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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, September 20, 1976. Interview H-0085-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Religion and visiting in a mill town

Jones discusses religion and the role of "visiting" in her community during the early twentieth century. She describes how the local preacher was responsible for parishes in several other towns and travelled several Sundays a month in order to preach. Nevertheless, the preacher typically lived in Bynum, and she recalls one, Preacher Rose, in particular, who had close ties to the community. Several times a week, Preacher Rose's wife would "visit" families throughout the community and Jones recalls that her mother (who was the community midwife) would often accompany her. Jones's comments here reveal the ways in which religion was an integral part of this close knit working community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, September 20, 1976. Interview H-0085-1. 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

But as long ago as I can remember, we went to Sunday school . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In the afternoon.
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
. . . about three o'clock, I think. And they had preaching at night. And the preachers that lived here then, they had this church, Mt. Pleasant, Mann's Chapel, Ebenezer, and I believe Cedar Grove. I don't know whether they had them all that time or not. I don't know how long Cedar Grove. . . . I think that was kind of one of the last ones. Well, Mt. Pleasant was one of the first. They had a church there before we had a church here. And the preacher had to go in a buggy, a horse, you know . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And do a circuit, like?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
Just have one service a month. That's all we had, one preaching service a month, because he was here one Sunday, and he'd have to go to a church another Sunday. It took him so long, you know, to go and come.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So he would stay there like part of the week or something?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
No, he would go and come that day. His family would live here at the parsonage, but he would go to these other churches and preach on Sunday and come back.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So that's why the preaching was at night, probably?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
It must have been maybe why it was at night here. I just don't know why. I just remember it being one night out of the month here. Well, too, we did have. . . . Now there was Third Sunday. They got to having another, got to having it at night, one night a month, after we got so we could have two. They didn't have quite so many churches. But we had Third Sunday morning, the third Sunday in every month, our preacher here. But that was in later years; that wasn't at first.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you see the minister very often during the week? Would he come to visit people?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
Yes, they'd come around and visit the people. My mother, she was close to them. I remember one that was Preacher Rose, and he had three boys when they moved here, and I think there was one child born after he moved here. And my mother-I told you that before-that she always went where there was babies born, you know. There was no nurses around to be with the doctors and baby. She was what you'd say was a midwife. And she'd go to so many places. Well, she was with Mrs. Rose. And we'd go over there at night. People visited at night then a lot. They didn't have time to go, because they worked all day long here, you know, and then people would come and sit till bedtime, they called it. We did that. I know, me and her and my brother next to me, we used to go around at night. We didn't have any lights here, and she had a lantern, a kerosene lantern, you know. We would carry that, and we'd go, say, come down here to Mrs. Moore. Mrs. Durham's mother lived here; maybe we'd come down here and spend a while with her. And if you go down there, lived down there. Or we'd go to my aunt's or just neighbors that we might have and sit till bedtime, and they'd come and sit with us some thataway.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When was bedtime? What time was it?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
Well, I don't know. I imagine it was about nine, or between nine and ten o'clock, along there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then people would just go home and go to bed?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
Yeah, to get up and go to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you go visiting like every night, or would you stay home some?
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
No, we didn't go every night. We just went now and then, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Like maybe a couple nights a week or . . .
LOUISE RIGSBEE JONES:
Something like that. I can't remember. I just remember going, you know. I was always where she was.