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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 >>

Purchasing the mill houses

One of the biggest changes to occur in the textile mill villages happened when the companies sold the mill houses to the workers. Glenn describes how that occurred in Swepsonville and speculates as to why the mill owners decided to do that.

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:
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. 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?
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]