worked at the fill-- the one that lives in Sumter, he worked at the filling station. And the other one worked for a gas company.


HELFAND: So -- and what about the whole -- the whole company? How many of -- you know, did a lot of them work at the mill?

DOSTER: Yes. There was -- about 50% of them worked in the mill. We, we only -- we had a small company. This -- Chester Company was a headquarters company. And we had 32 enlisted men and two officers.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, when, when you were c-- the call came, you just went on over to the -- to the guard -- to, to the, uh...

DOSTER: I was -- I was fixing the looms, working, uh, as a maintenance -- the loom fixer. And the superintendent -- at that time, they called them overseers -- he came to me and told me -- he says, “You report to the armory 23:00immediately.” So I went up to the armory and, of course, uh, the company commander was there, and he had us to dress in, in the uniform, and, and took us out on fire-- the fire truck to the Eureka Mill.

GEORGE STONEY: And, uh, you were on duty for...?

DOSTER: Two weeks.

GEORGE STONEY: Two weeks, uh-huh.

DOSTER: We stayed out there at the mill for about a week or 10 days. And one of the Regular Army, uh, captains came by and, uh -- he said it looked like the -- we was being em-- employed by Springs Mills. For us to get out from out there, and sleep at the hotel. That we could come uptown and stay at the hotel, and that it -- the, uh, Regular Army, uh -- I don’t know what he was, but he, he, 24:00he, he come by and he didn’t like the idea of us being [holed?] up in the -- in the -- in the warehouse sleeping on them bunks at the -- out there at the mill. He says, “(inaudible) go uptown and, and, stay at the h-- at the hotel,” and so, we stayed out there a week. And then we stayed up here at the hotel, and organized a group for, for two weeks.

GEORGE STONEY: Now we have some footage -- uh, some film footage of National Guards on duty in, un, Kannapolis. And they had tents. They weren’t staying in any hotel. (laughs)


GEORGE STONEY: But they, of course, were on 24-hour duty at --

DOSTER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- (inaudible).

HELFAND: Were you on 24-hour duty?

DOSTER: Well, some of them was on during -- some -- they, they changed the guard every so often.


DOSTER: They, they -- and they was on, on, uh, two and off four.

HELFAND: Did -- I --


GEORGE STONEY: This, this is pretty soft duty compared to what they had up at Kannapolis. (laughter)


HELFAND: You know, I, I know that, even now, in New York, when boys come to New York and they’re in their, uh, military uniform, they get treated real nice. People give them free meals and all sorts of stuff. They get a lot of respect. The girls think they look real hot, you know? What happened here in town, in terms of the way the community responded to you being in uniform at the time?

DOSTER: Well, there wasn’t much happening, because it was, like I say, them was poor, poor times. There wasn’t any m-- wasn’t any money in circulation.


HELFAND: What about respect, uh, for you being on duty during that time, in the town?

DOSTER: Well, I think that, uh, guardmans [sic], here in Chester, has always been highly respected. Some of the -- some of the best people that there is -- uh, this, this -- um, Colonel McCann -- I just mentioned his name a few minutes ago. He was a young man, and him and his whole family is highly respected. He 26:00-- he’d, he’d been a 30-m-- a 30-year man in the -- in the Army. And after he retired from the Army, he come back, and he was working, and did several different jobs. But, uh -- and he was one of the so-called, uh, self-made men. He, he wasn’t educated to that [extent?]. He was just a high-school graduate. But when he went off -- went off to -- into the Army, and he was smart enough to come out of there as a lieutenant colonel.


HELFAND: [It was the?] (inaudible).



JAMIE STONEY: Question. Did they have any Miss Springmaid contests here in town?

DOSTER: Uh, had quite a few of them. Uh, but not, not here in, in town. They got a, a park down on the river, down near Great Falls, where they formerly had 27:00those Springmaid contests.

JAMIE STONEY: I just read, read [his?] book, and I just thought it was sort of interesting. We hadn’t seen that from any other (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: But, now, uh, they have, uh, a get-together. They don’t -- well, they don’t call it a contest, but they have a -- what they call a 25 Year Club. Anybody that worked the company 25 years, why, they’re getting a free trip up to Carowinds next month. And Springs, um, just contracted Carowinds. There won’t be nobody there but Springs employees that day. And, of course, uh, my, uh -- my experience as a 50-year employee, I go to the 25 Year Club meeting, and also the 50 Year Club meeting.


JAMIE STONEY: Do you get to go to Carowinds twice?

DOSTER: No, it’s -- it all happened in the same day. We have a s-- we, we 28:00have a separate meeting for about, uh, maybe an hour, an hour and a half -- 50 Year Club. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: What about this, uh -- the building down in Myrtle Beach?

DOSTER: Well, that’s s-- it’s so many of them down there. They got a s-- a, a, a new building down there. It’s six stories high, (inaudible) have an oceanfront, uh, condominium, I reckon you’d call it. But all kind of, um, meeting space for people -- clubs and organizations to, to come and have, uh, all their conferences and things of that nature. And they got one of the best cafeterias there is in, in the country down there.

HELFAND: (whispering) I just want to ask him about moving in the mill village.

DOSTER: Uh, I belong to a -- what they call, uh, the senior citizens’, uh, 29:00Golden Age Club. And we go down there every spring for a week, and for a very reasonable price. Uh, before Mr. [Close] died, uh, [they?] started going down there. And when they asked Mr. Close how much his -- how much they was gonna charge these, these senior citizens for those rooms down there, he says, “Charge them enough to pay for the use of the linen.” (laughter) So, they still go down there now, at a real reduced rate.


HELFAND: Did y’all (inaudible) --



DOSTER: We had, uh, 300 people from, from Chester, and, and approximately the same number from Fort Mill, be down there at the same time, in the -- in the spring of the year.

GEORGE STONEY: Hm. So the connection between here and Fort Mills [sic] is pretty close?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, back in the ’30s, uh, was the headquarters still at Fort Mills [sic], or was it here?


DOSTER: In the -- in the ’30s?


DOSTER: They had an, an office here, uh, but the management still attended meetings at the colonel’s office in, in, uh, Fort Mill.

GEORGE STONEY: And, and the colonel’s office was -- it was in Fort Mills [sic]?


GEORGE STONEY: Uh, I’ve always associated it with the Fort Mills [sic] and I had -- not with Chester, the -- because I didn’t, you know --


GEORGE STONEY: -- connect up who owned the factories here. OK, Judy?

HELFAND: Yeah, yeah. Um, could I -- yeah. You know, I’ve heard that a lot -- I -- I’ve heard stories that a lot of women, when they were widowed, moved to the village with their children. And I’m won-- no one’s really ever told me about that, you know, moving in with their mother because they lost they dad, and everyone going into work.

DOSTER: Well, my family is one of those.

HELFAND: Tell me about it.

DOSTER: In 1918, my father died. My mother was left with six children, uh, two 31:00girls and four boys. And my, my father was a happy-go-lucky type of person. He’d buy anything that he could get on credit. (laughter) And he was very much in debt when he died.


DOSTER: And, uh, livestock people took everything my mother had except one old cow and a few chickens. We lived in the country. And my mother, her parents lived with her brother down below Winnsboro. And her brother talked her into coming down there, and taking care of their p-- parents. And we went down there, and [by the?] time we stayed there six months, my mother had spent what 32:00little bit of money she had. Then she and her brother didn’t get along. He wanted her to put the children in an orphanage. And she didn’t do it. She wrote letters to two of my father’s brothers. And they come six miles below Winnsboro and moved us back to Chester and got her a job in the mill over here. And she’d never been in a mill before. That was 1919. And when we come back, she went to work in the mill, learned to weave. And about ’23 or ’24, the mills started to curtailing (inaudible). During that time, my mother had to go 33:00to the hospital on two different occasions, and she didn’t have any money. And the people of the mill passed an envelope around. Everybody put their name on the envelope and donated a [dime?]. About the biggest [then?] donation was, was a quarter. And when she died, she had that record in her trunk, with the people that donated so much to help. At Christmastime, the mill company would fill up baskets of fruits and candies, and deliver it to a, a widow family. And that was our --uh, extent of our Christmas.



DOSTER: But she didn’t -- she didn’t work about eight years -- in 1926 -- uh, uh, that (inaudible) seven years. She, uh -- the mill just, just closed down. And when they started back up a year or two later to run out the stock, why, she never did go back to work. That’s, that’s during my, my time. I was working then.

GEORGE STONEY: So you then were pretty much the, the breadwinner?

DOSTER: At one time, yes, sir.


DOSTER: That, uh -- that, then, $3.50 a week National Guard money was coming in real good too.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Yeah.

HELFAND: So, in the -- when that picture was taken, and you all went to work, you were helping to support your family?

GEORGE STONEY: No, no, not when this picture taken.

DOSTER: Not, not that picture there.

GEORGE STONEY: You see, this is earlier.

HELFAND: But you’re working here then?


DOSTER: No, uh-uh.

GEORGE STONEY: No, no, absolutely not.

HELFAND: Oh, you’re not working then.

DOSTER: Uh-uh,


GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) No, he’s -- he couldn’t get in them, uh, till he’s 14. No, this is just...

HELFAND: So, at one time though, since there were so many children in your house, I imagine there was the idea that all of those children would be able to go work in the mill at some point?

DOSTER: Well, uh, one, one, one of my sisters passed away, uh, there, shortly after we moved on the mill village. And then, my other sister, she was older than I was. She, she went to work in the mill. Worked in the mill for years. And she just passed away here this year, that sister. But all the rest of us worked in the mill, pretty much all the time, with the exception of, uh, the one that got to be a [magistrate?]. He a -- he’s in a veterans’ hospital now.

HELFAND: Having sisters in the mill, I -- we heard some things recently. Some women told us that sometimes in order to get ahead in the mill, or they, they, 36:00they didn’t do -- it didn’t happen to them, but they heard, well, sometimes if you got ahead, your boss man might (laughs) touch your shoulder or pinch you or something. And you really couldn’t do anything about it. And it was tough on the girls.

DOSTER: Well, that was one, um, Mr. [Joe Sanders?]’s policies, that he wasn’t gonna have any of that. And then -- and then I don’t remember it ever happening. It probably happened, but I don’t remember anything about it.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s what you mean by strict, uh -- strict management?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.


JAMIE STONEY: Did that come down from the colonel?

DOSTER: No. It may have, but Mr. Sanders carried it out.


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, see, the picture he’s giving us of Mr. Sanders -- he didn’t need to be told by the people up above.

JAMIE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah. Now, J-- Jamie, how should we handle this? I want to get these different objects he’s made or saved from --

JAMIE STONEY: I’ve already got --

HELFAND: He didn’t make it, but he t-- but it was a gift.

JAMIE STONEY: I’ve already got --

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible) -- OK, oh, a gift. I see.

HELFAND: You know -- well, yeah, you know what, here you are telling us --


HELFAND: -- that they don’t need bobbins anymore and stuff. What do you do with an old bobbin? (laughter)

DOSTER: Well, uh, some of them are put in -- well, you see there, up there, that old candleholder there.


DOSTER: That -- that’s a bobbin, in that shuttle. And I’ve got quite a few. I -- I’ve got a loom in my storage room out there (inaudible). Uh, I run there and made cloth on it since I retired. But, uh, got to the place to where, uh, the electric -- electrical, uh, service got so expensive until I, I just had to -- like, they charged me, I think, $9 a month if I never turned the motor on. 38:00(laughter) So, I just had to have that electrical service discontinued. And I’ve been, uh, attempting, and tried to, to give that loom away. You don’t know anybody interested in it?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, we may. Uh, Jamie?


GEORGE STONEY: What I’d like to do is to break here, and maybe --

HELFAND: Can he tell us about the lamp, though, before we break?

JAMIE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

HELFAND: He can tell us.

GEORGE STONEY: Maybe, maybe you could show us, uh -- show us that loom and what else you’ve got in your store room.

DOSTER: Well, it’s (inaudible) much of a junk pile.


DOSTER: I’m a little ashamed of it, but if --

GEORGE STONEY: Well -- well.

JAMIE STONEY: Well, one, one man’s junk is another man’s jewels.


HELFAND: Just two -- (inaudible) two other things, really.


HELFAND: Now, that was a gift when, I think, you retired. Is that right?

DOSTER: That’s right.

HELFAND: Can you tell us -- start with that sentence, and tell me about that lamp.

DOSTER: Well, that’s made by one of the employees of, uh, Steel Heddle Manufacturing Company, and that’s -- was a salesman that, uh, gave -- presented me with that when I retired. That was not from Springs.


HELFAND: And that -- your wife was boasting before. She said that you were you on the city council after you retired.

DOSTER: For 12 years.

HELFAND: Can you repeat what I -- uh, include what I said, and tell me about being in the city council after you retired?

DOSTER: Well, well, I just had some personal, uh, differences with the city, with the mayor -- is the reason I got (inaudible). And I disc--


DOSTER: My time expired. I just had some personal differences that I didn’t --


DOSTER: -- didn’t care to --


HELFAND: OK, no problem.

GEORGE STONEY: No, no problem. (laughs) No problem at all.

JAMIE STONEY: But, but you do believe in civic service?


JAMIE STONEY: You do believe in civic service, you know, public duty.

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

JAMIE STONEY: And you were -- you were, uh, with the (inaudible) Sunday school as well, at your church?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, Jamie. Let’s break this and --

JAMIE STONEY: Let me get --


DOSTER: Uh, that’s the governor.

JAMIE STONEY: Oh, yes. So, you were active in politics, huh?


DOSTER: Well, not too much. I just -- sometime it’s forced on me. There’s one of his early advertisements.

GEORGE STONEY: This is a --

JAMIE STONEY: He’s a handsome devil, isn’t he?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, oh, yes.

JAMIE STONEY: Oh, a book written by -- about a mill owner that wasn’t done by, uh --


JAMIE STONEY: -- the fellow me met the other day.


GEORGE STONEY: Well, the University of North Carolina Press. This is one of the -- remember those advertisements we got from, uh --


GEORGE STONEY: That we -- the Charlotte Observer had all of these in its, uh --


GEORGE STONEY: -- in its archives. Thank you.


GEORGE STONEY: Or let’s look in his -- just a moment, ’cause if, uh, there are photographs in here. Now just a moment. Let me take this. I, I, I may be wrong. This -- I’m sure this is all too-early stuff. Yeah, yeah. This is... Yeah. We don’t need... No, this is all just about the Springs, uh... Mm-hmm. Yeah. Judy?


GEORGE STONEY: You can take my pen and make a note of this. Uh, there is -- 42:00there are a couple of pictures here that, if we [would?] get back to the originals, might be good for us, but I don’t know that we can do that.



HELFAND: Wait, wait. He’s finding some [more?].


JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible).

HELFAND: (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yes, th--

HELFAND: Did they give that to you, sir? Was that a present to you?

DOSTER: Yes, ma’am.


HELFAND: Tell us about that. George, maybe he could give it to you, and he could tell us when --


HELFAND: -- he got it?


DOSTER: This book?


DOSTER: Well, um, I’ve just -- I, I think they gave them to all 50 Year Club members. I wo-- anybody worked for them 50 years, they gave them a book.

GEORGE STONEY: And this...

HELFAND: It looks like they signed it for you.



GEORGE STONEY: Some other thing. Yeah, this would...


HELFAND: Look at that.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, this would be very good to get. Let’s see. We should make a note of this, too.

HELFAND: OK. I will do all of that.


HELFAND: Um, but you know what? Mr. Doster keeps on looking in there like he’s gonna find something.


HELFAND: So why don’t we focus on that?


HELFAND: Thank you.


DOSTER: [And this?]...

JAMIE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: I, I, I don’t know where my book is, [where?] -- Clothes Make the Man. But, uh...

GEORGE STONEY: As I say, I, I found a copy of that.

DOSTER: This one here?

GEORGE STONEY: No, a Clothes Make the Man.

DOSTER: You got one of those?

GEORGE STONEY: I got one of those. But I haven’t, uh -- this is the first time I’ve had either of these in my hands.

DOSTER: Uh, [you got probably?] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Elliott also wr-- uh, wrote some -- wrote some short stories and novels, I believe. I know he wrote some short stories.


DOSTER: Yeah, he s-- he... That’s my two daughters.

GEORGE STONEY: Aw, nice looking. I...

JAMIE STONEY: I see good looks run in the family. (laughter)



HELFAND: -- George, ask him about that picture, and maybe he could take it out and then that might be a nice way to...


JAMIE STONEY: Not (inaudible)?

DOSTER: (inaudible).

HELFAND: (inaudible) all those pictures.


DOSTER: I used -- at one time, I was a -- I was a -- had racing pigeons for a hobby, is where them s-- trophies come from.

HELFAND: And, you, you keep that picture of, uh, you and your brothers in there?

DOSTER: Oh, I just stick it in there. I, I just got that the other day.


DOSTER: I [hadn’t] had that too long.


HELFAND: Was that just published recently? No.


DOSTER: Well, I know, uh, this, um -- this man up here, the undertaker I was telling you about. He, he got that out of the, the, the paper and, and, and put that together.

HELFAND: [Wow?].

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, racing pigeons is not a common hobby around here, is it?

DOSTER: Not now, it’s not. It got too expensive.


DOSTER: Back, uh, in the, well, ’30s and ’40s, where you could ship, uh, a racing pigeon -- a crate of them to, to Atlanta, and have them turn them loose, [it’d cost?] each member of the club about $3. It got to where it cost them about 12, [when I would have?] had to quit.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Yeah.

DOSTER: He’s originally -- her husband is originally from Plains, Georgia. You ever hear about Plains?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. We had a president from -- came from there, I believe. (laughter) That’s right.

DOSTER: Yeah, so, that, that loom -- it’s in real good mechanical shape.



DOSTER: But it’s just old and what -- the way I got it, uh, Springs Mill donated that loom to the Chester High School for the vocational school. And then, when they built a new school, they done away with all the antiques and had to have new machinery. So I just got one of the antiques.


DOSTER: So... I just (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see if we can get this up here, get a little view of it. Oh, yeah. Well, we have motion-picture footage of a loom very much like this in operations.


HELFAND: Which room was this in?

DOSTER: Ma’am?

HELFAND: George, ask him.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, um, uh, this was in, in your, uh, section of the...?

DOSTER: No, sir. This mill come out of the Baldwin Mill. And they remodeled it, and worked it over, and gave it to the high school.


DOSTER: And the high school -- when they built a new sch-- vocational school, they wanted more modern and up-to-date equipment, and Springs donated new equipment.


DOSTER: But they didn’t have any use for the old equipment, so I, I got this loom from the high school.

GEORGE STONEY: Are they still teaching, uh, textiles in the high school here?

DOSTER: In the, uh, vocational part of it.

GEORGE STONEY: They still are?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. Well, that’s interesting.

HELFAND: T-- tell me about the -- OK, the people that might have worked on this.

DOSTER: Well, you’re looking at the master of maintenance. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: Let me slide around (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) face.


HELFAND: OK, wait, want to hear about that. Be careful of the, uh, thing there.

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, I got it.

DOSTER: I, I can put the --

HELFAND: OK, wait.

DOSTER: -- put that machine --

[break in video]

DOSTER: -- of maintenance.

HELFAND: Just t-- tell me that again. “You are looking at...”

DOSTER: The master of maintenance.

HELFAND: No, use my word-- you said -- you t-- to start with, “You are looking at...” I’m quoting you.

DOSTER: Yeah. You are looking at the master of maintenance.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) For this...?

DOSTER: Of -- for this machinery.

HELFAND: What do you mean by that?

DOSTER: I can put it together with my eyes shut.

JAMIE STONEY: Wow. (laughs)

HELFAND: Come on.

DOSTER: That’s right. From the feel of it.


JAMIE STONEY: How many years did you work on looms like this?

DOSTER: I worked for Springs for 50 year. And I retired in ’74. And then I worked as a consultant for ABCO Chemical Company for 17 years. And just 49:00recently retired from ABCO Chemical Company.

HELFAND: (whispering) Could you wait?


HELFAND: I hear you though.

JAMIE STONEY: Oh, don’t worry about it.

HELFAND: This is -- could -- tell me about the -- I -- like I said, tell me about the people that, that worked on here. I mean, women must have worked on here, right?

DOSTER: Yeah, they worked on there. They, they -- as far as running the machine, but all they had to do was plug in those bobbins over there. That, that -- that’s an automatic change. It, it put the bobbins in there when that would run out. And repair any yarn breakage in -- on the -- on the warp yarn, was, was the operator’s job.

JAMIE STONEY: What model loom is this?

DOSTER: That loom is, um, probably a 1918 model. It, it -- it’s got some m-- uh, modern -- uh, more modern, uh attachments have been put on it s-- since that 50:00time. Back in the early days of that loom there, they were driving with a belt from a shaft over here. It come down to, to pull, pull on a pulley here. But they chained that pulley there to a gear, and then mounted a motor on that, uh, to, to, to drive it -- each individual.

JAMIE STONEY: And what, what kind of output could you get?

DOSTER: Well, uh, in, uh, what respect? The cloth, you mean, uh...?


DOSTER: Well, um, depends on the speed you run it. You could run that loom there f-- anywhere from 160 picks per minute to 190 -- somewhere in that range. 51:00And depend on, uh, how many picks you want to put per inch in your -- in your product. What I mean by “picks” is the number of the times that shuttle (inaudible) across there and carry that yarn back and forth, go over there, as one pick backs another pick. Well, that -- that’s laying a thread in there each time it goes across there.

GEORGE STONEY: And can you speed the -- you -- then you could set the speed of the machinery, right?

DOSTER: Yes, sir. All you had to do was take this guard off here and change that motor pinion on that motor there. And can -- you increase your n-- the size of your gear there. You go from a 17 to, to a 18. You increase your, your speed by a-- about 12 picks per minute.


GEORGE STONEY: Now, some of the people used to talk about the, the stretch out, complaining that they were getting -- they were being, uh -- they were adding work. What did they mean by “the stretch out”?


DOSTER: Well, every time you change -- in the weave room, every time you change a, a style of goods, you more or less got to change the number of machines a person operates. If you’ve -- if you got on a, a tough weave -- one that’s -- is -- that’s -- you have a good many [stops], they can’t run but just a few looms. But if you got on one that seldom ever stops, they can run a hundred. So they run anywhere from 10 looms to 120 looms, g-- but those -- they on a light. When they on a light weave, and they -- and they run good, and, and they don’t have many stops is -- that’s what they call a stretch out. Some, some people l-- for instance, a gentleman went down to South America to, to, to, to instruct, uh, some weavers and [tying?]-machine operators down there in the textile industry. And he, he stayed down there for four years and come back, 53:00and I talked with him. He said his experience down there was, he taught tying-machine operators how to run a tying machine. Well, he says, ordinarily, a man cannot run but one tying machine. At the most, he can run two. But when they taught weavers how to operate a loom, they’re supposed to, say, run 24. Well, when they got one started up, they didn’t want to start up no more. They wanted to say right there with that one and watch that run -- one run. (laughter) So they didn’t want to leave that one. That’s what they called the stretch-out system, going -- increasing the job load when you had to run more machines.


JAMIE STONEY: If it changed the gear that you were talking about -- that’s speeding up then, right?

DOSTER: Yes, sir. You can do that by -- in-- increase the speed of it, or you can decrease it, de-- determining the quality you want, and the, uh, way it 54:00runs. Sometimes the increased speed make it, uh, increased problems as far as your weaving is concerned. But you could, uh, decrease it and then g-- and get better efficiency out of it.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now, when you first started working in the mills, uh, the work was pretty casual almost. It was not anything like as hard as it got to be, and regular as it got to be later on, I presume?

DOSTER: Well, I, I can’t say that. I’ve been all along -- now, I’ve been through a lot of things that I didn’t know I was doing. But it depends on what a man knows, as to how to take advantage of a job. If he’s well experienced, why, in fact, it had been as -- I’ve heard that s-- just what you said -- uh, being overloaded on the jobs. But people that complained about being overloaded really didn’t know what they were doing. A man that 55:00doesn’t know what he’s doing has a problem. If he knows what he’s doing, he can do -- get it done, and move on to something, and get something else done. Now that’s, that’s the problem with the -- what they called the stretch-out system. Ninety percent of the people talk about the stretch-out system, they’re really not overloaded, but there’s too much difference in people. You find one, one weaver can run 50 looms, and you find another one that can’t run 30 looms. But, uh, just the qualification of the people.

GEORGE STONEY: Most of your people were on production, weren’t they?

DOSTER: Yes, sir. They got a-- have a -- have a, a pick counter on the -- on the machines.

GEORGE STONEY: Have you ever heard of a -- something called the [BEDO?] system?

DOSTER: I don’t believe I have.


JAMIE STONEY: Also called --

GEORGE STONEY: It was just one of the efficiency systems that, uh, we’ve read about. And I just wondered if you’d --


JAMIE STONEY: What about the Taylor System?


HELFAND: They were talking about, you know, a minute man, or a clock man, or an IE -- you know, the guy that walked around with that stopwatch.

DOSTER: I’ve heard a lot -- I’ve heard a lot of that. But I run my job, when the IE man come around and see me, and offering suggestions, I run -- you 56:00-- the best way to get away from them kind of people is run the very best job you can. And when they come around to see you, why, don’t spend too much time with them. Springs had them to come into see what I was doing, and go up to Fort Mill, and, and the IE man didn’t, didn’t know that much about it. He’d go up there and, and decide to put what I -- compare what I was doing and what they was doing up there. And it -- and it just don’t work.

GEORGE STONEY: So the, the cl-- the, the stopwatch didn’t tell everything?

DOSTER: That’s right. It didn’t tell everything.


JAMIE STONEY: We had a couple of people tell us that they were able to fix the clock on their looms.

DOSTER: Well --

GEORGE STONEY: (whispering) I know.

DOSTER: -- I’ve had them to, to, to, to fix the clock -- to run the clock (inaudible). There’s -- uh, uh, that one don’t have a clock on it, but the -- all of them that we, we read the clocks every time a shift changes over -- uh, at the -- at, uh, my department. But there -- there’s a -- there’s a 57:00wing nut on the clock where you run it back. You could stand there with what -- a, a, a [quill?] like that out and -- quill (inaudible). When that -- when that clock started to register one count, you could take that quill and hit that wing nut, and it might spin it ten counts. That was one way to [run it up?].


DOSTER: And of course, other people, they get underneath and, and disconnect the connections on there, and take the hand and spin the little [rod?] that way and run it up. (laughter)

HELFAND: Well, I’ll tell you, a lot of the letters that I’ve been finding in the archives have to actually deal with the stretch out, because when they put that National Recovery Act in, people went on 8 hours. When they went on 8 hours and they weren’t working 11 and a half anymore, according to these letters that people wrote from all over North and South Carolina and Georgia, that they had a -- in the same amount of time -- I mean, in less -- in, in 8 hours they had to do the same amount of work that they had done in 11 --

DOSTER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- and a half hours because they got this -- you know --



HELFAND: -- 25 cents an hour.

DOSTER: Well, as I say, um, most of those people that complained about the -- being overloaded, I never saw anybody was -- I seen people with more than they could do, but that was because they didn’t know how. In recent years, people get a whole lot more training than what they used to get. The old method was, when the -- when I first went in supervision, I’d get a new employee and was gonna train him to run a job, I’d take him in and I’d say, “You see that fellow down at the lower end of the mill down there? You go down there and stay with him today.” That’s about the extent of my instructions for several days. And then, I put the man wherever I needed him, somewhere else. But now you, you got to go off and sit down in a room, and study books, and read s-- you got to break the job down in so-called step-by-step, and see that the trainee masters each step before he’s -- goes to the next one.



DOSTER: So, uh, the, the method of instruction has, has changed tremendously.



GEORGE STONEY: Uh, the -- I noticed your picture up there.

HELFAND: Can we -- is it possible --

DOSTER: That’s the one that I was talking about.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, mm-hmm.

DOSTER: That long one.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.

DOSTER: I don’t know. You can’t tell nothing about that, I don’t think,.

GEORGE STONEY: No, we will -- we’ll -- when you come back, I think.

HELFAND: I, I have an idea, though.




HELFAND: Would it be po--

GEORGE STONEY: That’s fine. He’s getting the cutaways (inaudible). (whispering) (inaudible). When is our next (inaudible)?

HELFAND: (whispering) (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: (whispering) (inaudible).

HELFAND: (whispering) But it’s gonna take us some time to get there.

GEORGE STONEY: (whispering) So I think (inaudible).

DOSTER: I (inaudible) keeping junk. Look in here, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

JAMIE STONEY: Show you a picture of my junk room.

GEORGE STONEY: (whispering) (inaudible).


[rustling noises]

DOSTER: I got some old payroll somewhere, getting ten cents an hour. Back before my time. Let’s see. [rustling] Let’s see.



GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, this is, uh, March the 17th, 1930. Spinning room. The overseer made $40, and you weren’t the overseer then. (laughs)

DOSTER: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, section man made, uh, 19.25. The oiler and bender made 11.55. A sweeper made 9.90. You were -- you were the sweeper, weren’t you, at first? In 1930 you weren’t, no. What --

DOSTER: No, I -- my first job was truck driver.

GEORGE STONEY: What were you in, in 1930?

DOSTER: Well, I was the little -- a l-- weaver.

GEORGE STONEY: Weaver, uh-huh. It just has the creeler.

DOSTER: Well, now, that’s not the -- I, I -- that’s, that’s the spinning department (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, oh, here’s a -- uh, spinning, you get --- made 22 cents per 62:00side, yeah. Uh-huh...

HELFAND: Where did he get all this (inaudible)?


DOSTER: This was back during the ’40s in the Army.


DOSTER: Army, Navy, (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, the -- oh, yes, when they were selling bo-- war bonds, yeah.

DOSTER: Yeah, yeah. That’s...



DOSTER: Some of the same thing.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. So the Springs people have always been kind of showmen?

DOSTER: There’s the man I was talking about, Mr. Joe Sanders. This was the 63:00mayor of the town.

GEORGE STONEY: Was this town bigger then than it is now?

DOSTER: No, just -- far as the city limits are concerned, it’s still the same thing.

GEORGE STONEY: What about population?

DOSTER: Well, the -- inside the city limits hasn’t changed much. It’s...


DOSTER: I don’t know whether there’s anything in here. There’s one of his advertisements.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-uh. I recognize that. These are all World War II, yeah.


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, it’s...

HELFAND: Did they give you this book?

DOSTER: Oh, I accumulated --

GEORGE STONEY: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: That’s him (inaudible) presenting something -- the colonel is, is 64:00presenting that to s-- some of the employee.


DOSTER: Colonel Springs, and did you ever of [John Reid King?]?

GEORGE STONEY: No, I don’t know him.

DOSTER: That’s one of the Springmaid beauty contestants. I thought I had s-- some more...

GEORGE STONEY: Forty-three?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.


GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

DOSTER: Here’s... Uh, I don’t think there’s anything in there that would be too --


DOSTER: -- much of interest.


DOSTER: Old paper clippings.


DOSTER: But --

GEORGE STONEY: You want to point out the other things around here that you’ve got, that connect with Springs?

DOSTER: Well, I don’t know just what all I have got


DOSTER: -- [lacker?]. They say anybody that worked for Springs is, uh... You visit their homes, you’ll find pieces of looms on 66:00lawnmowers (laughter) and garden tools. This here’s some of Springs’s early --

GEORGE STONEY: Publications, yeah?


GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see. What’s the date of this? Let’s see. Oh, this is, uh, ’48. Now it’s -- so we see --

HELFAND: Maybe Mr. Doster could read out a headline for us?

GEORGE STONEY: Hm. Eight members of the [Diest?] family piled up years of service, so there are lots of families that the whole family’s got their history --

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: -- connected with the mill.

DOSTER: During the war, I worked -- one man over there -- I worked him and three 67:00sons and, and two daughters in the same department. That was six people out of the same family.


DOSTER: That’s -- I believe that’s a -- that’s this picture of Springmaid Beach.


DOSTER: Down --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, in Myrtle Beach.

DOSTER: If you ever go down there, just go down Ocean Boulevard just as far as you can go and you’ll be at Springmaid Beach.


DOSTER: At, at, at the dead end, down that state park.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, now, here is where he got some payroll. This is -- that’s ’51, uh-huh.

DOSTER: What is that? Is that a -- that’s a -- that’s, that’s a weave room right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. See, um -- and this is 1951, so that’s been changed a lot.

DOSTER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: What does it day underneath this little short one, George? [I saw it?] --

GEORGE STONEY: Which one? Here?


HELFAND: Yeah, underneath that, there’s an article.


HELFAND: Colonel Elliott.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Ah, “Colonel Ell-- Colonel Elliott Springs, Empire Builder, Dies.” And that’s dated -- there’s no date on it.

HELFAND: I’m sure that Mr. Doster knows about that.

GEORGE STONEY: When did, uh, Colonel Springs die?

DOSTER: No, I really don’t remember the year.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh, yeah.

HELFAND: What happened around here?


HELFAND: What happened, uh, in response to his death?

DOSTER: They stopped the mill off a half a day.


HELFAND: Did they -- is that -- was that a big deal? I mean, did --

DOSTER: Well, they didn’t stop at all when, when his, his father died.



DOSTER: They kept on running.


HELFAND: The picture?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, the -- oh, the picture up there.

HELFAND: Just -- maybe he could just tell us about it?

DOSTER: Well, that’s got the date on it, but I can’t read it.


DOSTER: If you want me to get it down, I’ll get it down somehow or another.

JAMIE STONEY: OK. If you want to, or I can get it from here.

GEORGE STONEY: I think you -- we’ll get it from there then.

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, I can just get it from here.


HELFAND: Is your mama in it?

GEORGE STONEY: All right, he could --

HELFAND: Why, why did you put that picture up there?

DOSTER: They had that picture over here at this mill, in the supply room. And they was cleaning up one day, and they just dumped it out in the trash and I picked it up. And that man on the end -- his picture is on -- same man on that end as it is on that end. While that camera was coming down there taking those pictures, now, he run around (laughter) back of them and got over here on this 70:00end. He’s on both ends of that picture, and he is the plant manager or superintendent that I said could not sign his, his full name. He could sign his initials.



GEORGE STONEY: Sir, I just --

[break in video]


HELFAND: Tell me when. OK, tell me about this -- you were just -- tell me about this room, when you come in here, and what you do.

DOSTER: I come in here most of the time to get away from my wife. She finds too much for me to do. (laughter)

HELFAND: Tell me about coming in here and running that machine.

DOSTER: Well, I just come in here and, and start it up, and run it.

HELFAND: Do you have any examples of any of your cloth here that you’ve made?

DOSTER: No, but I got some on my back porch up there. Where, where they put them up for curtains.

HELFAND: Uh-huh.

JAMIE STONEY: Let’s take a quick look at it (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

HELFAND: Yeah, can you show us what you’ve -- can you show us what you made?

DOSTER: Well, this, this here is -- yeah, I, I can show you.


HELFAND: Did you make that?


HELFAND: What is it?

DOSTER: That’s a -- that white is the warp. That there is cotton and, um, Kodel. And this here is nylon. That -- that’s nylon [filling?].

HELFAND: What do you feel like when you’re in here by yourse-- I mean, this room --

DOSTER: Oh, I, I, I just feel at home.

HELFAND: Now, this machine was in a room with how many machines?

DOSTER: Twelve hundred.

HELFAND: I want you to tell me that -- that whole sentence. And then, think about that a little bit.

DOSTER: Well, that, that machine come from the -- what they called the Gayle Plant. Then the, the m-- mill people, uh, overhauled it and make it like new, and gave it to the vocational school.

HELFAND: Right, but what you said was that this was one of 1,200, right?



HELFAND: That -- that’s what I wanted to get it, so can you just tell me about -- that this, this loom was...?

DOSTER: This loom is one of approximately 1,200 looms that was in the weaving department at the Gayle Plant.

HELFAND: I bet this loom was never by itself before. (laughs)

DOSTER: No, because, in fact, it’d been this -- when I got this loom, I got two, but I didn’t have the floor space and I had to -- had to do away with one of them.

HELFAND: Well, I can just picture you coming in here just --

DOSTER: (laughs)

HELFAND: -- just moving.

GEORGE STONEY: Judy, I’m getting very hungry.

HELFAND: OK, we’re following you. So you were gonna show us a piece of cloth.

JAMIE STONEY: [He showed us a piece of cloth?].

HELFAND: Oh, all right.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, Jamie? Just, uh -- I wanted to get a picture of you and, uh -- no. (laughter) The three of you.


GEORGE STONEY: OK? Well, then, I’ll, I’ll just send you a copy of this. This is just for us.


DOSTER: Good. I appreciate it.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. (laughs) All right. Now, you’re gonna look at that cloth, Jamie.


DOSTER: Where’s your card at? And your card? Your card?

HELFAND: My card.

JAMIE STONEY: My business card? Mine’s in the truck.

DOSTER: Your card.

HELFAND: I have to sign George’s.

DOSTER: He had to sign his name?

HELFAND: Yeah, and I have to sign mine.

JAMIE STONEY: Mine, mine’s in the truck. I’ll get you mine before I leave.

DOSTER: I, I’m a poor person to remember names, is the reason I ask.



DOSTER: James.


M: Well, I answer to just about anything, especially if there’s food involved. OK.


DOSTER: [I believe them?] --

HELFAND: You made these curtains?

DOSTER: These here. These in here is the ones that were woven on that loom.

HELFAND: Can you say that again?

DOSTER: These, in this room, was made on that loom.

F1: (inaudible).

JAMIE STONEY: No, ma’am, that (inaudible) just fine. Matter of fact, it was beautiful.

DOSTER: Do you -- do you feel like going out for lunch?

F1: Whatever you want to do.

GEORGE STONEY: (whispering) Cut. OK. Where should we go?

DOSTER: Well, I hate to impose on good nature.

GEORGE STONEY: No, no, no, you just tell me where you’d like to eat.

DOSTER: What do you like for food?

GEORGE STONEY: I like vegetables. HELFAND: Homestyle.

DOSTER: Well --

F1: You know, around here, the only place to get a balanced diet in this (inaudible) is [Rhymes?], and that’s a (inaudible). We have a nice fish store 75:00here, but (inaudible) we can.

GEORGE STONEY: Huh. What else can we find? F1: You’ve seen -- you’ve seen that fish store, haven’t you?

GEORGE STONEY: What else can we find?

[break in video]

CREW: [So it’s a card slide change?]

DOSTER: Yeah. It’s worn out, but it’s -- [answers a foot of purpose there?]. (pause)

JAMIE STONEY: So I notice you had this all over your property.

DOSTER: Well, I got it all the way across here.

HELFAND: So what is that? What is that?


DOSTER: That’s a chain off of card slats. A card is a carding machine that, uh...

JAMIE STONEY: That, that cleans up the cotton?

DOSTER: Cleans it up, the cotton. That’s exactly what it does. It cleans it up and lays the fiber straight.


HELFAND: When did you lay this down for your fence?

DOSTER: Oh, about 40 years ago. (laughter)


HELFAND: Are you -- are you the only guy in town that has this for a fence?

DOSTER: Yeah, I reckon I am. You want one? (laughter)

HELFAND: You have some left over?

DOSTER: Huh? (laughs) Yeah, I’ve got some left over. You, you just have to paint it. I can -- and you about to go off and leave your microphone.

HELFAND: Well, you’re gonna come have lunch with us.

JAMIE STONEY: We’ll get it back then.


GEORGE STONEY: Oh. Do you, do you drive your own car?

DOSTER: I, I’d, I like to do that.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, because -- [break in audio]


F1: -- no more than we try, we want to ride in something comfortable. And it’s always real, you know --

HELFAND: Would you mind, one sec --

F1: You feel the difference if you get a -- [break in audio]

DOSTER: You won’t get lost, will you? (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: She’s photographing this so we could run it back if we get lost, yeah.

DOSTER: [But?] can I turn on the air conditioning?

GEORGE STONEY: No, we’d like to keep it off if you --

HELFAND: If you don’t mind, it’s -- I hear you --

DOSTER: No, I just thought it would be more comfortable for you.

HELFAND: Oh, I’m fine.


GEORGE STONEY: Now, the National G-- (coughs) The National Guard started from the armory, did it? That day?

DOSTER: Well, uh, the National Guard started -- in ’27, we didn’t have a armory. We s-- we had our company headquarters in the top of the old, uh, city hall, up there -- third floor. So...

F1: They didn’t have that little [aisle?] in the (inaudible) street then. That’s where they drilled, in that space.

GEORGE STONEY: I see, mm-hmm.

F1: I remember when he was first (inaudible). He came over the hill drilling. (laughter)


F1: These used car lots are just running over with cars. If somebody would get those cars we wouldn’t have room in the road for them, would we.


GEORGE STONEY: Well, that’s the truth. Coming up to signal, Judy. (pause) How long have you been living in the house you are now?

F1: We -- we built it. The year we got married.


F1: We lived in an apartment until we built the house. It was real odd, the man I was --

DOSTER: I’ve been, uh, 1937, we built that house.

F1: I always loved working with his family. He was the head of this construction company. He said, “I know just the house we’re gonna get for him.” Because I talked to him about, he said, “Yeah, let him have his [house?].” And he’d do things like being, while they’re doing that, you 80:00go and make them (inaudible). And while we doing this, take that piece of (inaudible) and make them [wash?]. And the (inaudible) all the stuff like that was nice.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, that’s nice.

F1: You don’t get stuff like that now.


F1: And you know that cement mark? This -- it’s there. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: I noticed it, yeah.

HELFAND: So this whole --

GEORGE STONEY: I noticed that.

HELFAND: This whole town was really put together by Springs, is that right?

DOSTER: Well, uh, mostly. There was, uh -- was -- for a while, there wasn’t nothing h-- here for people to work at except Springs Industries. They had three mills here.

F1: We’ve had some beautiful sewing (inaudible) around here -- ones that made shirts and ones that made dresses. Did you know it seems like a business to sell that for that -- for -- (inaudible).

JAMIE STONEY: Doesn’t last.


F1: There hadn’t been one here now in a good little bit, and somebody’s trying to open up one here in the middle of that lot down on that -- see that little [bit of parking?] cars right there?


F1: And when they did, they said, “Anybody that knows how to do these jobs, come.”

HELFAND: So -- ooh, wait. When -- stop. Wait, Jamie -- ooh.

GEORGE STONEY: Is Jamie following?

HELFAND: He is, but he just got out of his car and now he’s coming. Here he comes.

DOSTER: He coming?


GEORGE STONEY: Just got out of his car?

HELFAND: Yeah. He’s OK, I think. He wants to talk to us, though. [break in audio] So where are we going right -- where are you stopping now?

DOSTER: Eureka Mill, right here.



DOSTER: Right here. This was Eureka Mill. During the, the strike, we --

HELFAND: Picture?

DOSTER: -- we had bunks in that old warehouse right there.

JAMIE STONEY: Did you take your camera when you left the restaurant?


JAMIE STONEY: Your still camera?

(break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: -- have Jamie t-- take over.


GEORGE STONEY: And he can describe to -- where we are.


(break in audio)

HELFAND: Is he gonna get out, George?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, we are. OK? OK. (inaudible) OK, tell us about this (inaudible).

DOSTER: Well, back in the ’30s, that was the mill right there where those windows are bricked up.


DOSTER: All that other from that -- where those windows are bricked up, that a way, has been added on since.

GEORGE STONEY: I see. But just the arches were the -- yeah, I see.


DOSTER: Right, where they’re -- where they’re bricked up.


DOSTER: And, of course, this here was the warehouse out there, because it -- the mill goes on back yonder way. But it’s --


DOSTER: -- it’s broadened out across the front here a good bit in the -- in the -- l-- recently.


DOSTER: But now this is where would stand in that old warehouse there, when the army colonel come out here and (inaudible) [saying?] about it and said, said it looked we was working for the Springs Cotton Mill and wasn’t in the Army. So, so, uh, he, he c-- had us to go uptown and stay at the hotel.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, th-- that was (coughs) on the -- on the fifth of, uh, September, 1934. Could you tell us - you were in the National Guard. Tell us what happened.

DOSTER: Well, I was at work at the Springs [team?], and my overseer come and told me to report to the armory immediately. Several of the -- that worked in the department, they -- and he told them the same thing. So we went to the 84:00armory, and they had us to get in uniform and put us on the fire truck and sent us out here. So, about an hour later, the Flying Squadron come along. And the trucks and cars lined up along there, and we were standing along the curb over there. And they come along, and some, some of the people in the trucks, they spat on us.

F1: Mm-hmm.

DOSTER: Uh, spat at us several times. And we --

F1: Mm-hmm.

DOSTER: -- we didn’t, uh, have any contact with them, but some, um, verbal conversation between some of the ones that they knew -- that -- some members of the National Guard knew some of the people that was -- that was in the group. So, uh, wasn’t, um, too long until half the people in the mill was, was out -- was out here, watching and observing the -- what was going on to... So, uh, they finally stopped it all off, and, uh, by that time the colonel had got down here, and he, he told us to -- told all the people in the mill. He says, 85:00“Now, we are -- we are stopping off out there, but, but those of you that want to work, be back in here on your job in the morning,” so... And this lot right here is where the -- where the truck was sitting, that he got up on the back of the truck and made a talk to them. And I didn’t hear his talk, but I, I was, uh, told that, uh, he -- that’s what he commented about.

GEORGE STONEY: This is Elliott Springs?

DOSTER: Elliott Springs, right, right here on this lot.


HELFAND: Why did you call him the colonel?

DOSTER: He was a colonel in the Army and they, they, they appreciate that title, all of them.

GEORGE STONEY: He, he was a World War I ace, wasn’t he?

DOSTER: Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes. And then, um, after that, how long did you stay here?

DOSTER: We stayed on duty out here for two weeks, but we only stayed in that warehouse there for one week, and went uptown and stayed at the hotel for, for, uh, a week. And then, they dismissed us.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you have any drill or exercises -- anything like that?


DOSTER: Not out here, no sir.

GEORGE STONEY: Where did you -- what did you -- just, uh -- did you have regular posts that you walked up and down?

DOSTER: No, we just -- we -- there, there was a gate here that, uh -- there was an office building right over there, and the -- and, and we sat around under the shade tree at that office building and that’s -- and some of them was posted at the, the gates around the back of the mill. They had several gates around there they were posted at.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, why did they have you here when it was so peaceful?

DOSTER: Well, they was expecting that group to co-- that come back ’cause they said they’d re-- be back. And they did come back, several times.


DOSTER: They never knew what was gonna happen. They did--

GEORGE STONEY: I see. Now, you -- what was the size of your group?

DOSTER: We had, uh, 32 enlisted men and 2 officers.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, if they had come back in, uh, the numbers the newspapers said -- they talked about thousands -- you could have been overwhelmed, couldn’t you?


DOSTER: Could have been, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. How did you -- how did you protect yourself?

DOSTER: Well, we didn’t worry too much about that. We was all young and (laughter) -- and thought we -- we was having a good time.

GEORGE STONEY: I see. But you, you were -- you were armed with what?

DOSTER: Rifles, no ammunition, and bayonets.

GEORGE STONEY: I see. So you were just --

DOSTER: And .45 pistols.

GEORGE STONEY: So you just had the bayonets, was --


GEORGE STONEY: -- really all you could do you. Yeah, I see.

DOSTER: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: Where -- did you see any of the -- of the Flying Squadron people? Were they armed?

DOSTER: We didn’t see any armed, no sir.

GEORGE STONEY: What about sticks?

DOSTER: Well, if they had any sticks, they had them in their trucks, and hidden. But they didn’t -- they didn’t get out with any of them.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. We’ve seen pictures of, uh, them with picker sticks.

DOSTER: Well...

GEORGE STONEY: But you didn’t see that?


GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.


GEORGE STONEY: Were there -- were there women in that group?

DOSTER: Yeah, more women than there was men.



DOSTER: They just had a, a flatbed truck with a f-- frame around it, where they -- just about waist-high, where they could stand up in there and, and talk.

GEORGE STONEY: Hm. Did you have any idea -- did they believe in what they were doing, or did they -- was there just a holiday spirit, or what?

DOSTER: Frankly, I don’t think they realized what they were doing. They -- their -- because a lot of those people that was in that Flying Squadron had relatives working in these plants.


DOSTER: And then, a lot of them was people that they’d -- uh, uh, Springs wouldn’t allow in his plants.


HELFAND: Why not?

DOSTER: Undesirable. We had them -- uh, uh, like my, uh, boss over at that over mill where I worked at, at one time, he, he handpicked all them employees, and he said this plant here and the -- and the Gayle Plant didn’t have nothing but people who’d been run off from over there. (laughter)


GEORGE STONEY: I must say, we’ve heard that, uh, in a num-- in a couple of other cases. Where they would be one mill in a -- in the community that said, you know, that always gets the worst of them.



HELFAND: Well --

GEORGE STONEY: And this b-- right about here, over there -- was that part of the mill village?

DOSTER: Yes, sir. That is part of it now. There was -- there was another church on this corner over here.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. But those houses down there...

DOSTER: That, that -- that’s mill village there now.


DOSTER: All those houses been sold. Springs got out of the real-estate business.


DOSTER: And he sold the houses to the employees.


DOSTER: But, uh, 75% of the people who lived in them houses in the old days, they moved out to the suburbs and built them homes.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Well, like you people.


GEORGE STONEY: Where you are living now, what, what -- no, that was close to your mill though, wasn’t it?




HELFAND: Um, now, what did those people -- you knew a lot of those people that were on that flatbed truck, huh?


HELFAND: Did they talk to you?

DOSTER: Yeah, two of them did -- womenfolks that I knew. And they had worked over at the -- at the mill that I was working at.

HELFAND: You seem to remember what they said.

DOSTER: Well, uh, no, I don’t. Just a short conversation.

HELFAND: I -- what -- were you allow-- how did you respond to them since you knew them and all?

DOSTER: Well, we’d l-- just passed with them, just speak to them, or smile at them, and -- because I -- like I said before, our company commander had, had advised us not to get into conversations with them. Not -- not to talk too much with them. And, by all means, not to come in physical contact with any of them.

HELFAND: What were you really feeling?


DOSTER: Well, I’ll tell you. I, I, I, I really don’t remember what I felt, other than I felt like I’d -- I was doing my duty, because I, I appreciated the uniform. And when I got in the uniform, I was proud of it.

GEORGE STONEY: Very good. OK, now, what I’d like to do is w-- uh, we go -- we’ll go back --

[break in video]

HELFAND: -- where that was -- there back then?

DOSTER: No, that tower was built in the early ’30s. That’s the power house back there -- generating power.

JAMIE STONEY: I (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

DOSTER: But after they built the power house, they realized that they could buy power cheaper than they can make it.

HELFAND: Now, h-- when this -- you were talking about undesirables before, and selection. How did they do that after the strike?

DOSTER: Well, you got all kinds of people in the world. And you got to cull them out sometimes, and you got to have the cream of the crop to, to have a, a 92:00good-running job.

HELFAND: So that’s what they did?

DOSTER: That -- that’s what we did. We didn’t have a personnel office. Each department hired is own employees.

HELFAND: So how did you find out if someone had been part of that flatbed or not?

DOSTER: Well, in most cases, we -- we’re trying to take care of the families that was -- like I t-- I said over at the house, I, I had one family there, d-- during the war, that I had one man, two of his daughters, and three of his sons working in my department. And we, we, we worked -- family connections. We, we didn’t -- we knew, knew the -- we knew people before we ever put them to work.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, Judy. Uh, we’re just going back to show the, the relationship between --


GEORGE STONEY: -- (inaudible). And then we can --


HELFAND: OK. You know that -- by the way, those churches near your house are just beautiful churches.

GEORGE STONEY: They have nothing to do with the mill.

HELFAND: Really?



GEORGE STONEY: I asked him that.

HELFAND: Isn’t that amazing. OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah, OK. OK, so, uh, I’ll ride back with them.


GEORGE STONEY: And then -- and you and Jamie -- you may want to get --

[break in audio]























M1: OK, this is the site of the old Abney Mill, located in Belton, South Carolina. Uh, the tower that you’re now viewing, I’ve been told, is 185-foot tall. At the top, it is 7-foot in diameter. There is a little over 9,000 bricks in this tower. The old Abney Mill started back in the early ’20s, and is now what you see it. It was torn down about five years ago for a, a reconstruction. When they tore the mill down, they tore it down brick by brick. They sold the bricks to different individuals that wanted to, to use the old bricks in order to build homes with them. Uh, the one warehouse that is still standing is still being used and rented by another company here in 105:00Anderson County. From what I was told lately, the, uh, owners of the warehouse here at Abney Mill is owned and operated by a man out of New York. His name I don’t know. Um, behind the mill, you’ve got a mill pond. It’s a -- full of fish. What kind, I have no idea. Other than that, I know nothing about Abney Mill except it was, at one point, used in 1934, during a union strike. But this particular plant refused to strike. That one has not been remodeled. The rest has. (laughs)

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) the mill village?


M1: Right. And, uh, the white house has not been remodeled as far as aluminum siding or whatever. But you can see on either side, and a lot of the mill houses have been remodeled in order to make them look better for the city. (dogs barking)

JAMIE STONEY: Have you got a rough idea of what the asking prices on the houses were?

M1: Uh, when the houses were sold, I believe they went for about 13, 14 thousand a piece, from what some of the people that have bought them has told me. That you -- when the Abney Mill sold them, they were really cheap, probably because they were just wanting to get rid of them.


[dog barking in background]



[break in video]

M1: -- [sunrise?].Um, they wanted him to stand chances --

JAMIE STONEY: Tell us a little -- tell me some more about, um, which gate would this be?

M1: OK, this here would be the east gate.

JAMIE STONEY: And the sidewalk left of the old (inaudible)?

M1: OK, this blue wall that is left is part of the old [barroom?] that’s left. Out from this blue wall, you could [leave?] into this area and go into what used to be their card room. That’s where you see the brick that’s still standing with the rubble on top. That used to be part of the old card room.


JAMIE STONEY: They thought it was worth more as [soil?] than as a standing building?

M1: Uh, yeah. Uh, there was a lot of vandalism done to this building, and they said, in the future, they will tear down what is left of the building except the warehouse. The people in Belton are fighting to keep the smokestack here as a historical marker, which, from what I’ve been told, it will be no problem to keep it here, because they’re -- when they’re tearing it down, they are instructing everyone to be very careful not to damage it. Each year, Belton holds what they call a Standpipe Festival. And we feel that this smokestack 110:00would also be like a sister to the standpipe.

JAMIE STONEY: Now what buildings are these over here on the right?

M1: OK, you’re coming around -- the yellow building you see with the sofas and all sitting on it, is one of the old office buildings of the Abney Mill. Uh, a lot of times, in the afternoon, you have a group of older men. I guess they 111:00used to work at the Abney Mill. They meet up here every afternoon around 2:00, 2:30, and they set here a couple of hours and just talk.

JAMIE STONEY: What are these old footings from?

M1: OK, there used to be a water tower there, where these pillars are at now. And they tore the water tank down, due to the fact that it had, uh, been let go so long that it was starting to rust, and they felt that it was endangering a lot of people. The house to your right, which is a stone house -- that is one of the first mill houses built on the mill hill.


JAMIE STONEY: And where we’re standing would have been the -- uh, the main drive?

M1: Yeah, to the offices.

JAMIE STONEY: Now, did they have any recreation areas for their employees?

M1: Years ago, they did. They, um, had a pool. Where it’s located in Belton, I don’t know. Uh, and they got into a discrimination thing, or a racial thing, and they tore the pool down, years ago.

JAMIE STONEY: Rather than, than, uh, opening it up for both -- for both --

M1: Right.

JAMIE STONEY: -- colors, they just said, “Well, we’ll have no pool.”

M1: That’s it.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible).

[break in video]

M1: Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: We’re gonna go to the mill there.

M1: Because, uh, a guy that used to work in Abney Mill that could you a lot more about this than I could is the mayor of our city, Leo Fisher.


JAMIE STONEY: So, so these are the old company offices?

M1: Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: So this looks like where you’d -- the old payroll office?

M1: Yeah, this area here was your payroll, and where you’d put in your applications, from what I was -- what I’ve been told.

JAMIE STONEY: Old Department of Labor notice.

[break in video]


M1: But really, I don’t know that much about the inside of this building, except this was one of your main entrances.

JAMIE STONEY: Abney Mills.

M1: Yeah.


JAMIE STONEY: I feel like I’m kind of one of the guys working in the Titanic. (laughter)

M1: I know the feeling. I was trying to locate a paper or something, like a notice that may have a date on it.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible).

M1: This dates back to Section 24 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, approved July 17, 1935.

JAMIE STONEY: Hm. Place is (inaudible).


M1: The room to your left was the ladies’ room.

JAMIE STONEY: They stripped everything out of here.

M1: The only thing I can figure these rooms were used for was, like, some of the executive offices.

JAMIE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Somebody’s been definitely living in here.

M1: The flooring in that other room, I would not trust. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, looks like a fire in here.


M1: That could have been one of the rooms with a lab or something in it, because of the, uh, cabinets with the sink.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible). I think -- yeah, I think I’m gonna take your advice on this, (inaudible). I’ll definitely take your advice on this.

M1: Well, the old control panels.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) telephone, telephone panel.

M1: Mm-hmm.

JAMIE STONEY: It’s sort of like looking at, uh -- going to the museum and looking at the dinosaurs (inaudible). We haven’t seen the pass-through, so you could pass through papers and stuff without (inaudible).

M1: You don’t see those anymore either. (laughs)


M1: Those little knobs. The old safe.


JAMIE STONEY: Now, do you have any idea how many people were employed here?

M1: Hm, my father-in-law could probably tell you that. I really don’t know. I would guess probably four or five hundred. That would be a guess.