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Title: Oral History Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979. Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Shoemaker, Mattie, interviewee
Author: Edmonds, Mildred Shoemaker, interviewee
Interview conducted by Murphy, Mary
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: 224 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:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-03-15, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979. Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0046)
Author: Mary Murphy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979. Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0046)
Author: Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds
Description: 181 Mb
Description: 51 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 23, 1979, by Mary Murphy; recorded in Burlington, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by David Knudsen.
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.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979.
Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Shoemaker, Mattie, interviewee
Edmonds, Mildred Shoemaker, interviewee


Interview Participants

    MATTIE SHOEMAKER, interviewee
    MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS, interviewee
    MARY MURPHY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
MARY MURPHY:
Was that when you first came to Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When we first came to Burlington.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Ken was the superintendent. I'd know his name if I could think. He lived in Graham. He's dead now.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't expect he's here cuz he's older than I am.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Did Miss Johnson tell you who she worked for?
MARY MURPHY:
No, she didn't.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She didn't work in the same part we did when we first come there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, she worked in the weave room, we worked in the winding room. Now what in the dickens was that boy's name. I'd like to get the boss man, their names.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Sykes is his last name.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was over us.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
His last name was Sykes. Ain't it awful you can't remember. He had a daughter named Myrtle and …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, we don't care about them.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I know. If I could think of his daughter's name I could think of his name. Now Versa Haithcock lives over on Belmont Street. He's worked in Burlington Mills. He's worked there longer than we have.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Miss Smith would remember that Sykes man's name. Go in there and call her and ask what Sykes' name is. She was raised up with him. She ought to know.
MARY MURPHY:
Were you born in Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, we're from the mountains. We're from Ashe County at Jefferson.

Page 2
MARY MURPHY:
How did you come to Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We just got started down here I guess.
MARY MURPHY:
Did your whole family come down?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. My mother and father and family. They was four girls and one boy of us. And they all came down.
MARY MURPHY:
Now when was this?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Sis, what year did we come? We come to Burlington in '28.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
When we first come to Burlington. She didn't answer. But wasn't it Jack Sykes?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I sure hate I can't remember his first name. We worked over here in July for him and then he called us back over here and we went to work for him. It wasn't Jim and it wasn't Tom.
MARY MURPHY:
Maybe if we talk about the mill it will come back to you. Did you come directly to Burlington from the mountains?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, we came to Guilford county.
MARY MURPHY:
What did you do there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That was in …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
We came in '22. We worked at the Hopedale Mill over there for Copland. We worked at Gibsonville and then we worked at Burlington Mills.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
But she's wanting to know just the Burlington Mill.
MARY MURPHY:
We're doing the whole area. We're in this neighborhood because the Burlington Mill is here, but most of the people we talked to worked in a lot of the different mills.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We come to Burlington in '28.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
We come here in '28. November. I know you don't remember this now. [Laughter]

Page 3
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Heavens to Betsy, she wasn't born, not thought about.
MARY MURPHY:
[Laughter] No, it was a little too far back for me. Did your whole family go to work in the mills?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.
MARY MURPHY:
Which ones …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, all of us that was old enough went to work in the mill. Now our sister didn't come here with us, did she?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Uh-uh.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She was married and lived in Gibsonville.
MARY MURPHY:
Did your mother and father work in the mills?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, my mother never worked a day in her life at nothing. I mean only housework.
MARY MURPHY:
Was that because she didn't want to work in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
My daddy never would let her work. He said, "A man is a sorry man couldn't keep his wife up."
MARY MURPHY:
How did he feel about you girls working in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, he didn't mind for us. We was the children.
MARY MURPHY:
How old were you when you started working?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Me, when we come here? I was twenty-eight. I lacked a month of being twenty-eight.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I was about twenty-four then.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you work in the mill in Gibsonville or Hopedale before?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. We worked there. Our daddy run a business there in Gibsonville.
MARY MURPHY:
What did he do?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He had a store, service station.

Page 4
MARY MURPHY:
Were those the kind, they had a gas station and then a little store?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, that's what he had.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever work in the store?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. We worked some, maybe a Saturday evening, a Saturday night. Worked down there.
MARY MURPHY:
Was that fun? Did you like that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, I didn't like it.
MARY MURPHY:
How come?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I'd rather went to the show. [Laughter] But back then, you see, you done what your parents said.
MARY MURPHY:
Before you came down from the mountains, were your family farmers up in the mountains?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, my daddy run a business there.
MARY MURPHY:
Why did he decide to leave?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know. We just took a notion to leave, I reckon. Don't know no particular things.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you remember what moving was like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
It wasn't fun.
MARY MURPHY:
How did you do it? Did you have a car then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
When you came to Burlington, was it hard to find work?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No. It wasn't hard then to find work.
MARY MURPHY:
How did you go about getting a job?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You'd hear where they wanted help. You'd just go and apply for a job. They'd call you and maybe the next day. It wasn't no trouble.
MARY MURPHY:
How did you hear? Were there like notices, or just from people telling

Page 5
you that they needed help up someplace?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Did we know people?
MARY MURPHY:
How did you know about which places needed hands at that time?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, you'd hear about people would talking to you.
MARY MURPHY:
When you came to the Burlington Mills, was that when you moved into this house?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.
MARY MURPHY:
Where did you move first?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Up there on Graham Street. These were all mill houses. The company owned all the houses. Then they sold the houses out and we bought this one.
MARY MURPHY:
When was that? When did they sell the mill houses?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Do you remember what year that was?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'35.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, that's the year that Arnold graduated we moved in here.
MARY MURPHY:
What did they call the mill then?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Called it Burlington Mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I have heard them say when they first built the mill they called it the "New Mill." But it was Burlington Mills when we come here. But I heard tell when they first built it it was called "New Mill." It was just one small mill. It came from Gastonia. Wasn't that the place?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Uh-uh.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Love brought it here. This started just the one room.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They had one winder, I think it was, out there was all in one room.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They told us about that.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They didn't have but a few looms, they told us, out there. Then

Page 6
they kept expanding on.
MARY MURPHY:
How big was it when you two started there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That had that silk mill and the weave room. They had three up there then.
MARY MURPHY:
So the silk mill, each one was a separate mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Oh, I see. People kept telling me about the Carolina Silk Mill and I just thought that was the whole thing up there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
There was the Carolina Silk Mill and Alamance Novelty and they called up there …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
The Burlington Mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, the Burlington Mill.
MARY MURPHY:
And that's the one you worked in?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, we worked in the Burlington Mill. Oh maybe for a week, maybe a couple of days they'd be short of a hand or something in the Carolina Mill. We'd go down there and work, just walk up and go in that department. Or go down to the Novelty Mill. They did all of them.
MARY MURPHY:
What did they make in the Novelty Mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they had looms down there, didn't they?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Uh-huh. And they had winding down there. They made bedspreads down there.
MARY MURPHY:
What were your jobs?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Winding.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you both wind?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
Would you work together?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We did part of the time because she worked maybe on the first shift, sometimes I'd work on the second and on the third. The last work I did was on the third shift.

Page 7
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
When we first come here, though, we worked from four to four and six to six. All night or all day long. When was it they put on eight hours?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When Roosevelt.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'32 I believe it was it went on eight hours. I think that was when we went on eight hours.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That's the year we had the strike.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
It didn't amount to much.
MARY MURPHY:
What was that like, the strike?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Wasn't nothing.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Well there was a bunch from over at Danville come over here and tried to pull the people out up here to come out on strike with them. But nobody didn't go out with them.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they did pull some, don't you know that bunch from up at the Plaid Mill come down?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah they pulled a few of them, but they was glad to get back in there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You know that bunch from Plaid Mill came down here. And don't you Robert Coles was in it and he belonged to the National Guard. He was in the strike and was up there. The next day or two they called out the National Guards and he had to go in as a National Guard where he had been a trying to pull them out. Then he was up there protecting the rest of us going in.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever talk to him about that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah I told him about it.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you know, how did he feel about that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, he just laughed about it. We had one woman up there, I don't

Page 8
remember her name.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
The Pickard girl. I don't remember her first name, but she was a Pickard.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I believe she's dead now. We started in one morning, into work. She met us out there at the gate. We was told not to say nothing to them, you know if they said anything to us. We had guards up there. They said if they put their hands on us they could take them up. But they couldn't no other way. So we went on in and she told me, she said, "Well, you'll be …"
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
"In the morning I'll be …"
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
"On the inside looking out and you'll be on the outside looking in." She went on to another mill. That evening after we came out of work, Sheriff Davis—he is the deputy sheriff here, we didn't have no policemen, not in here because it wasn't a corporation. The sheriff had to look after us. Davis was a good friend of our daddy's. He came out to the house. He said he couldn't hardly wait for me to get out from work. He heard what she said that morning. He couldn't hardly wait for me to get home from work, he wanted to come and tell me.
He said, "You know that thing,"—that's what he called her, "That thing," he didn't call her a lady. I don't know whether she was a lady. She could have been. But he called her "that thing." Said, "You know that thing that talked to you this morning? Well, she sure is on the inside looking out. She's down at the county jail."
MARY MURPHY:
Really! Wow. Was she from Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She was from around Graham or Burlington or somewhere.
MARY MURPHY:
Why did they arrest her?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She went on up to the Plaid Mill and I think she take a hold of

Page 9
somebody up there and give them a good shake. And Davis, he just watched to get his hands on her to arrest her. He didn't like her.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they arrest a lot of people?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No. They wasn't many arrests.
MARY MURPHY:
So they didn't have policemen then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, we wasn't in the city limits. Still in the county.
MARY MURPHY:
So who were the guards up at the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
The National Guards and the night watchmens was out up there. They wasn't worth a hill of beans. They'd run.
MARY MURPHY:
What did those people say when they would come up and try to get you to go out of work?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they'd catch us as we'd come out the gates or go in. Now the first morning they pulled it, our supervisor, he come out to the house and he told us not to come in that morning. They said, "We going to work on it and get somebody around the gates. You all can come in in the morning."
So we went in, we didn't go in that morning. The next morning we went in. There were several of them around here and some of them I guess you'll interview, they wouldn't go.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you know any of those people that wouldn't go in?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Icy Norman wouldn't go. Miss Birch over on Fair street didn't, yes she, no, she didn't go in.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now this next door neighbor up here, she worked up here a long time in the Burlington Mills.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She went in.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She went in.
MARY MURPHY:
Now who was that?

Page 10
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Mrs. Birch, next door up here.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Versa Haithcock wouldn't work.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They wasn't too many that lived here close by that would go into work.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Dewey McBride, he lives in Fair Street, now he works up here, but he wouldn't go in.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No. The next scare we had—I'm not going to call no names on that—said that our house could be burnt down. That didn't scare us because we are from the mountains. You know if you've ever been to the mountains, you've got the show them—they like the people from Missouri—they just not scared. So we went on in. They said, "Well, your house could get burnt down tonight."
We didn't pay no attention to it. We went right on back. We did tell Sheriff Davis. He said, "You needn't worry about that." They was one, I don't know who he was, he was a deputy, sit on our front porch on the steps and one sit on the back porch on the steps all night long while we slept. We got up next morning and went. They didn't scare us.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you know if they threatened anybody else? Did they threaten a lot of people?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Not that I know of. I don't know whether they did or not. They just made that remark to us. That did sound, so we told Davis. He didn't like that sound at all.
MARY MURPHY:
Was there any kind of trouble like that? Did they burn anybody's house?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No they didn't do anything like that here.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They did at the Plaid Mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Dynamite on the mill up there. Not at the Burlington Mill. Well the way they got that stopped. Cal Ketner was the weaving room boss. Well his brother, what was he, he was …

Page 11
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
He worked in the weaving room.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. So they bunched up out there one night. We all got out on the porch and watched them. He got the hose pipe from the mill, you know, one of them big old water pipes, and he brought it out there. He stood on the inside of the fence and they was all around the fence. He drowned them. And they moved then. And we didn't have no more trouble with them. That's the way they stopped it.
MARY MURPHY:
How many people were there out there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They was just all of them out there. Me and you and Jean Coleman.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
There wasn't more than a half a dozen of us in the winding room went in.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Myrtle. They went.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Wasn't more than a half a dozen that went. In the winding department. I don't know whether anybody went in the weaving room back or not.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Miss Birch did, I know she went. Because I remember what I heard them say. They hollered at her, somebody did and made a smart remark. She told them, she said, "I got two little children. I've got to work." Her and her husband was separated. He didn't help her any. She raised her children. She said, "I've got two little children and they have to have milk."
MARY MURPHY:
What did people give as a reason for going on strike?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They never did say why they wanted to strike, what it is all about. It's just a bunch of hoodlums. They come from Danville and got it started up. Then over at Danville them people was out. They wouldn't take them back. The people that worked in the Burlington Mill made up and bought food and carried over there and fed them.

Page 12
MARY MURPHY:
How long did this go on?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I believe they was out a week or a little over a week. May have been two weeks.
MARY MURPHY:
Were some of the other mills in town, did a lot of people go out?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now they was out up at the Plaid Mill, but I don't know how many. I wasn't up that way. They were out up there. Didn't they have a strike at the same time down at Haw River?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I don't remember.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They was coming out. They wouldn't go in down there.
MARY MURPHY:
Must have been an interesting time.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yes it was.
MARY MURPHY:
Was your daddy working up at the mill then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.
MARY MURPHY:
Did he ever work in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He had, he worked a little bit. But he never did work much. Our daddy wasn't able. He was a coal miner. He was a retired coal miner.
MARY MURPHY:
Then he opened a store?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh.
MARY MURPHY:
Did he have a store here in Burlington as well?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No. He always runned it in Guilford County.
MARY MURPHY:
So what did he do when he came to Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, he opened up that.
MARY MURPHY:
He lived in Burlington and opened up …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.
MARY MURPHY:
I'm confused.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We lived in Guilford County and then come to Burlington.

Page 13
MARY MURPHY:
But what did your daddy do when he came to Burlington? Where was he working then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He didn't work. Like I said, he was a retired coal miner.
MARY MURPHY:
Who was working in the family then? Your mother was taking care of the house?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. Me and you was working. Our brother was going to school. 'Cause he was a little boy, wasn't he? Because he finished high school in '35 and then he went to Elon and then he went to State U.
MARY MURPHY:
What did he end up doing?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He worked over here at Western Electric. Now I can't tell you honey what he did. It was something in the government business, something over there. Because he was traveling right much. He worked there. He's been retired how long?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Two years.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now he wasn't old enough to retire. But he retired on his years.
MARY MURPHY:
When did you two retire?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I retired in '65.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I retired before she did and she's older than I am. But I got hurt and I come out on disability. I had to.
MARY MURPHY:
How did you get hurt?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I fell and crushed my hip.
MARY MURPHY:
Was that up at the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, here in the home.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they give you a pension up there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.

Page 14
MARY MURPHY:
Did they have some kind of workmen's compensation?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well now, I had an insurance up there and I could draw on that for three months. And they had a share-profit up there, but they wouldn't give me mine but that I was able to come back. And I wasn't able to go back. They marked me up total disabled over here at Alamance County Hospital. They marked me ‘total disabled to work’. My doctor did, too. But still they wouldn't give it to me. I just let it go.
MARY MURPHY:
How come?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, I said, "Well, if they could live with it, I could live without it."
MARY MURPHY:
Did you miss not working?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yes, I did. I did for a while. After a while I made up my mind and I said, "This happened to me. Maybe there was a reason for it. I don't know." And I just asked God if he'd just let me walk. But I wasn't worried about work, I wasn't worried about the money or nothing. And I didn't.
MARY MURPHY:
You seem to be doing O.K.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. I went two years without walking. That's all I asked, I just asked God to let me walk.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you both enjoy working in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, at one time I did. I worked up there two years on the third shift and never lost a night.
MARY MURPHY:
When was the third shift? What time would that be?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
From eleven o'clock to seven in the morning.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you like working the night shift?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, I really loved working on the third shift. I'd rather work on the third shift than any shift.

Page 15
MARY MURPHY:
Really, how come?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know. I just love working on the third shift.
MARY MURPHY:
(To Mattie) What shift did you like the best?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I worked the first.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you like that?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I enjoyed working the first shift. When we first come over here, like I said, we worked all day or all night, whichever shift we was on. But when we first come over here we worked on the night shift. We'd go to work in the evening and work till. Plenty of time we'd go to work at four o'clock in the evening and work till four o'clock the next morning. Part of the time it was six o'clock in the evening to six the next morning. But we got an hour for lunch of a night. See that knocked off just ten hours.
MARY MURPHY:
Where would you eat?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Up there in the mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We'd take our lunch with us on the start. They didn't have no eating place in there. Then later years they did put a place in there and we could get hot lunches and all in there.
MARY MURPHY:
When you got to take your lunch hour then, did they shut down the machines?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
No.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now, we shut off our machines.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
But the weaving room couldn't. But we could shut our winders off if we wanted to. Or eat and run, either way we wanted to do.
MARY MURPHY:
What did most people do, did they shut them down?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Most of them left their machines a running.
MARY MURPHY:
How come they did it that way?

Page 16
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Well, I reckon they just left them running rather than stop them off and go back and start 'em back up is all I know.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they pay more if you worked on the night shift?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they paid more on the third shift.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They paid more on the second shift than they did on the first.
MARY MURPHY:
So would people try to work on the second and third shift?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, they'd all try to get on the first.
MARY MURPHY:
How would they choose who got to work on which shift?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, if they needed anybody on the second shift they'd tell them it was all they had. Sometimes you could swap with somebody. Maybe somebody would rather be on the second shift so they could be at home in the morning. They would swap with some of them. Back at that time they would try to change them around, people that didn't have children, put them on the third shift.
MARY MURPHY:
Did most people live in the neighborhood that worked up at the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When they first started off they did. But after they sold the houses they didn't. We had a lot of country people come.
MARY MURPHY:
Was that at a certain time a lot of country people came in?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That was in '28.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARY MURPHY:
Were they mostly farming people?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Did they farm? Yeah, they'd go home just like they do today.
MARY MURPHY:
So they'd work in here and then go back to the country?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they went back and forth.

Page 17
MARY MURPHY:
What was it like here when this area wasn't incorporated?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Just as rough as pig-iron.
MARY MURPHY:
Really? What was it like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They'd get out and fight and cuss and carry on like that.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you feel like it was a dangerous neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yes it was. I don't know whether they'll all give you that or not. But we felt like it was.
MARY MURPHY:
Who were the people out there fighting?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We didn't know them all. After they sold these houses they got rid of them.
MARY MURPHY:
So they were the people living in the houses and working in the mill? The ones that were originally here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh. They'd fight, honey, up there in the mill.
MARY MURPHY:
What did they fight about?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They'd just get mad and fight. They were rough. I was working out there in the weaving room. You know they had a winder out there and they'd change them out there one day. I was out there working, just like going from one room to another. And I heard something go "clammety". I looked down and the blood was coming down the floor. Right above me laid a man and another man had took an iron pipe and knocked him in the head.
It was rough, honey. Don't put all that stuff in there because they'll think it's awful.
Now after we got incorporation it changed.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
After Preacher Swinney set that church.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. That changed a whole lot of it, too.

Page 18
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Oh, yeah, it changed it all.
MARY MURPHY:
What happened then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Everybody, people got going to church. I guess they seed the wrong they was in and they changed.
MARY MURPHY:
Was there no church around here until Preacher Swinney came?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He started up that church over here at Glen Hope in the school. Wasn't that where he started that?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Uh-huh.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He came here a little while before we did.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
He come here in '27.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Then he went …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
He had an old building up there on the corner of Graham and Beaumont Avenue. And he held service up there. And I believe the Glen Hope Church was set up this new church up here. I believe it was set up, it seems like '32, I don't remember.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now we don't go up there. We're Catholic.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
It was long about '32. The front part of that was built after the back part. There was a back part and then they built the front part on to it. Now he did brought it out.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he did brought it out. Him and Sheriff Davis. Them's two that really brought it out. Then they got incorporation. Then we got city.
MARY MURPHY:
Was it just like when Preacher Swinney came and found a church and …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he'd hold revivals and that.
MARY MURPHY:
Did most of the neighborhood go?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. They finally got them. They'd go around to their homes and hold prayer services.

Page 19
MARY MURPHY:
What would Deputy Sheriff Davis do about all the fighting?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He'd go get them.
MARY MURPHY:
Did he live in this neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he lived up here on Beaumont. You know that big house up there that used to be? Oh, you don't know this neighborhood.
MARY MURPHY:
I've probably gone by it but I haven't noticed it.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
It's that big two story building when you come straight down Beaumont Avenue.
MARY MURPHY:
Where was the jail?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
In Graham.
MARY MURPHY:
He'd take them over there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He'd take them over there. I see him load up a man one night. He lived in the back alley. He lived down on Parker Street at that time. Him and his wife was down there. He beat his wife going and coming. They was down there fighting. Sheriff Davis come down there in a little truck and I don't know how in the world he got that man in the truck, but he did and tied him and carried him to jail.
MARY MURPHY:
Was Sheriff Davis a big man?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he was a pretty good sized man. He was good.
MARY MURPHY:
What did all the women in the neighborhood think about all this fighting?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They didn't care. We didn't go out. We wasn't raised to nothing like that and we didn't know.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you think there was a big difference between living here and living in the mountains?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Altogether.

Page 20
MARY MURPHY:
What things were different?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Wasn't no fighting going on up there. It was quiet, we didn't have no trouble. Just as much difference in this place now and when we came here as is between daylight and dark, as the saying goes. Of course we have some around now, but it's not like. Because we have one of the best police forces there are in the state now. You are from Chapel Hill. [Laughter] We think we have. They are really good.
MARY MURPHY:
Did the women used to fight, too?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they said they'd fight. We didn't go out and see them.
MARY MURPHY:
Who did you hang around with in the neighborhood, or did you?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now, this next door and us, we always visit. She was polite. She was from Edenton. Was called Draper, wasn't it then.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Miss Johnson, she didn't move here until '35. But she did work up here.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now that's a good person.
MARY MURPHY:
She was very nice.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh. She's a good person.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
But we knew her up there in the mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We knew her a long time before she moved down here. Because I used to work up there and ride back and forth with her and Mr. Johnson.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She didn't move over here until they sold these houses.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Honey, I used to walk up that road on Sunday night at twelve o'clock and there wasn't a street light over there.
MARY MURPHY:
When did they pave the streets and put in street lights?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
This street out here, it was paved in when?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'68 I reckon, somewhere along there. It was after I retired.

Page 21
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We didn't get nothing until after the city took it over.
MARY MURPHY:
The mill had built all the houses?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Would they take care of any of the work around the neighborhood? Keep up the houses?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, sometimes they would if a roof fell in.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Most of these houses were built in '23.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they was built a long time before we come here. They didn't pay no light bills then, did they?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
No, it went in with the house rates. We didn't have to pay any water bill either. I think the house rent was about a dollar a week, best I remember, something like that. About a dollar a week. But you know, people would burn their lights all over the house. Then after people had to pay for their lights they turned them out. [Laughter] .
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
One woman said she never could reach the lights to turn them out.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I wouldn't do anything like that. Somebody else paying my light bill I'd be just as safe as if I was paying it.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We don't ever turn them out nowhere. SAM SYKES!
MARY MURPHY:
What was he like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was a good person to work for.
MARY MURPHY:
Now he was the boss in the winding room?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was when we first went to work up here.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
And then Finley Stewart.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, Daddy Smith.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah. What was his name? We just called him "Daddy Smith."

Page 22
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I never heard his name.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
He was our boss man.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Mr. Lee. He was a German. He was a good man to work for.
MARY MURPHY:
Was he the one in charge during the strike?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh. No. Finley Stewart was here then.
MARY MURPHY:
Were they very strict with you up at the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Not then, not when we first came here they wasn't. But they got to where, you know, just like all places. Got to where they was pretty strict.
MARY MURPHY:
What was it like working in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You never worked, did you, in the mill?
MARY MURPHY:
No.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Have you ever been in one?
MARY MURPHY:
I've just been in one when it was shut down, not when it was running.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You ought to go through when it's running.
MARY MURPHY:
A lot of the mills won't let visitors in, though.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Wouldn't they let you go through up here?
MARY MURPHY:
Well, we haven't tried to go into this one up here, but we called a few places and they just don't let people in when the mill's running.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They'd let you go through up here.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I believe they would because, I tell you why, honey. Because I have knowed them to bring crews through from these colleges. And they take them around and explain all the machinery to them and how it's done and how they got the work off and everything.
MARY MURPHY:
I've read a lot about how the machines work and what they made, but what was it like working with the other people? Did you get to talk a lot?

Page 23
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, we could talk. When we'd sit down to eat our lunch. We could talk now. Some people can't work and talk but I was always one that could. It would be another girl on the other side of my machine and I'd be over here on this side of the machine. We could talk through to one another. But some of them did and some of them didn't. Because they said they just couldn't get their work done and talk.
MARY MURPHY:
Were you working on production?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
Nathan Sykes, now he was another Sykes. He was a boss man. They made a rule up there one time. They said you couldn't talk to the other one on the other side of you. Well, he went around and he told all of them. He got down to me and he said, "Bill, I'll have to tell you but I know it won't do no good." [Laughter]
MARY MURPHY:
They knew you pretty good, huh?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He knowed me. I asked him what it was and he said you ain't supposed to talk to each other. I said, "Huh?"
He said, "You're not supposed to talk to each other."
I said, "God give me my tongue and I'm going to use it."
MARY MURPHY:
[Laughter] Did that rule last very long?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
It didn't last long. He didn't want to do it. But you see, the man above him put that on him.
MARY MURPHY:
How many bosses were there that people had to take orders from?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, we had just one, but there was one over him. And he would tell him and then he would come around and tell the help.
MARY MURPHY:
Would that boss over him be the superintendent of the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He would be the supervisor, the head supervisor.

Page 24
MARY MURPHY:
So were people kind of able to get around any rules they made up?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they ever fire anybody for doing something that they didn't want?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah they would. They'd fire you if you done something wrong if they caught you.
MARY MURPHY:
What things would they fire you for?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, that woman's dead and gone. May her soul be at rest. One morning they fired her for stealing, cheating.
MARY MURPHY:
Oh.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. I was working on third shift. She worked on the first shift. She called here one morning before I went bed and was talking to me. I thought it was this lady from Elon College. I didn't ask her who she was. I thought it was this lady from Elon, talked just like her, you couldn't tell them apart. She wanted to know how things was going on at the mill.
I said, "O.K. Fine."
She said, "They're laying off help up there, aren't they?
I said, "Not that I've heard any tell of."
She said, "I heard they let some go up there."
I said, "Well, I don't know but one they let go."
She said, "What did they let her go for?"
I said, "Well, she was a cheating on her work and they caught her." And I called her name. And you know, she was a preacher's wife. I hated that so bad I felt like two cents. And I said, "It was Claire Vickers."
She said, "Well that's me. I'm the one."
MARY MURPHY:
Oh, my goodness. Why did she call you?

Page 25
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know.
MARY MURPHY:
Had you known her?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, I knowed her up there. Knowed her for years. I hated it, but I just thinking it was Mrs. Taylor at Elon. I didn't say Miss Taylor or nothing, we just started talking. 'Cause she would call here. You couldn't have told them apart. You know how I felt.
MARY MURPHY:
She was a preacher's wife?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Was he a preacher in the neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh. He preached out. About four or five miles out from here.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they lay off people a lot up there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, when the work would get bad and slack and there wouldn't be no work, they would lay them off. Sometimes they wouldn't lay off but for a week or two weeks or something like that. Then you could draw your unemployed while you was out then go back.
MARY MURPHY:
When did they start having unemployment? Did they have that all the time?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'36.
MARY MURPHY:
What did people do before that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they'd just… They just made it the best they could. Now we had the Depression up here in …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'28.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'29. No. '32.
MARY MURPHY:
What was it like then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh it was rough, honey. People suffered.

Page 26
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
But Burlington Mill run the best around.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they run the best of any other mill in the whole county.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They made stuff and packed it back for weeks and months at a time in order to give the hands …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Now we had plenty all the time. 'Cause we'd go to the mountains. We'd go up there and stay.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They packed their stuff back for months at a time in order to give the help work.
MARY MURPHY:
Were you laid off at all during the Depression?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, there wasn't no work.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Well, we worked a little bit. Maybe we'd work one day today and maybe go up there and stay all day a day. And it was on production, what we was running. Maybe we'd sit up there half of the day waiting for the yarn to come up from the dye house for us to run it, you know. But we didn't get no pay while we was sitting there cause they didn't pay us at that time. Maybe we'd make seventy-five cents or a dollar that whole day waiting on the yarn to come up from the dye house. They just didn't have the orders to get it going. But they did, they worked the best of any mill around to give the help all they could. And when they'd lay off a lot of people like that, they would try to lay off the ones where there was a man in the home to work that he could pick up something somewhere else. Me and Bill there and Miss Johnson up here.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
And Mr. Johnson was working.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They tried to hold the ones that didn't have somebody else to work.
MARY MURPHY:
What were you saying, you'd go back up to the mountains?

Page 27
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When that Depression, we went up there a whole lot and stayed. We'd bring a lot of food with us back.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
We went up there once and stayed six weeks. During the Depression here.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you still have family up there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We had our people. We had an uncle up there.
MARY MURPHY:
What did people do here in the city who didn't have any place else to go?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, didn't they start a bread line, or what's that they called it?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I guess that's what you'd call it, up here on Flannery Street in Burlington. People'd go up there and get coffee, sugar, bread, stuff like that. Meats and stuff like that.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Wasn't welfare. They didn't have no welfare.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
No welfare at that time.
MARY MURPHY:
Did most people vote for Mr. Roosevelt when it came around time?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I think, yeah, they did. They was some of them though, that didn't. I think the majority voted for him.
MARY MURPHY:
When did things start to pick up, get back to normal?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When Roosevelt went in. He was in a year, wasn't it, or two years?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah, it started picking up. You know he went in in '32. I'll say from around '33 on up things went to picking up better. Then they put that eight hour shift on then and that helped out a whole lot, you see. That would give more people work on eight hour shifts.
MARY MURPHY:
Did the company oppose that at all? Did the company try to not put in the eight hour shift?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Not that I heard of.
Spencer Love was living then and he would

Page 28
cooperate with the government.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever meet Spencer Love?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
What was he like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was just one more great man. He was a fine man. He come through that mill. He'd stop and talk with the help. He was just one of us. He'd come in there and he wasn't dressed a bit better than nobody working in that mill.
MARY MURPHY:
What kind of clothes did people wear to work?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they'd just wear ordinary print dresses. Then we got one boss man up there, Daddy Smith. He wanted us all to wear a uniform. And of all things, white uniforms. You know, you'd get awfully dirty in there. They didn't clean. You'd get grease all over you. You'd have to change them uniforms every day, of course. Kept you busy washing. Didn't any of us like them. Not too many of us, hardly any of us.
One day, you know, Mert Odell was the superintendent at that time. He said that if people didn't want to wear them uniforms they didn't have to. He said they wasn't no law to make us wear them. That was just his rule.
We went in one morning, and oh me, I was always the leader. We went in and I didn't wear no uniform. He said something to me.
MARY MURPHY:
What did he say?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was going to send me back home. I didn't do a thing but just walk on down through the mill down to the superintendent's office. I went in there. They come trotting along behind me. Anyway, we went on down there and I said, "Mr. Odell, do we have to wear them old white uniforms?"
He said, "No, ma'am. If you don't want to you don't have to. And they can't

Page 29
take your job away from you."
From that it got out and every one of them began to shed them off.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they pay for the uniforms?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No!
MARY MURPHY:
You had to buy them?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We had to order them. He had his niece come in there. She measured us all up.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She modeled them all.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, she modeled them on herself and walked up and down through the mill. Didn't none of them [unknown].
Anyway, we bought them.
MARY MURPHY:
How much did they cost?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Do you remember how much it was?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Two dollars.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Two and a half or something.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I'll tell you how they was made. They was a square neck around here and—we called them at that time "butterfly sleeves"—is all cut in here together. And it had a belt around it. You slipped them over your head.
Now, Miss Johnson, she didn't wear nothing like that. She wasn't working out there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That was just in that winding department. Just that one. He made that rule hisself. But he didn't get to keep it.
MARY MURPHY:
Were there all women working in the winding room?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, we had one boy, man. Barney Norman.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Well, most of them all women. He was the only one I remember of the men that worked out there.
MARY MURPHY:
What did he do?

Page 30
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He wound like the women.
MARY MURPHY:
Really? [Laughter] How do you think he got that job?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know, they just put him on.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They was learning us all and they learnt him, too.
MARY MURPHY:
Did he like working in there with all you women?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. He enjoyed that. But we didn't enjoy him. Not even his sister did.
MARY MURPHY:
How come?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We'd go out in this other place, this supply room out there. We'd go out there at lunchtime. We'd all sit down out there and eat our lunch. And all women sitting around and talking. And he'd climb a way up high on these boxes, up next to the ceiling and sit up there. He'd go out there and get up there first. He thought he was going to listen to what the women had to talk. Honey, you never went through nothing like that. He was nosey. His sister would say, "Come on down, Barney, we ain't going to say nothing." [Laughter] Now we got started on him.
He was hateful. He thought he knowed more. I guess I was hateful too. And you know Lucy Patton, she's Lucy House now. Wasn't neither one of us married at that time. And Finley Stewart was our boss man at that time. He'd try to boss this boy, this Norman boy. So we just told Finley Stewart we was going to put him in a box and nail him up and ship him.
He said, "I don't care if you pick him up by the seat of his britches and throw him out the window."
Me and Lucy got him in that box. She was stronger than I was—I didn't weigh but ninety pounds. She was strong. But we got him in that box. We got the lid and put down on it. I got up and sit down on the lid and she was nailing it up. We was right next to the shipping department. Finley seed we have it nailed all

Page 31
the way around except one end. And he says, "Well girl, I expect we'd better not do that …"
MARY MURPHY:
What was Norman doing all this time?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was in there. He was just a little bitty old man, wasn't he?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah, weighed about a hundred and twenty-five I guess.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We had him crowded down in there. We meant to ship him. We was going to ship him right out. We had that truck there, you know that they roll out. We could have got him up on there. We was going to put him in the shipping department.
MARY MURPHY:
Well, what happened?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Our boss man come and told us we'd better not mail out… You know, he'd a died in a little while. That's as bad as they used to initiate them at college. They don't do that, do they, anymore?
MARY MURPHY:
I think that they still do sometimes.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Do they, some of them? Well, I hadn't heard no tell of it. Now when my brother went to state, he said he stayed in his room. He wouldn't come out. He locked up. But he said, they got some of them boys, especially them up from New York. I don't know why they was on them poor boys. He said they treated some of them awfully rough.
MARY MURPHY:
Sounds like you were pretty rough yourself there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, I was rough. But it was through fun. We didn't hurt nobody. But we would have hurt him if they hadn't a stopped us.
MARY MURPHY:
Well what happened to him? Did he go back to the winding room?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he went back to the winding room.
MARY MURPHY:
Was he mad at you?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Was he mad at us? No.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

Page 32
MARY MURPHY:
We talked to some people up there. This other man who is working on the project had gone up and talked to them. Asking for some information and they gave us some papers and stuff about the mill.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I wish they'd let you go through, though.
MARY MURPHY:
We'll have to ask again and see if we can. That would be real helpful to see what it's like. Have there been a lot of changes in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, changes! I should say they have been changes. Used to you couldn't walk up there on that floor, could you?
MARY MURPHY:
What do you mean?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
It's nice up there now. Nice and clean. And now they have, every Christmas, they give a dinner or something up there. They have a party for the children, give them little presents.
MARY MURPHY:
How long have they been doing that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They've been doing that a long time, haven't they?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah, been doing it fifteen or twenty years, I guess.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, longer than that. Long time before I ever quit, and I've been gone up there thirteen years.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
It's been around twenty year I guess.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Longer than that, because don't you know that Jordan Sellors, their school over there, those colored band would come over here and make the music.
MARY MURPHY:
Who was this band?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Jordan Sellors High School. That was before the colored and whites all went to school together. They had their own school. They had the best band that could be found.
MARY MURPHY:
And they would come up and play?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they'd come up and play.

Page 33
MARY MURPHY:
At Christmas?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
And another thing, some of the people up there didn't like was when they brought the colored people in to work.
MARY MURPHY:
When was that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That was when Kennedy.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They brought them in after I quit.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh!
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
No they didn't. Let me see, they brought them in …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I hadn't retired yet.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I couldn't tell you what year. Well, after Kennedy went in was when they brought them in.
MARY MURPHY:
And a lot of people didn't like that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They didn't like that. Because Drew Moore, he was the man then. He come in there and he was going around and he was asking the help about bringing, you know. And some of them said they'd quit. They wasn't working with no nigger. Well, me and this girl that worked on the other side of the machine from me, he asked us. I said, "Don't make no difference to me. Put one right there on half of this machine, I'm not [unknown]. Don't bother me. They're human beings, too."
MARY MURPHY:
Did a lot of people quit?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, they didn't quit. They don't like it up there yet, some of them works up there. Can you see anything wrong in that? I can't.
MARY MURPHY:
What was the atmosphere like after the blacks came in?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they didn't like it too much but they didn't say too much. They still don't like it. You can hear them very often making remarks after they get out up there.

Page 34
MARY MURPHY:
Do they ever make remarks to the black people up there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't think so.
MARY MURPHY:
They talk amongst themselves?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh. They bunch up and talk to their selves. That's not right. You went to school with them, didn't you?
MARY MURPHY:
Uh-huh. Yeah.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Did it hurt you?
MARY MURPHY:
No, didn't hurt me. Might have helped me. Did they put them all through …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
All through the mill, yeah. They all worked in the same departments the whites does. Like this is a machine and you work on this side of that machine and that one over here, that might be a colored person over there and a white over here. But that don't hurt them.
MARY MURPHY:
Are they mostly women?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
In the winding room, uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
What kind of jobs did the men have?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
The men? They worked down in the weaving room and in the wire house. And I believe some of them does work out there in the winding room.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Yeah they do, some of them work in the winding room. They did when I was up there. Two colored people brought all my work up to me.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, those two colored boys brought every bit of my work to me on the third shift.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
And I'd guess there's some colored people, that did then, there's some colored people working what they called the "twisting room" and the "slasher room." Colored people worked out there. And they just worked in each department just like the white people did.

Page 35
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I think that's all right. I'm glad to see it happen.
MARY MURPHY:
If the colored people, they'd a had a chance to get their education years back, I think it would have been a lot better. But they didn't have a chance to get that. I guess what a lot of people wanted, wanted them to be slaves like they used to be.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You don't have no trouble with the colored people that's well educated, do you?
MARY MURPHY:
No.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, where I go to church they have the colored people. We go to church together.
MARY MURPHY:
Where is the Catholic church here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Up on Davis Street.
MARY MURPHY:
Has that been here for a long time?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, that church, it was set up back about the time we come here, wasn't it? Miss Foster.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
It was set up in '27 or '28, I think.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She come here …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She come here in '28.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They was six or seven was all there was.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They had service over there in town, over at Penney's store.
MARY MURPHY:
Really? Was there a priest that lived in town?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, I believe he lived at Chapel Hill or Durham or somewhere down in there. The [unknown], I know you've heard of the [unknown] in Burlington. He carried them to school down there and they went to church down there. It was Durham.
MARY MURPHY:
Would the priest come up here every Sunday?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
Were there a lot of Catholics in Burlington?

Page 36
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Now did they all go over to this church when it started?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. Some of them goes to Rocks Spur, they lives closer to Rocks Spur. Some of them goes down to Durham. Do you know Father [unknown]? He's been in Chapel Hill.
MARY MURPHY:
No, I don't know him. Does he come over here or how did you know him?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He's the editor of a paper but he is a priest. He was raised here in Burlington, was raised up here in the Catholic Church. But I've heard him speak, but I can't think of that other little priest. He come up here from Chapel Hill. I can't think of his name, maybe just one Sunday. But they have quite a few Catholics down there, don't they?
MARY MURPHY:
Yeah, uh-huh. I think so. When the church up here first started, did the blacks and whites go to church together right from the beginning?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They've always went together.
MARY MURPHY:
Did people in the church ever …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, we don't mind it. We can't say nothing, they'd tell us to get out, I guess.
MARY MURPHY:
What about up here, at the Glen Hope?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, I don't know what they do. I wouldn't want to say.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you know Reverend Swinney?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
What was he like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He was all right. My daddy thought a lot of him.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
In fact he preached our daddy's funeral.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Our daddy went up there.
MARY MURPHY:
Oh, your daddy wasn't Catholic?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, uh-uh.

Page 37
MARY MURPHY:
Was your mother?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, uh-uh.
MARY MURPHY:
How did you two come to become Catholics then?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know, I just led go to the Catholic Church.
MARY MURPHY:
That's kind of unusual, isn't it?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You don't find many, you find some. We got some up there that none of their family are Catholics, maybe one. We got one lady up there, her father is a Baptist minister, was, he's dead now. He was a Baptist minister and she come in the church. We got several up there like that. I believe there are 1800 families, I believe that's it. Now that's the family, that don't count just single people that's Catholics up there.
MARY MURPHY:
Wow. That's quite a big number. Would the church have activities for people to do? I know people were telling me that up at the Glen Hope Church they would have like a homecoming every year.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, they have a homecoming up there every year, uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Did the Catholic church do anything like that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We don't have no homecoming. I mean we don't have dinner like they do.
MARY MURPHY:
What kind of things did people do for entertainment? Did people have parties or go to movies?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They'd go to the movies and then, I guess, some of them maybe would have a party. I wouldn't have went.
MARY MURPHY:
How come?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
There's just too much going on. They'd be drinking, carrying on like that.
MARY MURPHY:
Did it still remain kind of a rowdy neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, it's quiet.

Page 38
MARY MURPHY:
Do people mostly stay in the neighborhood or do they go into town a lot?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They go to Holly Hill Mall a lot.
MARY MURPHY:
Where's that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That's out close to I-85.
MARY MURPHY:
Before the town was incorporated, where did people do their shopping?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They went to town.
MARY MURPHY:
Were there any little stores here in the neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They had one down here has a little grocery store. And one over here that had a grocery store. And right up there. There was three grocery stores.
MARY MURPHY:
None of them are here anymore?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, uh-uh. But most everybody went to town. They had an A & P store up there and what they called a "Piggly-Wiggly" store. I know you've heard of that Piggly-Wiggly.
MARY MURPHY:
Yeah. They still have some of them around.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Do they?
MARY MURPHY:
Down in Texas they have some.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That's where most of the people would go in the A P store.
MARY MURPHY:
Did a lot of people have gardens?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, not as much then as they do now.
MARY MURPHY:
How come you think that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I reckon they just worked so hard, or something. I don't know why. Just for the last few years they've got to making gardens around here. But now they've always been a garden down here, ever since we've been here. That down there and back here.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Miss Johnson's always had a garden.

Page 39
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, Miss Johnson's always had a garden.
MARY MURPHY:
I guess the people didn't have too much time to do anything.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, uh-uh. They really had to work. They didn't have much time to have a garden.
MARY MURPHY:
Did they ever have you work a lot of overtime?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, we had worked overtime.
MARY MURPHY:
Would they give you a choice about that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They would ask you, "Would you?" They'd like for you to.
MARY MURPHY:
If people refused a lot, would they do anything to them?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Not that I know of.
MARY MURPHY:
Did any of your other family live around here? Do you get to see them? Is your brother still living?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He lives in Graham. And we got a sister lives out over here in the country. Then we got one lives in Gibsonville.
MARY MURPHY:
Were either of you ever married?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I am. I'm a widow.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you have any children?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, I didn't have no children.
MARY MURPHY:
Did your husband live here, work up here at the mill, too?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, he worked up there.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you meet him up here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah.
MARY MURPHY:
I always thought a lot of people had a lot of children around here, but I've met a lot of women who didn't have any children.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I know.
MARY MURPHY:
Were there a lot of kids in the neighborhood?

Page 40
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
When we first came here there was. Then they begin to taper off and didn't have no children.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
They all got too old. [Laughter]
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They got too old and then theirs growed up. They'd have one or two. I would have loved to have had children.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Miss Johnson up here, she didn't have any children.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, and she said she would have loved to have had children. She like myself, that's just one that didn't.
MARY MURPHY:
Mrs. Capes, she didn't have any children. Mrs. Harrington down the street, she didn't have any.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, Miss Harrington didn't have no children. But them that did have children, after they growed up, then they wouldn't have no children. Maybe they'd have one or two or something like that. I think everybody ought to have as many as four or maybe five.
MARY MURPHY:
There were five in your family, right?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
MARY MURPHY:
Was that fun growing up with a lot of sisters and brothers?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I reckon. I guess we was just children like all other children. We'd have our arguments. I guess that's just nature. Got my teeth out, ain't even put them in. [Laughter]
MARY MURPHY:
That's O.K.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
See, the girls was all older than the boy. He was the baby. And he got, we kind of feel, but we didn't say nothing.
MARY MURPHY:
How close were all you girls?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, there's five years between me and you. And there two years between me and Bess. And three years between Bess and Mel. And then seven years between Mel and Arnold. Our mother was married ten years before she had her.

Page 41
MARY MURPHY:
How old was she when she got married?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
How old was mama?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Twenty-one.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She was twenty-one in August and married in December. No, she wasn't but nineteen. Look on her marriage certificate.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She give her age as twenty-one. It's on her marriage certificate.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, that's right. But she wasn't but nineteen. But she did put it on her marriage certificate she was twenty-one. You could do things I guess then and get by with it.
MARY MURPHY:
What was she like?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She was just a little-bitty, short dark-skinned woman with black hair. You wouldn't think she was a Dutch.
MARY MURPHY:
How did she like moving? Did she ever talk about whether she liked living in the mountains better than …
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Things like that never did bother her too much. The only thing she ever said, said she never wanted to get too far from Ashe County that she couldn't be carried back there when she was going to be buried. So she's buried there. And our daddy is too.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you still have family back there?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We have cousins.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever want to go back there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We'd go, we'd go every summer. We'd go up there and stay anywheres from two to four weeks.
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever want to stay there permanently?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Sometimes I think I do and then I think I don't. But I'd rather live, I think, would be in Tennessee. I love Tennessee. Now our mother's people

Page 42
people is from down in Tennessee, Knoxville and around in there.
MARY MURPHY:
How did she end up coming to Ashe County?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, she was raised in Ashe County. But most of her sisters, they was in Tennessee, they went to Tennessee. We've been to Tennessee a lot.
MARY MURPHY:
Yeah, I've been through there once. I thought it was beautiful.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, I love it. Down to Nashville, Grand Ole Opry.
MARY MURPHY:
Good music.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You like that mountain music?
MARY MURPHY:
Yup. Did you ever hear any good music here in Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I didn't hear of none when we first came here. We'd buy records and play. You didn't hear no music much in Burlington when we came here. Not like you do now. I didn't hear of no dances, neither. They may have had some, but I ain't heard of them. You love to square dance?
MARY MURPHY:
I've only tried it like once. I come from the North and they don't do much of that stuff.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
No, I know they don't.
MARY MURPHY:
So I like living down here. I get to do all these different things. What part of the North do you come from?
MARY MURPHY:
From Massachusetts.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That's where Mrs. Foster's from. She was from down on close to Cape Cod, where the Kennedy's. I bet you're a Kennedy.
MARY MURPHY:
Uh-uh, not me. [Laughter] I don't have enough money to be a Kennedy.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I bet you like the Kennedys.
MARY MURPHY:
Well, my family, they have mixed feelings about the Kennedy's. My father never liked the Kennedy's. But I think he voted for them once in a while.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, I like them.
MARY MURPHY:
They say that Kennedy might run for President.

Page 43
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, and I'll vote for him too.
MARY MURPHY:
Well, I like he's trying to get this national health insurance.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. I listened to him last night. Carter ain't worth a hill of beans.
MARY MURPHY:
I agree with you there. Do people get excited about politics around here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They used to. Some of them do as yet, I think. But I go on and vote. I don't pay them no mind. They didn't like Kennedy, some of them didn't. Honey, I'm going to tell you why. Becuase he was Catholic. Now wasn't that a silly thing?
MARY MURPHY:
Yeah. That did upset a lot of people.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, it did. But you shouldn't feel that was. I vote for Baptists and I vote for Methodists. And we shouldn't feel that way. Church and politics is supposed to be two different things.
MARY MURPHY:
What kind of elections would they have here in town. Did they vote for the sheriff and the mayor?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah. They vote for the sheriff and they vote for the city. The city has elections. And the county has elections.
MARY MURPHY:
Do they bring in things like that, like what religion people are, whether they're a Baptist? Do people vote becuase he's in my church, something like that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I never heard the Catholics say anything about that. You know the only thing they say—maybe if it's on a Sunday and we're up there—a Tuesday is election day and everybody get out and vote.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I voted for Carter but I won't do it no more.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, I'll just tell you. We're Southerners, but they ought to had more sense than to pick a man from way down. He's from the deep South, getting down the deep South. Ought to had more sense, we all ought to.

Page 44
than ever voted for him. We know how they feel down there about things.
The older ones is wanting to fight the war again, the old Civil War.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I had to get out here with a walker. I couldn't walk. I crawled out there and a man from over at Western Electric picked me up. I couldn't get out to go in and vote. They brought a paper out there and I voted on it. They have machines to vote on now. I won't do it any more, like I said. Not for him. I'll vote for Kennedy.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, I voted for Kennedy and I worked for Kennedy. At that time I was working up there on the third shift at the mill. I got this man to go to Democratic headquarters down at Hillsborough and get me a cap. Said "Democrat." I was working for a Republican boss man, but it didn't make no difference. Anyway, some of them told me, "You won't wear that up here." The man brought it to me next morning before we came out. They said, "You won't wear that up here tonight."
I said, "You want to bet."
Next night I put my cap on. I went in the mill. I had my buttons all on me. I worked the whole eight hours with them on. Some of them said something to him, said, "Look at her over there."
He said, "Well, that's her privilege."
MARY MURPHY:
Did you ever do wild things like your sister here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
That wasn't wild, honey. That was just doing good common sense.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
She's something, ain't she?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
But I can't get around much now. But I ain't gonna let nobody tell me how to vote, and don't you never let them. If you want to vote a Republican ticket, you vote it and stick with it.
MARY MURPHY:
I don't think I'd ever want to vote a Republican ticket, but I'll keep that in mind.

Page 45
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, stick with what you are. I believe in that, don't you?
MARY MURPHY:
Yeah, I do. I do.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We got a sister, she votes Republican and our brother votes Republican. They don't say nothing to me.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you think some people down here would like to fight the Civil War over again?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Some of these old ones. You know, honey, I'm not around southerners too much if I live here. I'm around northerners. I go to church with them.
MARY MURPHY:
Are there a lot of northerners?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, yeah. And I like them. Miss Foster, over there, she's from Boston. We's about the first folks that got acquainted with her. And she's always been good with us.
MARY MURPHY:
When did she move down here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She moved from Gastonia here. But she came down here, she married a southern man from South Carolina.
MARY MURPHY:
She come down here right after the first World War.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
She went back to Boston and stayed a while. But she's been back to Boston several times since then. All of her people died up there. She hasn't been back since …
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
'61.
MARY MURPHY:
Do a lot of people travel a lot around here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, I guess some of the younger ones does. I don't think the older ones goes too much. 'Cause they're not too many older ones around here. Me and you and Miss Johnson and Miss Capes and Miss Birch up there. I don't know how many's on down below.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
What's you mean? Worked up there?

Page 46
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We counted up sometime back how many had died in the last twenty-four years.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Been about thirty-five, I guess, died right around this section here in that amount of time.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
How many was there died the year our daddy died, and he's been dead twenty-four years?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
I don't know.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Mr. Johnson and him and two more people out there on Beaumont. They was about six died here that we could holler to in here.
MARY MURPHY:
Did people ever get sick from working up in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Did I ever get sick from working in the mill? No, I don't know as I ever got sick from working in the mill. I'd get sick, but it wasn't from working.
MARY MURPHY:
Do you think people ever did?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know.
MARY MURPHY:
Now we hear a lot about brown lung.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They could be a lot of them have it. I don't know whether they have or not.
MARY MURPHY:
Do people ever come around in the mill and talk about that.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They didn't back then. I don't know whether they do now or not. There's not too much lint and cotton up there.
MARY MURPHY:
That was mostly the synthetics.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Just like in the coal mines. They didn't find out in late years that they had it.
MARY MURPHY:
Did your father like working in the coal mines?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-huh.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
He didn't work on the inside. Only a short time when he was first

Page 47
married.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
He worked on the inside, under the ground. Then after they was married a while, after they was married, he come on the outside and worked. But he said he didn't think a bit more going under the ground, he'd go six miles under the ground.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Don't put all that in there.
MARY MURPHY:
No, we don't put anything in you don't want to put in.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't want all that. Just put about the mill and how they worked. 'Cause they might shoot us around … 'Cause these people, some of them don't like Yankees. Have you found that out?
MARY MURPHY:
No, people have been, I hear people talk about that, but people have been really nice to me. I haven't had any trouble at all.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, we've been around the Yankees a whole lot. What really, more than we have Southerners.
MARY MURPHY:
Were there any Yankees that worked up in the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, we had them worked up there in the mill.
MARY MURPHY:
How did people react to them?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know. Me and this one girl, we was always kind of chummy up there. She was from Boston. They lived here and went to Florida. But we got people lives in New Jersey and Delaware and Pennsylvania and all up in there.
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
Miss [unknown], where's she from? New York?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
New York. I've heard mama say her people originated from Pennsylvania. I don't know why the South don't like the niggers, they was raised with them. Wasn't they?
MARY MURPHY:
That's right.

Page 48
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
We wasn't because where we come from there wasn't no colored people. We'd go here or there and never see a colored person. Just a very few up there now. It's so cold, I guess that's the reason they don't stay. But how do they stay up north?
MARY MURPHY:
There's a lot of them up in the city now.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, but you know, honey, how come them up there?
MARY MURPHY:
No.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well I'm going to tell you. You know in Georgia and Alabama, and you take North Carolina and South Carolina. If they happen to get an education they couldn't get no job here. You know the war come up. They could get jobs up there. Wasn't against them up there. They give them jobs. That's how come a whole lot of them there. Ain't you heard Miss Foster tell it?
MARY MURPHY:
During the war, they wouldn't give jobs to black people down here?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Uh-uh. No. They was against them. If I'll tell you something, don't you put this thing on there. We was at a place yesterday getting our hair done. But mine don't look like it was just done. But anyway, these women was in there talking. There was three of them. And boy they was going to town about the niggers. Let out about going to church with them. Well that kind of hit me, because they knew I went to church with them. And I said, "Well if you can't go to church with them, how are you going to sit in heaven with them?"
MARY MURPHY:
What did they have to say to that?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, this one, she said she knowed she—honey, I don't know what denomination you are—was going to heaven and she would sit up there with them but she sure wasn't going to sit here with them.
MARY MURPHY:
Are there any black people that live around here?
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
A family lives here on the other end of Cloverdale.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
And one over on Delaware.

Page 49
MATTIE SHOEMAKER:
And so down here on Beaumont they's some lives.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
And I don't hear nothing out of them.
MARY MURPHY:
Do they work up at the mill?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know where they work.
MARY MURPHY:
How did people feel when they moved into the neighborhood?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they'd say, "Them niggers over [unknown]." We used to say colored people. Now they say black. But a lot of them says, niggers. They don't say Negro. They'll say nigger. That don't bother me. And I have heard some of them say, "They won't go to heaven. A nigger wouldn't go to heaven." Said that black was a mark that was sent up on them. Kill such a crazy talk as that.
Did you go to church with them?
MARY MURPHY:
There weren't too many in the town where I was raised when I was little.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Oh, your family lives down here!
MARY MURPHY:
No, my family, they're kind of spread out now. My grandparents are still up in Massachusetts and my parents moved to Texas when my father retired. So they're kind of spread out. But we lived in a little-bitty town and there weren't many black people in that town.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
But you're not married?
MARY MURPHY:
No, uh-uh.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
You didn't look old enough to be married.
MARY MURPHY:
I guess I'm old enough, but I'm just not.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Are you still in school?
MARY MURPHY:
Uh-huh. Yeah.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, what kind of a rigamarole have they had a going up about the schools, you know, these colleges?

Page 50
MARY MURPHY:
They're having a lot of trouble now over at Chapel Hill because the Health, Education and Welfare Department says that they have to improve the black schools and try to get more blacks in. The president of the college and the governor say they can't spend that much money.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Isn't that Friday?
MARY MURPHY:
Friday, right.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Well, they can spend it for something else. They can take these big trips. The governor, he can take all these here big flying trips and the taxpayer's money has to pay for that.
MARY MURPHY:
That's right. Yup. Yeah, it's a big controversy over there now. Nobody knows what's going to happen. They say if they don't fix up these programs they'll cut off all the government money.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Yeah, I listened to them. I listened last night to them. And I like that station down there in Chapel Hill. I listen to that a lot.
MARY MURPHY:
I don't think there are too many black people at Chapel Hill going to school there. When I came down I was surprised at how few there were there.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
They have a college, you know, over in Greensboro. They went, I don't know what they'll do. I'm afraid they might have a little trouble.
MARY MURPHY:
Well, there's already been so much trouble over it, it doesn't look like it's going to end too soon.
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I don't know what they'll do. They got the Ku Klux Klans in.
MARY MURPHY:
Was there ever a Klan here in Burlington?
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
I never knowed. They said there was some. I never did. I guess they still some around, I don't know. That's something I don't bother with. I mean, I don't approve of it. I don't know how you feel about it.
MARY MURPHY:
I don't approve of it, either. I saw a movie just the other night about how it all started. It's really incredible.

Page 51
MILDRED SHOEMAKER EDMONDS:
Sorry class of people, I guess. I've been told they were that started it. They going to march on them, they got the colored people as well as some white people in Winston.
MARY MURPHY:
Let me get your names down on one of my little forms here so that I make sure I spell everything right.
END OF INTERVIEW