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Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, 1976 September 2.
Interview H-66. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007):

Electronic Edition.

Durham, Flossie, interviewee

Interview conducted by Mary Frederickson and Brent Glass

    Audio-enhanced transcript (streaming MP3 file)
[Full interview, ca. 80 MB, 1 hr. 23 min.]


Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services
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Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Melissa Meeks and Natalia Smith
Sound recordings digitized by Steve Weiss
First edition, 2001
ca. 75K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2001.

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Source Description:
(transcript) Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, 1976 September 2. Interview H-66. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
(series) Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007) Flossie Durham
42 p.
Chapel Hill, N. C.
Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1976

Interview conducted on September 2, 1976, by Mary Frederickson and Brent Glass; recorded in Bynum, N. C.

Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Original transcript on deposit at The Southern Historical Collection Louis Round Wilson Library.


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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 24th edition, 2001

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Revision History:


Oral History Interview
with Flossie Moore Durham,
1976 September 2.
Interview H-66. Series H. Piedmont Industrialization.
Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007)

[Interview conducted] by

Mary Frederickson and Brent Glass

Transcribed by

Jean Houston

Original transcript on deposit at
The Southern Historical Collection
Louis Round Wilson Library


Page 1

Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, 1976 September 2.
Interview H-66

[BEGIN TAPE I SIDE I.]

        FLOSSIE DURHAM: All I know is I just have to go back to, you might say, when we first moved to Bynum. I was ten years old at that time.

        MARY FREDERICKSON: Where did your family come from? Where had they been living before?

        DURHAM: In 1894 we moved to Bynum.

        MF: You were born in 1884?

        DURHAM: I was born in 1883.

        MF: Where were you born?

        DURHAM: I was borned down in the country here, down the river here, about ten miles from here, right down the river in the country.

        MF: Did your family have a farm?

        DURHAM: We was on the farm all the time up till. . . . Well, in the first place, there was a crowd of us. There was eight of the children. And I was one of the along-toward-the-middle ones, I say. [Laughter] But anyway, we was on the farm till my father died, and after he died then we moved to Bynum. That was when the Bynum part started for me. But it was quite different then, of course, from what it is now.

        MF: Back to talk about when your family lived on a farm just a little bit? Did your father own the land that he worked?

        DURHAM: No, he rented a farm then. Worked mules then.

        MF: What did he plant?

        DURHAM: He planted cotton and corn and wheat, too, and really had a good farm. So after he died, it looked like we couldn't keep a-going on the farm.

        MF: Was he a pretty young man when he died?

        DURHAM: He died almost sudden. He wasn't but forty-three when he died.


Page 2

And it left us, and it left my mother in a bad shape. Along them days there wasn't any money coming in much. We lived; we never went hungry; we never went cold. But I've often wondered how she kept us all a-going.

        MF: How long did she stay on the farm after he died?

        DURHAM: We didn't stay but a few months after he died, just gathered that crop and then we moved to Bynum.

        MF: How did she decide to come to Bynum?

        DURHAM: There were several of the men that come out and met first, trying to decide what to do because there was a big family of us, and all of it like it was, didn't know hardly what to do. They knew about Bynum, and it was a good little place to live. It's always been a real quiet, nice place to live, almost just in the country. And of course the cotton mill was running here then. And the ones that was old enough. . . . Well, I went to work at ten years old.

        MF: So you went to work right when your family came into Bynum.

        DURHAM: Yes, went to work when I was ten years old. And so the mill run on then. The mill was owned by the Odells in Concord. But the houses all back over there then were in good shape; now they're really bad. They've been getting bad.

        MF: Did your family move into one of the houses over on the hill?

        DURHAM: Yes, sure did. Moved into one of the houses over there on the hill. And we lived there till I was grown and married.

        MF: Who lived there with you? Did all of your brothers and sisters come?

        DURHAM: All of them lived [there] till my oldest brother married while


Page 3

I was there. He was gone. And then the next brother was off at school. So that's the way it went all the way down the line till they was all grown. Now they've all gone but I've got one sister and myself a-living; that's all. There were four boys and four girls.

        BRENT GLASS: Mrs. Durham, did you do any work on the farm when you were a little girl?

        DURHAM: Nothing more than just pick a little cotton or a little something like that. I wasn't but ten years old. Wasn't quite ten even. So just like any child would now.

        MF: Did your brothers help your father work the farm?

        DURHAM: Yes, they did. They worked with mules then, mules and a wagon and the plows. You know, [unclear] . There weren't no such thing as a tractor then. No. Not in this country.

        MF: Did he have anyone else working on the farm with him? Did he have any hired help?

        DURHAM: Just the family. There was two boys old enough to work on the farm, plowing, things like that. And, like I said, they sowed wheat, made plenty of flour with the wheat.

        MF: Would he grind his own wheat? Did he have a little mill to grind his own wheat?

        DURHAM: It was right here at Bynum, a real good grist mill, a big, nice grist mill, and they'd grind the wheat and the corn for anybody that'd bring it here. I've seen it, right down there where now there's trees grown, and that's where the grist mill was at. And there was two men run it, and usually the yard all around there in front of the mill was full of


Page 4

horses and wagons and different carts and different things, bringing in the stuff here. They kept the mill a-going; sometimes they couldn't even keep up in the daytime.

        MF: Did they run the mill at night sometimes?

        DURHAM: Sometimes they would.

        MF: Did you used to come in with your father to bring the wheat in?

        DURHAM: No, I never come in with him. No, I never come in like that, but the boys would.

        BG: Would he bring his cotton here, also? Was there a cotton gin?

        DURHAM: Yes, there was a cotton gin here, too. There really was a cotton gin then, and they'd gin all the cotton anybody'd bring in. There was a lot more manufacturing here then than there are now. Because they had a blacksmith's shop that done a lot of work, because then there was a lot of mules and horses that had to be looked after. And they had a good blacksmith's shop right down there in the bottom, like. On down a little farther was the cotton gin, and on down a little farther then was the grist mill. Well, they done good work, all of them did. And then the cotton mill was right down below where it's at now, but the one at that time burnt down. And there's been a new one built since then. But most of the houses that's over there on that hill was here then, but a lot of them was practically new. But oh, they look bad now.

        BG: Did you help your mother at home when you lived on the farm?

        DURHAM: Well, yes, of course, [unclear] just like a young'un will do. What I was told to do, that was all I knowed to do.

        MF: What kinds of things did your mother do? Did she ever have to


Page 5

help your dad out in the fields? Did she work in the fields at all?

        DURHAM: No, she just worked in the home. She didn't work in the field. She never done any public work. No. I had a mighty good mother, though, really good. She was a good clean Christian woman. So were my father. So I'm proud of my father and mother, of a generation from way back yonder. And my grandfather was a preacher, and my other grandfather was a real good man. So I'm really proud of my descendants way back yonder, what I know of them I had.

        MF: Did you get to know both sets of your grandparents? Did you know much about where they came from or how they happened to come to this area?

        DURHAM: I've been told that my great-grandfather Moore--I was a Moore before I was married--come to this country, and when he got into this country he didn't have anything in the world, only what he had tied up in a little bundle. He didn't even have a suitcase. But he stayed here in North Carolina till he married, and he raised a family here. Well, then one of his boys was my grandfather. And then that's about as far back as I [unclear] go.

        BG: Where did he come from?

        DURHAM: I couldn't tell you. I couldn't remember to save my life. So maybe I've heard it, but it's one of the old countries across the ocean. I've heard them speak about him. I don't even know his given name; I know he was a Moore, and that's all. But anyway, the whole Moore family--me and all the rest--sprang from him, you might say, that young man that come here from this country.

        MF: What about your Grandfather Moore? Where did he live when you


Page 6

were growing up?

        DURHAM: He lived right there in the country, down here about five miles right down the river. And he was a Baptist preacher, and he preached at several of the churches around here. Over here at Rock Spring--I don't know whether you've heard of that or not--in a little church across the river. And several like that. Anywhere that they to call him, he'd preach.

        MF: Did he have a regular circuit?

        DURHAM: Yes, he had a regular circuit.

        MF: Did he travel on a horse, or did he have a wagon?

        DURHAM: Well, it was a horse and buggy. That's all he had to travel with. Maybe miles; he'd go as many as ten or fifteen miles at a stretch. Some of them not that far.

        MF: Did you hear him preach when you were a little girl?

        DURHAM: Yes, I remember hearing him preach. I surely did.

        MF: Was he a good preacher?

        DURHAM: Yes, I remember hearing him preach.

        MF: Did your family always go to the Baptist church?

        DURHAM: They did until we moved to Bynum. We would have gone to the Baptist church, too, if my father had lived, because he was a strong Baptist. But after he died and we moved to Bynum, the church here was a Methodist church. So finally we all become Methodists.

        MF: What about your mother's family? What did her parents do?

        DURHAM: She was a Bland before she married. And she remembered during the Civil War her father weren't in the war, but he would search for what they call a deserter, hunt deserters. And they said that was


Page 7

so dangerous, too, but anyway that was his work. I reckon he was too old to go to war; I don't know. Anyway, they said he'd be out a lot at night hunting deserters. There was a lot of them would leave the War, you know. Then they'd try to get them back. But that was the Civil War. And she remembered a lot about that.

        MF: Where did she grow up?

        DURHAM: She growed up about twenty miles, I reckon, right down the river here. We're all country people.

        MF: Was her father a farmer?

        DURHAM: Yes, they farmed. Now my Grandmother Bland at that time owned a good many niggers. That was before they were freed. And a good lot of land down the river there, but of course it's all gone.

        MF: Did he lose his land and his people after the War?

        DURHAM: He kept it. He still lived on the same farm. But of course the colored was all freed, but you know a lot of those men--women, too--had good homes, and they didn't want to leave. Because in the first place--you all know more about it through history than I could know, though--a lot of them did have good homes, and they didn't want to leave. And a lot of them didn't have, so they was. . . . You know, that was bad on them, though, when I think about it. They were freed, but a lot of them didn't have nowhere to go. What to do? Them colored people. Oh, it's so different now with colored people. But I'm glad they've come to the top. I'm glad things is like they is with them. They deserve it. I'm glad they do.

        MF: Do you remember visiting your Grandfather Bland's farm when you were small?


Page 8

        DURHAM: Yes, I remember both of them. And my Grandfather Moore died suddenly. He had preached at Rock Spring, they said, there on Saturday. Well, I knew about it. Along in them days, they'd have their business meeting on Saturday. Well, on Sunday morning he was going back over there to preach, and he fed his horse. Of course, there weren't nothing but horses then. But he fed his horse and bent down to put his bucket back in the crib, and when he went to open the crib up he fell dead right there of heart trouble. So that was the end of him; he died suddenly.

        MF: Was he an old man at that time?

        DURHAM: Yes. He died, and in about three months then my father died.

        MF: Let me ask you one other question about when you used to visit on your Grandfather Bland's farm. Do you remember seeing the black people?

        DURHAM: I just remember something about them. I don't remember too much now about them. I don't; no, I don't.

        BG: Do you remember out in the country corn-shuckings and . . .

        DURHAM: Oh, yes.

        BG: Did they grind sorghum cane and things like that?

        DURHAM: All them days, you see, I remember that so well. As long as we was in the country, when they'd bring up all the corn and pile it up in front of their barn, you might say, and then they'd have a big shucking. Invite a whole lot of the men around, and they'd have supper for them then. They'd all just have a good time, men laughing and talking and joking around that corn pile till they'd get it all shucked.

        BG: Did people sing songs?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes. It was just like a crowd of men'll do when they get together. But I don't think they ever done anything wrong. I don't


Page 9

think they was doing things, [unclear] drinking and cutting up [unclear] . And the same thing when they went to thrash the wheat. The thrasher would go from one farm to another and thrash the wheat. Well, they'd always have a lot of hands there and have a big dinner. Now that's all I cared about, that big dinner.

        MF: [Laughter] If men got together and shucked the corn and thrashed the wheat, did women get together like that, too?

        DURHAM: No, not much. They didn't get together in the cooking much. Maybe some of the neighbors right next to them would come in and help out [unclear] , but not like the men.

        MF: Did they all just bring their separate food?

        DURHAM: No, they didn't bring anything. I remember my mother cooking chicken stew, and she'd cook it in a wash pot. You know, used to we had to have a big old wash pot out to wash clothes in. Well, she'd put about two or three chickens in there and make a big stew there in that wash pot.

        BG: Cook for all the men?

        DURHAM: For all of them, yes. Well, it would take about that much to feed all those men. That was one of the things that they'd always usually have, and I remember seeing her cook that so much. But that's a long time ago. I'd have been about eight years old along then.

        BG: How about quilting? Did your mother do any quilting with other women in the neighborhood?

        MF: Did they ever get together and make quilts or sew?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes, they [unclear] . All the [unclear] I have around here is the quilts I made. Oh, I've made many a quilt myself. I made many a quilt and quilted them, too.

        MF: Would women work on them together? Would you and your mother


Page 10

ever make a quilt together?

        DURHAM: No. She made some that I had. She was in her sixties when she died. So I've made many a quilt since then and quilted them, right here in this house. We've been in this house fifty-seven years. I mean we bought it then. My husband and I had a little house back up here on the road [unclear] built with him. We lived there ten years, and the boys began to get grown, like it weren't big enough. So we traded that house then for this. My son owns this house now, and he's done a lot of work on it. It's the same rooms, same place, all like that, but he's done a whole lot of work on it. But it was a good house at the time we moved here. A good house.

        MF: When your mother and your brothers and sisters and you moved to Bynum, what do you remember about that move? Did you take all your belongings and bring them into town?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes. We brought them all to Bynum, what they had. Yes, they had some pigs, different things that they'd done on the farm, brought down over here to [unclear] .

        MF: So you could keep pigs, and did you have any cows or chickens that you brought with you?

        DURHAM: Any what?

        MF: You brought pigs and kept them here in town when you lived here?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes. We lived up there on the very top of that hill over there, a little three-room house.

        MF: How many of you were living there then?

        DURHAM: There was eight of us and my mother. But my oldest brother didn't stay very long before he was somewhere else. Edgar Moore was his


Page 11

name. He lived to be ninety-six years old. He become a mighty nice man, and he was superintendent of the mill down here for a long time.

        MF: When you first went to work in the mill, what was it like? Were you afraid to go, or were you excited about going?

        DURHAM: Well, I tell you, when I first went to work, it changed at one o'clock. At one o'clock in the day that morning shift would go off, and the evening shift come on, and each one had to work twelve hours.

        MF: So when did the morning shift go to work, at one in the morning?

        DURHAM: Monday morning they went to work at four o'clock. Now I've worked on every one of them shifts when I was a girl. And then Monday morning the morning shift would go to work at four o'clock, and they'd work till one in the day. The evening shift come in at one in the day, and they worked till one that night. And then the morning shift come in at one that night and worked till one the next day, and they done that all week.

        MF: When you were ten years old, you did that? You would work that long?

        DURHAM: Yes. And they didn't make anything, neither, [unclear] a little along them days.

        MF: Do you remember what you first made when you went to work?

        DURHAM: About twenty-five cents a day. And that was a day; that weren't an hour. That was a day.

        BG: Mrs. Durham, were you going to school at the same time you were working in the mill?

        DURHAM: No, I didn't get to go to school anymore. Sure didn't.

        MF: Had you gone to school when you lived on the farm?


Page 12

        DURHAM: Yes, we went to school when they'd have any school. We went to school when we were all living on the farm. But no, I never got to go to school anymore. I always regretted that, but I had to work to make a living. And what I picked up, I picked up for myself the best I could. But all the children finished high school, and some of them went to college.

        BG: All of your children.

        DURHAM: And that was one thing: I wanted the children to go to school. See, we had, Manly and myself. . . .There's five of the children living now. We've got four boys and one girl. And I'd love for you to see them. Of course, you know Louis. Well, he's the youngest boy. And the oldest boy had a strike here. I mean a. . . .

        BG: Stroke?

        DURHAM: Yeah, oh. Anyway he fell, and it took him a long. . . . He hasn't quite got over it yet. It was a stroke. That's what I was trying to say. He has never tried to do [unclear] any work much since; that's been nearly two years.

        BG: Do you remember your first day at work and what your job was?

        DURHAM: At the mill?

        BG: Yes.

        DURHAM: Yes, it was spinning.

        BG: At ten years old?

        DURHAM: Yes. That's all I could have done. I weren't but ten years old. All the little ones, they'd put them to spinning, you see, or something like that. But now that weren't a bad life. We had a real good life over there on the hill. Every house was filled, and the people was all friendly and they was all nice. And Mr. Luther Bynum was looking


Page 13

after it, and he wouldn't have anybody over there that drank. Anybody got drinking, they left there right now. Didn't have no drinking and cutting up over there. Things was kept quiet and nice. And it was a good place over there to live.

        MF: Did almost everyone on the hill go to the Methodist church?

        DURHAM: Yes, all of them. That was all the church there was here, was the Methodist church. In other words, we'd been here five or six years. . . . Well, there was a church. We had that old schoolhouse down there; we always called it the old schoolhouse, down there in the bottom like. Well, they had school there in the week, and on Sunday they had preaching there. [unclear] preaching and anything in that line, and when they taught school there'd be school there for the children. So that went on that way till the church, I think, was built about 1898. I think it was just about eight years that the little church over there was built then. About 1898, just a little before I was married, and I was married in 1901.

        BG: Was it a brick church?

        DURHAM: No. Well, it's brick-veneered now. Yes, it is. And it's in good shape, but the place it's at is still bad because it's there on that hillside.

        MF: Was there a preacher there all the time?

        DURHAM: It's there every Sunday.

        MF: Did he live in the town?

        DURHAM: Yes, they live right up here in the parsonage.

        MF: But I mean when the church first started, was there a preacher in Bynum all the time?

        DURHAM: Yes. The preacher always lived here, at first. There's


Page 14

always been a parsonage here. And a long time the preacher had six churches. But for a long time now he just has one church.

        MF: I see.

        DURHAM: It's a young man. And they live right up there. And now they have a new parsonage, but they've been trying to get shut of the old one ever since the new one was built. And nobody don't want to fool with it, it's going to cost so much to move it. But it was built in 1894. I knew when that old parsonage was built, and it's a good old building. It's a pity to see it go down like that, but they say it would cost so much to move it, nobody won't take it. One time they tried to give it away, if anybody'd take it and get it away from there. They said, "Unh-uh." They said it would cost three or four thousand at least to get it away, and so they didn't do it.

        BG: Did you play games with the little children when you lived over here in Bynum?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes, all the children's games and all like that, yes.

        BG: Do you remember any of those games?

        DURHAM: No. [Laughter] No, I just remember that we did. The children used to get together and play games just like they would now. But there weren't nothing then. . . . Of course, there weren't no automobiles around here; there weren't no such thing as an automobile. And it was a rare thing if you ever seen a child with a bicycle or anything like that, but they'd have little wagons.

        MF: Did you have much time to play, or were you really tired after you came out of the mill?

        DURHAM: Oh, well, like I say again, didn't nobody make anything


Page 15

hardly then. Of course, everything you bought was cheap. And they had a pretty big country store over here that the company run. And then there was another little store around, or two. But the main store belonged to the company at that time, for a good long while. And they kept most anything you'd want.

        MF: Did they pay you in cash, or did they have some kind of scrip? Did they have any kind of company money, or did they pay you in regular money?

        DURHAM: No, because they was just ordinary, plain people. That's all I would know. I never known anything bad to happen here, especially in them days. No, I didn't, no.

        MF: When you worked inside the mill, what was it like? Did you have a lot of friends who worked in the mill, too?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes, they was all. . . . one big family. A lot of people'd say, "Aw, it's just about like one big family." There weren't so many houses over here then. No. This house was here, and them over there, of course, and the parsonage. But there's a lot of these other houses was not here.

        MF: Did you have time when you were working to talk to the people around you and sort of joke around?

        DURHAM: With most of them you could. Yes, they had pretty good overseers. No, they weren't bad, no.

        MF: If you got tired and wanted to sit down and rest or something, could you do that?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes, if you had your work up, you could sit down any time you wanted to. What water we had was drawed out of a well and brought in there in the bucket.


Page 16

        MF: So could you always stop and get a drink of water when you needed it?

        DURHAM: Whenever you wanted to. And there was always that bucket sitting up on the big post place, and a dipper in it. I can almost see anybody go there now, take that dipper and knock the lint back off of it, and get them a drink of water. And a lot of the time, when they'd first bring in the bucket of water, that's when a lot of them would get their water.

        MF: [Laughter] Before it got lint on it, huh?

        DURHAM: Before it got lint on it. [Laughter] In my imagination I can almost see anybody take the dipper and then kind of push that lint back and get them a drink of water. And we didn't think nothing about it.

        MF: Did the lint ever bother you? Did you ever have trouble?

        DURHAM: Oh, not enough to know any difference, no.

        MF: You didn't catch colds from it or have asthma or anything.

        DURHAM: [Laughter] Anyway I've lived through it till I'm ninety-three years old. [Laughter] And so I'm the oldest one here in Bynum.

        MF: Mmmm. Do you ever remember anyone who couldn't work in the mill, like they were allergic to the dust or something like that?

        DURHAM: No, I don't know as I do. Right now I don't remember anybody. Most of the people were healthy enough that they could work. There's one or two that went to work a little younger than I did, but the majority of them didn't go to work till twelve or thirteen, along in there.

        MF: I see. Once you started working, how long did you keep working in the mill?

        DURHAM: I worked till I married, about eight years. Yes, we married at eighteen, and I was ten when I moved here.


Page 17

        MF: How did you meet your husband?

        DURHAM: I met him when he was a little boy, thirteen or fourteen years old.

        MF: Did he live up on the hill, too?

        DURHAM: No, he didn't at that time. He had an uncle back up here, a doctor. In other words, his mother was dead and his father was dead, too, so he stayed up there with this doctor, his uncle, a lot. And you know, the first time I seen that boy, I was going on up the hill with another girl from the mill. She was older than I was, but she was a-talking and a-going on about this, that, and the other boy, one thing and the other. But I looked across the street then and saw a boy tying a horse to the tree. I said, "Well, my fellow's right out yonder, but," I says, "I don't know who it is." Says, "Oh, I know him." Well, it happened to be the same one that I finally married.

        MF: What made you think he was so good-looking over there, tying that horse up? [Laughter]

        DURHAM: [unclear] I had just said that, just like [laughter] a careless word, in a way, but I've thought of it many times. Didn't think nothing about it then.

        MF: Did you meet him soon after that?

        DURHAM: It weren't long before he come up here. Just children like.

        MF: Were you sweethearts for a long time?

        DURHAM: [unclear] I was [unclear] with him to amount to anything. But I can say that the first time I began to be with him I liked him, and it never failed.

        MF: Did he start actively courting you? Did you call it courting?


Page 18

        DURHAM: No, not for a long time. [Laughter] Just like playing games and one thing and another and being together, all like that. No, I never thought about nothing like that. Too young for that.

        MF: Right before you married, did you used to go to church together? How would you spend time together?

        DURHAM: No, we didn't sit together, but usually when I'd leave he'd go home with me [unclear] . But I can say and tell the truth that I never. . . . I thought a lot of him all them days down till he died. And I don't feel like I've got a thing in the world to regret, that I didn't do the best I could for him all the time. All the time. And he'd been sick a lot. He hadn't been able to work a day's work in thirty-three years when he died. Been thirty-three years. In 1960 was when they brought him from the mill with a spell, and I fell out. Oh, he was sick in the hospital so much. But he'd get able to come back.

        MF: What seemed to be wrong?

        DURHAM: Well, they used to say it was his heart, but I don't think his heart killed him. I couldn't tell you to save my life, but he was sick a lot and in the hospital a lot. First one thing and then the other. But I think finally his blood killed him. He got to losing so much blood.

        BG: What would happen when you were a little girl here in Bynum, if someone got sick? Was there a doctor nearby?

        DURHAM: Yes. A lot of times we had a doctor here, and always a doctor at Pittsboro. There's always been doctors there.

        MF: Would they come out to Bynum if somebody was sick?

        DURHAM: They'd come to Bynum anytime you called them. They will now. Dr. Tisch(?) would come anytime you'd call, his nurse said. He's getting along in years, too, but used to there was at least one doctor over there


Page 19

and sometimes two. And there was a country doctor back up here for a long time, about three or four miles from here, and he'd come anytime you called him. And part of the time there'd be a doctor living here, not all the time.

        BG: Were there any midwives living in Bynum or people who weren't doctors but who you could call on if you were sick?

        DURHAM: No, there wasn't anybody. [unclear] no nurse or anything like that.

        BG: Louis told me about a Mrs. Smith. Did you know a Mrs. Smith who . . .

        DURHAM: I wish you could see her daughter [unclear] right now, Ida Smith. Well, it was her daughter that married my son, and they own this house. Yes, she was a woman that would just go anywhere anybody. . . . She didn't claim herself a doctor or nothing like that, but she'd help anybody she could if she could do anything for them, especially little children. If she could do anything for them, she did. She had two children of her own. And they lived right up there in that house over there on the hill. I mean up on the road, not over there.

        BG: What kinds of things would she do as a nurse? She wasn't a doctor.

        DURHAM: No, she wasn't a doctor, and she wasn't a nurse. She had just been one of the kind that visit people that are sick and do anything for them [unclear] This doctor up here, like I was talking about, this doctor in the country, she was a real good friend to him, and he was [unclear] they mingled with [unclear] other right smart in that medicine business. But she never counted herself anything like a nurse; she was just a good woman to do what she could. That was her life.

        MF: Did she ever help any of your family or take care of any of your children?

        DURHAM: No. My children was all. . . . They'd got large enough then


Page 20

that. . . . But I've got two children dead, a baby and a girl that was sixteen years old. I miss them both so bad.

        [BEGIN TAPE I SIDE II]

        DURHAM: . . . nowadays. Had a bed in here. And he breathed so hard all the time. And his flesh was warm. But he didn't know anything in the world. Anything [unclear] anybody [unclear] goes off in a coma. It's bad. They don't know anything any more than if they was dead, it looked like. But yet his flesh stayed warm. [unclear] began [unclear] And when he died, he went off just as easy as anything you ever saw.

        MF: Well, that's good.

        BG: Do you remember what would happen when someone died here back when you were a child, how they would treat the . . .

        DURHAM: How people died then?

        BG: Well, if people died, what happened to them?

        DURHAM: Well, typhoid fever was one thing that killed several a long time ago. I'm sure you don't remember when typhoid fever went through here. No.

        BG: What would happen when the person died? Was there an undertaker, or would they . . .

        DURHAM: The man from Pittsboro would come over here and take the body. There's a place in Pittsboro, of course, all that's done. Nothing here. The body was always carried to Pittsboro.

        MF: When you had your children, who helped you have your children? Did the doctor come or would your mother help you deliver your children?

        DURHAM: There was always a doctor.


Page 21

        MF: The doctor would always come?

        DURHAM: Yes. There was always the doctor when anything like that.

        MF: Did you have all your children at home?

        DURHAM: Every one of them. No, I never went to the hospital with a one of them.

        MF: Did you ever have any trouble?

        DURHAM: Not anything special, no. All of them was borned all right, and five of them's living.

        MF: You said you had one baby who died.

        DURHAM: Yes, I did. Our first baby died.

        MF: What did the baby die of? Was it real young when it died?

        DURHAM: Yes, it was six months old. It wasn't right from the start. It never was right. And I don't reckon he'd have been right if he'd a-lived. But my daughter now was, and she had pneumonia. And she was the youngest . . .

        MF: Did the doctor come when your daughter had pneumonia?

        DURHAM: [unclear]

        BG: Mrs. Durham, was that usual? Did most families have at least one baby who died in the family?

        DURHAM: There were a lot of families here had a little baby to die. I don't know why, how. But this baby of ours weren't right. It weren't right from the first. He had screaming spells. He had about two spells a week [unclear] could get him quiet.

        MF: Was your mother with you most of the time when you were raising your children?

        DURHAM: Yes, she lived close by, and she'd help me. Oh, she helped


Page 22

me a lot of times with the children, as long as she lived. But she was sixty-five when she died. Well, all the children was here then, all but one.

        MF: Had your mother gone to work in the mill when she first came to Bynum?

        DURHAM: No, she never did work in the mill.

        MF: Did she keep the house and cook the food and . . .

        DURHAM: She kept house, but she had several children. No, she never did work in the mill.

        MF: When your older brothers started leaving home to go away and get married, did anyone else come to live in your house? Did you ever take anyone else in?

        DURHAM: No. Well, he was nineteen years old when my father died, and he taken hold to help out the family all he could. I feel like he done the very best he could. And then later on he helped some of the boys through school, and I feel like he taken the place as well as he could. He married a real nice girl, and they just had one child. And she lived to be. . . . Hasn't been dead long. Right over here at Pittsboro, Elizabeth Moore.

        MF: When your brother became superintendent of the mill, how long had he been working in the mill before they promoted him to be superintendent?

        DURHAM: Oh, not long.

        MF: He was still a real young man then?

        DURHAM: Well, it was when he was grown. He was grown, but he wasn't married. But the man that was superintendent here was one of the Bynums, Henry Bynum. Well, they told my brother Edgar, "Now if you'll come down there and work through the mill, start at the first, just learn the


Page 23

machinery, when you get through with it, I'll put you overseer." Well, that's what he did. They put him overseer down there, and he was overseer then for several years before he become the superintendent.

        MF: Was that when you were still working in the mill?

        DURHAM: Yes, when he went to work in the mill I was.

        BG: Were there any rules in the mill that you had to obey?

        DURHAM: Well, of course they had some rules, but not bad.

        BG: What if you were late for work? What would happen?

        DURHAM: Of course, they had long hours, and you had to go through them long hours, and all the time.

        MF: Was there any kind of whistle that blew when the shift changed?

        DURHAM: Yes, there was. They had a bell down there. It would ring if they was leaving or coming or changing or anything. And they had a whistle. . . Of course, it was steam het up. Down below there was a boiler room, they called it. And the mill was het up by that for a long time.

        MF: Could you hear the whistle if you were in your house?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes. We could hear the whistle or the bell either.

        MF: And that's how you knew when it was time to go to work?

        DURHAM: [unclear] . They'd usually ring the bell or something like that about ten minutes before changing time. Everyone knew all those things then. And the mill run regular then, night and day, all the time. But that mill burnt down. It was a real nice wooden mill, though; it weren't brick.

        MF: When did it burn down?

        DURHAM: About 1918 or somewhere along there. I'd been married some years.


Page 24

        BG: Do you remember the day it burned down?

        DURHAM: It burnt down on Sunday; I don't remember the date.

        BG: I mean do you remember when it happened?

        DURHAM: There was a storm on that evening in the summertime, and lightning struck it. And a bolt of lightning went right through that mill, just setting fires [unclear] cotton. It sure did, that was [unclear] . And the mill burnt down that evening.

        MF: No one was working in the mill on Sunday.

        DURHAM: No, the mill wasn't running. There wasn't anything going on. A watchman was down there. There was a watchman always looking after things, day and night.

        MF: Did they ever run a shift on Sunday?

        DURHAM: No, never did work you on Sunday.

        MF: When would you quit on Saturday?

        DURHAM: The evening shift would quit ten o'clock Saturday night. I've worked every shift they had.

        MF: When did they start putting on three shifts?

        DURHAM: They never did have three shifts here then, just two shifts. But each shift worked twelve hours and kept the mill running. They kept the mill running at that time, unless something stopped it. They started up Monday morning, and they run till ten o'clock Saturday night. They'd stay up thirty minutes at breakfast and thirty minutes at supper.

        MF: Did you go home and eat breakfast and go home and eat supper?

        DURHAM: Yes, we'd go home and eat breakfast and go home and eat supper. And that's all it stood unless it had to.

        MF: Did you work all of the time except the thirty minutes? Did you get any other kind of rest time?


Page 25

        DURHAM: No. That's all. Like I say, when we moved to Bynum I was on what they called the morning shift. And at twelve-thirty at night, the watchman would come around, knock on the door and wake you up. [unclear] put on your skillet pan and get ready and get down there about one o'clock at night. And you worked till one the next day. And that's the way it went a long, long time.

        MF: Then when you came home, would you go to sleep?

        DURHAM: We'd usually sleep in the evening some then and then go to sleep again after.(?) Sleep weren't like it is, all night, of course. Yes, I remember all them days.

        MF: Did your brothers and sisters all work different shifts?

        DURHAM: Yes.

        MF: So some of you were home at some time . . .

        DURHAM: Yes, some of them was different.

        MF: Did you all eat dinner together? Could you all come together for dinner?

        DURHAM: When they was boys, they did. You see, there'd maybe be one shift eating before the others did. And the one that was doing the cooking and looking after that, why, they knowed they couldn't all eat at once.

        MF: Were there any boarding houses up on the hill? Did anyone run a boarding house?

        DURHAM: Yes, they did. There was a right smart of boarders here along then, because if the mill was running a lot was over there. Now they're scattered around. They come from the country and Pittsboro and all around that work down there. But at that time, everybody that worked come off the hill up there. And of course it was in good shape, and the houses were in good fix, and most of them was big families.

        MF: Do you remember anyone who ran a boarding house, or did boarders


Page 26

tend to live with families?

        DURHAM: There weren't no special boarding house; it was just anybody that could take another one, why, they'd take them. Girls or boys. My mother boarded several of them, her last days anyway. [unclear] Not when we was all at home, no. But before she died, she had several boarders.

        MF: Where would the boarders usually come from? Did they come from the country?

        DURHAM: Anywhere, if they didn't have a family here.

        MF: Were some of them young girls?

        DURHAM: Yes, the majority was young. Didn't any old people work here then. No.

        BG: Were they men or women boarders?

        DURHAM: Some of the women kept cooks, much less worked at public work, at that time. You could get a nigger to work for you a month for five dollars. My mother never hired any of them. She done her own work. But some of them did.

        MF: If some of them had to work in the mill, would they have a black woman at home to cook?

        DURHAM: Or if they didn't even work in the mill.

        MF: Oh, they just would have someone to cook. [Laughter]

        DURHAM: Yes, they just had a big family and had somebody to help them. I know several families done that. They had a big family, and like I say, they could get help for almost nothing and felt like they was able to do it and they did it.

        MF: How did people do their washing when you lived on the hill?


Page 27

        DURHAM: Oh, it was washed by hand for many years. Even after I moved down here, we didn't have no electricity nor any washing machines. We'd been down here in this house some little bit before there was any electric power that you could get. Didn't even have electric power at the mill for a long time. They made their own power.

        MF: How did your mother do her washing?

        DURHAM: She washed herself with tubs and board and wash pot. That's the way everybody washed then; there weren't no other way to wash. And they was used to it and didn't think anything about it.

        MF: Were there any women in town who took in washing? Was there a washerwoman in town?

        DURHAM: Yes, a lot of colored women would come in here and wash. You could get a woman to wash for twenty-five cents.

        MF: But they'd come to your house and do the washing?

        DURHAM: Yes, they'd come to your house and wash and hang the clothes out. But Lord [laughter], [unclear] any of them [unclear] now. Because most of those colored people is oh, so different now. Never see one now.

        MF: When women had a small baby, would they nurse it? How long would they nurse it?

        DURHAM: Oh, yes, they'd nurse the baby as long as they thought it was necessary. And some women, of course, couldn't; they'd have to use a bottle. And we had doctors; see a doctor anytime you wanted a doctor, for a baby or anybody else. And some babies was raised on a bottle, but. . . .

        MF: About how long would they usually nurse a baby?

        DURHAM: Oh, anywhere from a year to two years. [unclear] they


Page 28

wanted to. That was their business.

        MF: When you first got married, where did you and your husband live?

        DURHAM: We'd been married about a month when we went to keeping house. And the house right back up here now, the house standing there now, at that time there was two rooms. Well, he had a brother a little younger than him, and his mother was dead and his father was dead, so when we went to keeping house he went with us, and stayed with us then till he got grown, just as one of the family, and married.

        MF: You said you got married in 1901?

        DURHAM: Yes, I did.

        MF: Did you have a wedding?

        DURHAM: No, just married at home. There was a man there who lived across up close to us, a Mr. Atwater, so he was the magistrate, and he come out there and married us one Sunday morning. Our house was full.

        MF: Did all the relatives come?

        DURHAM: There weren't many relatives, just friends come in. So, after we were married, went to ride. Got a horse and buggy from Pittsboro. Now that was another thing. Mr. Nat Hill over there at Pittsboro run a livery stable. And anybody here at Bynum, anytime they wanted a horse and buggy or maybe several wanted a hack, he'd send it over here. And of course you paid him; he'd come back after it. Well, that was real nice all them years. I've been in a buggy like that, and I've been in with several going together. And they'd get anywhere from four to six in a hack that would carry that many. And spend a day anywhere you wanted to.

        MF: So on your wedding day, you went out and rode?

        DURHAM: Just went out to ride, that's all.


Page 29

        MF: Did you ride all day?

        DURHAM: No. [Laughter] No, I didn't. Come back then and et down at his aunts'. [unclear] Two of his mother's sisters lived over there. We stayed there for about a month and went to keeping house. I tell the children here sometimes, I've got one chair here that we went to keeping house with, and [laughter] that's the only thing in the house that . . .

        MF: Which one is it?

        DURHAM: And it's all right. It's in there now. It's all right. He give two dollars for it.

        MF: [Laughter]

        DURHAM: A good, strong little rocking chair. But I told them I said, [unclear] "That's what I rocked all the babies in." At that time we used cradles. I don't know whether you've ever seen a cradle or not, either one of you. [Laughter] But I wouldn't have taken anything for my cradle. At that time, the man who ran the store down there--they kept furniture here, even to a casket if you wanted it.

        MF: Did someone in town make furniture?

        DURHAM: And so we went to the store and bought a cradle and a high chair.

        MF: How long after you were married did you have your first baby?

        DURHAM: Well, it was about twelve months. And then most all of them, wasn't more than two years between them. I had four little boys at one time, and the oldest one couldn't go to school.

        MF: Whew!

        DURHAM: [Laughter] Lacked a few months of being old enough to go to school.

        MF: Boy, that must have kept you busy.


Page 30

        DURHAM: [unclear] kept anybody home.

        MF: [Laughter] Did your husband work in the mill at that time?

        DURHAM: He was overseer at that time. He never was superintendent, but he was overseer of the spinning a long time. And then I had two boys that done the same thing. The one that lives here now was superintendent of the mill a long time.

        BG: What is his name?

        DURHAM: Frank.

        MF: Did your husband and your brother Edgar work together a lot in the mill?

        DURHAM: Part of the time they did, but most of the time, though, my husband [unclear] quit [unclear] was sick and wasn't able to work a lot of the time that Frank was superintendent.

        BG: Mrs. Durham, when the mill burned down, did you think about leaving Bynum? What did your husband think about that? Were you afraid or . . .

        DURHAM: When the mill burnt down, that was a shock to the place, now that's true. Some of them moved away from here. Several families left here; most of them went to Durham from here that left. And pretty quick they began to clean [unclear] away from down there, getting ready for another one. Any of the men that wanted to could work down there. And things like that. So it was just about twelve months that they had another mill ready to run. The mill that's running now.

        BG: Did your husband talk about maybe leaving Bynum?

        DURHAM: No. [unclear] didn't ever want to leave. [Laughter] He had a job offered to him two or three times, only you'd had to have moved.


Page 31

Well, we then owned our little house up here at that time, and we had several children. We stayed on here, made it all right. He wanted to have some money when he died, wanted to have some money I say when he needed it. And oh, my, he was in the hospital so much. It had been so long since he'd made any money, except they had a little land, and he sold several lots off of that. So there's still money in the bank now that he had put in there. My oldest boy lives out here. He would have, but he had that stroke that affected him a lot. Then the next boy, Frank, is a mighty sturdy, good man, [even] if he is my boy. So he looks after all the business. And Louis'll tell you that.

        BG: Right.

        DURHAM: I think all four of the boys are good.

        BG: You didn't have a favorite?

        DURHAM: They don't drink; they don't run around; they don't gamble; they don't do none of those bad things.

        BG: Did you have a favorite?

        DURHAM: I wouldn't say so, no, because I love them all. And they've all been mighty nice men through Manly's sickness and his death and all. I've got one boy who's [unclear] Vernon that lives right down here. Carey's the oldest, then Frank, then Vernon, then Louis is the youngest. Then there's one girl, and she works in the . . .

        BG: She still does?

        DURHAM: She still does. She and her husband separated a long time ago, and left her with three children. And now she has ten grandchildren.

        MF: Does she live in Bynum?

        DURHAM: Yes, she lives right down here in this house, right below this one. She owns that house down there.

        MF: What does she do in the mill?


Page 32

        DURHAM: She winds. And you wouldn't know anything about that, I don't reckon, but anyway, that's what she . . .

        MF: Is the mill running now?

        DURHAM: Yes, it's running. It's running today. It didn't yesterday on account of their taking inventory, but it's running right now. And she's at work right now.

        BG: What is her name?

        DURHAM: Florence Cooper. She never married anymore. He lives at Burlington. But she had one boy and two girls, and she lives with one of her girls and her family. All the grandchildren are of school age.

        BG: Louis told me that a little bit after the new mill was built, a lot of new families came in here from all over. They brought in a lot of new people. Do you remember that?

        DURHAM: Yes. More people come in, yes, as they needed them at the mill. And of course they started up the mill with just a little, and then they kept accumulating, getting [unclear] on. As far as I know, they run a good business down there now. But the people that's got it now have just got it leased. [unclear] the company.

        BG: When a new person would come into town, would the company tell them where to live?

        DURHAM: If they had a house vacant. If they knowed that there was a vacant house that they could move in, and they change houses a lot over there, anything. Just like almost. . . . It used to be, especially. I don't know much about it personally now, because I'm not over there now never, or hardly ever. But it was a good place to live when I was a girl. I enjoyed it, and I worked. Didn't get to go around like they do


Page 33

now. Didn't get to dress like they do now. But I had new dresses [laughter], new hats. [unclear] Along back in the time that girls wore hats to church. They don't do it now.

        BG: What did you wear to work?

        DURHAM: We just wore dresses. We didn't wear slacks like they do now, no. No. No.

        MF: What did you usually do with the money that you made?

        DURHAM: Well, I done most everything down there. I first started off spinning, and then all my last work down there was what they call spooling.

        BG: What do you do when you spool?

        DURHAM: The bobbins would be attached onto the spinning frame there. It was run onto a big spool about so high, and it had ends about like that, too, on it, and it filled up them spools. And at that time they were going up to what they called the warp mill. That [unclear] downstairs. And the warp mill was a pretty big thing, and there were so many of them spools running together. Had big frames up there. It was pretty a-running, that warp mill was. And then they'd be run all down into [unclear] be as [unclear] as my arm, this thread. And that was baled then into big bales. That's the way they sold it.

        BG: Did they have a weave mill there?

        DURHAM: No, they never did have any looms here. No, I never did know anything about weaving.

        BG: Was it mostly women working there?

        DURHAM: The spinning was run mostly by women and girls. Didn't many women along then; the young girls would work, but now, for a good long bit, they finish high school. . . . They go to school in Pittsboro now. We used to have a real good school building here, but it got to where there


Page 34

weren't enough to have a high school, so they moved it all to Pittsboro. Now all the Bynum people go to Pittsboro to school. They carry them over there on a bus. By the time the girls finish high school over there now, they can get a job somewhere else, and they don't go to the mill. It's been a long time since a girl [unclear] go to the mill. Now they get them from the country, and they work [unclear] a good many negroes down there now. [unclear] A lot of them from Pittsboro.

        BG: When you were working there, there were no black people working there?

        DURHAM: No, they didn't. No. They sure didn't. Not till this company took over here. [unclear] Didn't get on till I say that this company leased it. They've had it about five years. No, didn't any colored. . . .You see, it's the men on the outside. They kept things going on outside. Usually they had about two colored men at work on the outside. Never worked inside. No. They sure didn't, not in them days. But like I said, the young people would go to work when they got old enough. But for a long time now they didn't do that. And most of this work down there now is older people.

        BG: What jobs would men do in the mill when you were young?

        DURHAM: Men worked in the card room, mostly.

        MF: And women did spinning and spooling?

        DURHAM: Women were in the spinning and the spooling, and the boys done the doffing and. . . .

        MF: When you brought your money home, did they pay you once a week?

        DURHAM: Once a month.

        MF: Once a month.

        DURHAM: At that day and time.


Page 35

        MF: What would you do with your money when you brought it home?

        DURHAM: It was paid off down there at the office. At that time it was paid in money. Of course, for a long time it's been paid in checks, and you get them cashed anywhere they'll cash them. Well, at that time it was money. But all that I got, of course I'd just carry it to my mother. I wouldn't think about keeping it, no. No, never. I never did as a girl. And if I needed anything, she always got it for me.

        MF: Like if you needed a new hat to wear to church or a dress, she'd get it for you?

        DURHAM: Yes, she would. She was real good. She was good.

        MF: Did she make your clothes?

        DURHAM: Sometimes, but most of the time there was a lady here that done the sewing. She made me several dresses after I got grown.

        BG: Who was that?

        DURHAM: Mrs. Bynum, mostly, done mine. Mrs. Nora Bynum.

        MF: Was she the wife of Mr. Bynum who worked in the mill?

        DURHAM: She was the wife of Mr. Luther Bynum, that looked after the hill at that time. And part of the time he run a store down there, and well, she kept a cook in the kitchen. [unclear] and kept a cook in the kitchen. She had two children, mighty nice children. But after he died, she lived [left?] here in that old house over there now. Good old house, too, that they lived in. She went to Durham; both her children was raised there at Durham. And Jeff Bynum is the boy. [unclear] 's been dead a long time.

        MF: When you were here and working in the mill, what did people do for fun? Did they ever get together and have any kind of . . .


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        DURHAM: Yes, the grown ones did. Edgar, my brother, has been to many a dance and party, things like that.

        MF: Where would they have dances?

        DURHAM: In through the country. And he kept on, and all the time after he was grown he had a horse and a buggy, and a lot of the time some girl with him. He married a mighty nice girl. There was a family of Cooks here. Mrs. Cook's husband died and left her with five girls.

        MF: How old were people usually when they married?

        DURHAM: Oh, about like they would now. Anywhere from eighteen to twenty, anywhere along there.

        MF: Was your brother Edgar a bit older when he married?

        DURHAM: Yes, he would have been in his early twenties when he married.

        MF: Did you ever go to dances yourself?

        DURHAM: I did once or twice. The dances they had then, somebody would call the figures, and they danced maybe eight or six in a [unclear] , and they danced around and around like that. It weren't just tap dancing.

        MF: Would they ever have dances in town?

        DURHAM: No, they didn't. Them dances they had was through the country. I never went to but one or two, but I enjoyed it. And they weren't drinking or cutting up. No, they didn't do anything dirty at them dances, either. They had music.

        MF: Did they ever have people get together in town and play music?

        DURHAM: They had a band here for a good long while [unclear] boys that wanted to get it up. My Frank was one of them, with a guitar, and some with a fiddle, and some with a banjo, [unclear] and some with an organ. Just an oldfashioned organ they played. They made music here that way a lot of times. Just fun, just at somebody's house.


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        MF: They would just sit in the living room and play?

        DURHAM: Yes, they'd be in the living room. There wouldn't be no dancing or nothing like that going, though. Just enjoying the music.

        MF: When the mill was working on twelve-hour shifts, when would people get together like that? Would they do it on Saturday night?

        DURHAM: A lot of times on Saturday night, yes, they did. And children would play together over there on the hill a lot of times, games at night, in the evening, things like that. Oh, they fared all right.

        BG: Did you want your boys to go to work in the mill? What did you want them to be?

        DURHAM: Well, my boys did work in the mill some. Now Cary out here, he worked a while, but he was off at school part of the time, right smart of the time. By the time he got back home from that, then he didn't work in the mill any more. He worked with the state parttime, highway, things like that. He always had a pretty good job. And then after he got grown and decided he wanted to marry--he married a girl here at Bynum--he wanted a store. Well, he's been running the store down there now fifty years this last June, since he went in that store down there, and it's still a-going. But the little building you see outside, that was what they call the old place. Then he had to have all that rock building built. He had it done himself. He owns it yet. And he owns a nice lot of land. But his health has just almost give out. He's seventy-two years old now. He's seventy-two; Frank's seventy; on down the line. So Louis now . . .

        BG: He's the baby.

        DURHAM: He'll have a birthday in October, and he'll be sixty-seven.

        BG: He told me he worked in the mill, and then he quit working.


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        DURHAM: He worked in the mill a while, but he didn't like it neither.

        BG: Why not?

        DURHAM: Well, I don't know. They just didn't like it. All of them didn't like mill work. Now Frank and [Philip] Vernon kept to the mill work, and then they become the overseers. Vernon was the overseer a long time before he retired, and Frank the same way. They worked till they retired them, though.

        MF: Did your daughter like working in the mill?

        DURHAM: Well, that's what she does. She's worked in the mill the whole time.

        MF: Did she ever get to be the forelady or anything like that?

        DURHAM: No, she just worked and finally married, and they didn't get along so well together and [unclear] several years. Her husband was in the Second World War for two years.

        MF: I was going to ask you if anyone from Bynum went to fight in World War I. Do you remember that?

        DURHAM: I had a brother that was in World War I. And another boy, Atwater boy, that I knowed. [unclear] two.

        MF: How did you feel about them going off to fight?

        DURHAM: Oh, of course it was bad. My brother had a girlfriend. He was in the Thirteenth Artillery; he was in there two years.

        MF: Did he go overseas?

        DURHAM: Yes, they did. So they come back to Raleigh. After the War was over, they was going to march there at Raleigh, this regiment. So we went down there, seen them come in and march.

        BG: How did you get to Raleigh? Did you take a car to Raleigh?


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        DURHAM: Yes, there were cars here then by that time. Several of them had cars. A bunch that went in together on it [unclear]

        MF: Were you proud of him when you saw him marching?

        DURHAM: Well, I was glad to see him. He wasn't supposed to turn his head, but there were several of us there standing close by, especially his girlfriend, and he turned his head. You could see he'd keep cutting them eyes around to see.

        MF: [Laughter]

        DURHAM: But they've been dead now a long time.

        MF: You said several people went off to fight in World War II. How did you feel then when they left?

        DURHAM: Well, Louise didn't have but one child, and he was in that War. And he had a hard time. He's living; he's in Raleigh now. His name is Manly, too. But he's got a mighty nice [unclear] , has a good job.

        BG: Is this Louise's son?

        DURHAM: I'm talking now about Frank's boy.

        BG: What's his name?

        DURHAM: His name is Manly. We call him Manly. [Laughter] When he left here, he took another name. His name was Robert Manly, but when he left here he took Bob for his name, and don't anybody know him as Manly but us here at Bynum.

        MF: [Laughter]

        DURHAM: He's known everywhere else by Bob Durham. But he made a mighty nice man; yes, he has.

        MF: When those men who went off to fight in World War II came back,


Page 40

did they have trouble settling down in Bynum? Did they want to leave?

        DURHAM: Not them in World War II, but in World War I they did. They didn't get any favor in this world when they was turned loose from World War I. No, they didn't.

        MF: What do you mean, "they didn't get any favor"?

        DURHAM: They didn't have any job, and nobody didn't help them to have a job. They didn't give them any money when it was over with. Nothing. Just turned them loose to do the best they can. That's what they done. And my brother, before he ever got a job, he went to Akron, Ohio, and worked in a rubber plant for the first job that he got.

        MF: He couldn't get work around here?

        DURHAM: No, he couldn't get any work around here. No. Just weren't anything to do.

        MF: Was that right at the time that the mill burned down?

        DURHAM: And he had education enough [unclear] . No, that weren't right at that time.

        BG: The mill burned in 1916.

        DURHAM: But he finally got a better job and finally married the same girl.

        MF: Why couldn't he work in the mill here? Were they just not hiring people at that time?

        DURHAM: Oh, he could have worked in the mill, but he didn't want to go back to the mill. They wanted a better job than that. So, like I say, he had been to school and got enough education to put him in a better place than that. So he finally went to Raleigh. Working in the post office was the last work there.


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        BG: This is your brother.

        DURHAM: That was my brother.

        BG: What was his name?

        DURHAM: Dee Moore was his name. I'm proud of my brothers. They were all good men. They sure was. And Will Moore was the last of them that died, there at Salisbury. He was eighty-nine when he died, but he made a mighty nice man. Worked in an office for many years when he died.

        BG: Of your whole family, how many lived their whole lives in Bynum? How many moved away from Bynum? Edgar lived in Bynum.

        DURHAM: After they got grown?

        BG: Yes.

        DURHAM: Well, near about every one of them left around Bynum, the boys did. But Edgar didn't, the oldest brother, because he was superintendent here for a long, long time. [unclear] Didn't have any work after he was retired from being superintendent here. He just stayed around home. But they moved to Pittsboro. They had to get out of the superintendent's house was one thing; they had another one come in there. Then I had a brother named Robert that run a store for a long time. He's been dead now a good while.

        BG: Did he die in Bynum?

        DURHAM: Yes, he died right up here on the highway; that big white house was where they lived. He's got a son and a daughter living there yet. His wife's dead, though, now.

        BG: Did you have any sisters?

        DURHAM: Yes, there was four of the girls. I've got two sisters dead and one living.


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        BG: Where did they live after they got grown?

        DURHAM: They lived just here at Bynum. The oldest sister, though, never did marry. She was just one of that kind that never do marry. That's all I know.

        MF: What did she do?

        DURHAM: She worked in the mill until the last years. And then our other sister died young. She died in her forties. But she left six children, and five of them are living right here at Bynum.

        MF: What did she die of, in her forties?

        DURHAM: Really died of a cancer, a terrible death. She had a terrible death, surely did. But I felt sure she was ready to go. One of her boys lives right down in this house. Another one of them lives just right down a little more. And then another one lives up here on the road.

[End of interview]