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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Mill families and discipline of children

As long as children worked, discipline in the mill remained an issue. Since the family's comfort depended on the children's employment, any punishment given by the mill was likely to be repeated by the parents.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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:
Theyhouses. 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 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.