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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Transitioning from the farm to the mill

When Glenn entered the mill in the early 1930s, she and her husband hoped her income would allow him to remain on the farm. Over the course of the next several years, however, they transitioned completely to mill life. She had never worked away from the farm until that point.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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 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 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.