Documenting the American South Logo
Loading
Title: Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Durham, Frank, interviewee
Interview conducted by DeNatale, Douglas
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Steve Weiss Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 252 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© 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 and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-09-04, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0067)
Author: Douglas DeNatale
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0067)
Author: Frank Durham
Description: 264 Mb
Description: 68 p.
Note: Interview conducted on September 10 and 17, 1979, by Douglas DeNatale; recorded in Bynum, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as "
All em dashes are encoded as —

Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979.
Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Durham, Frank, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FRANK DURHAM, interviewee
    DOUGLAS DeNATALE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
FRANK DURHAM:
Well, he died in 1909. Then they left in 1910, the whole family, and went to Hillsborough somewhere. They owned a thousand acres of land, they said, all up and down the river, and a big plantation. He had a brother lived right across the road, Luther Bynum, right across the highway in that big house over there. That was his brother, Luther Bynum.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, so Luther Bynum lived over there. Wasn't it Luther that started the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Them two brothers [unknown] some stock [unknown] But it was the Bynum Mill, and it was called that. Then they sold to the Odells sometime or another. They quit and sold to the Odells. They started this one in 1874. And then it burned down in 1916. It was a pretty mill [unknown]. And then they built this one that's there now in 1916, the Londons did, Odell.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So there were two different Bynum families, is that right?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. There were two different families. Luther Bynum on that side and Carney Bynum on this side of the road, and the highway used to go right down through there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How were they related to each other?
FRANK DURHAM:
They were brothers.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'd like to find out more about your family, because you seem to have been a very important family in town.
FRANK DURHAM:
Well, not too much, I don't think, but. . . . I had a good family, as far as that goes, but my mother now is over here in the rest home. It's a nursing home. She's not able to do anything. She's and she knows me, and I was over there yesterday. She's ninety-six years old.

Page 2
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
Papa lived to be ninety-three. He died in '76.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your father move to Bynum?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he came here when he was a kid boy. His daddy died and his mother married again, and he left home, he and his sister and two brothers. Up here in the country around Brown's Chapel somewhere. They had a sort of falling out before they was any age at all, hardly. His sister had done left. She was the oldest. She'd left and gone to work somewhere. She went to work when she was about fourteen years old. Well, Papa took his two brothers and went to Saxapahaw. That's another mill town right on up by the river. And he had an aunt that lived up there. He stayed up there a while, and then they walked away from up there and walked down here. He had another aunt that lived over there. She wrote and told them to come down here and stay with her. It was his daddy's sister. So they come down here, and he went to work in the mill and [unknown] just stayed there with her. He was just twelve years old when he went. But that's [unknown] they left home. And he never went back any more. I never heard tell of them going back till his mother had some kind of stroke or something, and somebody come down here after him. And he went up there, but she was dead when he got there. They had no fuss or nothing, but they just couldn't get along, seemingly. And she told him, "Well, you all go" and told them where to go, and they took off. And they've been on their own ever since. Pa left there then and [unknown] worked down there till he was about seventeen years old. [unknown] got him a job down there [unknown], and stayed down there a pretty good while. He come back here and married.

Page 3
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did he come back here to marry?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he come back here and married my mother. She was a Moore. And he was made, finally, overseer. Second hand and then the overseer of the spinning, and then he stayed that way till he retired. He had to retire. He left the mill—oh, a long time—in '44. And after that he just bought and sold real estate. He had a heart attack or something. And he got over it. For about two years he didn't do anything, but just like the doctor told him over here, doctor at Watts Hospital. He got over that, seemingly, went back to work just doing what he wanted to, buying and selling stuff to pick up a little money. [unknown] to keep going. Never did have to sell nothing anway.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So he managed to save all that money working in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Lord, I don't see how he did it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's amazing.
FRANK DURHAM:
Him and Mama built the house on up the road up yonder in 1909. They stayed there ten years and come down here in 1919. And I don't see how he ever done that. They didn't have nothing, you see. And I think he didn't have much money, but they had a mighty good living. But there was three acres of land up there with that thing, and he tended and did everything he could. He had a wonderful garden and kept two cows, and he raised hogs and chickens, and they raised everything they ate, just about.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So they were living over . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Over here up the road. Right above that store, the house on the left. Then he sold that one when he found he could buy this place down here. Thought it was a good thing, and sold that and bought this down here. Of course he had to pay [unknown] I don't know how much. Bought

Page 4
this down here in 1919. Been here ever since.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So this is really your family house.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir, I've been here Lord knows. Well, I was just a kid like when we come down here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your mother work in the mill, also?
FRANK DURHAM:
She did until they married. She never worked anymore. She did a lot of work around home. She learned to be a real good seamstress. She was real good with her hands; she could do anything. She sewed for a lot of people. Because I remember all over the place were dresses and things. They'd come over and try them on. I'd carry them when they was finished. I had three brothers and a sister. We was all young together; there wasn't quite two years between none of us. My oldest brother is dead, and my youngest sister. My oldest brother did live right out here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
In the house here.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, and that belongs to their estate now, the other house out there. My brother Cary. He's the one that used to run that store down there. That's all gone now. And there's a boy now that closed it up, and he's selling cars for Coggin up there on the Boulevard, you know. They did a lot of business a long time. He was in business down there fifty years, Cary was.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Didn't another one of your brothers own a store, too?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, Lewis Durham, right up above there. Yes, them Durham They sold and made a dwelling out of that. He sold the house, only they owned this home right down here. He sold that and then he sold and he built in Durham County up there, right on the edge between Orange and Durham. He don't live but two or three miles out of Chapel Hill.

Page 5
But he married a girl from up there. He run that store up there from 1935 till, I'd say, about '70; I don't know, '71, maybe, he closed up, sold out. He sold his home and then sold the store. Now he doesn't do anything; he retired. He's in pretty good shape.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your older brother, Cary? When did he start his store?
FRANK DURHAM:
1926, and he closed up sometime in '78. But he'd had a stroke in '75. He run it all the time in his name, but he didn't actually run it anymore after he had the stroke because he wasn't quite capable. He got around pretty good for a year or two, but it finally killed him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Your mother's family were the Moores.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Edgar Moore was superintendent of the mill down here for years, her oldest brother. They had four boys and four girls in that family.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were they originally from Bynum?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, they come from down here on the New Hope. They moved to Pittsboro and run a mill over there, a cotton gin and a grist mill. And her daddy got a farm and was coming out here between here and Pittsboro nights, farming over there. And he was a young man, and he died. Just died in about two days. They think now it was appendicitis, appendix busted, but they called it a kidney problem that killed him. So Uncle Edgar was the oldest one in the family, and he come across over here and got a job over here in the mill. He took a textile course. They seen something in him, and he was a brilliant fellow. The company helped him with the textile course, and he worked through the mill and he got to be superintendent.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
He stayed there. Then he left here and went to Edenton and down

Page 6
south and moved around [unknown] come back here. He died over there. He lived to be ninety-six years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So he started working in the mill as a young boy and . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he started here, and then he moved around. He went to Edenton and stayed down there a pretty good while. He come back here. Stayed here till he retired. He worked till he was eighty years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
He was in good health then. He lived sixteen years after that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So he started working in the mill down here, and then did he take that textile course before he went to Edenton?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. He got that before he. . . . He was taking that right here and was working in the mill and learned all the jobs.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
He was taking that here. How?
FRANK DURHAM:
Correspondence. You could do that. You can still do it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did he happen to go down to Edenton?
FRANK DURHAM:
There was a fellow that moved out from here who was overseer of carding here, and when my uncle got to be overseer of spinning, this fellow Jim Cates moved here and went to work for Erwin at Durham. And he left Erwin at Durham and went to Edenton. And he wanted to know if they'd go down there. He got him down there. Mr. Cates got to be a big man down there sure enough. They were both good mill men, good, practical mill men, really.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
It sounds like the foremen in the mill and the superintendent all were local people here.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. I was foreman.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Yes, I understand you were the super . . .

Page 7
FRANK DURHAM:
For years and years down there. Lord, yes. I worked down there about fifty-some years. I was superintendent the last seventeen years of my life down there. My working life. I was overseer of spinning for several years, and then I went over all of it on the second shift, for a long time, twenty-five years.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm still trying to figure out how the whole management of the mill works. The superintendent is over everything, is that right?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Then we have a plant manager now that's over the superintendent. The plant manager, the superintendent, then the overseers of the different departments.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And was the superintendent in charge of all three shifts?
FRANK DURHAM:
All of it, yes, everything. Both shifts, everything. He's responsible for the whole mill, all that's running, all the time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And then the supervisor is over the card room and the spinning room.
FRANK DURHAM:
That's right.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have a different supervisor for each shift?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Every shift. Yes, there's a supervisor for each shift and each operation; carding, spinning, and winding. There were three in three shifts.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who took care of the hiring and the firing?
FRANK DURHAM:
I did every bit of the hiring when I was there. The head man [unknown] . . . . Oh, I've forgotten what they call it now, the superintendent down there. I did all the hiring, though, every bit of it for the whole business. They had to have it centralized; somebody had to interview and place them to work. And it wasn't big enough to have

Page 8
a man on that; you just had to do it yourself. You had several jobs; you had right smart to do. Had plenty to do, all right, but it was all right.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
But now they have a plant manager.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they have a plant manager and a superintendent now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Does the plant manager do sort of what Mr. London used to do?
FRANK DURHAM:
John London was plant manager down there all the time that I was superintendent. But John's retired now. He went to Pittsboro. His brother died. He was secretary and treasurer. He died, and then John went to Pittsboro as that, and they hired another fellow over here. And there have been several fellows down there since this new company got it now. John and them sold out to a company out of Mount Pleasant. They own five mills; this makes the fifth. They had it leased, and then they bought it here about two months ago.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
John was the only one in his family connected with the mill. He's seventy years old, and he wanted to get out, so he just sold it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I see. So now the mill is no longer owned by the Odell Company.
FRANK DURHAM:
No. It don't belong to them, but it's still in the Odells' name. They own eighty-seven percent of it. There's thirteen percent of it somebody owned, and they wouldn't sell. They've still got it. But all the company wants is the controlling interest anyhow, I guess.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Could you tell me a little bit more about your career? How old were you when you started working in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, Lord, I was twelve years old. And going to school [unknown], but I was twelve years old when I went to work. We had

Page 9
a six-months school, and you'd go to work in March and work until September or whenever it started. That's all we had six months for a long time. And there were no labor laws then. And when I was fourteen, I couldn't work. When I was thirteen, the next year I couldn't work at all, not down there, because they passed the child labor law. You could go to work when you was fourteen, but you couldn't work but eight hours. And so I couldn't work at all at thirteen. I worked that year with a farmer up here, a big farmer, Mr. Louis Lambeth. He run a store down there [unknown] Oh, it was a whopper, I'm telling you. He had a big farm, and I worked on it and I really enjoyed it, [unknown] the horses and mules. And I would work in the house. Mrs. Lambeth sort of took on to me, and they'd feed me. They wanted me to come live up there. But she wouldn't let me come home.
I'd have to eat everything, and I'd stand there and she'd . . . . I learned to make up beds and sweep and all that stuff in the house, just like a servant, you know, but she was good to me. Just as good to me as she could be. I enjoyed it. The next summer, though, I had to go [unknown] in the mill. [Laughter] I went to work at 9:20 and worked till 6:20.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Gosh.
FRANK DURHAM:
They had those hours. And several of the boys would work from 6:20 till 3:20, and I come on at 9:20 and worked on. They had it fixed [unknown] Because they were running eleven hours a day and five hours on Saturday. Now these boys that weren't fourteen—go to work at fourteen and work eight hours—they had six; that's the way he'd carry on the job, you know, the whole eleven hours. I don't

Page 10
know why they did that; I don't know what started the 6:20. But it started at 6:20 and stopped an hour for dinner, and then it stopped at 6:20. They didn't run but one shift.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When was that? That would have been in the 1920's?
FRANK DURHAM:
1918 I went to work. And it had to have been, I think, about 1920 when that labor law came out.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you continue to go to school in the wintertime after that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, I did. I went to school. Yes, he'd stop us and send us to school, Papa would. He was the foreman, you see. He'd put you to doing something or another down there. He didn't make no money at all out of it, [unknown]. [Laughter] There wasn't [unknown] wages, as far as that would go. Nobody made nothing. Well, the young'uns didn't make nothing, hardly, you know. What he did make his parents took anyhow, and it didn't make no difference because Papa bought everything. And he was nice to us.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So the money that you earned in the mill, that was your parents'?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, because he bought everything for us. And he'd give us a little money, but that was mighty little along in then. It didn't take much. They wouldn't let you throw nothing away nohow.
You learned not to throw nothing away much, because it was hard times always. Mill families coming along then, if they wasn't a good manager they wouldn't ever have nothing. It'd take good managing, because you didn't make anything.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
The company helped out a lot, didn't they, with the housing and all of that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, there wasn't nothing to do to the houses or the rent, as far as that. Papa didn't stay over there. After they married, I don't think he stayed over there but about three years, and he built this house

Page 11
up here. And the company let him have the money to build it on.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How's that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Mr. London and Mr. [unknown] let him have money to build the house, lent him money.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, and he paid them back, and they didn't charge him no interest. Captain London. He was a captain in the Civil War. Captain London. And they always called him Captain London. He died in 1916. I remember seeing him a time or two and speaking to him, but that's about all.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was your father a foreman by that time, when he built that house?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he was. Yes, he was foreman, but they didn't make much. When he built that house, he was making $1.25 a day. That's all. And I mean he had to work eleven hours a day [unknown] And then they got paid by the day, and you got paid a quarter, a half, three-quarters of a day, whichever. There weren't no hours. Ha! And you didn't make a quarter of a day, you didn't even get nothing. Man. Papa told me about that.
When I went to work you got paid by the hour, and I made. [crashing sound]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
My goodness. [Laughter]
FRANK DURHAM:
Something fell off. They're doing some work in there. That's my boy; he's going to move in here with me.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, good.
FRANK DURHAM:
He's going to sell his home in Raleigh. See, I'm here by myself till they get up here. My wife died.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I heard about that.

Page 12
FRANK DURHAM:
And had to carry my mother over there. She fell and broke her hip. I was going to the hospital to see my wife; my wife had a cancer. And from the time we knew she had one until she died wasn't but about three months. Just all right now. And while she was in the hospital, my mother fell, and I was going up there to see her. My sister was up here with Mama, but she got up to go to the bathroom and failed to take her walker some way or another, and she just fell and got to going back. She said, "I didn't fall. I just got to going backwards." Something [unknown] in her head, I don't know what. Got to going backwards and fell and broke her hip. Laid up there four weeks in the hospital, and the doctor told us up there that she'd never walk anymore and we'd have to make some arrangement to get her in a nursing home or something. So I made arrangements to get her over here to Siler City, and we moved her over there. My wife didn't live long after that. And just all at once she got hoarse. She couldn't talk. Thought she just had a spell of laryngitis, and I carried her over to Broad Street in Durham every two months. I carried her over there for a long time for the high blood pressure, to keep it in control. And it was good; he kept it down good. And the doctor noticed that she was hoarse. He said, "How long has that been going on?" And she said, "About two weeks. It's just a little laryngitis." He said, "Well, it might be, and it might not. I want you to go to MacPherson to have it examined." Went over there and he said that he knew what it was, but he didn't know what it was coming from, and I thought then there was something queer about it. And they sent us to another doctor that was uptown. He sent us over there to have some pictures made at the Durham General, and we had three made over there at MacPherson. Then coming on back, Louise said, "We're in trouble.

Page 13
Something's wrong." She had a brother that had a doctor up here at Carolina Memorial, and she wanted to get her a doctor. She said, "Let's don't come back up here anymore. It's too far and everything." So we went to Memorial to Dr. Bryan. And he was just as good as he could be, but he couldn't save her. And [unknown], especially when Bryan said, "It's cancer." And it spread. They started the treatment [unknown] last [unknown] they started treatment, just drove it down into the lungs. Got to where she couldn't breathe. Just couldn't breathe, I declare. It shut her breath off. It was so quick I couldn't take it in, hardly.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, gee.
FRANK DURHAM:
She'd always been awful healthy, but it got her. They can't stay long, but then a lot of times they linger on. Some of them don't do nothing but linger on. [unknown] kill you right now. Called it a clot or something; I don't know what. So I've just been carrying on the best I could by myself, and one of them would stay once in a while. My niece—I got a niece—comes by and visits me once in a while and takes me home with her or wants me to, just to get out a little bit and keep from being by yourself so much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
It's good that your son is going to be living with you. . . . How did you meet your wife? Did she work in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
We just met in school. She moved here out of Burlington. Her brother and her, just two children. And they moved from the mill in Burlington. Her daddy was raised up the country here, and he come back down thisaway. And we just met in school and married when we was young. I was seventeen years old. Yes, sir, that's how old I was, about

Page 14
seventeen. We married, and we stayed together about fifty years.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
A lot of people in town have told me about her mother, Mrs. Ida Smith. She took care of a lot of the people in town, didn't she?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, she did. Her mother was the same as a doctor, near about. And Louise did what she could, but her mother was real good. Children and people that's sick. They all did; they just sent them children.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know how her mother learned to doctor like that?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I don't. They were just old-time remedies that were handed down, and she was the best with babies that I ever saw. I declare, she could do anything with a baby that a doctor couldn't do, it looked like, near about. One thing: she knew these old remedies actually better—I mean, at the time she was at it—than the doctors knew a whole lot, it looked like. They've got the specialists and all now, you know. But around a neighborhood like this one here, years ago, there was no doctor, hardly. If you went to the hospital, you had to go to Watts, or Rex in Raleigh; that was all. And you didn't go unless you was dying or something about. Nobody didn't go to the hospital; hardly ever in the world anybody went to the hospital. And people in the neighborhood looked after one another the best they could, and they did pretty good at it. And another thing, it's a fact that if you lived along then and compare them times with now, [unknown] people are just doing too much running to the doctor now. [Laughter] The doctor'll kill you, if you fool with him too much. [Laughter] You take something like appendicitis or some dreaded thing like that, they'd carry you to a doctor, near about always. But I'd see Dr. Chapin over here at Pittsboro

Page 15
sitting around over there waiting on patients. Now you can't get in nowhere, hardly. And he didn't have nothing to do; he didn't make much more than they did in the mill. He didn't have much to do, Dr. Chapin. And this daddy before him was a doctor. They were good doctors, but there just weren't nobody that wanted them much. I had an uncle that was a doctor [unknown] lived by the river up here, Dr. Mann. He took a whole lot of his earnings that he could get hold of; they had to pay him stuff off the farm a whole lot: meat and stuff like that. That's all they had, and if you didn't take that, you'd be out. Of course he got some money, but they didn't make no big thing noways like they do now. No way, no comparison.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So your wife's mother was originally from Burlington?
FRANK DURHAM:
They come out of Burlington, Alamance County. But they both originally come. . . . She come from over here. She was born and raised down below Pittsboro, come here from down there. And he was born back up here somewhere. But they'd met somewhere, I don't know where, and married, and they moved into Alamance and stayed there a long time. Then they come back down here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What job did you first have when you went to work in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Just cleaning up. Cleaned up machinery. Stop them off, [unknown] clean everything. Learn how to clean it up. You could learn how to put the ends up that would fall. Slide along the floor and clean. They didn't have any air pressure then at all. When I

Page 16
first went to work down there, no air tanks, no air pumps, no nothing. Now they've got air everywheres, where they can blow and clean off everything. You had to wipe everything off then, clean it up. And shine it up and clean with a sweep broom. It looked like a brand new one when you got through. They cleaned it up better than they do now, but they had plenty of help. It'd break you up, cleaning up like that now. [Laughter] Yes, I did that first for a good while, and then they put me to learning to wind. I learned to wind, and I learned to spin, and I learned to doff.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You really learned all of the jobs in the mill.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir, I did. And then they put me in the other room, and I learned to run stuff in the card room, cards, lappers, drawings, frames, all that stuff. You see, in a mill you start with the lapper, and every machine drafts it down. The card [unknown] draft about 125. For every inch of rolled lap going in the roll, it comes out over yonder about 125 inches of roll. And for that you go to a drawing, and it's got a draft of about seven or eight on it. [unknown] that onto a slubber, and it'll draft about thirteen on it. And the spinning draft up to about. . . . You take rope and run it in the back of the spinning roll. There it'll usually draft anywhere from fifteen to twenty, twenty-five, depending on the number of yarns.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Twenty-five, that's the real fine yarn.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, that's right. Then they'd run it on spools or cones in the winder. That's the way they set it down here, in little cones or spools. But everything is cleaning and drawing down; it's getting finer as it goes on through.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Didn't they have to keep a certain amount of humidity in the room [unknown] ?

Page 17
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir, they do now. I remember when they first put in the first humidity. Before that it would get so hot and dry you'd sprinkle. Sprinkle them down the walls and right on the spinning frames. Wet it. It'd get to where it wouldn't half run sometimes. You'd wet in under there. And then they put in these disc humidifiers with a fan back there and a disc in front and teeth all around it. Throw out that spray, br-r-r-r-r-r, just throw a nice spray on it. Oh, that was real pretty. And they'd just shine. Then they took them down later on and got their air system; it's air and water [unknown] out. Now you can't see it; the humidity comes out of the air conditioning. Your humidity is controlled in the conditioning room; they've got a nice air conditioning system down there. That thing cost them $250,000 when they put it in, and it was a big thing, a big expense at that time. But it's a nice outfit, and they're still using it. Of course, you've got to keep it up, and then that costs right smart to keep it up. It takes a lot of power to operate it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Does that new air conditioning system help to keep the dust down?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir. They've got a dust trick in now. It takes the dust away from the cards and brings it out there. It blows out onto a screen. The screen is turning like this all the time and just putting it out down here on the floor kind of in a separate place, just a sheet of it about that wide, that holds together. It just drops on down and dusts it. Oh, it's terrible. I mean in the air it is. When I was coming along up and for a long time, that was all in the air. It's a wonder I can breathe, but somehow or another it didn't affect me like it did some folks.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did all that dust bother people?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, not too bad. But it just killed some folks. They had to get out. Couldn't stand it. I smoked up until about

Page 18
ten or twelve years ago, but I quit. I seen that I was going to have trouble, so I quit smoking. I was having some sinus; breathing at night was bad. I'd wake up. But that stopped when I quit smoking. But some of that dust was terrible in the card room, especially around them cards. Whew. They stripped them cards out. You had to strip them three times a day. That dust would accumulate in the doffer as it turned between the doffer and the cylinder. The cylinder would turn this way and the doffer would turn this way, and the doffer would take it off and bring it around and make a roll [unknown] card. That was terrible dust when you went to clean that out and strip it out. And you had to strip them about every three hours, get all that stuff out. It would get to where it wouldn't do its work, it would be so full of particles and dust.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Am I right that back then, when you first started working, when you caught up with your work on the machines that you could leave them running and take a break?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, you could. The company was real lenient; they were a good company. Now you take a fellow running card—I don't care what you was running—they got good enough at it that they could catch up. They'd get a little catch-up time, and especially one of them would watch one another's work. You hardly ever left your work unless there was somebody there watching. If you leave the thing running, it might tear up before you got back. An end would come down, and [unknown] it'd tear down a dozen. But a fellow that was running frames, he'd go out to smoke or to go to the bathroom or anywhere [unknown] take a break—they had coffee and stuff—he'd watch his work, and then he'd watch his. Used to they didn't have no

Page 19
coffee nor nothing, but now they have break times. A certain amount of hands go at a certain time on their break. Go to the break room, they call it now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do they have to turn off the machines to do that?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, they don't. They do like that; they have certain ones go at a certain time. They've got a certain length of time; fifteen minutes is the usual break.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were there some jobs that it was easier to do that than others? I've heard that you had to keep a closer watch on winding machines than you did . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, you did. You couldn't leave it; it just stops. It runs out, those winder stems, they do. And spinning, it'll ball up on you if you don't watch them. If you stay away from them very long, end comes down. Now used to we had these lap sticks. Every time an end come down, there was a lap stick under it just run for six ends. But now there's air that floats under there, in case [unknown] runs out the end of the frame. It don't lap, but used to that thing would lap up and start up. If the end come down it would go around this lap stick until it got big. It got so big that it would catch on another end and just keep tearing it down. But they took all that out and put in this air system. And if the end comes down, all of them down that whole frame of 300 ends on a frame, it runs to a waste box on the other frame, but by air. Sucked in there. There's that screen in there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were certain jobs paid on production?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that for all of the jobs in the mill?

Page 20
FRANK DURHAM:
No. The frame hands, [unknown] hands upstairs, were paid on production. The drawing hands were paid on that, but the cards and the lapper hands were paid by the hour. Winders were paid by the pound. Spinners were paid by the side that they operated, how many sides they run.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
They were paid by the hour?
FRANK DURHAM:
No. If you run ten sides, why, you got more, so much a side. At that time, twelve was the limit. Had several ten-side spinners. Make the sides come out right, and some of them just simply weren't as good as the others and couldn't handle them all. Sweepers and doffers. Doffers was paid by the side, most of the time. They work by the hour now, and I think they've got the winding hands and everything by the hour now, just about. But it's not as good, I don't believe, as the other, because, well, when I was down there we paid near about everything on the incentive system, either by sides or. . . . The doffers got paid by the side. They tend to keep them running better, trying to make another side, you know. And the pounds in the winding room: well, you just take somebody there that can wind 300 or 400 pounds a day and another one wind 250, why, that good hand just do well to drop down to the other one if he's going to make the same pay, you know. There's got to be some way or another, and I don't know how they handle it now. I haven't been down there to amount to nothing lately.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Winders could only wind if they had bobbins. Was there ever a problem . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Used to we'd catch up a bobbin some, but they tried to never let them catch up. If you did, you'd allow for that. I did; we did; we would allow. If they caught up and they had to sit down and didn't have

Page 21
enough bobbins, that was our fault, and we allowed for that and run it into their production. The man in the winding room knew how long she was up and he knew about what she'd wind in that time, and he'd mark up for it on her sheet. Every time they'd pick up her doff and weigh it they'd put it down to her name. Well, if she was up so many minutes or so long, he'd put down so many pounds.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did the people ever come to you with complaints about how the work was going?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, Lord, yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of things would they complain about?
FRANK DURHAM:
[Laughter] Sometimes they was bad, and sometimes they wasn't. Some people was worse than others. They'd complain about the size of the bobbin in the winding room; the spinners, the doffers doffed them too soon, and the bobbin weren't full and you had to do just as much work to tie them as you would one full, you know. And just something like that. They'd say, "Well, I've got a tangled [unknown] bobbin." "Here we come with some bobbins for you." Show it to you or the spinning overseer. They'd catch the spinning overseer first, and if he come to me. They'd tangle sometime. The lifting rodson a frame go up and down with the rail. They've got to be kept clean along in there. If much oil gets on, it'll stick to that rail, and it comes down here and hangs, and whenever it hangs, it'll run the yarn around there in one place, and it'll tangle. When they'd go out there to wind it off, it'd tangle. You've got to watch that. The frames have got to be kept clean, the lifting rods clean. Because the lifting rods, the rail sits on here with so many spindles on it. Those two lifting

Page 22
rods go up and down. If they're running clear, why, it makes good, smooth yarn. But if one gets to hanging up, why, it messes up the yarn and the bobbin.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about during breaks? What did people used to do during their breaks?
FRANK DURHAM:
Usually, if they got coffee, they'd drink coffee and smoke a cigarette. All of them smoked in Bynum.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Inside the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, you've got a place for it, though, you know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, there's a room in the winding room where the spinners and the winders use; that's the break room. They've got all these machines in there, sandwich machines, Coca-Colas, and a money changer and everything in there. And they go in there. Then there's tables around there. They sit around in there and drink coffee or drink their drink or eat a sandwich and smoke a cigarette. Then they're ready to go back to work, usually.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about back when you started work? What did people do then?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, they went on outside. Just smoked, that was all. We didn't have no drinks nor nothing. There weren't nothing down there except water. And if you smoked, why, you'd catch up long enough to go out and smoke. [Laughter] [unknown] a lot of them younger boys, you'd have to go after them, you know, but then it got to where everybody didn't hire nobody under sixteen, you know, and then they moved it up to eighteen. And got away from that young'un stuff all right coming along. Well, I'll tell you, [unknown] used to say,

Page 23
accused cotton mill folks of going to the mill with a big family, and the old man quitting work. [Laughter] And it really was true, you know; children worked. It's pitiful for the child working at [unknown] twelve years old. Wake up every morning at five o'clock, go to work at 6:20. Get up and eat a good breakfast and get waked up, then it's time to go to work. And you worked eleven hours a day.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were there families here in Bynum who did that, where the father didn't work?
FRANK DURHAM:
Not too many here. They had a good bunch that worked here, ever since I come over there. I don't remember no real sorry folks that would do that much, but it wasn't that big. But around these big mills, they said they was bad about that, and there probably was some here, too. I'm sure there was. But as a young'un I didn't pay much attention to it. And by the time I began to get grown, they were getting away from a lot of it. They done pretty good.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Some people have told me that during their breaks they used to go down fishing or go to Pittsboro.
FRANK DURHAM:
Well, they used to, them doffers, sometimes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Could they do that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, but now you didn't give them any break; they earned it, but sometimes they'd overdo it, and you'd have to lay them off for a day or two at a time or something like that. They didn't do much of that, and if they did you could break it up by. . . . Say a fellow makes a round. He's doffing twenty frames, say, [unknown]. Well, he knows this first frame will run four hours. Well, it gets around in three hours, and he's got an hour there he ain't got nothing to do. And they

Page 24
didn't even want him in the mill. They wanted him out. And a whole lot of time [unknown] [Laughter], and they'd get out. And some of them would have a car there [unknown] Pittsboro and overstay sometime. And they'd come back with a big tale that something happened, and sometime it did and sometime they'd just stay too long. But the fellow that was looking after that, why, he'd look in and maybe he'd send them home the rest of the day or do any way to punish them a little bit for not do it no more, you know. Now some maybe didn't do nothing. Just according to the excuse. If he had car trouble or something. Sometimes that would happen, but they'd take a chance sometime and go over there when really they shouldn't have went at all, that far. Because [unknown]. But this mill down here was very lenient. It really was good. That's what kept good help and good satisfied help. Because if you had to get after a fellow much, you wouldn't stay with him but you could get help. Good gracious, you could get help. [unknown] you were through with him, you'd get somebody else.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you have any idea why the mill in Bynum was more lenient than other mills?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, much more, they were, but they got along with them real good. None better.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there any particular reason that you . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
No. Here it's just the management, tough management, just wanted that tight. Now you get some fellows that have been here, they'd have had a fit. You take these folks that come in down here and bought this company out, they stopped that going out of the mill right straight. And it made everybody. . . . A whole lot of them quit and left, and a whole

Page 25
lot of the good help left. And maybe went somewhere else where they're just as tight, but they wouldn't stay here, because they were making less, a little bit, and they. . . . They made less money here than they did a lot of places.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir. Yes, you didn't have to pay them as much. They didn't pay as much here as they did. One thing, you could live for near about nothing with the house rent, you know. It weren't but $1.25 every two weeks for a three-room house, and they were big rooms. That's mighty cheap rent.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Some people have told me that people used to play pranks in the mill. Do you remember any of that? Mrs. Gattis was telling me that, before they were married, her husband came down to visit somebody in the mill, and the man poured a bucket of dirty water over him.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they tried to do that. They'd let you off, too.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, yeah?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. They throwed a bucket of water on And they messed his clothes up. They finally found out who done it and laid him off for a week for that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, the superintendent did. It wasn't me; I wasn't there. I was overseer of spinning at that time. But they'd do things like that. One time there was a colored girl—a good one and a good cook—brought her lady that was spinning down there, that she was working for, her dinner or supper. A fellow dropped a little paper bag of water on her head [Laughter], and she never would come down there any more. No, no, no.

Page 26
They advertised, somebody stuck up a sign there, So-and-so wanted a water-broke cook. [Laughter] Somebody [unknown] And the superintendent offered a five-dollar reward to anybody that would tell the one that done it, because she was a nice colored lady and well thought of. And they didn't want them bothered, the folks that would bring anything in there. But the guy that did it was in the service in World War II. He wrote him and told him that he was the one done it. [Laughter] So there wasn't nothing he could do about it, of course. He wrote to him and said, "You wanted [unknown]." But they thought a lot of one another.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Can you remember any other things like that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Well, not especially. There was something like that going all the time, some little old tricks and then playing pranks. A new hand would come in down there sometime to work, and they'd send him after a lefthanded monkey wrench, and go down there and get the key to the elevator, and the bobbin stretcher and all that stuff. Somebody that didn't know there was no such thing. Send it to a foreman or something, and he'd send them back. They'd say, "Well, I'll let So-and-so have it" or something, then run him around a little bit. Some dumb folks come to work, but they'd never been in a mill or nothing, you know. They'd play stuff like that. Oh, they just enjoyed themself by doing a thing like that. But they all did seem to have a good time.
It was just a happy family almost looked like; it sure was. They didn't make. . . . There was no future to it, as far as that goes, except for just living, but they all made a good living. I tell you, a bunch of cotton mill folks, they used to say, is about the happiest people on earth, because the company

Page 27
looked out for them, shelter and everything. And another thing, they spent everything they made, about. [Laughter] See, you worked, and most of the time your wife. And sometime there'd be three or four checks in one family going, and that's pretty good. The children would be paying board and the man and the wife working, and working on different shifts enough to keep the home a-going. And it wasn't near as hard as some folks thought it was, because there was more money coming in there than they thought, for a lot of them. And it kept things going along pretty good.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Somebody was telling me that they used to sing during breaks. Did they get together outside and sing at all or tell stories?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, they would sometimes, yes. There was always somebody on the job that was [unknown], and they was going along pretty good. And they would; it was sort of a quartet thing. They loved to get together and sing sometimes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
A quartet?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. The watchman, he'd come on. He used to sing tenor. [Laughter] He was a tenor singer. The poor fellow's gone now, but they really did enjoy singing. And the mill would stop. Sometime at night, when they'd show up on the eleven o'clock shift, they'd get together and sing up there in the card room. All the time I'd be up there taking down the hank and looking around, I'd hear them back there singing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember what they used to sing?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I really don't especially. They'd sing a lot of songs that they knew at that time. Offhand I don't remember none. I don't remember none to amount to anything. But I know they were singing something.

Page 28
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You used to be in a band, didn't you?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, we had a string band here, the Chatham Rabbits.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
The Chatham Rabbits.
FRANK DURHAM:
Chatham Rabbits, that was the name of it. Yes, it used to be rabbit county, you know. I reckon there were more rabbits here than there were anywhere in the state. They was everywhere, but there come a disease in here and killed them out, and there never have been none. Aw, we had a good band. [unknown], but they really was good. We had two good fiddle players and a banjo player and a harp and a mandolin and two guitars.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who all was in the band?
FRANK DURHAM:
Mr. Farrel and Patterson Farrel Louise Farrel up here, her granddaddy and her daddy were the fiddle players. They were real good, too. Her granddaddy played the first fiddle, and her daddy played the second. And they were good. Then we had a banjo player that worked in the mill, David Baker. They're every one dead but me now; they're all gone. And Bob Clapp and I played the guitar. And now he's gone. And the harp blower was a real good harp blower, and he's dead, Talt Riggsbee. And Briggs Atwater played the mandolin, and he's gone. They'd get together, and it was good. There was no radio; there was nothing much, you know. When I first started playing, there wasn't nothing. You had to use phonographs and little old. . . . They were oldtimey. But that's the way I learned about all my songs; I had an old phonograph that you wind up, you know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you learn to play?
FRANK DURHAM:
There was a fellow in the village that I learned to play with, a McDaniel. He could play anything. And I just went and bought me a

Page 29
guitar. I bought it at a pawn shop in Durham. There come some fellows in here to the schoolhouse up here. They made some mighty pretty music, and I decided I was going to learn it somehow or another if I could; I thought I could. And then this guy moved in here from somewhere up in Burlington, McDaniel, and a whole musical family. They could play anything. That fellow could play anything. And he got up a band, and he wanted me to come in, and I said, "I don't know how [unknown]." But I could sing, you know, and he said, "You can carry a tune." So I learned pretty quick and picked it up pretty good. I went to Raleigh with them one time, but that was Hawaiian string, that Hawaiian outfit. We had a. . . . But these Chatham Rabbits [unknown] We was among the first that played on WPTF.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
FRANK DURHAM:
. . .and want us to come to [unknown], a little country store over here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
WPTF.
FRANK DURHAM:
"We Protect the Family." That's what they said.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where is that?
FRANK DURHAM:
In Raleigh. It's there now, WPTF. They'd call up here and want us to come down and play. But every one of them was married, and some wouldn't allow us. They went so much, they'd get tired of them going.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[Laughter]
FRANK DURHAM:
If they said yes, some would come with us. They was all young enough to get around a little; they had a pretty good time. But they got to where they didn't. . . . We went down there I think it was three or four times. But they had a pretty good audience down there.

Page 30
We got a lot of telegrams.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
About when would that have been?
FRANK DURHAM:
That was in the late twenties, '28 or '9. We got a telegram, I know, one time from somebody in Alabama.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Geez.
FRANK DURHAM:
Said that they enjoyed the music and told us a certain song they wanted us to sing the next time we played, one time we went down there. And they hoped that the Chatham Rabbits didn't get in the cabbage patch on the way home. [Laughter] I've got to try to fix me dinner. Put a little bit on the table, and before long, if it doesn't [unknown] . . . . [Laughter] There are my children; there have just two boys. That's him and his son. They're fixing up two rooms over there like they want for him and his wife.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I don't want to take too much of your time, then, but I'd sure love to talk to you more about this. Shall we end here, and I could come back some other time?
FRANK DURHAM:
Okay.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Okay, that'd be great. Well, thank you very much.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir. You [unknown].

Page 31
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
We were talking about the Chatham Rabbits the last time. How old were you when you first started playing?
FRANK DURHAM:
I was about nineteen or twenty years old. I don't know whether I was over eighteen or not; I don't recall for sure.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were there many boys in the village that played instruments?
FRANK DURHAM:
There wasn't many, no. There wasn't but one, the guitar player.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was that?
FRANK DURHAM:
He could play anything. He was a guy who didn't mind learning and teaching. In fact, he finally had a class of them. But I was out then. I'd done gone into another band. I'd gone into the Chatham Rabbits band. I started playing with McKinley McDaniel. We had an Hawaiian band started with, so I played a Hawaiian guitar.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You played the Hawaiian guitar?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I just played a straight guitar. He played the Hawaiian guitar, piano, or anything; he could play anything. But I had never fooled with nothing much but a guitar. And we played every whichaway around.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You told me that you'd played on the radio, on WPTF.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, we played there on WPTF.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of things did you play for around town?
FRANK DURHAM:
We played for dances mostly, around out in the country and around. We hardly ever played except Saturday night, and sometimes Wednesday. Most of the time it was on Saturday night. And they was asking you to play more than you could play a whole lot of the

Page 32
time. There wasn't nothing going on much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where were the dances usually held?
FRANK DURHAM:
A village down here they called [unknown] and Farrington and here at Bynum and in the country between all in that area.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they have the dances in the schools?
FRANK DURHAM:
People's houses. No, we never did charge for them or nothing. We just played for them for pleasure. They would offer us money, but we never. . . . I don't know that we ever made any money playing at a dance, except during World War II we played over here every Saturday night at the American Legion hut. They paid us over there, and they charged. We got paid for playing for them every Saturday night. Lord have mercy, that place was full all around.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What kind of dances were they?
FRANK DURHAM:
Round dances, square dances. Square dance mostly.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people do any clogging?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, they'd have a little. But mostly they called figures and square danced. It was kind of like that clogging, a whole lot of it was. That figure caller come out of Sanford. I forget his name now, it's been so long. The poor fellow's dead now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So it wasn't somebody in the band that did the calling. It was somebody from Sanford that would come up.
FRANK DURHAM:
You had to have a good figure caller. He run the dance, and he kept everything on a. . . . You had to learn them figures, to know what move to make with your partner.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember any of the tunes that you used to play for those dances?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, most of them. "Mississippi Sawyer" and "Cindy" and

Page 33
" [unknown] " and "Down Yonder" and stuff like that. Snappy tunes. They were real good for a band like that. "Mississippi Sawyer" and "Cindy" about as good as I ever heard. They were old tunes. Lord, they're hundreds of years old, I reckon.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I've talked to a fiddler from outside of Sanford named Lauchlin Shaw. Have you ever heard of him?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, I don't. No, I've been out of it a long time. I really don't know him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I was just wondering, because I think he was playing about the same time. Did your band ever do any singing?
FRANK DURHAM:
I sang in the band right smart, me and Bob Clapp, the guitar player. We sang some.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So that was separate from the Chatham Rabbits.
FRANK DURHAM:
No, it was in the music. Like when we'd play, they'd want you to sing sometimes. Between dances, while they was resting a little bit, they'd want you to play and sing something. And we knew right many songs then, but I don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember the names of any of the songs?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, I tell you the truth, I've just lost. . . . I haven't played any now in so long, I don't even hardly remember none of them. They were songs in that day and time that was pretty good at that day and time, I guess, but I don't. . . . Most of them we had the violins to lead; we didn't sing much. Violins and banjo picking out a lead all the time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[unknown] mostly the tunes, right?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.

Page 34
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I heard there was a lot of singing in town, though. I've heard people used to get together in houses to do singing.
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes, they did, over there in the village. Yes, all around here. Yes, they'd have singings a whole lot. Little old parties and candy pulling and stuff like that in the wintertime and singings. There wasn't nowhere else to go much, except to entertain yourself in your own. . . . Well, way back there was no way to go much. There was no transportation to amount to nothing. I can remember when the first car that ever was in this place. I was just a boy. My uncle and a store owner bought it together, a Model T in 1912, I believe it was. Or '14, somewhere along in that day. There weren't no cars, nothing but a horse and buggy. A lot of them, horses and buggies and mules was working. The blacksmith's job and the grist mill and all that stuff going then that's gone now. They had a big old grist mill down here that ground wheat and stuff, run night and day in the fall, never stopped. It would rush.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who is it that ran the grist mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Atwater and Lambeth's store. They run a sawmill and grist mill and a cotton gin. And they were big for a little old place. They were said to be the largest general store in Chatham County. They handled everything. They advertised "from the cradle to the grave." They handled all sorts of caskets, and cradles they had. They did; they handled them; I've seen them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
They went bankrupt, didn't they, eventually?
FRANK DURHAM:
They did.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How come?
FRANK DURHAM:
[unknown] guano broke them, they said. Letting the farmers

Page 35
so much of that guano, and them guano people, they'd break you; they'd close you out.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm sorry, I didn't understand.
FRANK DURHAM:
Guano, you know that stuff you put in the field?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, yes, fertilizer.
FRANK DURHAM:
They said they broke him. It had to be paid, and they got him in such bad shape that they finally closed him sometime in the thirties.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So they used to give this to people on credit.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, let out. Yes, they had an office manager. Mr. Atwater run the office. Mr. Lambeth run the store with his help; he had help in there. Mr. Atwater looked after the office. And they'd let farmers have one year, and maybe they just couldn't make it quite that year. Pay a little of it, and then they'd carry it on over into another year, until the first thing you know, they just couldn't do nothing. They'd have a bad crop, and they'd make no headway at all on their debt, and they just went under and finally closed up.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What happened when a farming family went bankrupt?
FRANK DURHAM:
It was sad, I mean. Well, they got in such bad shape that they couldn't even get nothing to eat, hardly. And the merchants would carry them, this one, this merchant, this outfit would carry them, hoping to get paid in the fall when they'd sell their cotton. Mostly cotton was what they was raising, and they got mighty poor cotton. There wasn't nothing in cotton. I mean it got to where it weren't nothing, five, six, seven cents a pound, and you couldn't make nothing at it. If you had a wonderful crop year, you still couldn't make no money. That's about the only money crop there was. And then they got into this tobacco; it began to come around. That took the place of cotton; there's no cotton raised around here at all

Page 36
now. There used to be cotton fields everywhere. There were at one time thirteen gins in this county. I don't reckon there's one in it now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I doubt it.
FRANK DURHAM:
This mill down here bought all they could of the cotton that was raised around here, be cause it was good cotton. It was what you call redland cotton, and it put a kind of a cream color to the yarn. Whenever you run it through your mill, it had sort of a cream color. It was just right for underwear, and that's what they were selling the yarn for. At that time they sold a lot of this long underwear, all over the country about.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did farming families move to the mill when . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, about all there was here come in from the farms originally, and they would just learn how to work in the mill, because it was better than farming for a lot of them. I mean for just sharecropping. A man that owned his own farm, he was all right. He done pretty good. There wasn't nothing to nothing, though; as far as making any money, no. You'd just labor, and you could make a living; that was just about all, and a mighty poor one at that. Mills or a farm. There weren't nothing to the farm neither. Noways like it is now. A little old family farm, just about all they did was raise enough for them and sell enough to buy their coffee and stuff like that that they needed, flour or whatever. They raised their own flour, mostly.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there enough housing in the village for people that moved in? Did they ever have to build more houses on the hill?
FRANK DURHAM:
There was [enough], but they just wouldn't take but so many. If you lived in a mill house, you'd have to work in the mill. Because they near about furnished them for nothing. Near about nothing. And they

Page 37
had to have their own help in there then. Now they're not. They don't belong to the help. They belong to the folks that live in them, and there are not many of them over there that even work in the mill now. They come from out in the country, and a whole lot of them's colored now. Along then there wasn't any colored in the mill at all, for years. Just about since '72 and '3 and along there, they started getting in a few [unknown], which was a good thing for them and the mill, too, a lot of it. It got where you couldn't get white help.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What about for the people that lived here? Did any of them lose their jobs when colored people came into the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
No. No, they'd gone somewhere else. Yes, most of them had gone. No. They just hired colored people when they needed them. If they had white folks for it and they was on it, they didn't lay them off to [unknown]. But they began to hire them because the government wanted you to have a certain percentage of black, if you got government orders, do any government business. I expect they have fifty percent or more who are black now; I know they are, although I haven't been in the mill in a pretty good while. But the third shift's seventy-five percent black, I expect. But they're doing all right. If they don't, they would lay them off and get somebody else. Some of them's good help, real good.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'd like to ask you a little bit more about your own childhood when you were first growing up. What sort of things did you do to keep yourself amused when you were just a child?
FRANK DURHAM:
[Laughter] There weren't much, but you had a part in the community and it was all kind of like a family. Young'uns didn't

Page 38
expect so much, I don't reckon, but they'd get together near about every night at somebody's house after you got up a certain size. A whole lot of the time you wasn't allowed to leave home at night nohow, when you were small. But your kid get up fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old, they'd get together. They done pretty good.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What would you do when you got together?
FRANK DURHAM:
Games or playing piano in the neighborhood, and phonographs and things of that type began to be in. Some parents really enjoyed having young folks, it looked like; they knew where to go to be well liked and not be disturbed too much. Some people didn't like them much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of games did you play?
FRANK DURHAM:
We played post office and just little old games [unknown] go around, and had a little thimble game. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember many of them, but there was a lot of them. It was just to be together; that was the biggest thing. And they'd have singings. This lady that had this self-playing piano, why, you could sing along with it real good because it had words as it rolled off, you know. Words on the song.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. It was real good. I had one when we were first married.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that one of those pianos that's sort of automatic?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. There was rolls, and you had to pedal it, kind of.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Someone in town had one of those.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was that?
FRANK DURHAM:
It was the girl that I married. Her father had one. He

Page 39
bought it for her, so when we married she taken it. We stayed there a long time, a year or two, but when we went to housekeeping we taken it. Yes, it had a bunch of rolls. We give them all away finally, the piano and everything.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You said something about a game with a thimble?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.I'll tell you the truth, I don't remember nothing about it. It passed around like that, and you had to hold your hand like and close it [unclear], but I've forgot how it went. I sure have. I remember holding your hand like that, and it come by. And they'd make like they put it in your hand, but they didn't put it in but one. And it was something to do with a boy and a gal somehow or another.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[Laughter] It usually is.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were your parents pretty strict with you?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, they wasn't too bad. They were pretty good, but they had it under control all right. But they weren't too strict. But we knew to do what they said.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have chores to do?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir, oh, every day, yes. Certain things to do every day. We cooked with a wood stove. That had to be got up. And then one of them was firewood had to be fixed. And the water had to be drawed and brought in. That wood had to be tended to every day. We had a cow, and we had hogs and we had chickens; all that had to be looked after. They raised them all the time. Had a gang of chickens. We always had plenty of eggs and meat and milk at home. They kept two cows. Papa sometimes had two or three cows. He had a pasture, and he would buy them

Page 40
out in the neighborhood and around. Folks learned to come to him. He'd go look at the cow, and if he thought he could make a little on it he'd buy it and keep it a while and feed it up and fatten it and sell it. He'd get a lot of them from especially the colored people. Some of them didn't half tend to them, and they looked mighty bad. And if he'd see one that he thought he could make a little something out of, he'd buy it. And maybe he could dicker [unclear] on it after he kept it for six months or something, tend to it good. For a milk cow. And he was constantly buying a little something. He'd buy a piece of land or anything he thought he could make a little money on. That's what kept him going [unknown] besides his pay in the mill.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So he was doing that all the time he was with the mill.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Somebody told me that when people didn't have enough money in their paycheck, or something, that he used to lend them money?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. I think he did. Oh, he's loaned a lot of money. He always had a knack some way or another of having it. They'd come to him and want some. And he got a little something out of it; he didn't do it for nothing, I don't think. They would borrow so many dollars and pay him back such a thing at a certain time. Of course, he got stuck, too, sometimes. I don't know whether he made much at it or not. [Laughter] Sometimes they'd pop him. Because there was no sure way of getting it. You had to just risk the fellow a little bit. Some of them stuck him, I know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm sure that must have happened a lot with store owners and things like that.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he got stuck, too, bad, I know he did. Ain't no telling

Page 41
how much money is owed my brother now. Well, he made a living, but he should have been worth a whole lot. I don't know what he was worth. They're having trouble over the will now. He run a business for fifty years, he sold a lot of stuff. Part of the time he really had a big business.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did he own both of those stores that are [unknown], the wooden one and the stone?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he did. Those down there, yes. There was a store there and a barber shop, a post office.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was it that ran the barber shop?
FRANK DURHAM:
Clarence Anders run it; Hackney [unclear] run it, and Louis Cooper run it, and Hubert Hearn run it, over the years. Caole Cooper runs it now, my nephew who lives right across the road over there. He barbers in Pittsboro in the daytime, and he's open down here four nights a week. Open Monday night, and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. He keeps a good business down there. And he does it cheaper than most anybody, He gets $2.50 for a haircut, and they get $3.00 in Pittsboro. And he's a good barber. A good fellow.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to do a family tree. Just put down who your parents were and. . .
FRANK DURHAM:
My parents were John Manly Durham and Flossie Moore Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember your father's parents at all, your grandparents?
FRANK DURHAM:
I was named after my Grandfather Durham, Frank Sidney Durham. My grandmother on the Durham side was Florence Durham. That's all I know, is Florence Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You don't by any chance know the names of their parents, do you?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I don't know them. I never did see but one of my

Page 42
grandparents; that was my grandmother. Only one I ever saw. They was all dead when I come along. On my mother's side, her mother was Annie Bland Moore. mother's daddy was Abraham Columbus Moore, A.C. Moore.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know their parents, by any chance?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, I don't. That's as far up as I know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Your father had three brothers and a sister?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, he didn't have but two brothers, Coy and Jeff.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And your father was the oldest.
FRANK DURHAM:
He was the oldest boy. He had a sister, Sally, that was the oldest child. Sally Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they all move to Bynum with him?
FRANK DURHAM:
They was raised out in the country here a while. They came here when they was real young. Because their parents were dead. So they came here to stay with their aunt.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was Coy the next one after your father?
FRANK DURHAM:
He was.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And then Jeff.
FRANK DURHAM:
Then Jeff was the youngest. Mama and Papa had seven children, and the oldest one died, Walter. And then there was Cary and myself and Vernon and Louis and Florence and Irene. Now Irene's dead and Cary's dead. Walter died when he was a baby.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know who owned this house before your parents? Did they buy it directly from the Bynums?

Page 43
FRANK DURHAM:
No, he bought if from Mr. Ed Ward in Blackstone, Virginia. He had a brother, and he was raised here. He was a banker, but he was raised here and he knew about this place. When it come up for sale, he just bought it to resell. And Papa bought it from him. Uncle Don Ward was Mr. Ed Ward's brother, and Uncle Don married Aunt Sally Ward. That's how that come about. He sold his place up yonder and bought this one.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your family have any family stories? Did your parents tell you anything about the history of your family way back?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, not much. Mama and them, Mama come from down there on [unknown] section, what they call. There's a road named for it down there; I forget the name of it now. She was born and raised down there. Papa was raised up in around [unknown]. There were all [unknown] Durham back up in there. But they're all dead and gone, about all of them, now. What isn't dead, they own a lot of the land up there, but most of them's in Greensboro, Guilford County now. They've all left their farms and gone. They've been gone now for several years.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So your father's family was farming family. . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, that family owned a farm up here on the river. They sold it after they all left there and made a big mistake. Along then nobody didn't think that land was no value much, but it got to be valuable. Timberland got to be so valuable. The fellow that bought that place sold the timber on it for $65,000.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
And Papa and them sold it for $1,200.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
This would have been after his mother died?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. His mother died and his grandmother died, and Grandpa was

Page 44
gone. It was just the children, and they've sold it to some fellow. He kept it a good while, and he made some pretty good money on it. He was in the Farmers' Exchange at Pittsboro about the first time it started up. He sold it to somebody that they said sold the timber on it later for $65,000. It's about a 300-acre farm, I think. [unknown] lot of land, and it was right up the river about four miles on the other side. It had the old house on there, the old place. I went with Papa up there, me and Cary and him and Uncle Don. Covered the house. I mean we carried Don and them going down to the spring down there. I was just a boy. We just went with him because he wanted us along, I reckon, and we wanted to go. And we walked across the river. It was low, and they knew a fording place up there, and we all walked up there and walked across the river on rocks and drainage chute. Of course, if the river had been up any. . . . They knew how to ford; I didn't. I'd hate to try it now. [Laughter] But that was an old Civil War house, before the Civil War, and he showed us how his daddy's folks hid meat and stuff in the seaming of the house. They'd take the boards out and place the meat down there to keep the Yankees from getting them when they were coming through. There were a bunch of them up here the other side of Hillsborough—they camped around Hillsborough, you know—and they were told never to cross the Haw River, but they would do it. And, of course, their house was on the other side of the river. Somebody up there killed one of them one night. Stole his horse. He sensed one way or another that they were out there or something. He went out and hid, they said—this is what Grandpa told my daddy—he started off and [unknown] he shot him off his horse and buried him. He was a Yankee soldier stealing his horse, and

Page 45
he got his horse back. Said all he had to do was whistle, and he come back to him. That's what they said. But life was pretty cheap if you was a Yankee along then coming around in here. He said they took that fellow and buried him, though. Said they probably just wondered what went with him. They were told never to cross the river nohow. That was the orders, not to cross the Haw River. But they were going around getting stuff, take anything they could out of the homes. That was the custom all around them Yankees [unclear]. That's one thing that made them hate the Yankees so bad, I reckon, along especially then. Well, the War was on, and they were both bad to one another, I guess. But if you had a little something and that was about all you had, and somebody come along and take it, that's rough, too, weren't it? It sure was. They'd take your meat and take it back to camp.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How far does your father go back? He doesn't go back to the Civil War, does he? He was born after the War?
FRANK DURHAM:
He was telling what his daddy said. No, Papa was born in '83. His daddy was born back there. He was just about ready to go in the Civil War when it ended, I think. He knew about all of it, the history and everything.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You were telling me that your father went to Saxapahaw first?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they moved and he went to Saxapahaw. He had some folks up there. Uncle or something. He didn't stay there long, though. He come down here and stayed with his aunt over here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was his aunt over here?
FRANK DURHAM:
This was his mother's sister over here. She was a Mann before she married a Snipes. And she took care of him. He went to work as soon as he could.

Page 46
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was she working down here?
FRANK DURHAM:
Her folks were in the mill, yes. Her husband and two boys, I think it was, worked in the mill. And Papa went to work in the mill when he was just eleven or twelve years old, just as soon as he could.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When your father started work down there, your uncle was not superintendent.
FRANK DURHAM:
No. The Bynums were in there. No, Uncle Edgar was farming at that time, I reckon. He hadn't even come here when Papa went to work. It was later on. I don't know who was super. Somebody from South Carolina. About all the overseers and everything come out of South Carolina, I think.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did any of them stay around here?
FRANK DURHAM:
They [unknown] houses. Yes, they moved in the superintendent's house, I guess. But I'll tell you, I don't remember none of them. I've heard them spoke about them a lot. A fellow hears something, different folks, but I've forgotten their names. Some of them they despised, almost. They was mighty rough to the folks.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
They were hard on them.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. Some of them, one or two of them they liked. But they had a lot of children to deal with. A whole lot of children worked in the mill. And they were aggravating: you couldn't get much out of them; you couldn't do much with them. About the only way you could do it was fear, I reckon. Some of them hated them. Some of them young'uns would have half killed them if they could, I reckon. [Laughter] I've heard it said, you know—I don't know—that they'd send away for their daddy or send the person home to them and stuff like that, about like a schoolteacher, you know. If they couldn't get nothing out of him, they'd send him home. Then his daddy was liable to whip him and send him back. I don't know, but I

Page 47
just imagine. [Laughter] That's been so long ago. This mill started, I think, in '74, '72 or '4.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I bet a lot of the pranks and things were played by those young children?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you have any idea when it was that your uncle went to Edenton?
FRANK DURHAM:
I think it was about 1919 or '20, along there. He was there in 1920, I know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was he superintendent down here by then?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he was when he left here. He went down there as assistant superintendent. That was a bigger mill than this one, right much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you have any idea when he became superintendent down here?
FRANK DURHAM:
About 1904, I think.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So that must have been right after the Bynums left.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. It was about 1904 or '5, I think, moved in here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of a man was your uncle?
FRANK DURHAM:
He had a right smart temper at times. He was a real good fellow, a nice guy. But he was a nice-looking fellow, a good mixer and all that. He got into trouble one time with a woman, the poor fellow. That's the reason he left here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's the reason he went to Edenton?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. There used to be especially—and still is—right smart of trouble with mill superintendents, supervisors, and things, and oh, women give you a lot of trouble if you don't watch them sometimes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
In the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. They sort of make a play for you a little bit when you got a little authority and think you'll favor them or not. Oh, it just seems

Page 48
that way, used to be. I don't think there's much of that now, though, nothing like there used to be.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they ever give you trouble that way?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he did. He got caught with one over there, and he had to leave here. Or he did. He left here. The rest of the help wouldn't have worked for him no more, I don't reckon. They were planning to come out, I think and strike. Planning to walk out, I think.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How long was he gone?
FRANK DURHAM:
He was gone seven years. He come back here in '27.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How was he able to come back then?
FRANK DURHAM:
The family died out and left here, most of them there was. Folks didn't pay no more attention to it, it looked like. And the manager and the Londons wanted him back. He was a good mill man. And the one that they had, they didn't like. And he wrote to him to come up here; he wanted to talk with him. Papa lived here then, and he came here, and Mr. London come over to see him while he was here and met him at a certain time. And they started, and they got dickering for him to come back and offered him a certain price and all. I don't know into it, but I know he did get him back. He had about the same thing or maybe a little more than he was making down there; I don't know about that. But he wanted to come back. He wanted to get things sort of straightened up. There never was no sense in it nohow. Some of them caught him [unknown] He was a real nice-looking man, and the woman that he was going with was just a single woman, as far as that goes. He told me that he never dated her but twice in his life, and said he had no idea in the world of doing that, but it just slipped up on him, kind of.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there much of that that went on in the mill?

Page 49
FRANK DURHAM:
No, not around here, no. Not in that day and time. Nothing like that hardly at all.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did men and women work in the same rooms in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. She worked in the mill. She was a good-looking woman. Mighty good. And she was about his age; they were both about thirty-five or forty years old then, I reckon, apiece.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about when you were growing up? Did your parents tell you much about the facts of life?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, not much. Well, they did some, to try to keep you out of trouble, but not much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you learn?
FRANK DURHAM:
Just through you own observation place. [unclear] [Laughter] Oh, you learned at school mostly. They thought you didn't know nothing; you'd know as much as they did, I expect. Well, they were kind of embarrassed. They didn't want to do much. They did everything they could to raise you the best they could. They done mighty well.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
People had large families back then.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, there were right many large families.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that because they wanted to have a lot of children, or because they didn't know how to keep from having children?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't think they knowed how. They didn't know how to keep it down, I reckon. Another thing, they didn't seem to mind; in fact, they probably liked to have a large family. Some of them really did, I know. I had an aunt that had sixteen.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
Aunt Betty Thomas is my great-aunt, Mama's aunt. Had about

Page 50
as happy a family as ever I saw in my life anywhere. They had the best time I ever seen. They had a homecoming down there, and, oh, he was a big farmer, lived down there on the Haw River at Moore's Bridge. That was down over where Mama and them was all raised up.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So it was named after them.
FRANK DURHAM:
Moore's Bridge, yes. Moore's Mill was over there, and all that stuff. He lived on this side, and Grandpa Moore lived on that side, and this was his sister.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That was farther down [unknown]?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, further down. Right down the river.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What community was that?
FRANK DURHAM:
It's down below Hanks Chapel is all I know. It's called the Moore Mill section, though. It's just a small family's. . . . They had a family graveyard and everything there. And they had to move it on account of the dam was going to back water up there. They got in and moved all of them. Because he come up here to see Mama about it. A federal official or somebody.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where did they move it to?
FRANK DURHAM:
They moved them to churches in community, some of them down here to Pleasant Hill and some of them between here and Moncure.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about when you were growing up? Did people know by then how to keep from having children?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I don't think so. Well, yes, they did, about the time I got grown, yes. Not like they would now, though. All that pill business and all that stuff, you know, hadn't been out too long.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of things did people use?

Page 51
FRANK DURHAM:
About the only thing I know they had was the prophylactics and stuff of that type.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So did families start getting smaller about the time you got married?
FRANK DURHAM:
I think so, yes. Some did; some didn't. Now some people just can't have them, you know. That was the same thing. We didn't have but one child. Nothing happened after that. My wife was mighty young. Never did have another one. That's him out here on the back porch.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What is his name?
FRANK DURHAM:
Robert Manly. Bob, they call him, and some of them call him Manly. His wife calls him Bob all the time. He's named after both his grandparents, Robert Smith and Manly Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When was it that you retired from the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
I retired in '74, November.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When were you born?
FRANK DURHAM:
December the 18th, 1905. Seventy-three years old the last birthday.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You've got a lot of years left.
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't know. I've done a lot of hard work, I tell you. Sure have. Over the years. Went to work mighty young and went to school. And then [unknown] quit school and married when I was seventeen. My wife was sixteen. She died last November.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your wife's family?
FRANK DURHAM:
How many was in her family?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Yes.
FRANK DURHAM:
Nobody but just her and her brother, Reid Smith.

Page 52
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was he older or younger?
FRANK DURHAM:
He was the oldest. They had just two children, Reid and Louise.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And her mother's name was . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Ida Smith.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And how about her father?
FRANK DURHAM:
Her father's name was Robert Lee Smith, Bob Smith.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you know her grandparents' names?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I don't. I know Mr. Smith's daddy was named John, and they called him "Yankee John." He was a Yankee, come down here and married. Never did go back. "Yankee John." I never seen him, of course, but I heard a lot of talk about him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did he do?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't know what he done. I know he had a bunch of boys. They was a grand lot; they were all giants, near about. And they all worked in the mill, I reckon, till they got up to some size, and they all left. They left here years ago and scattered out every whichaway.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
They worked in the mill here.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they worked here over yonder a little while, they said.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
But then she moved away to Burlington?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they all moved into Alamance County and Guilford County and every whichaway and moved out. Then what they got into [unknown] . . . . By the time I knew any of them, they were getting up in years right much. They were great, big, strong fellows, though. I know one, my wife's uncle, Will, lived at Swepson. He had six boys, and there wasn't nary a one of them boys that weighed under two hundred and twenty-five or thirty pounds, and there wasn't a bit of fat on them. They was just big, tall, giant fellows.

Page 53
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow. Do you remember any other of your wife's uncles?
FRANK DURHAM:
Luther Smith and Askew [unclear] Smith. That's the only three that I know of.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was your wife's mother the youngest of them?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't know whether she was or not.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know her maiden name?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, she was a Clark. Ida Jane Clark. A fine woman, I declare she was. [unknown] real nice.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Yes, everybody's told me about her and how much she did.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, she was a nice thing, the best thing I ever saw. Loved everybody, it looked like.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember any of her remedies?
FRANK DURHAM:
[Laughter] No, I sure don't. I think it died with her, as far as I'm concerned, about [unknown], but she sure was mighty good with our little boy, I know that, a time or two when he had pneumonia. I don't believe he'd have made it without her. I got doctors at Chapel Hill. One of them was Dr. Lloyd, and Dr. Hemphill. Dr. Lloyd said, "Well, if it weren't for Ida Smith, he wouldn't be here." She really knowed how to tend to him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did she ever actually deliver children?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't think so. Maybe so. Really, I don't know. I know she did, because there was a time or two I heard her say that the doctor didn't get there in time, you know, and it'd be born when he got there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
She would have to deliver it.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. She'd be done handling it. Said the doctor would praise her work, you know, but of course they . . .

Page 54
FRANK DURHAM:
. . .license a whole lot cheaper and easier than you can now, I believe. And I don't think they knowed much. I don't know how much they know now, but. . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you think there were any of them that hadn't really gone to school, and just said they were doctors?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't know. Might have been. I had an uncle that was a doctor. Now he had his. He went up here to Chapel Hill. Dr. Mann. He was my grandmother's brother. And he had a brother that was a druggist. There are Mann drugstores all over this state now, a whole lot of them. He started a chain of them and got pretty wealthy. There's one in Sanford, I know, and High Point now. Mann Drug. Uncle Jeff Mann. He had a brother that was a merchant in Durham, and a nigger killed him. Stickup. Robbery. Waylaid him on the way home and hit him and killed him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Their name was Mann?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they were Manns. My grandmother was Florence Mann, and she married a Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I see. So these were her brothers.
FRANK DURHAM:
That's right. Beverly Mann and Berkeley [unclear] Mann, the one that got killed. Beverly Mann was a farmer and lived up the river here. A good farmer.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
There was a Jeff Mann?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. He was the druggist. It must have been a pretty prominent family. They seemed to be. Now Uncle [unknown], I knew him, met him. He delivered every one of us except Mama's last child. And Lord, no telling the children he brought into this world. Getting nothing for it,

Page 55
practically. I heard him say; I went to him one time. He lived up here. He come by here and stopped by. They had a big buggy, you know; he travelled in a buggy. I was out there in the yard. He said, "You tell your mama to send you all up there and get some apples. Our apple orchard is up there going to ruin." So I went up there and got a bunch of apples, me and Cary. He drank, but he was well thought of. Dr. Mann was a prominent man in this community along in that day and time. But he did drink. They said he would get drunk sometimes, and Papa said he hunted him up. He stayed there a while, and said he'd be over there asleep on his mother's grave, with his head on it. You'd see his buggy and his horse tied out there. He was right smart. He'd just get so tired or something, I don't know what. He didn't get much rest. He said they was after him all the time. All times of the night, coming there after him. He was the only doctor in this whole country around here that I know of for years. And they'd pay him, a whole lot of times, in stuff they could raise on a farm, when they didn't have no money much. Pay him in meat and vegetables and different things. He never made no big money. He was married twice, had two or three children.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was drinking a problem in town? Did a lot of people in town drink?
FRANK DURHAM:
There's not too bad around here now; there used to be right smart of. . . . The same fellows would get drunk about every once in a while, when I was a boy.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did they do during Prohibition?
FRANK DURHAM:
[Laughter] You could get it, go out and, shoot, they could always get it. Out in the countryside, they raised it around. They'd make it all around here. Up this road here and up the Mount Pleasant road. You could get it near about anywhere. They just made it. If a fellow was a drunkard, they knew how to get it and where to get it, and it never was

Page 56
prohibited around here. [Laughter] They had to go in hiding. It brought the bootleggers a lot of money.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was people drinking a problem in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, it was, it is, and there always has been some. They'd make it and bring it to certain places, and they'd hide it. You'd pay for it, and they'd tell you where to get it. Pick it up at a certain place. They'd make liquor and hide it around. The fellows that knew them, and boy, you had to know them [unknown] you couldn't get it, you know. Because there was the law all the time after them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people get together to drink?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, not much, I don't think. Sometimes they would. Older fellows would get drunk together sometimes playing cards and things like that [unknown] poker.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about later on, after Prohibition?
FRANK DURHAM:
It got better, I believe.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
There was less drinking?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, you could get it, and it wasn't no worse, I don't think a bit worse, but probably better. Because I don't believe they had a strong desire. There's not as much drinking here now as there was during that day and time, I don't believe. Because you can get it, and along then it seemed to be that it was a great desire to get it while you had a chance [unknown] or something, keep it. I believe folks [unknown] during the Depression and during that time than they do now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people ever drink while they were working in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
No. No, they'd fire you. I never had no drinking on the job in my life when I was in there.
I was foreman there for twenty-five years

Page 57
and superintendent for seventeen, and that was a long time that I had the firing and hiring. I done all the hiring on nighttime, on the second shift. And if a body got to drinking or anything, they knowed not to do that. I'll tell you, you take a house and a job, and a job's kind of hard to find, you respected that a little bit. You just wouldn't go against it. Because if you got throwed out, why, you was out sometimes a long time. No telling when you'd. . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
If people got thrown out of one mill, did they have trouble getting jobs at other mills?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. They'd call you sometimes. Now like Saxapahaw up here, I got a lot of calls from up here. "So-and-so's up here hunting a job. What do you think of him? What sort of fellow is he?" and stuff. They wouldn't put him on, unless you recommended him, hardly ever. But I never went against a fellow if he was out hunting a job; I never did while I was on. I'd say, "Well, he left us." I'd try to fix it so he could get a job, and maybe it'd be all right [unknown] But if I'd say, "Well, he's no good. Let him go," why, he wouldn't put him on. And mills at Pittsboro would call you.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
People moved around a lot, didn't they, from one mill to another?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they did sometimes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there one period of time that they did that more than others?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't know as there was here special times, but the mill here had some qualities the other ones didn't have, and they lacked some. They didn't pay as much as they did in mills in town, but it cost you a little more to live there with rents and things. They didn't ever pay as much. They could get by here not paying much. One thing was the privilege, the

Page 58
privilege of being out when they were going out to smoke and stuff like that. A lot of mills wouldn't let you out at all, you know. And here they was allowed to go out and smoke, and if they'd catch up their work, go out and talk around once and then come back. Well, that was worth a whole lot. It sure was. You could work for less money, and you took that into consideration when you was hunting a job or fixing to change jobs.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people from one mill ever go to another mill and try and get workers?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they would.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that ever a problem down here?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. A lot of the time, the foreman was out hunting sometimes, and they'd come around the mill hunting help sometimes. Especially if they knew you had a good bunch of help, they'd come around here and try to hire them. And sometimes they'd go, but most of the time they didn't. I know people from Siler City come up here a time or two trying to hire people, and out of Carrboro. There used to be two mills at Carrboro, two nice mills. Belonged to the Durham Hosiery Mill.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there anything you could do about that when people. . .
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, except that you could run them off company property, you know. [Laughter] They couldn't get on it. A lot of the time, they would get off the [unknown] place and not even know where they was at. They'd get off the property. Go on the other side of the river. Near about had to. That was about as near as you could get. They'd come up thisaway on the other side of the river and park, and we have known them to do that. And send for folks to come over and see them; sometimes they would, and sometimes they wouldn't. But that hasn't been on in there in a long time.

Page 59
But you take during World War II, there was right smart of that going on then.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Because there were less people to work in the mills?
FRANK DURHAM:
That's right, yes. And everything was on the boom. Everything was moving fast. There was a lot of work going on in this country then, more than there's been in a good while. And a lot of the people moved out to other jobs besides the mill. They got out of the mill, a lot of them did, when they had an opportunity.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When people were working in the mill, were there any shortcuts that they could take in their work to make the work run faster?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir. No, the mill supervisor had control over that. They didn't bother with nothing. This mill down here was run at a speed that was proved to be satisfactory, the best for the mill and the help, too, for quality and everything. And nobody bothered it. They do now sometimes, they say; I don't know. You're constantly taking roller [unclear] speeds and things, trying to hold it up to a certain speed. And if you go above certain things, it makes it run too bad, too many ends down, and that makes poor quality work. Every time you put up an end, it bothers [unclear] it; it hurts it some.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there any time during the time that you were working there that they sped it up at all?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, I don't know. You kept a governed speed that was proper with the type of work you was running. You couldn't have beat it. No, we never tried to break a leg with speed. We had a good-running job. A lot of fellows that would come through would remark every time they come, "Well, this is the best-running work I've seen." Yes, it did run

Page 60
good. I kept it running good. Of course, I was responsible for it for years there, from the card room straight on down through. And you had to keep up with every process of it to keep it running right, from your roll stock on through. And each process had to be controlled speed, but you just try to overstep that. . . . Now I knew what it would do if I speeded it up. You just try to overstep it a little bit, and you tear it all to pieces. You'd do more harm than you would good. You'd gain a little production, but it'd hurt you, hurt your quality and everything.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there any change when the mill switched over from water power to electricity? Did you have to get new machinery?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, all we had to do was improve the water plant, the water wheels and generators. Inside the mill, you couldn't tell it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there a motor that drove the belts after that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. At one time there was a big old rope drive from the. . . . The wheel run, and the big old shaft run [unknown] a great big rope pulley on it that would pull direct to the card room. Now they're all motors. They finally switched them all down to individual motors.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
There are now individual motors on the machines?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, on every one of them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When did that happen?
FRANK DURHAM:
It's happened gradually. If we just did [unknown], it would cost so much. We'd take down a group of drives and put individual drives on the cards, drawing, slubbers, everything, so when one broke down then, there wasn't but one machine standing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When exactly was it that the mill switched over to electricity?
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, we had electricity in the mill a long time. We got electric power over here in '22, I believe it was.

Page 61
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That was electric power on the hill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. But in the mill we didn't. We used [unknown] water power.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember when you switched over to that electric motor in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
We had it so we could [unknown] in the late twenties and early thirties [unknown] we could run part of the mill on power. We had it so we could. But it was about 1940 or '41 they put in this new water house down here and put in the new wheels. Put in one big one down there and done away with all that in 1940. I stopped the wheels off the last time they was ever stopped off—had two wheels in there—and tore the wheels out in May, 1940. I shut them both down, and they started Monday morning tearing the water house down. Tore it all out all that summer and got the new water house running and the big generator running in about November.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they have to shut down the mill while that was going on?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, they had power in then. They would run everything on Carolina Power. They hung the whole [unknown]. That was the first time we ever had put it all on it. They put it all on electric. See, they got to that before they tore the wheels down, put in electric power and the individual drive.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I just wanted to ask you a few more things, and then I'll. . . . You were telling me last time about how they used to tease new workers by asking them to get things like a bobbin stretcher.
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, yes. That was the help would do that, to one another. They had a little fun. If you was green and you didn't know nothing, they'd just try to play a little [unknown]. I don't mean he was dumb or nothing like that, but he was dumb on that, you know, when they were learning.

Page 62
And I know one time—and it was a grown man, too—and it was a card, and the card would weigh 3,000 or 4,000 pounds, and they told him that he'd have to move it and sweep under it. [Laughter] And you couldn't budge it with a bulldozer, hardly. Well, he tried, but he finally stopped. I had come by, and he asked me [unknown]. I said, "You can't ever budge that. You try to move it, just try. You know you can't move that thing." And he said they just tried all sorts of stunts on him. "They sent me sometime after the key to the elevator." Which there weren't no key, of course. There was nothing to do but start it, but at that time we had to [unknown] It was drawn by belts. And they had a [unknown] in the center, You'd switch that one over thataway. They'd cross, and it'd run it up. And then a straight belt on the other side'd run it down and switch it over there to run it down. And that was the only way we had the elevator. That was the first elevator we had, a long time. And then they got one that you'd just push a button, of course. You couldn't see nothing. The thing was up on the penthouse on top. Had a nice elevator.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they do that to anybody that hadn't been in the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. If some guy come in there to go to work he'd come out of the country, you know, and most of the time they'd be eighteen, nineteen, young fellows. And they'd just play pranks on them and try to. . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about people in the village when they first went to work down there? Did they play pranks on them?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they would, the whole lot of them. But [Laughter] most of them knew. Had the lefthanded monkey wrench and the key to the elevator and the bobbin stretcher. They'd learn all of that. [Laughter] Some of them, you'd get a good cussing if you didn't mind, if you decided to do a little to the

Page 63
Some of them was mighty meek and humble, though. Some of the best help.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Mrs. Gattis was telling me the other day about another time that there was a man down there that didn't like chitlins. And so somebody brought him a biscuit with chitlins and told him it was bacon. [Laughter]
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. One fellow down there one time was especially fond of chitlins, and they brought him some but they cracked a little corn and put in it to make it like it hadn't been cleaned. He just take it and spit it out. Said, "I know." [Laughter] Mr. Henry Abernathy. He was around the whole village. And Ernest Williams was the one that carried it to him. But he knew Ernest was going to do something to it. He just took a little grind of corn and busted it up and made it like the hog had been eating corn. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I think your sister-in-law, Fula Durham, told me one time about how once they filled a foreman's hat with water?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, they'd do that, and nail people's shoes. A fellow's feet was bad, and he had cut holes in his shoes. They'd nail them to the floor. [Laughter] He'd go to try to put on his shoes, and he couldn't pick them up. They weren't much good nohow, you know. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I was also interested in nicknames that people had.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. [Laughter] Nobody'd use their right name, hardly. Near about everybody had a nickname, it looked like.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember any of them?
FRANK DURHAM:
I don't, no, sir. [unknown] queer things. Usually they'd drop them when they got grown. Take Mung [unclear] down there. Half the people don't even know her name, I don't reckon. Mung is all they ever called her, about.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Somebody's name was "Hammerhead"?

Page 64
FRANK DURHAM:
"Hammerhead" Braxton. Hammer had a good big head. A good old boy. He's dead and gone. "Hammerhead" was all they ever called him, about.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What were some of the others?
FRANK DURHAM:
[Laughter] Well, there was "Bully" Thomas a long time. He got that name from beating a fellow up one time, I reckon. He beat up one that thought he was a bully, so they nicknamed him "Bully." It was just something like that all the time. "Slim" and all.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have a nickname?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, sir, I never did, except when I was a kid boy. They'd call me "Cute." Thought it was going to worry me. I was picking peas for Mr. Atwater, me and Cary, and Gertrude Hamlin and Ella Sturdivant were two girls older than I was. They were pretty and nice. They were several years older than I was. They started running me. I was a little old fellow. And they said, "Come here, you little old cute thing. I'm going to kiss you." And Cary come home and told it [unknown], and it lasted me all the time I was at school, about. "Cute" Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[Laughter]
FRANK DURHAM:
Oh, shoot. I remember that day. That got away with me so bad. It worried me to death for a while, and then I quit pay no attention to it. But that's all they called me for a long time. But them two gals, they were picking peas, too. [unknown] great, big pea patch, and they were picking them. And they'd weed them out, you know, when [unknown] got dry.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Well, I don't want to take any more of your time. You've been real good to talk to me this long.
FRANK DURHAM:
Thank you.

Page 65
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'll make some copies of these tapes, and I'll give you a copy of the tapes.
FRANK DURHAM:
All right. Don't you go to no trouble about it, though.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, it's no problem at all. If I could do just one more thing, I just wanted to get straight one more time what the order of the jobs that you had in the mill. . . . You first started just sweeping around.
FRANK DURHAM:
Cleaning up, cleaning the machinery and sweeping.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
About how long did you do that?
FRANK DURHAM:
My first summer. That's all I done. The next summer I went to . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Then you worked on the farm.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. The next summer I just plowed and worked with Mr. Lambeth and worked at his home, mostly.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And then you went back to the mill?
FRANK DURHAM:
The next summer I went back to the mill.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did you do?
FRANK DURHAM:
I went to learning to wind and went to winding. And the next summer I went from there to spinning and doffing. I learned to doff.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So one summer you learned to wind, and then the next summer you learned to spin?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, and the next thing was off of spinning to doffing, which was more appropriate for a boy anyhow. And then after that I stayed like that till I went to work in the mill kind of regular in there. I went to fixing. I was made a fixer. I was learnt that. Oh, [unknown], cleaning up the frame and all I kind of learned a little bit about it along. And then I learned pretty fast and they put me to fixing. And I did overhauling there some.

Page 66
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's when you first started to work fulltime?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. And then I was what they call the second hand—that's second to the foreman, you know—for a year or two. And then they put me foreman on the second shift. From then on I never did work under a foreman, I reckon, no more.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you stay foreman of the second shift until you became the superintendent?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. I was foreman on the second shift spinning and winding for about ten years, and then they put the card room on me. That was the whole mill then; I was over the whole mill for fifteen years. That was the twenty-five years I was on the second shift.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you were in charge of spinning and winding for ten years, and then carding for fifteen.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, and then carding and spinning and winding. See, they were all in together then. For fifteen years.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And then you became the superintendent.
FRANK DURHAM:
They put me back on daytime as superintendent in 1955. I stayed there till 1972. I'll tell you one thing, too, that's very rare, in a way. I worked for thirty-two years without losing a day.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
Ain't much of that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
FRANK DURHAM:
No. Didn't do nothing. [Laughter] I'll tell you one reason,

Page 67
though. See, I quit.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You quit?
FRANK DURHAM:
Instead of retiring, I quit. This new company come in here, and I didn't like part of their ways and all, and I was ready to retire anyhow. But the manager, John London, didn't have nothing to do with it no more. He wanted to really stay and just retire together. I said to him, "I don't believe I can stand it, but I'll try." But I just felt wrong and quit. The only time I ever quit a job in my life. I quit and left. I was ready to come. My wife wanted me to come home. She wanted me to get out. She thought they was trying to mess me up a little bit. They weren't, but she thought they was making it too hard on me, and it was worrying me right smart because they was changing everything so, and they changed all that, so I went in there one day, and I just told them I believed I'd come home. That was [unknown].
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What were they changing?
FRANK DURHAM:
I never got mad at them; I just quit and come home.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What were the things that they changed?
FRANK DURHAM:
Well, see, it was a new company, and they went to blends instead of all cotton. They have a certain blend, ninety percent cotton and ten percent rayon, and thirty-five percent this and all sorts of percentages. I was used to a cotton job all the time, and I liked it so much better I never did get used to it. It never did run good. It don't run good yet. But they sell it, and so they say they're making money. A long time they didn't. For a year or two there they didn't make no money; they like to went under.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You became superintendent right after Edgar Moore retired?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, I became superintendent when he retired.

Page 68
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was the superintendent during that period that he was gone?
FRANK DURHAM:
Charlie Neal. He was with the American Tobacco Company in Durham, but he used to be here, and he was a mill man, a good mill man. And Mr. London got him back in 1920, and he stayed here till '27. But he got tired of it. He couldn't get along with it right, somehow or another.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember who was superintendent before Mr. Moore?
FRANK DURHAM:
No, it's so far back I couldn't say. Some of them guys from down. . . . Hislop, I think, from [unknown]. See, Uncle Edgar taken it in 1902 or 1903, somewhere along in there. The other one, I think it was a fellow Hislop.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Well, Mr. Durham, thank you very much. You've been very . . .
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, sir, you're certainly welcome.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And I'll make a copy of these.
FRANK DURHAM:
Okay, [unknown].
END OF INTERVIEW