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Title: Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Glenn, Josephine, interviewee
Interview conducted by Kuhn, Cliff
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 140 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-03-14, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-00-00, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0022)
Author: Cliff Kuhn
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0022)
Author: Josephine Glenn
Description: 113 Mb
Description: 33 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 27, 1977, by Cliff Kuhn; recorded in Burlington, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977.
Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Glenn, Josephine, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JOSEPHINE GLENN, interviewee
    CLIFF KUHN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CLIFF KUHN:
Where did your daddy's parents come from?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
My dad's greatgrandfather came over from England.
CLIFF KUHN:
And he settled where?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It must have been in Randolph County. I don't know what county that was at that time, but it was over toward Liberty.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why did they come down to North Carolina from England?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I have no idea.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you know his parents' names?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
His parents' names were John Baker and Sally Mann R [unknown].
CLIFF KUHN:
And they were farmers in Randolph County?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
So your father grew up in Randolph County?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They may have moved to Alamance County when he was real young. But I don't know a whole lot about them, really.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about your mother's family?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know. Her parents came from Sampson in Wayne County to Haw River, but her grandparents lived in Sampson in Wayne County. They were kind of big-time farmers. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Why did they move to Haw River?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I think there was a big boom in textiles at that time, and they moved to Haw River and worked there in the mills.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you know when her family moved there?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Mama was born in 1885, and I think she must have been five or six years old when they moved there.

Page 2
CLIFF KUHN:
Your mother's name was what?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Carrie Johnston.
CLIFF KUHN:
And her parents' names?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
[unknown] and Ginny Westbrook Johnston.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did your parents meet?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
My daddy went to Haw River and opened up a little meat market. And they met there and married two weeks later. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Is that right?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
[Laughter] That was fast.
CLIFF KUHN:
That's a record. [Laughter] So you were born in Haw River. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, I wasn't born in Haw River. I was born in south Alamance. They moved back to where his home was, south Alamance County, and I was born down there. I had four brothers and a sister. There's only two brothers living now.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you one of the oldest?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I was the second one of the gang.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did you start working?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I started working in textiles in 1933 or '34.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you do other work before then?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Farmed.
CLIFF KUHN:
In what year were you born?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
1907.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you get married before you started working in the mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, yes. I had four children before I started working in the mill. As soon as the Depression came on, there just wasn't anything

Page 3
on the farm, especially for sharecroppers, and we didn't have our own home. And we started working in the mill parttime, have a little crop and work in the mill, too, but we eventually sold all our farming equipment and just worked in textiles.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was that common for people to do that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, it was.
CLIFF KUHN:
To go gradually.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
What was your husband's name?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Bill Matthews.
CLIFF KUHN:
And you were still living in south Alamance?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did you and he meet each other?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It was a kind of roundabout way. We didn't live too far apart, but we had never met until we were about fifteen or sixteen years old. We met through a friend of both of us. He went to school with this girl, and I ran around with her, and we met at her house.
CLIFF KUHN:
And he wasn't old enough to go into World War I, was he?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, and we had too many children during World War II. And he was working on a government project, too.
CLIFF KUHN:
So both of you went to the mill around the same time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I went to work before he did. I got laid off, and I was out for maybe a year and a half.
CLIFF KUHN:
At that time, which did you like more, farming or textile work?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
At that time, I liked farming. I still like farming, but I

Page 4
can't do it. [Laughter] I guess I'm just a farmer.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did you think about entering the mills at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It wasn't a matter of choice. [Laughter] I had four little reasons.
CLIFF KUHN:
Which mill did you enter when you first started working?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Virginia Mills at Swepsonville.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of work did you do?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I was spinning cotton.
CLIFF KUHN:
How long did you work at Swepsonville?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I worked there about a year and a half at that time. At that time, they would have a regular crew that they kept all the time, and when they'd get in a big order they would hire extra help to get that out. And then they'd lay that extra help off, and I happened to be one of the extra ones, and I got laid off several times. During a layoff, I'd go someplace else and get me a job and work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Could you generally find work around in the town?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, if you looked hard enough. I told some of them one time… They was pushing the union, and I wasn't too much for it. They was talking about I'd be looking for a job when the union got in. I said, "I never have looked for one, I didn't find it. It might not be what I wanted or where I wanted, but you can always find one till you can do better."
CLIFF KUHN:
How did you go about landing a job?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You didn't have to go through the employment office at that time. You could just go to a mill and talk to the overseer, and if he needed help he could hire you. But they can't do that anymore.

Page 5
I understand that the job has to go up on a board, and then everybody that's there can bid on it, and if somebody wants it they get it first, and then maybe they'll hire somebody for the job that they came off of.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you know any of the overseers at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. When I first went to work in the mill I didn't. A friend of mine got me a job. I talked to the boss man over there, and he put me to work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was that usually the way that it would work?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, it used to work like that, but not anymore. They just don't do it that way anymore anywhere, I don't guess.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did your husband get his job the same way?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of work was he doing?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
He worked in the cloth room in the finishing.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was there any difference in terms of the pay between what you got and what he got?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not on the same job. If you worked on the same job, you got the same pay.
CLIFF KUHN:
Within the cotton mill at Virginia Mills, were there some jobs that were considered better jobs than other jobs?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
What they considered skilled labor, they made more. Weaving and any kind of fixing was considered skilled, and slashers (that's preparing the warps for the loom). That's considered a good job. It's nerve-wracking, but it pays good.
CLIFF KUHN:
I want to know a little bit more about the Depression and also about the unions that tried to come in.

Page 6
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They never did get in anyplace that I worked, and they never did have any trouble except verbal.
CLIFF KUHN:
What, exactly, happened? During what years did the unions try to come in?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Down at Virginia Mills, they tried to come in in the early fifties. They thought they had it made that time until the voting came off, and they were beat three-to-one. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you working at Virginia at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. They didn't have any trouble other than verbal. There was a lot of hard feeling.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why did some people support the union and other people opposed it?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. It's like that always in textiles, when some comes in, some people's for it and some are not.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why were you against it?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I was against it because they had it down in Haw River, and the kind of work that I was doing, I had heard so much about how hard the girls had to work that worked on that kind of job.
CLIFF KUHN:
Because of the union?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Because of the union. You'd have to come up to their standards. And we worked just about like we wanted to, as long as we stayed at work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you in touch with other people who did the same kind of work that you did in other communities around the county?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.

Page 7
CLIFF KUHN:
How did you get to know people from other towns?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
A lot of people in textile mills—I didn't, as long as I had work—come and go. They're more or less on a cycle.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think that is?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. They're not like that as a whole, but a lot of them are. They're dissatisfied, you might say, restless.
CLIFF KUHN:
About what?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. They just go somewhere and work a while, and if everything don't go just like they think it should, why, they walk out.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do they usually end up in the same place?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They'll go on someplace else and work a while, but they'll eventually come back.
CLIFF KUHN:
Is that the majority?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, I don't think it's the majority.
CLIFF KUHN:
I've been talking to some people who stayed a long time in one place, and then some other people who moved around from job to job.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I've got two sons that have worked in textiles, and if they feel like they're being pushed around, they'll say that's it and walk out. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
What do you think about that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Well, I don't know. At the time I was working, I felt like I had to work. And another thing that had the advantage of me, I didn't drive at that time, and I just about had to stay where I could

Page 8
get to my work. I've seen the time a lot of times, I'd think, "Oh, I just can't take any more," but I don't know; you cool down. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
When people started getting cars, did that change where they worked a lot?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, that changed it a lot.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did people start to own their own houses?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That didn't make a whole lot of difference of where they worked. If they thought they had a better job, they'd drive. I lived way down in Alamance County between Swepsonville and Saxapahaw, and worked over here at Plaid Mill. But at that time, the man that I rode with had a wagon, and he'd haul riders. And I quit one time because I didn't have any way to ride. He quit; he got another job and moved out of town, and I didn't know of anybody else from down that way that drove up here.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did he also work in Plaid Mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, he worked at Mayfair, just across the railroad track.
CLIFF KUHN:
How long a ride was that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It must have been ten or twelve miles, anyway, maybe farther than that.
CLIFF KUHN:
He had a car?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
A wagon. And he had a load of riders.
CLIFF KUHN:
Everybody came from south Alamance to work in Plaid Mill or Mayfair.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not everybody, but a few did. He picked up riders all along the road. As he came along, he'd pick them up. He had one that

Page 9
lived right below Graham. He had one that lived down just off of Webb Avenue, below Midway. And just scattered around. First one place and then another; he would drive out of his way to pick them up, for a price. He made right much on his riders, as well as his job.
CLIFF KUHN:
What was his name?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Howard Porter.
CLIFF KUHN:
Is he still around?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, he passed away fifteen years ago. It's been a long while.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did you work at Plaid Mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
From '35 to '41.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you still living in the county?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
And you rode this man's wagon for most of that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Most of that time. Part of the time, I rode with a Mr. Farrell. He also had a wagon and a load of riders. He lived at Swepsonville, but he went way down 54.
CLIFF KUHN:
And people came all the way in from the country.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
So there wasn't any real difference between working in the city or working in the country.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That's right. If you could find somebody that would come by and pick you up.
CLIFF KUHN:
As long as you could find the work.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was work in the plaid mill any different from work down at

Page 10
Swepsonville or other places where you worked?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not a whole lot of difference. It was at a time when you had to work awfully hard, because there was always somebody standing at the gate waiting for a job. And it looked like every time you got where you could keep a job up, they'd just add a little bit more to it. And you was always in a hole, trying to catch up. I don't know if you've ever been like that or not. You'll think, "Now I'll do this, and I'll be caught up; now I'll do this, and I'll be caught up; now I know I'm going to be caught up in just a minute." But at the end of your eight hours, you're just as far behind as you were to start with.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you working every day during that time period?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, most of the time I was working five days. The mill was running six days, but they just wouldn't let you have any overtime. You had to rest all day.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you remember when someone threw dynamite into the plaid mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That was before I went to work over there.
CLIFF KUHN:
I think it was in '34. Do you remember anything about that '34 strike, any of the activity that went on there?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That was at the Pioneer Plant. I don't know too much about that. I do remember hearing about them dynamiting over there and their having right much trouble, but I never did work at the Pioneer Plant. The plaid mill was Burlington Mills at that time, but it hadn't been but a short while.
CLIFF KUHN:
As far as you could tell from the people whom you worked with,

Page 11
did it change when Burlington came in?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I never did work for it when it wasn't Burlington Mills.
CLIFF KUHN:
Who was the supervisor at the plaid mill at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Walt Edmond was over the preparation. I don't remember who was the superintendent.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was Mr. Copeland or Mr. Williams?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Mr. Copeland had already gone to Swepsonville, and Mr. Williams followed Mr. Copeland, but I don't remember who was the super at that time.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was there ever any change between supervisors? Were some better than others?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
In the departments, yes. Each supervisor had his system.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of work were you doing?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I was working on twisters.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did that work compare to …
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You put up however many ends of yarns you wanted twisted together, and then it comes down and twists it and runs it on a spool.
CLIFF KUHN:
And you left there in '41?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I left for good in '41. [Laughter] My ride quit and I had no way to ride. And they had already asked me down at Swepsonville. I had moved to Swepsonville from down in the country, and they had sent over there a couple of times for me to come and talk to the overseer.
CLIFF KUHN:
Because you were known as a good worker?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Well… [Laughter] Not too good, I don't guess, but

Page 12
regular. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Was your husband working at Swepsonville at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. That's the only place he ever worked, except I think he worked a month at the Pioneer Plant and got laid off.
CLIFF KUHN:
And went back to Swepsonville.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Went back to Swepsonville.
CLIFF KUHN:
So then you went to work in Swepsonville, during the War?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I used to work at Swepsonville, and I worked there till they closed in '70.
CLIFF KUHN:
And that was the last place you worked?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, I went to Cannon and worked.
CLIFF KUHN:
Cannon in Graham?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. I worked on warp mills down there.
CLIFF KUHN:
At Swepsonville, did you do pretty much the same kind of job all the way through, or did you change jobs?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
When you worked down there, when you worked in preparation, they did everything in there in preparation, and you had to do a little bit of everything. If your job was piled up or was standing or if they needed you worse on something else, they'd take you to another of the jobs. And you'd say, "Well, I don't know how to do this." They'd say, "Well, there it is; do the best you can with it." [Laughter] And it was learn the best way you could, and I [unknown].
CLIFF KUHN:
What did people in Swepsonville do when the mill closed down in 1970?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Quite a few of them were about ready to retire, and others went other places and found jobs.

Page 13
CLIFF KUHN:
How had things changed over those twenty-nine years that you worked at Swepsonville?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They made a lot of improvements. They bought a lot of modern machinery over at the mill, and they built a new weave room. They put in a lot of new looms.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you think the work was harder in 1970 than it was in 1941, or easier?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't think you had to stay on your toes as much in the later period.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why is that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I guess one thing that made a difference, you get used to working on a job when you stay on it for a long time, and you learn how to take advantage of it. You learn the shortcuts. I don't mean by that that you do sloppy work. I just mean that you learn how to take advantage of it and get along with it faster.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did you move from Swepsonville? Did you stay down there till 1970?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
1974. I remarried and moved up here. I'd been single for eight years. [Laughter] My first husband passed away in 1966.
CLIFF KUHN:
And he worked there pretty much till he died.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. He never worked in any department except the cloth room or the finishing department. I worked about all over the mill except the weave room, but I never worked in the weave room.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you think you'd like that, working a lot of different jobs rather than just one job?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, it's a variety. I never did think I'd like to work in the weave room. I never did work in the weave room, but I did

Page 14
everything [unknown].
CLIFF KUHN:
What did people in Swepsonville do for entertainment in those days?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They didn't do anything much. Went to the movies or something like that. That had a community center there. Once in a while they'd have somebody over there to entertain, or maybe have some kind of gathering over there, or something up at Alexander Wilson School sometimes. And church activities. That's all there was there. And they had a ball team. Usually they had the juniors in softball, and then for several years they had a men's baseball team.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did they recruit the baseball players?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did they do that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
There was right many of the employees that had played in school, and [unknown]. And they built a real nice ball park down there at one time. Had the bleachers and the lights and everything. It was nice. I don't know what happened. I don't know whether they lost interest or what, but they quit. But the smaller ones kept playing, and they'd have softball and basketball sometimes, square dances once in a while [unknown]. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you ever come to Burlington around that time, other than to go to work?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did people come to Burlington for?

Page 15
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They came to Burlington to shop, go to the movies. There was no place down there to shop other than little grocery stores there in the country, and you just didn't buy all your groceries at a place like that. You went to the chain stores or a bigger store to buy your groceries.
CLIFF KUHN:
You never thought about moving to Burlington?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why was that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. We lived in Graham for a little while one time, during the winter of '39 and '40, and we didn't like Graham.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why was that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It wasn't home. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
During all this time, did you always have a garden?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not always, but sometimes.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was there much communication between people who worked in the mill and people who stayed in the country, the farmers?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were most of your friends farmers or mill workers?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I had friends in the country and there in the village, too. And the other people did, too.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about your relatives? Did they stay …
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Most of them are in the country. I had a brother that lived here in Burlington, and I've got one that lives in Mebane now, and one lives in Selma, Alabama. And the one that lives in Mebane lived in Graham quite a while. I guess he liked it; I don't know. [Laughter]

Page 16
CLIFF KUHN:
How about your children? Where were they born?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They were born in the country, in Alamance County.
CLIFF KUHN:
In which years were they born?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Twenty-seven, '29, '30, and '33.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did they end up doing?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Two of them are in textiles. One of them's a mechanic. One lives in Swepsonville. He works at Gibsonville. He runs a slasher.
CLIFF KUHN:
He drives all the way from Swepsonville to Gibsonville every day?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. And one lives in Gibsonville. He works for the City of Burlington.
CLIFF KUHN:
And what do their children do? Are their children still working in textiles?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, none of them's children work in textiles.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think that is?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They went to school and prepared themselves for a better job.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you want that of your children, or what did you want? Did you want your children to follow what you had done or [unknown] kind of work?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I'd rather they'd make up their own minds as to what they think they [unknown]. Now my youngest son, he lives in Charlotte and he's a mechanic. My daughter lives in Des Moines, Iowa. She's not able to do anything. She had a stroke this past [unknown].

Page 17
CLIFF KUHN:
How did she end up in Des Moines?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
She married a man from there.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did someone from Alamance County meet a man from Des Moines?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
He was in service.
CLIFF KUHN:
At Fort Bragg?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, it must have been Camp Lee. She was working in the bus station someplace in Virginia and met him.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you working at Swepsonville during World War II?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you produce any materials for the War effort?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, we made government material, sandbag material and something else. I really don't know what it was used for. It was something that was real heavy. It was a denim weave, but it was all white and it was all cotton. I really don't know what they did with it. The sandbag material was something like unbleached, real coarse sheeting, and they used it for sandbags.
CLIFF KUHN:
What was work like during the World War II era? Did it change at all, or was it harder? Did you have to meet production more?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
All through the years we had production.
CLIFF KUHN:
So that's all the way through from 1927 to …
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. Really, all the time I ever worked, I never got paid by piece work, but still they expected you to do so much, and you knew how much you were supposed to do. They'd give you machines

Page 18
to keep going, and you were supposed to keep them going.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did the number of machines change over the years?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes and no. [Laughter] They got more modern machines that didn't take as much attention, and naturally you had to do more. And they were high-speed; they were speeded up so much.
CLIFF KUHN:
How would that affect what you did?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You'd have to put up so much more yarn for a high-speed than you would for the slower running machine.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about stools? Did they ever have stools?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, they had stools, but I was one of the lucky ones. I was tall and had extra long arms. I could work from the floor. [Laughter] A lot of times, I would be the only one that did work from the floor; the rest of them would have to have a stool. I have unusually long arms. [Laughter]
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't think they did anything about the noise level. Down at Cannon, while I was working down there they got to hollering about the noise, and a lot of the places they had to wear earplugs. But where I was at it wasn't so noisy, and we didn't have to wear them. But they did, I guess, in most of the mill. What I did, there was only three machines running in that department, and that wasn't a whole lot of noise. They didn't make much noise, and we didn't have to wear earplugs. They didn't wear them in the dye house. But where there was a lot of noise they wore earplugs.

Page 19
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you think it's better or worse to work in textiles today than when you started out?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I think it's better, because the machinery's so much more modern. In a way it's not as good. They have so many blacks, so to speak, and they will never carry their end of the load.
CLIFF KUHN:
I had heard from someone else that some of the black applicants are screened through. They have a screening procedure. If that's the case, then how do they select…
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know how they select. I just know that they just won't carry their part of the load a lot of times.
CLIFF KUHN:
Is there a resentment on the part of the older workers?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't think so, unless they have to carry their part of the load, and anybody resents that. I worked with some as good black people as I ever have white people. We had two service boys that were exceptionally good.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was that in Swepsonville?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, it was down at Cannon. I didn't work with any blacks at Swepsonville. They had some there, but I didn't work with them, other than clean-up boys or something like that. We had one down at Cannon who didn't get along too good with the bossman, but he was as smart a boy as I ever worked with. He'd be gone and you couldn't see him nowhere, and if I needed him I'd say, "Joe," and I don't know where in the world he'd come from, but he'd be there. And he'd always do what I asked him to. There was another lady that I worked with. He didn't like her worth a hoot. He said she tried to drive him a lot more, and he resented it. But I don't know as she did, or

Page 20
if that was just her way of speaking. I got along with Joe. He was pretty light. And when I first went there, they had one that was good to work with. But he quit and come back, and he wasn't worth a hoot. I don't know what happened to him, but when he come back he just wouldn't do [unknown].
CLIFF KUHN:
That's interesting that so many people switched jobs from one place to another. I still want to find out why you think that was.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know, unless they're just restless. [Laughter] My brother was overseer down at Cannon on the third shift in the weave room. And he gave it up and went back to weaving, and he said that you couldn't get the work done because you didn't have the help. All they had on the third shift [Laughter] was drunks and drifters. If they wasn't out drunk, they was quit and gone.
CLIFF KUHN:
When was that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That was during the time I was working down there. He said he just couldn't fight it. They was always onto him about not getting off production, and he couldn't get off production with the help he had.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was that always the case, that there were always a certain number of drunks and drifters who were working in the mills?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
To a certain extent.
CLIFF KUHN:
Who were the drunks and the drifters? Where did they come from?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They'd just drift from one place to another.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did they stay within the county, or did some of them come

Page 21
from other …
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Usually local. They'd just go from one mill to another. And believe it or not, their kind of people can always get a job. They'll always hire them again. As a rule, they're good workers when they work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did people who held steady jobs look down on the drifters?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not really.
CLIFF KUHN:
So there weren't two groups of people.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They're expected. They knew them on sight, and when one of them would come in, they'd say, "Oh, he won't be here long. He'll be gone." Sometimes they'd stay a while, and then sometimes they wouldn't stay.
CLIFF KUHN:
They'd usually leave because they were mad at something?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Sometimes they'd be mad, and sometimes they'd just get on a bender and just not come back.
CLIFF KUHN:
When they got mad, what kind of things was it about?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, maybe something personal, or maybe something about the work, or just whatever they got mad about. They just, "I've had it," and that was it.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did the other employees feel about that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It didn't bother them. They'd say, "So-and-so quit. Oh, well, somebody'll take his place tomorrow." And that's just the way we thought about it. It just didn't bother us.
CLIFF KUHN:
What were the schools like in Swepsonville?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, they had two groups of people. They had the

Page 22
country kids and the village kids.
CLIFF KUHN:
What was the difference?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. I didn't know it until since all my children have been out of school and I worked with one of the boys that went to school from the country. Well, mine went from the country, too, till the eldest one was fourteen, and he must have been about the seventh or eighth grade. But they never said anything about it, or if they did I didn't remember it. But anyway, this one man said that the kids from Swepsonville thought they were better than the ones from the country because they dressed better. Said their parents had a payday every two weeks, and said our parents have a payday in the spring when they sell their grain, and one in the fall when they sell their grain or tobacco or cotton or whatever they have. And said the country kids—well, I knew that all the time—didn't have new clothes every week or two. They got theirs twice a year. And said he always felt like the ones from the village looked down on the ones from the country, because they didn't have as many new clothes.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you feel that as a kid, growing up in the country yourself?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not until the last two years I went to school.
CLIFF KUHN:
How old were you then?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I quit when I was eighteen.
CLIFF KUHN:
So you went through high school.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, I lacked two years. Our school was consolidated, and we had to go to another neighborhood, and that school just wouldn't

Page 23
accept the other schools that were bussed in. And it looked like they felt like, "This is ours. Keep your distance."
CLIFF KUHN:
Was this all in south Alamance?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, that was in Orange County. If you drive back and forth to Chapel Hill, you know where the schoolhouse is, White Cross. I don't know what they use it for now, but there hasn't been any school there in years. It's not far from the road, but you don't see it till you're right in front of it.
CLIFF KUHN:
The other kids looked down on you because you were from the country, or just because you were …
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They were from the country, too, but they just wouldn't accept the other schools. I don't know why, but they just didn't.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you ever think that you might want to work in a hosiery mill or any other kind of mill other than the ones that you worked at?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not really. I know it's cleaner, but it's a lot more fragile. You have to be so careful of everything. I worked in rayon, nylon, cotton, and blends and all that kind of stuff. But when it comes to handling hose, my hands are too rough. [Laughter] I'd have to wear gloves to handle hose.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you know a lot of people who worked in hosiery?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
So people knew people from a lot of different groups at that time.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, yes. Maybe I worked in a cotton mill, and my next-door neighbor worked in a hosiery mill.

Page 24
CLIFF KUHN:
In Swepsonville, was there a hosiery mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, but the people come to Graham then and Alamance, Belmont, and to other hosiery mills.
CLIFF KUHN:
It's interesting to me how they did work at all these different places, even before people had cars.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They did. I had an uncle said that he had worked at every mill in Alamance County except Swepsonville. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
There are dozens of mills.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
There are a lot of them.
CLIFF KUHN:
How would the word get out, say, that a particular worker was a good worker? I know that some of the companies tried to recruit people who they felt were good workers.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
If they got a-hold of one that worked pretty good, if they thought he was going to quit they'd try to hold onto him. I'll boast a little bit. [Laughter] The last time when I quit the plaid mill, my bossman told me he was going to send my time in sick, and he'd send it in like that two weeks, and I could come back. But I didn't go back.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why didn't you, at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That's the last time I quit, and I didn't have any way to ride, so I didn't go back.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did most everybody in Swepsonville belong to the same church?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, they had two churches there, and some of them went out in the country to other churches.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about your family?

Page 25
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
My family went to church there. I went to the Baptist. [Laughter] Two of the children went to the Baptist, and two of them to the Methodist.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why is that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. Their friends, when we first moved there. That's where their friends went, and that's where they started going.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did the company start those churches?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. Mrs. Baker gave the bell and the organ. She was the owner of the mill.
CLIFF KUHN:
She was the first lady owner of a mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, her husband died and left it to her.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did she ever come into the mill [unknown]?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, yes, she'd come up there and look around.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of a lady was she?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
She was real nice, just another one of the girls, so's to speak. And they lived there for a long time, and they finally moved to Raleigh. And I've heard a lot of the ones that lived there—they were about my age, and they lived there when they were kids—and they said that when her children would have a birthday, she'd throw a big party for her children and invite all the kids in the village. Of course, there were not as many then as maybe there is now. And she'd give out the gifts to the other kids, instead of kids bringing her children gifts. She'd always have gifts for the kids that she invited.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did Mrs. Baker die?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know.
CLIFF KUHN:
That was when you were still working.

Page 26
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I was still working.
CLIFF KUHN:
What happened after that, in terms of the relationships the people who worked there?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It didn't make any difference. The boys had already took over [unknown]. Their oldest son never married. He was the business end of the work. And the other one was just slap-happy, and he didn't care if the wind blowed or not. But as long as Ashby lived, you'd never know the difference. Everything went on. But after Ashby died, it just started going down.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did he die?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I can't remember. I knew when it was, but I don't know how long it's been.
CLIFF KUHN:
What happened after that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It just went from bad to worse till they went bankrupt and had to close.
CLIFF KUHN:
How long a notice did they give you before it closed down?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
We didn't have any notice.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did they tell you?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
We had been being on short time every once in a while, and they'd say, "If I need you next week, I'll call you." And then finally I went out of work and that was it.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did they give you any pension or any money?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
We had a [Laughter] little retirement pension there, very little, and we didn't get that for a long time. But as they become sixty-five, if they have as much as ten years' service (the last ten years), they get it. They didn't start paying it, though, for a good

Page 27
long while. They finally started paying it, and I guess they'll continue, for the ones that are eligible for it. But they let us sign up for unemployment. I was out of work six or seven weeks.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was it hard for you to get a job at Cannon Mills?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not when I really tried. I kind of wanted to rest for a little bit. Of course, I went every week and asked for work different places, and then I heard there was a vacancy at Cannon. And I went down there and I applied for one in the cloth room. I had worked in a cloth room at Virginia Mills. The man that was over it said he didn't want to put me on the third shift. I'd been on the first shift so long, and I was too old to try to go back to the third shift. He said, "I'll see what works out." So about two or three days later I heard that somebody had quit in the preparation, so I called the personnel man and asked him if he would change my application and give me a chance at that, [unknown] So the next day they called and wanted to know if I'd come to work that day. I told them I couldn't go to work that day, but I'd come in the next day, so I went to work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you and your husband always work the same shift?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No. I worked six years third shift, and him on the first. My children were small, and if I worked third shift and him first, I didn't have to have somebody stay with them.
CLIFF KUHN:
So you'd work all third shift and then take care of the kids and then go to sleep?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They were in school, but still I didn't want them… They had always been in the country, and I didn't want them running

Page 28
around over that hill all over everywhere and no telling where. I was kind of funny about them; I liked to know where they were.
CLIFF KUHN:
That's not so funny. [Laughter]
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
And they never knew when I was going to wake up and get up. And if I went to bed and I'd say, "You all stay in this yard till I get up," believe it or not, they did it. And then after I'd get up, if they wanted to go somewhere, they could.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did people do where both the wife and the husband worked the same shift?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Some of them would have a neighbor keep them, or just leave them, let them gallivant around.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about the little kids?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They would have somebody keep them. Some of them had cooks. Some of them maybe had an in-law that would sit in and look after them for them. And a lot of the teenage girls would sit small children in the summertime [unknown].
CLIFF KUHN:
Did people ever take their kids into the mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not much. They wasn't supposed to have them. After they got up eight or ten years old, they could go in there and take lunches. Old enough to know not to get in the machinery or anything, just go and take a lunch and come right back. They were permitted to do that at one time, but they stopped that.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did they stop that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It must have been maybe the late fifties. I know my daughter used to go every day and take lunches. [unknown] kids to take these lunches. No body there to fix it.

Page 29
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think they stopped that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Some of the kids got so they would go where they were not supposed to. They got too big for their britches, so's to speak. And had a lot of curiosity; they [unknown], and then they stopped it. And the management was changed [unknown]. And the company ran a dope wagon.
CLIFF KUHN:
For Coca-Colas or what?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
And sandwiches and things like that. They called it the dope wagon. [Laughter] No, the company didn't run it. It was catered in. If you wanted to take your lunch, that was fine and dandy. Sometimes somebody would come in and bring their lunch, but not much. When I first went down there, though, there was quite a few ladies that cooked meals and carried them over there, plates, on all three shifts. There was one lady that carried meals on all three shifts.
CLIFF KUHN:
She was the wife of a mill hand?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, she was a widow woman that didn't have any way to make a living except she had a few girl boarders, and she would cook meals and take to the mill and sell them.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were there many single girl boarders who worked in the mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, right many. My sister boarded with her, for one. She lived down in Orange County and didn't have any way back and forth, so she boarded there in the village.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did she start to work?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It must have been about '40 or '41.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did she [unknown]?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Oh, no, she moved around everywhere. [Laughter]

Page 30
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think that you stayed in one place all that time and your sister moved around to all these places?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know. She got in hosiery mills and worked first one place and [unknown]. I think maybe that's the reason she moved around. She and her husband separated, and she was kind of restless and didn't know what [unknown] didn't know hardly what she wanted. If she felt like she was getting a better job, why, she'd just move.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did a lot of people take in boarders?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not a whole lot. Just a few.
CLIFF KUHN:
And they were mainly young girls? Were there young boys, too, who'd come in?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not after I moved there. I don't know of any boys that boarded. But at one time, they had three boarding houses there. One of them was, I guess, built for a boarding house, but the others were just big houses, and the people kept boarders. But that was before my time. They closed the boarding houses right after we moved there. There was quite a few boys that had boarded there. I knew them, but I didn't know them at the time that they boarded there.
CLIFF KUHN:
Inside the mill, were certain jobs reserved for the men and certain for the women, or was it pretty much the same?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
There was jobs for the men and jobs for the women. The women didn't do the hard, heavy jobs.
CLIFF KUHN:
Like the dye house?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No women in the dye house. No women in the card room.
CLIFF KUHN:
Any jobs that only women did?

Page 31
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, just women spinners and winders and toppers. And at that time, women didn't run the cotton twisters that were downstairs.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did that change, when women could run the twisters?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Over the years, they began to work them in.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did that happen?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know. It just seemed like it just happened for no reason.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did women take over any jobs during World War II?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, they did. Working on twisters and things of that kind.
CLIFF KUHN:
And that stayed after the War?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, they stayed on after the War. And a lot of things like that. There was a time when the women… We used to run yarn off of a spool, but it was metal. The spool was wood and had metal heads on it. We called them iron heads, but really they were spools, and we had them on a tray. And that tray would hold twenty. And them things were heavy when you'd get twenty on there with a little bit of yarn on each one of them. Or sometimes we'd have to lift them when they were full of yarn. And we had to stack them, six high. And there was a time when the women didn't have to do that. When they would empty them, we'd just take them down. They'd be empty. Take them down and set them on the floor, and the service boy would stack them up [unknown]. where we had to stack our own. That's [unknown]. The last job I worked on, I guess, was about the heaviest I ever had. We had some yarn. I told one of the guys from Planning, "Them things weigh eight to fifteen pounds." He said, "Aw, they don't." I said, "You get in there

Page 32
and hang four hundred and some of them and not stop, and you'll think they weigh twenty-five pounds." [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Did he? [Laughter] What kind of house did you live in in those days in Swepsonville? Did you live in the same house for all that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. One of the mill houses, a four-room frame house.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of rent did you pay on that house?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
When we first moved there, we paid six dollars a month, water and lights.
CLIFF KUHN:
That's pretty good. [Laughter] Did the rent ever go up?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It finally went up, but I don't remember. They sold the houses in '52, I guess.
CLIFF KUHN:
So you bought your own house at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You didn't have no choice. It was either buy it or get out. And I didn't drive, and I worked there, and I didn't have any choice. But they fixed it so that you could buy them without too much of a strain.
CLIFF KUHN:
How much did it cost to buy those houses?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Mine was about $2,600. [Laughter] Of course, they had been fixed up a lot from what they had been at one time, but they were rundown. After Mr. Williams passed away, the Baker boys just didn't take no interest in anything toward keeping the houses up or anything. And first thing, I had to cover mine, and I did a whole lot of work on it. [unknown] it was still nothing but an old barn. There was no baths then.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did a number of people decide not to buy the houses and leave?

Page 33
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not a whole lot of them. Some of them didn't, but the majority of them bought them. A lot of them sold them later.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why did the company decide to sell the houses at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Really, I don't know, unless it was going to cost so much to fix them back up, and they didn't feel like messing with them. I don't remember how much the rent was at the time they sold them, but it was six dollars when we first moved there and rented one.
CLIFF KUHN:
That's a good rent. I wish I could pay that rent today. [Laughter]
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, don't you ever. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
What was health care like? Another thing that's pretty expensive today. Where did you go to a doctor?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You had to go to town for a doctor, but at that time you could get a doctor to come out. The doctors in Graham would come out at that time if you wasn't able to come in.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were there midwives in the country, too?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not at that time. They had vanished.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did you know any when you were a child?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. They're all gone.
CLIFF KUHN:
What are the biggest changes that you've seen in the course of your lifetime in Alamance County and Burlington?
END OF INTERVIEW