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Title: Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Truitt, Herman Newton, interviewee
Interview conducted by Tullos, Allen
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: 152 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.
2007-03-19, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0054)
Author: Allen Tullos
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0054)
Author: Herman Newton Truitt
Description: 190 Mb
Description: 45 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 5, 1978, by Allen Tullos; recorded in Unknown.
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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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 Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978.
Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Truitt, Herman Newton, interviewee


Interview Participants

    HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT, interviewee
    ALLEN TULLOS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's start with your full name.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I'm Herman Newton Truitt.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, what's your wife's name?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
My wife's name is Gladys Woodson Truitt.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And what about your mother and father?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
My father was Egbert Truitt and my mother Josephine Lester Truitt. My mother's still living—she's ninety-four years old.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where does she live?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
She lives right above the store here.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now what do you remember about your grandparents, anything much about them?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, I remember my grandfather was known as "H" Truitt. His initials were "W.H." but they always called him "H". My grandmother on my father's side was Amanda Tickle Truitt. On my mother's side I never did know my grandfather because he died before I was born. I remember my grandmother on my mother's side.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was her name?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Can't think of it. I believe she was a Lester. Her husband's name was George Lester.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Both your grandparents, both sides, where did they live?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
On my father's side my grandparents lived in Alamance County over in the Shallow Ford Church area. My grandparents on my mother's side lived in Rockingham County in the Bethany area.

Page 2
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they live on a farm?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, both their grandparents lived on a farm.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of farming did they do?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Tobacco farming was their money crop, and of course they did vegetable farming too, specially for their own use. But my grandfather, H. Truitt, he liked to load up his wagon twice a week, go into town and peddle butter and eggs and whatever vegetables they had in the garden at the time. And then of course they had an apple orchard. He would peddle apples. I remember going to my grandfather's house—just a youngster—and for the wintertime he would make what he'd call a hill of apples. They would dig a place in the ground and put straw in it, then have a frame, put dirt over it. They would store apples, turnips and things. In the wintertime, around Christmastime, when there'd be snow and ice on the ground we'd go out there, out to the apple hill and get us some apples.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And they would stay pretty good?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, they would stay pretty good. Sometimes one around the edge would be a little icy, but we enjoyed that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of apples?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, I don't remember the name of them. They just called them a winter apple. Then there was another name they had for some was a Peg Teg. I never heard of it since, but grandpa had some we called Peg Teg. We had them in the wintertime. And he was a great one for raising watermelons in the summertime. He raised big ones. We'd go

Page 3
up there Sunday afternoon and have a watermelon cuttin'. The relatives would all gather around.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What town would he take things into town to sell?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It was in the mill sections of Burlington, where he had regular customers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Along about what time would this have been?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, that would be approximately sixty or more years ago, because I was a schoolboy then.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever go along with him?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yes. In the summertime I would go out and spend the day with my grandfather. I always loved horses. He had a buggy mare named "Maude," a black mare. We lived in Burlington when I came of school age and still went to church out at Shallow Ford. Grandfather would come into town on Saturday and I would go back with him. I would bring the buggy mare back to town. We had a surry. We'd hitch the buggy mare up to the surry on Sunday and we'd go out to Shallow Ford to Church on Sunday. Then we'd eat dinner with grandpa and grandma. Then I would take the mare back. They'd always get after me about trotting her too much. She was a good trotting mare. They'd always get after me about trotting her too much, because it was too hot.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would your grandfather use this mare on his wagon when he'd come to town to peddle or not?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yes. She was a utility horse. You could ride her, she was good for riding. Plow her, light plowing

Page 4
usually for the buggy mare. She was a good mare, she'd work any way, do anything you asked her. Anything a horse could do, she would do it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would he have more than one horse on his farm?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yes. He had another horse and raised a colt from this mare, too. Called him "Major." They gelded him. He never was the quality his mother was, but he made a pretty good horse.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would he hitch up two horses to his wagon?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
He usually used a one horse wagon.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you ever go around with him on his rounds, when he went around the mill villages.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you tell me about what time of day you would get up, when you'd go, what you'd sell, and whatever you can remember?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
We didn't get up very early. He got the help that was on the farm, he'd get them working. Then we'd get on the wagon and start on down the road. He had a peculiarity. When he got on the wagon and started off, he'd start telling them what to do on the farm. They'd gather all around and he'd keep telling them as he went down the road. And get louder and louder. And of course, sometimes they'd get out of range and at times they'd go down the road and hide so they could still hear what we was telling them to do. Because they didn't want him to come back and accuse them of not doing what he said. It was kind of the way he went. He

Page 5
had regular customers. He would go there. It was mostly butter and eggs, then potatoes and whatever was coming in the garden. One thing I remember about it at Christmastime is that my grandmother would give the regular customers a hunk of butter for their Christmas present. She would shape this butter to look like a Christmas tree. She would make little indentures along it with a knife. And the butter Christmas tree, that's what she gave our regular customers for Christmas.
They were pretty close about eating eggs at the table out there, because grandpa could sell them. Money was kind of scarce, so usually save the eggs to sell, and most of the butter, too.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When you'd go into Burlington, what would be the names of communities that he would sell?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There were three: Elmira section, Elmira Mills it was at that time, and then the Lakeside section, Lakeside Mills, and then Plaid Mill section. Three major mills in west Burlington was the area he covered.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would he go door to door?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yes. Door to door.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would he have any way of letting people know he was coming?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It was established. He would go on Tuesdays and Saturdays and they'd look for him. He would go to the same houses. He had regular customers.

Page 6
ALLEN TULLOS:
And they knew pretty much what time he was going to get there?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, and he knew pretty well what they were going to want.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of payment—would they work out credit or would they pay cash every time he came around? Or would different people do it different ways? What do you remember about that?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I don't remember exactly, but I think back in those days people were better pay than they are now. They were people who had lived in the community all their life, you might say, since they were of working age. If they wanted to pay him pay day, he would let them, I think. I'm under the impression he didn't lose anything crediting those people.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would people pay in other ways besides money sometimes?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, I don't think so because in operating the farm he was after money so he could buy his fertilizer and seeds, so on and so forth.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did he sell anything that would have been manufactured somewhere else?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No.
ALLEN TULLOS:
He just sold his own produce?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, he just sold his own produce. Now, sometimes I don't know whether he did or not. He could have sold some feed if anyone needed any, maybe some flour. He raised his own wheat and had the flour ground, you see. I remember the

Page 7
old corn crib was always full of corn. A few rats here and there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would he stay in all day and come back at dark?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, it was usually a half a day trip. It was probably about three miles from where he lived to the section. It was usually half a day trip, probably be a little late for his lunch. But he'd usually go back for it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You talk about people who were working on the farm. Who would that be that would be listening to those instructions?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That would be his children. He had a daughter who was working and he had a son who was home at that time. Part of the time there were two sons, but World War I one of them went away to the army. He stayed at home a little while after he came back. My father was the oldest of the boys. When he got married he cut a section of the farm off and gave it to him. He built his home on it. As others came along he did the same.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many children did he have?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I think it was seven, I believe. Three boys and four girls. Let's see there was Thelma, Edith, Mabel, Gladys. That's all, four girls, three boys.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And your father was the oldest?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
He was the oldest. He lived on the farm that he gave him for just two or three years. Somebody called me the other day and reminded me that during one session at Elon College, my father and mother, when I was doing my first year of life on this earth, they went out there and operated the

Page 8
club house. I don't know if you know what the club house is or not. They had a club house where some of the students would eat. What they did was to cook three meals a day for these students who ate at the club house. I think all of them that ate at the clubhouse were male students. They tell me that I was just a baby then—I was born in October. They drove a nail up on the door and hung me up there by my coattail and would swing me back and to.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now, when were you born?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
October the twenty first, 1909.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know when your mother and father were born?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No I don't. My mother is ninety-four. She was ninety-four this September. And my father was about a year younger than she. Of course, he died in seventy-one. Then after that, they went back to the farm and stayed about another year. Then they moved to town, to Plaid Mill village. He drove the wagon, picking up shipments for the mill and taking shipments to the freight station for them. And a bunch of the people who worked there got together and they formed a co-op. They all left some money, and they began a food store. It was known as the United Store Company. He operated that for several years until, I guess it was about 1918.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's when he began?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That's when he stopped. They had a company store over at Altamahaw. Mr. Joe Gant talked him into going out there and managing it for them. So he went out there and he stayed one summer at Altamahaw, we did. That was about this time. Then

Page 9
he went back to United Store Co., where he had managed before—wasn't doing so well under the new management. So they got him to come back to it, and he operated it for a while—a year or two. Then some businessmen in Burlington—Mr. Charlie Sellars and some others—wanted him to start a wholesale grocery business there for them, which he did. He operated it for a couple of years, I think it was. It was known as "The Champion Grocery Company". It didn't last very long after he left it. And then he went to the farm for about a year. Then he went over to Logan Street in the Whittimore Building and operated a retail food store there for a while. After that he went to the farm for about a year. Then he came up to Glen Raven and bought out this store that was here at the time. He bought it from Mr. Ches Hughes, who owned it but was not operating it. He had someone else to operate it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's the store we're in now?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That's the store we're in now. At the time it was quite different than it is now. He operated this for several years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember when it was he bought this store?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I think it was in August of 1922. In those days everybody running a grocery store—they hadn't started calling them food stores then—everyone that operated one gave a delivery service. The reason I can remember about the date is, he bought an ‘A’ Model—no, ‘T’ Model— Ford Roadster to make a light delivery truck out of it. We delivered groceries at that time. In the

Page 10
store we didn't have electricity out here. We used an icebox, a wooden ice box, it was a good size. We sold drinks out of it. We didn't have meat inspection those days in the stores, so he sold a little fresh meat and he sold it out of his drink box. He'd have a package in there, and when somebody wanted a pound he'd go weigh it up out of that. In addition to food, it was a general merchandise store. It had shoes—ladies, men's shoes, children's shoes. Overalls, shirts, men's underwear. It didn't have any ladies ready made clothing. We sold piece goods: sold a lot of ginghams and those types for ladies to make their everyday dresses and bonnets and aprons out of. And, of course, we sold thread and thimbles and all the accessories. Then there was shot guns, cartridges, rifles and shells. Somewhat more of a general merchandise store than the food stores today, although they get into a lot of off lines. But they don't get into shoes and piece goods like we had in those days. He operated this until, I guess it was about 1931. He sold it out to Moser Brothers. Jolly Moser operated it for close to a year. He bought a place down on Trollinger Street and moved the stock of goods down there. Then my father restocked the store—it was empty—started off slowly and restocked it again, and operated it until June the first, 1934, when I came in and bought it from him and have been operating it ever since.
In 1940 we remodeled it, but now it's antiquish-looking. Now, what else do you want? Do you want anything about me?

Page 11
ALLEN TULLOS:
Oh, yes. Why don't we go back to the United Store Co. and talk about the co-op? Who benefited by that, you say it was a co-op? Could you explain how it worked?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
The customers benefited from it. They all bought stock in it. It was incorporated and they all bought stock in it. And it made money, while they kept their prices in line with the other food stores. It made money. At the end of the year when they figured up their profits, it was divided among the stockholders.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many stockholders would there be, a handful or a hundred?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, I don't know, it probably got up to a hundred maybe. But it started out fewer than that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Everybody who was a stockholder, they bought their food there? It was set up for them. But other people could come and use it too?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, it was open to the general public, everybody. Operated just like an independent store was operated.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When this store opened in 1922, were you working here then or what did you do?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, you see, I was young then. I was a schoolboy. I worked here. Back in those days the law enforcement was not a strict as it is today. I started delivery trucks out on the road when I was about twelve years old.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You're talking about the Model ‘A’?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Even before then, a Model ‘T’.

Page 12
ALLEN TULLOS:
You say you had been driving a delivery truck.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes. You want me to talk about myself for a while? I drove this truck and did this delivering before and after school. People weren't as demanding back in those days as they are now. If you told them you were going to deliver the groceries in the afternoon after school, they would seem to be pleased with that, mostly. I persuaded my father to let me work in the mill one summer. So I got a job working in the Plaid Mill. And I worked that for my summer holiday.
During the summertime in 1927 I carried filling down in Plaid Mills. Just for the one summer. And of course I went to the Burlington High School and graduated from that in 1928. The last couple of years I was in high school I played a little football.
[Phone ringing]
I went to Elon College, graduated from Elon College in 1932. Got me a job teaching school. I had majored in math and commerce. So I got me a job teaching in Reidsville and I taught there for two years, teaching math and typing mostly. And at that time father, who was operating the store here, was wanting to sell it. So I asked him if he'd sell it to me—I didn't have any money, teaching school for seventy dollars a month (I believe the second year I got $72.50, two dollar and a half a month for a year's experience). So he made a deal with me, and I bought it from him. Paid him for it after a little while. In 1940 we remodeled it and made it a little larger. Modern looking for the time. It was considered kind of modern looking for the time.

Page 13
We did a pretty good business for a few years. One time our store was considered the second largest store in the county, doing the second largest volume in the county.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When would that have been?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That would have been in about forty to forty-two. That because we had remodeled in 1940, and our best years were in a year or two to come. I guess we worked about four employees at our highest volume. We didn't keep modernized as the time went on. I thought about it, but doing very well I thought we could hang on for a little while. Children needing to go to college—we had two in college at one time. So we maintained that and let them get their education. Our oldest daughter, Patsy, Patsy Sharp, has her own accounting business in Burlington: Patsy Sharp, Accountant. Then our second child was Tommy, and he's at the present time the superintendent of the city schools in Danville, Virginia. Our youngest daughter, Susan, married Tom who's a chaplain in the army. They live at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Just recently there was a book published entitled Thou Shall Not Kill, and Susan—, our daughter, wrote the last chapter of that book for them. The chapter is entitled "Woman's Lib and Abortion".
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
The book is about abortion, entirely. She wrote the last chapter in that. Its the impression that the book's pretty well accepted.
Now that business has slowed down because of the modern supermarkets, we are in the process of trying to close it out.

Page 14
Looking forward to retirement with a lot of gardening, fishing and so forth. You got a question?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's go back. We've got two or three more minutes. I'll come back some other time and we can talk some more. When you all were here doing business, where would your business come from in this community? Were there other stores here or were you the only store?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There were some smaller stores, but we were the largest store. We had one of the most complete lines in the neighborhood. Over in Glen Raven they had a pretty large village, which they've done away with now. Then we reached out in the country section which is west of here. We had at the time a better store than was in Elon College, so we drew from Elon. And we drew customers from the country, from Altamahaw and Ossipee.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you say people used to come in here on Saturday night sometimes?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, yes. The time that I've told you about this morning when we were talking was when my father operated the store. He kept it open late. We used to, when we started, keep it open till eight or nine o'clock in the night. But when World War II came along and goods were scarce, rationed and all, we started closing at six o'clock. We maintained that for the rest of the period when we were trying to do a full amount and do all the business that we could. We started our retirement nearly two years ago. I mean closing out the business

Page 15
two years ago. We started about January the first, 1977. So two years we've been on this.
But when I was a schoolboy, along about the time I was in seventh grade—I remember particularly that—father would stay open until nine o'clock on Saturday nights. At that time they had a bunch of pretty regular customers who would maybe celebrate a little bit by…smelling the bottle, or tasting a little when they'd come by. Sometimes there was a jews harp, and a violin, what you'd call a fiddle. Play the fiddle and jews harp around on Saturday night. They'd sit around with—they had pig feet in the barrel, crackers in the barrel. They'd eat pig's feet and crackers and sausage and snack like a person drinking likes to do sometimes.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
We'll go from over here in this right hand front corner where these barrels are, and tell me what you'd think would be in the barrels.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Those are what we call "nail kegs"—they have nails in them. Being a general merchandise store, we had all kind of things. Right above them on the counter is bread, loaves of bread. It looks like it might say "sandwich". The earliest bakery I remember in Burlington was operated by a man named "Berg" and I think the bread was called "Bambi Bread". I could be confused there a little bit, but I think that's what it was. On the counter next to the bread there was the charge register, where we kept the accounts in. Above that is a showcase which

Page 16
has candy in it. It wasn't a self service. The clerk in the store got the candy out from the back and sold it to the customer. On top probably there is some candy, chewing gum, so forth. Then across the aisle is the dry produce in those baskets: potatoes and onions and…
ALLEN TULLOS:
Back here toward the back?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, sweet potatoes, things like that. See the scales on the lower part of that counter. Now, underneath there probably was the fat back meat. And on top there was a hoop of cheese, where you'd cut the cheese. There might have been a tobacco cutter there too, where you could plug tobacco. Tobacco would come in plugs, and you'd have a cutter you'd cut it in two with.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about these boxes in front of the baskets of onions and potatoes?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I don't know what that is. That's probably some shelf stock of canned goods he hadn't put up. It's stacked there out of the way.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Up here on the shelves, behind—this is your father here?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Behind his head and working our way back to the front, can you identify any of these …
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Those canned goods would be canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, canned beans, canned peaches. I don't know whether they had fruit cocktail back in those days or not. If they did, he'd probably have some. Now on the top of the shelf there you can identify Pilot Knob coffee in those cans there.

Page 17
Sitting next to them is a case of shoes, Polly Parrot shoes. Can't identify the case on the other side, but it might be shoes also.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And these certificates, are these licenses?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Those are probably his tobacco license and drink license he had to sell.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now we can go back here in the corner on the other side of your father.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That would be cleaning powders, washing powders. I think they're back there. Then next to that counter is a rack that has cookies in it. On top of that I think is crackers, probably packaged crackers. I don't see it, but in those days we had crackers come in barrels where you weighed them out, too. Then behind Mr. Thompson standing there is a pot-bellied stove. And probably some chairs around the stove are boxes the customers would come in and sit down on. To his left there you can see a seed rack with the date 1930 on it. Then going across there it looks like glass containers, might be preserves, things of that type. There might be some vinegar. Most of the vinegar sold back in those days in any amount, large amount, particularly as much as a gallon would be in the barrel in the back room. You see, there's a door right there. And there was a room back of it. Back there he had vinegar barrel—pump the vinegar out—and a mollasses barrel. And there would also be a container for kerosene oil. People in those days didn't heat with kerosene oil, but they cooked with it.
When we first came out here in twenty-two or twenty-three there wasn't any electricity out here. It came later, so there

Page 18
couldn't have been any electric stoves, but most everybody—some of them had wood stoves, of course—cooked with kerosene at the mill village here at Glen Raven. They'd bring a container and you'd draw kerosene in it. For the vinegar barrel they'd bring a container and we'd draw vinegar in that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of container would the vinegar be in?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
They might bring in a gallon jug, glass gallon jug, or probably they had a glass milk bottle. When you got milk from the dairies back in those days it usually came in bottles. We didn't have any plastic cartons. They would use a bottle. Also, they would for their molasses, too. But, should they come to the store and want some molasses and didn't have a container to put it in, we'd put it in a paper bag. Sold the blackstrap molasses and also a favorite of my father's to sell was Covington's Extra-Fancy. It would come in sixty gallon barrels. To put it in a paper bag, you would take a paper bag which would hold it well. You would use two bags, put one inside of the other and draw the molasses in there. And that would hold well untill they get home and could put it into a container. Sounds a little strange, but that's the way it was done.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What size of paper bag, how much would it hold?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, you would want a paper bag large enough to kind of squeeze the top together and twist it. So, a six pound bag would hold a quart of molasses all right. That's about what we would use. The pump had a measuring device on it, it would

Page 19
measure it. You would set it for a quart and it would just grind out a quart and then something would stop it. I know the first time anybody come and wanted me to draw them a quart of molasses in a paper bag, I objected to it. But they insisted, and I did. After that I just would do it ordinarily.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there be anything else in that back room?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, yes, his flour stock would be back there. Now when we sell flour, today, when the supermarkets sell flour, they sell it mainly in two-pound, five-pound, and ten-pound bags. But back in those days, usually started at a twenty-four pound bag—in place of twenty-five, they place it in twenty-five pound now. You had a twenty-four, a forty-eight and a ninety-six. A ninety-six was a half a barrel. Didn't sell much light bread, no canned biscuits. So the main bread for people in the village and the farms around here was—they bought flour and they made biscuits. They made their own biscuits. So naturally, the families were larger than they are now. They used larger quantities of flour. We would sell a few half a barrel bags, which was ninety-six pounds, right many forty-eights, and of course the big seller was twenty-four pound bags for the smaller families. And back there also would probably be some feed, maybe some dairy feed, chicken feed, laying mash, which is also a chicken feed, and horse feed. Not showing in that picture…I tell you, this building has been enlarged since this picture was made…over without an entrance from this part was a tin section built on to the store.

Page 20
A tin section around down the side there. That's where most of the feed was kept. Also fertilizer, we sold fertilizer, too, back in those days. Had a platform out the front, and we sold fertilizer. It was sold in two hundred pound bags, then. We didn't have any smaller units. If anybody wanted smaller, we'd open a two hundred pound bag and weigh out what they wanted. Labor wasn't so high in those days and we could give more services like that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now to try to finish out what's in the picture here … back here on the wall are these different advertisements. There's an ivory soap advertisement, and this one looks like a Lydia Pinkhams …
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, that was a ladies tonic. They took, the ladies a tonic they took for themselves. It was quite popular back in those days. Ladies didn't go to the doctor as much as they do now. So they used what they called patent medicines back in those days. Pinkhams was a popular ladies medicine.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There's this "Chicken Dinner".
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
"Chicken Dinner" was a candy bar that advertised and was quite popular back in those days. As I remember it was probably similar to a Baby Ruth now. It had the nuts and things in it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Up here in the very front, these boxes.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There's shoes, shoes are in those boxes in the front. There's a pipe rack with pipes sitting on it. Over on

Page 21
the left here you see a few bolts of piece goods. Didn't sell any ready made ladies wear. But we sold ginghams for the ladies in the village and the farms to make dresses out of. A lot of them made their own dresses. So we sold piece goods, and naturally had thread and things like that. Now as I recall, back of this center section here—you can't see it, it's hidden by this—is the drink box where he kept ice cold Coca Colas. And they used ice then. Well, when this picture was made in 1930 they had electricity then. You can see the wiring up there. But they didn't have electric box to cool the ale in, we used ice. In this box, when they first started selling meats, he would buy some pork chops or steak ready cut and would just wrap it up and put it on the ice in the drink box. Anybody wanted any, he'd go get out some and weight it up for them. Didn't sound very sanitary, but it was the best we could do then.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You were going to tell me about bartering.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
The store being located out in the mill village away from town just a little ways. Of course, the way it's grown now, it's almost in town. But the farmers out here in the country would come in, in the wintertime they would have butter and eggs, and they would trade it. Trade it for things they needed like sugar, soda, salt. If they needed any meats—most of the farmers raised their own meats—sometimes they would trade the meats, sad meats and hams, for groceries. In the summertime there was produce they'd raise in the garden, beans, tomatoes

Page 22
and corn that they would bring in. A lot of our customers here were from the mill village, and a lot of them didn't have gardens. Those that had them didn't have many, so would trade for— we called it trade. My father had this about trading. He was willing to be satisfied with one profit. In other words, if a man would bring a dozen of eggs in, if he was going to sell those eggs for twenty-five cents a dozen, he would allow them twenty-five cents a dozen on those eggs towards anything he had in the store priced at his regular retail price. Figuring that he got his profit on the goods that they took, he wouldn't make an extra profit on the dozen of eggs. But things like that have changed these days, and they feel that if they change a dozen of eggs they want two profits.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
If they brought more produce in, a farmer brought more produce in, then he'd trade it out. Since it necessarily would be trade so he could get the one profit. He would write him what he'd call a due bill. He would write his name on that, put the date, and put "Due in Merchandise such and such an amount". Then when that person wanted some more groceries, something that he didn't have, he would bring that due bill in and use it to pay for the goods that he got.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did you all discontinue this practice of trade?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, it was actually never discontinued. We discontinued probably even trading sometime because when labor

Page 23
got so high and everything. All the things got so high. In handling the goods we needed two profits, and started taking those. I don't know exactly when that was changed.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did people quit trying to do that, quit trying to bring in vegetables and produce. People don't still do that now. When was the last time somebody did that?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It's still done some, I understand. Up until a little over two years ago, when we started phasing out our business, we would still do it. There wasn't as many customers that did do it, but we would still do it some.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You mentioned some about other stores. Were there other stores like yours in the Burlington area, back, say, in 1930?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There were a couple of smaller stores out here at Glen Raven. Then the stores in Burlington, they were similar, they operated similar to that.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would it be such that people would think of having a neighborhood store?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, that's what they mainly were, in those days. There wasn't as much transportation, easy transportation back in those days as there is now. There were stores located around Burlington in all communities, you might say.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Can you think of the names of any of those other stores that would have been in business, say, in 1930?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, down on the other end of Burlington was

Page 24
a store known as the Cash Store Company, a company owned store.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
The Cash Store was owned by people in the community. They got together and formed an organization and put up money, buying stock in the store. Then they put it in operation. It was a place they bought their food stuff.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there be just one Cash Store, or would there be several?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
They just had one by that name. And then also in East Burlington was Mr. Layton, he operated a store known as "Layton's Store." Then uptown there was Patterson's grocery and Bryan's grocery, uptown. Then coming to West Burlington there was Walton's Store and there was Swim's Store, all the same type we described as my father's store operated out here. In West Burlington was also Simpson's Store, down on Hatch Street. That was another one that I recall. Then on Logan Street, down there was Whitley's Store, still another one. Every community had, there was a store in every community.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Are there any of those stores left besides yours here?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, I don't recall any of them. The buildings are still there, some of them. In the old Swim's building are framing pictures. The Walton building has been torn away and Asher McAdam's drug store is located where it used to be. Some kind of an operation where Simpson's used to be on Hatch St. The Whitley Building on Logan St. is gone. Probably missed one on Logan Street too. It was Whittimore's. There was a store there,

Page 25
Whittimore's, Whittimore's building. The building is still there, but I don't know what it is being used for. Something, I don't know just what.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The people who owned all of these stores, would they have a lot to do with each other? Would they have any get-togethers or meetings or organizational activities?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, I don't think they had any get-together at all. That didn't come until years later when they thought they needed to get together and talk about it. It was competition like dog eat dog back in those days. You did all you could. While you respected the other man and his operation, you didn't do anything to help him.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about the different communities? If you looked say, at west Burlington or east Burlington, what would be the difference between the communities. In general terms, how would you describe these different parts of the Burlington area? What were they like, who lived there?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There wasn't any particular difference, because in east Burlington there were cotton mills and in west Burlington there were cotton mills. In the main, the larger number of inhabitants worked in the mills. So they would be similar.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there any sense of different classes of people, a part of town where the wealthier people lived, or the poorer people lived?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Sure, like always the wealthier people, they usually traded at the uptown stores. They probably operated a

Page 26
little different. Credit for food stuff was quite popular. Nearly everybody who operated a store in the twenties and thirties, it was a credit operation. And the uptown stores, a bigger operation, and the wealthier people, who probably got paid by the month were carried by the month. And the mill workers got paid by the week, and the stores that catered to them just charged them a week at a time. The wealthier people lived on Davis St., Front St., and some on the other streets around. They lived close in to town in those days. I guess transportation was the reason we didn't have people living a long ways off.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did these small neighborhood stores begin to change?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
When the supermarkets started coming in is when they began to change. Around here I guess it was in the early forties that supermarkets started spreading out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which were the first ones, the first supermarkets?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I believe the first one in Burlington I recall was the A&P. Back in the earlier days I can remember when Bryan's store was the largest store and did more business than the A&P in Burlington. And the Cash Store down in east Burlington, they did more business when they were in their prime. They did more business than the A&P. And there was another chain store known as Pender's in Burlington early. There were local stores larger than those two until we came into the time of the supermarkets. Then when they started supermarkets, first

Page 27
one and then another. They did a lot of advertising. Then the local owned small grocery stores began to lose out, fading away.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You say that began in the early forties. There weren't any supermarkets that you remembered before, say, 1940?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Of course, this is just my memory, but I don't remember exactly.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The A&P would have begun right after World War II, or right before World War II?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It was probably about that time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There was something called the "Dixie Home Stores." Do you remember those?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I remember the name. They never came to Burlington and Alamance county. But the Winn-Dixie hasn't been here so long.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about this mill that's right across the street from you, the hosiery mill, when was it built?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
About forty, early forties, I would say.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did people who worked over there ever come in here to get things for lunch?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, they used to a whole lot more than they do now. They try to keep them from coming in, they try to keep them on the job. You noticed the man in here a few minutes ago who bought a carton of ale, six bottles I believe, he works over there. They come over and buy some ale and things. They first started that mill, though…they didn't have any drink machines, no

Page 28
coffee machines, no sandwich machines over there. And the mill owner came over here and asked me if we would furnish them some sandwiches at noon time. We agreed to do it. For a while we would send a man over there and he would take orders for sandwiches and drinks. He would come back over here and we would make the sandwiches. When they got them made, we would take them over there. They would have their lunch. But, as things developed, a man came down here and opened up a cafe right down here, next door. And of course, it was illegal for us to make sandwiches in our market. But we were doing it to accommodate those people over there. I don't know, but we think the man who started the cafe down there sent the inspector up here and they stopped us from making sandwiches.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When would that have been you all stopped, how long ago?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I would say in the fifties, somewhere in the fifties.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was it always the Holt Hosiery Mill?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, it's always been the hosiery mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You think it probably started around 1940.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Now, it's probably in the early forties. Now I say that for this reason—the war, World War II was going on when that building was built. They had trouble getting help to lay the brick. You see that white streak yonder? Getting some help that wasn't too proficient probably. And they got some out out line. Mr. Holt came along and had them pull those out and line them up. Well, the mortar never matched, you see.

Page 29
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was there before the mill?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Nothing, just a field. Back when I was just a boy and my daddy was operating this store, we got permission and we planted it in corn, roasting ear corn. Somebody come in the store and want a dozen ear of corn, we went out there and pulled it and brought it in and sold it to them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's pretty fresh corn.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yeah, as time went on I bought the lot, the front lot. I had the opportunity to buy it. It was tied up for a long time. I bought it and one day Mr. Brown of the real estate company came up to me and wanted to buy the lot back of it also. He told me this, that if I bought the lot back of it, he had a sale for it, the whole works, to Mr. Holt. And it would show me a nice profit. So I went ahead and bought it and sold the lot to Mr. Holt.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which Holt was that?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That was Mr. Ralph Holt. He's dead now. Ralph, Jr. operates that. Of course, more than Mr. Ralph was into it. He didn't do it by himself. He had some brother-in-laws, a couple of Allen boys, Joe and, never can think of the bame, anyway, Joe and his brother Allen. Also, Jim Holt: James Alexander Holt. They're the ones I know went in together and started it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now going back to your store a bit. In this time before, the twenties and thirties, who would primarily be your customers? What groups of people would they be, mostly mill workers or mostly farmers who would come into town?

Page 30
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
The majority of them were mill workers. There were a lot of houses over in the mill village there. Most of them traded over here. Some of them lived along the road here, some of them that owned their own homes and so forth. And then we had several farmers too. But I'd say the majority were mill workers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's look at this page here that your father wrote down in about 1930 or so that has two accounts, I guess. Would all of this have been bought at one time? You think the person would have come in and bought all of this at once?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I think so.
ALLEN TULLOS:
If we go through and explain each one. Now the potatoes, they would be sweet potatoes?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Not likely, more than likely ash potatoes. Now we have the habit of writing sweet potatoes, we put "SW" potatoes. Abbreviated.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So how many potatoes would you get for fifty cents.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I would think it would be a peck, which would be about twelve pounds. Back in those days we measured things, we had a peck measure. I don't known if you've ever seen one of those or not—a peck on one side, a gallon on the other. Wooden container. We still have got that old measuring thing. It's down at the house. I imagine that would be about twelve pounds, would what a peck would measure.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Now all of these things, like potatoes and onions, you would have bought them from a grocery wholesaler?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Uh-huh.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Then we have two pounds of lard. Would there be

Page 31
any particular kind of lard?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
In those days it was probably pure lard.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would it be dipped out of something?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, dipped out of a tub probably. A wooden tub, about forty-eight or fifty pounds. In addition to that we used to get preserves in about a ten pound wooden bucket. We used to dip those out. And peanut butter the same way. We dip them out and sell it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And they came in wooden buckets?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Wooden pails.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Coffee, would that be coffee beans or would it be ground up?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
We didn't have any grinders in those days. I think there was not much bean coffee sold as I can remember. Back when I was a little boy they bought some bean coffee. Prior to my time, everybody using coffee had their own little coffee mill. The kind the woman put between her legs, held between her legs and ground her own coffee.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You mentioned a particular brand of coffee. What was it?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Pilot Knob.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where did that come from?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I'm not sure. The brand of coffee I remember mostly, though, is Arbuckle. Ever hear of Arbuckle coffee. They were the two most popular ones, and I believe they sold more Arbuckle than Pilot Knob.

Page 32
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who would bring the coffee to you and sell it to you?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
There were wholesale groceries in Burlington.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It would be the same people who that'd be bringing the potatoes?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, the produce house was different. They had others. Also, Greensboro and Richmond. I know my father got his Pilot Knob coffee out of Richmond. Used to buy groceries out of Richmond, too. I don't remember the name of the wholesale place. But they would ship it here by railway freight. We had a freight depot up here. We would order stuff and they would ship it in here by freight. I think you could get it in from Richmond sometimes cheaper than you could buy it locally.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Then going on down here to the meat. That's two dollars? Can you tell what that is?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, that's two pounds. He doesn't have a price on it. But that was our method for writing it. You see, if we got a pound of coffee we wrote a pound of coffee. If he wanted to order two pounds of meat, we had to cut that piece of fat back. We wasn't sure it would be exactly two pounds, and so we put the two on to the right like that. Then the price would be on out there. You didn't put the price on after you cut it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You got your produce from one wholesaler, your coffee from another. Now what about your meat?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It would have come, prior to the time Swift and Co. opened up in Burlington, it would have been handled by the wholesale grocer. He would handle the fat back.

Page 33
ALLEN TULLOS:
The same person you would be buying your produce from?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, from the other man.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The people in Richmond, for instance, that you'd get your coffee from. It would come in on the freight train, too?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Uh-huh. Or he could buy it locally here from a wholesale grocer. He would get it from one of the meat packers. They would have it shipped in. You can still buy it like that too. You can still buy fat back meat that way. Thomas Howard has a wholesale grocery here in Burlington now, and they handle fat back meat.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Has he been a person who goes way back?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Oh, yeah, they go way back?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Thomas Howard?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Thomas and Howard Company.
ALLEN TULLOS:
They might be somebody I might talk to about this period of time?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Nobody locally has been here a long time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How about any of those other grocery store owners you mentioned, are any of them still around to talk to?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yeah. I don't even believe I mentioned it. But there used to be a store in Burlington, back before my day. I've heard my father talk about it: Isley Brother's General Store. Coleman Isley, who is probably a year or two older than I am, he could tell you some things. He and his brother operating a food store in Graham, Isley's. And if you could get to talk to Coleman, he could tell you. He has a younger brother, right much younger, who is really the operator of it now, I think.

Page 34
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is he still living in Graham?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
He's still there. They're still operating the store in Graham. On Court Square there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
One more question while we're talking about these grocers. People in the black community, would they have their own stores which would be run by black grocers?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, there wasn't any black operators back in those days.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there any black operated restaurants?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Not going too far back, I would say yes. Down on Worth Street in Burlington, a section known as "Blackbottom"—they they had operations down in there that'd probably go back to the thirties.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's go back to this list here. The next thing was a quart of pinto beans.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That was measured in a tin quart container that held a quart, which would be close to a pound and a half.
ALLEN TULLOS:
People told me that you didn't grow pinto beans around here, that they were brought in from somewhere else.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Usually come in from Colorado. Still do, the majority of them.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would these come in big sacks?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, hundred pound bags, and you'd weigh them out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about these peas, what kind of peas would those be?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
They would be dried black eyed peas.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And where would they have come from?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, they would have come from off somewhere. Might have come from Alabama.

Page 35
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then we have soap, is that soap?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, that's P and G soap, one cake for five cents.
ALLEN TULLOS:
P and G?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Proctor and Gamble.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then the next thing is salt.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, a package of salt for five cents.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then a package of bacon.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That would have probably been a pound of bacon for forty cents.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Then sausage.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
A pound of sausage for thirty cents.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me ask you about the bacon and the sausage. Would that have been prepackaged? You mentioned the Swift Company. It says here "package"—would that mean that you all sliced it off?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, it was probably a package that probably Swift's put up. And the sausage could have either been that or it could have been some country sausage, some that we made here at the store.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You all used to make sausage here?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes. We'd buy some pork trimmings and make sausage.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Is that something you did yourself?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, I've done it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you still do some of that?

Page 36
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
No, I'm not doing any now. And we used to dress chickens here. Dress our own fryers, hens. But rules and regulations came along again, the inspector came out and said you had to have running water, certain kinds of containers, and a concrete floor, thus and so if you're going to dress chicken. We didn't have all of that and we didn't go into that, so we discontinued dressing our chickens.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did you first begin to run into these regulations on how you processed your food?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I would say they stopped us from dressing chickens in the forties.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That may have been the first thing they began to deal with you on?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes. The early inspectors weren't too strict. They let you get by with some things they got tighter on. We felt like we could keep our chicken dressing just as sanitary as if we had a certain kind of container to put them in, and as if we had a concrete floor. But, the inspectors of course didn't agree with that. We were careful with our work and tried to keep it…
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember any inspectors in the 1930's. Would there have been anyone coming around to inspect that early?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, I think so.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would they have been working for the health department.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The state health department or the county?

Page 37
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I think it was the state. The mayor of Burlington was Mr. Earl Horner, and he had a brother named Tom Horner. And Tom was the first inspector I remember. Wait a minute, I'm wrong there. Tom was not an inspector, he was a tax man. I can't think of the name of the inspector now. The inspector would come out and ask you a few questions. If you answered them to his satisfaction, he didn't pay much attention to what you were doing. The early ones.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let's go back and finish this list. Now, under sausage, what is that word? One pound of…
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Weenies. That would have been loose weenies, I don't think we had packaged weenies back in those days. And the sausage was probably loose, too. I would weigh up a pound of weenies, and they were twenty five cents a pound.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And that's "Mule" tobacco?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Mule tobacco, yes. It was one of the popular brands back in those days.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It was a kind of chew?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, it was a chew. And that was a ten cent cut.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you wouldn't cut it yourself?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, usually we did. They came in an eight or ten pound box of tobacco packed tight together. No cellophane back in those days. A ten cent cut was probably half of a plug.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The next one we've got is a quart of white beans.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
That was probably what we'd call great northerns now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then again pinto beans, lard. Now under the lard, what is that?

Page 38
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Two Chesterfield cigarettes. Thirty cents.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then what do you have?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Ladies Choice snuff, ten cents.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That would have been one of the old brands I guess.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And then tomatoes.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
A can of tomatoes. A can of kraut.
ALLEN TULLOS:
A pound of steak.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Then sausage, then that last thing is kerosene.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
A gallon of kerosene, yes, that's right.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
ALLEN TULLOS:
You had some comments about the differences between the food preferences, or meat preferences, black and white customers and maybe how changed.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Let's see, the black customers would choose the cheaper cuts of meat. Pig feet used to sell cheap. So would neck bones. And end cuts of ham would be cheaper. They would choose that because they didn't have a whole lot of money to spend on the other things. But as time went on, as they developed and began to make more money, while they bought some of the better cuts of meat, they still liked the things that they used to eat—they still liked the pig feet, the neck bones, the chitterlings. They developed a taste for them and they still buy them. Although they're not as cheap as they used to be, they still prefer them. Does that about get it?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Another kind of thing similar to that would be if

Page 39
people stopped off here to buy something for lunch—again I'm going as far back as you can remember—what sort of things would they get?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
In buying a lunch they would buy bologna, cheese, and canned pork and beans. Potted meat. Vienna sausage. Peanut butter, crackers, and bread. And probably a cookie.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Things like potted meat and vienna sausage—they've been made as long as you can remember?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, and sardines, I left out sardines. As long as I can remember those things have been popular. Speaking of pig feet, pickled pig feet was quite popular. I remember when I was just a youngster I would hang around here on Saturday night. My father would sell, to the people who would come in—they had been off celebrating a little bit—they would come in and want pig feet and crackers. I'd smell those pickled pig feet and I'd think they were the best thing I'd ever smelled. Sometimes he'd give me a broken piece of pig feet and a cracker, and I ate it. And I still like them. I like a pickled pig feet.
TAPE 2, SIDE B: January 30, 1979.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Well, the workers in the mill, on weekdays, on working days, would eat dried beans which they would cook with a piece of fat back meat, and these would be: pinto beans, pink beans, white beans, black eyed peas would be the main ones. And of course, they'd eat potatoes—Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes—and onions along with these. Then came the weekend—back in those days the weekend meant Saturday noon to Monday morning.

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Chicken was probably the most popular meat, but they would get pork chops or some beef of some kind, and have that for their Sunday dinner. And then for Sunday they'd probably have a cake or a pie, too, which they didn't eat much of during the week. We didn't have packaged cookies or prepared cakes a great deal. Another thing would be, you would notice when a holiday came, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Then they would go all out. They would buy a lot of things. I remember the times when, in the late thirties in particular, come Christmas, sell a lot of turkeys, sell a lot of hens, a lot of chickens, right much beef, and hams. Of course country ham was eaten some by the mill workers all along. And the people out in the country raised and cured their own meat. They had that that they could eat all along.
Back in the late twenties, when we first came out here, when lunch time came the cotton mill would shut down for about half an hour and let the people go home and eat lunch. They would have some beans and corn bread probably ready. They would go home and eat and then come back to the mill in a half an hour and go back to work. The mill owners didn't seem to think they had to keep those machines running every minute of every day back in those days.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In other words, they would actually shut down the whole mill.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, they would shut it down.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And they would do that five days a week and then on Saturday they would be through.

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HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, on Saturday they'd be off at lunch.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When did that change, when did they quit doing that?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I don't remember exactly when it was. They seemed to put more pressure on the help as time went on, they wanted them to work all the time. Then some of them…children would bring lunch to their parents in the mill. They got where they would sell lunches to them in the mill. They had something they called a "dope cart", carried one around that carried ale and sandwiches and things like that. They would sell them something and let them eat. The differences there probably came about because of the time. Back in the early days they worked ten hours a day in the mill. Then they changed to eight hours. They'd maybe allow their help a fifteen minute break to eat a sandwich, something like that at noontime. It kind of evolved, I don't know exactly what time when it was that it changed.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would you say it was a general practice that a lot of mills would close at lunch for thirty minutes, close everything down, or was this unusual here?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
I couldn't quite say. I remember the mill here did it, and probably some of them other mills did it also. Then there were some that felt like they were more modern and had to keep it working all the time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the name of this particular mill?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
This was Glen Raven Cotton Mill. In the late twenties when we first came out here, the average worker in Glen Raven Cotton Mill would make less than eleven dollars a week.

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I don't remember exactly what it was. $10.87 or something close to that. Of course, the weavers would make a little more and the boss men made a little more. But it seems to be that there was just one set wage for ordinary work in the cotton mill. That was for working five and a half days, ten hours a day, five hours for the half a day. Some of the mills probably—well, I'm sure that the mills, say Plaid Mills and Mayfair—it wasn't Mayfair then, the Elmira cotton mill—they paid a little better wages than Glen Raven. Of course it wasn't a great deal more. Then as time went on the Japanese stopped letting us have silk and nylon was developed. And opening up in Burlington and other places were nylon hosiery mills. Mills that made nylon hosiery for ladies, and they just took the place of silk. Silk never did come back. But a knitter in a hosiery mill, a nylon hosiery mill, would make twice the wages or more that a weaver would make in a cotton mill. All the young men wanting to go into mill work would go into the hosiery mill.
Back in the earlier days there probably was more class distinction among people than there is today because a man doing ordinary work in a cotton mill, making less than eleven dollars a week—he had probably enough to pay rent, buy him a little something to eat, a few clothes, and that was about all. Of course, he was probably looked down on somewhat. He didn't associate socially with the boss men or the owners of the mill, who were in a different class. Over the years that has been eliminated a whole lot because of the equalization of wages. People working in the mills now make

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a good living wage, and they drive as good as automobiles as anybody.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
Probably one of the reasons change came about in our operation… The supermarkets opened up and they sold for cash and they advertised some items cheaper than we could sell them, or cheaper than we could buy them for sometimes. Things they call "loss leaders" that they would entice our customers on. It got to be, the development started that our customers would buy these loss leaders, then would buy some other things too as time went on. Then they would come back to us and have a little stuff charged. Of course, we tried to pick out the customers that were good pay. Those we were aquainted with and those we knew. If there was sickness in the family, hardship, somebody lose a job and had to be out of work for a while, we would extend him credit a little longer. Our policy was, to our customers, that your payday is my payday. We carried some accounts for a week, some for two weeks, and some for even a month. Just making our customers' payday our payday. As long as they would cooperate we would go along with that. But when they started going to the supermarket too much and just giving us the left-over, it got where we couldn't operate and make expenses. So we decided to phase it out. And that's what we've been doing now.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
I can remember back in twenty-seven and twenty-eight—I was a young man then—going uptown and doing my courting. I'd

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go down on Sunday afternoon, and when suppertime came I'd go uptown to a weenie stand. It's now known as Zack's. I don't know whether it was a New York weenie stand in those days or not. There was one up there, and I don't know whether Zack's developed from that or not. But I would go up there and eat my supper. I would get me two hot dogs or two cheese dogs and a chocolate milk for a total of fifteen cents. And there was no tax. Of course, they got right much business for working folks going up town. They could stand a five cent hot dog, or a five cent chocolate milk or a five cent drink of some kind. Along about this same time, in west Burlington, on Trollinger Street, there was a popular cafe known as Brown's Cafe. They featured barbeque. They barbequed pork and served it. They had a good business. It was mainly mill workers who patronized it. Of course, all mill workers didn't have enough money to go there, but some did. I graduated from high school in Burlington in 1928. We had our senior banquet—we didn't have a prom back in those days, they didn't allow us to belly rub sponsored by the school—so we had a banquet at the Alamance Hotel in 1928. They served a good meal with good silverware. Some of the boys latched on to some of the silverware. Of course, I think they got it all back.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The Alamance Hotel, then, would be the place if you came to town on business, and you were staying in the hotel, where you would eat?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, you would stay there and eat. Now there were earlier hotels in Burlington before then. There was the Ward

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Hotel and then the Piedmont. I don't think they served meals. However, there were cafes uptown who did serve meals and were nearby. People could stay in those, and did long before the twenties, I think.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
When both the husband and wife worked in the cotton mill, quite often they would hire a colored women to come in and probably cook lunch, and clean up the house and cook supper. She probably wouldn't work over five or six hours a day. Maybe sometimes and sometimes longer. They were economically low ebb. And these colored folks would work for five or six dollars a week. Where husband and wife both worked in the mill, they could readily pay that and have a couple of hot meals a day prepared by someone else.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you say that would be pretty common.
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
Yes, that was quite common.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which meals would they most likely have prepared?
HERMAN NEWTON TRUITT:
It would be lunch and supper. She might get supper ready and be going home by the time the folks came in, or maybe before.
END OF INTERVIEW