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Title: Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Sigmon, Murphy Yomen, interviewee
Interview conducted by Dilley, Patty
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 142 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-05-14, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0142)
Author: Patty Dilley
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0142)
Author: Murphy Yomen Sigmon
Description: 166 Mb
Description: 36 p.
Note: Interview conducted on July 27, 1979, by Patty Dilley; recorded in Hildebran, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979.
Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sigmon, Murphy Yomen, interviewee


Interview Participants

    MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON , interviewee
    MRS. SIGMON, interviewee
    PATTY DILLEY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PATTY DILLEY:
I wanted to start out with some real general information about your early background. Where were you born?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I was born July 26, 1913, in West Hickory. You know where they tore down the old schoolhouse up there? Right down that street, used to be a big red house, a two-storey. That big two-storey house that was down there, I was born in it. My daddy built that house. And it's still standing. That's one of the houses he built, and it's still standing. And he built the old Secker place, there on the lot where the Kerners Outlet is there. He built a couple of houses in there, and they done been tore down. He was a carpenter. He worked for Elliot Builder, a building company. I guess he worked for ten years for them. He would travel with them, and he went to Florida back in the early thirties, back when they was a-building all the train depots and stuff down through Florida. He'd go down there and stay a couple of months at a time.
PATTY DILLEY:
So he was away from home a whole lot.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, with Elliott Building Company. I don't know whether it still originates yet or not in Hickory.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever work with him when you were …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, I never did go off with him to work. I used to help him when I was a-growing up around here, when he was down in, they used to call it Bobtown.
PATTY DILLEY:
Bobtown. What was that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
That was down in Hickory, down in the colored section. Him and Bud Setcher, they was good friends and he was a carpenter, and they

Page 2
would go down there and build nigger houses. And Mr. Setcher had a boy about as old as I was, and we'd go with them sometimes. We'd play with them little colored boys [laughter] and help them a little, too, and bring their hammers and stuff, you know, nails. We'd go down there and play marbles with them.
PATTY DILLEY:
How old were you then?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I was about twelve years old, I guess, or thirteen. I just finished the fifth grade.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did you do after you got out of school?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I went to work in the shoelace factory. It set right there on the corner where Kerner's building is now.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they tear down that building?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, it was in the old schoolhouse building. When they built the new schoolhouse, they just tore down
PATTY DILLEY:
But they didn't run the school in the same building that they ran the shoelace …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No.
PATTY DILLEY:
It wasn't at the same time.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No. They moved it across the road, the old building, and the shoelace factory put it in. And the new schoolhouse, we had the playground where the old schoolhouse was. They cleared it off. There used to be a little old jailhouse out there, in the thirties. That's where one of my boy's good friends, a friend of the boys, he got killed over there. They had one of these big old steel drags, and we was back there a-smoking [laughter] and it fell over and hit him in the head and killed him. That was, I guess, … 1926.
I went to work in 1928.

Page 3
PATTY DILLEY:
In the shoelace factory?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, and my brother and my sister. The one you talked to down there, Mareda, she was a-running braiders, and my brother was a-running on the third shift. And they needed somebody, and I'd been down there helping out after school, and I knowed pretty much how to thread them up and run them. And they wanted to start up all of them on the third shift—my brother was just running about half of them—and he got me on. But I couldn't work on the third shift if they found it out.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why not?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
The child labor law had just come in around then, and they couldn't work under sixteen. See, I wasn't sixteen yet; I quit when I was fourteen from school. They said they'd let me work; if the labor man come along, I'd have to quit, though. Checking.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did one ever come along?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. I worked three months, and he finally come along and I had to quit.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did he find out? Tell me about that.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
He checked the books. See, they had to have me down in the book. He found it out that way. And I was making pretty good; I think it was $14.40 for a week, forty hours. And that was away back there when times was rough. That was before the Depression hit. And over at the mill, they wasn't making hardly anything.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you were making more than people that were making …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
The cotton mill?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. And my brother was making, I think it was $18.60.

Page 4
But they just paid me $14.40. When I had to quit there, I just worked three months.
But my brother was working over at the cotton mill, Ivey Weavers.
PATTY DILLEY:
Which brother was this?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
That was Frank. I've got two brothers living yet. He'll be seventy-seven in October. And he got me on over there a-sweeping. They had two sweepers sweeping the spinning room, and they started me in at eight cents an hour. [laughter] That was a big drop from $14.40 a week, to eight cents an hour.
PATTY DILLEY:
Really.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
But I went on and went to work, working eleven hours a day, five hours on Saturday. And I learned to make bands. That was what pulled the spindle; the thread went around. I learned to make bands on the band machine, and they raised me to ten cents an hour.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you learn how to do that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They had time, you know. I'd sweep the spinning room every hour, two of us, and it wouldn't take us but about ten minutes to run up and down the alleys with brooms, two brooms, and keep the corners of the sparehold[unknown] clean. And the boy that was making bands, he showed me how he done it, and I learned it that way. And when he quit or got stepped up to something else, they put me on the band machine and raised me to ten cents an hour. That was in about '29. Then I learned to run the quiller machine.
PATTY DILLEY:
Can you tell me about that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
The weave shop left a little thread on the back of the bobbin, and it would skin that thread off. You had to put it down in a slot, and

Page 5
it had two things, and it would just catch the top of the bobbin and pull it out, and it would skin that thread off. And I got on up to where I got on the quiller machine; I think it paid fifteen cents an hour. That was about 1930. And then I learned to doff a little. And they had a twister there that made the selvage yarn for the cloth, and I learned to run it and doff. I guess when I got on that, that was about 1934. Of course, we had a depression in '29, '30, and '31, and the mill didn't run too much then. It would just run in the wintertime. And it would shut down anywhere from three to six months in the summer.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did you do during that time?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Fished. [laughter] Me and my daddy would fish. He was back from Florida then.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were you living at home all during this time?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, we was living on the mill village down there. They had a village for the mill. And we didn't have to pay no rent when the mill shut down. Just only when it run. And N. W. Phelps, he run a grocery store down there, and he'd take care of the people. He would give them credit till they'd go back to work. When the Depression hit, we got on what they called the doogeling or doogeloo. The government sponsored it. You'd go down and work on projects. My daddy went down and signed up, and I told him I'd work the card. That was back in '33-'34.
PATTY DILLEY:
Work the card?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. We had to sign up, and we had to have a card. And I could work his card; it was all in the family. And I told him if he'd go down and sign up, I'd work the card, and the pay was ten cents an hour. Worked nine hours a day, three days a week. Didn't get no money; we just got groceries. And we got enough about to live on, all but a few things such as bread and stuff like that, milk. We'd get

Page 6
meat, fatback, pinto beans, Irish potatoes, just rough food like that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have a garden?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, in the summertime we'd have a garden. We had a place where we could have a garden. And raise the hogs. We could, down at the end of the mill down there where the transformers and everything is now, Duke Power. You know where that is. That's where we had our hog pens then.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did different people in the mill village have their hogs penned up there?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. I guess there was fifteen or twenty a-raising hogs down there, and each one had a pen. And all that could, raised their meat. We'd carry the eats for the hogs from the house down there, every evening and morning. When we'd go to work, we'd take a load full of slop down and feed the hog, going to work. And every evening we'd feed him.
And he done that till he… Mr. John Geitner. His daddy, and they owned the mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
Had you ever met them before?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
When I went to work for them, I knew them.
PATTY DILLEY:
I was just wondering what they were like.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, they was nice people. John was more business than his brother was, Jake. Jake died in 1937. He was superintendent. He had a heart attack and died. He had just about built his new home over there in Hickory. He just about had it finished when he had his heart attack and died. You know where John lived, over there on the River Road? There used to be a big house set up on the right as you go down past

Page 7
the Oakwood Cemetery. On this side. And it went straight on through there, over to the river. And about halfway on that road, he had a big brick fine home, up there on the hill, and he lived in that. And his daddy lived right in there in a big wooden house, pretty close there. We always called him "Daddy" Geitner. He come to the mill, he wouldn't do nothing, though. He'd come out to the office. That old office building that sits right across the road from where the fire station is, out in West Hickory? That old long building. They put their office in there.
Used to be a moving picture show in there, before they put the office in there, and a barbershop and a cafe. And when I was small and growing up, me and my brother, we lived up here on Longview, and we'd walk down there to the moving picture show. And my daddy worked at the Southern Desk then; I was just six, seven, eight years old. P. D. Short run a taxi in town then, and every Wednesday there was a continued picture on. I don't know whether they've got them anymore or not. Every Wednesday they'd have episodes of it, in fifteen episodes or… And we'd go down there. P. D. Short would run the little picture show and owned the taxi in Hickory. And when it would be raining on Wednesday, he'd come up and get us and take us to the show. He wouldn't charge us nothing for taxi fare, so we wouldn't miss the show, you know. And it was Jack Hawksy that played in that continued picture. My daddy and we'd go every Wednesday night. It was me and my brother—he's three years and a half older than me—and my youngest sister, Carrie. She was just real small then. Pretty nights, though, we'd walk down there, and next morning we'd ask Mama how we got home. She'd say, "Well, you walked," and we

Page 8
wouldn't know nothing about it, me and my brother. [laughter] We'd go to sleep in the middle of the picture show. And we moved down to the mill hill when daddy and my brother got a job down there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your father also work in the mill?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, he worked some in the mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did he do?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
He worked out in the opening room, and the outside carpentry. He baled the waste and done carpentry work on the houses and stuff. They owned the whole place then, the Geitners did.
I remember when the eight-hour law come in, when I was making $5.60 a week for fifty-five hours. And Charles Jones was over the spinning and carding, the spinning room boss. And I was a-running twisters and doffing seven frames at that time when it come in, and I was making $5.60. And he come to me and said, "You know, they raised the minimum wage, eight hours, forty cents an hour." That's what they started it off at. And he come to me and he said, "You're going to get a big raise. You'll be making twelve dollars." He said, "I got you $12.50. I got you fifty cents more than they have to pay you." [laughter] He thought that was a whole lot, you know. Well, it was, back then. And he said, "You'll be making twelve dollars and a half a week for forty hours. They'd have to pay you time and a half if you work on Saturday." He was telling me about the fifty cents; he got that much more for me.
PATTY DILLEY:
[laughter] But you didn't really put too much …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No. I think more of the big raise the government gave me.
PATTY DILLEY:
[laughter] But he tried to pretend like …

Page 9
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. And I went on from there, doffing, and then I learned to fix the spinning frames. Before we got into the War, it was 1941 when I went on the third shift. They just had the two shifts running then, and they was wanting to start the third shift up. And they didn't have nobody to go on and look after it. Charlie come to me, and he wanted me to go on the third shift. He said it would just be a few weeks. He said, "You can doff, and you can look after it. You can put on tapes or bands." (It was bands then.) And he said, "We'll just start up twelve frames. It will just be a few weeks. It will be two spinners and you." I said, "Well, I'll try it." And from then on, every couple weeks they would start up a little more and add a couple more hands on the third shift. And I was still looking after it. And we got the whole shift a-running on the third shift, running three shifts. By the time the War broke out, in 1943, I believe it was. And I stayed on it until about '47 or '48. Then they had an opening on the first shift, fixing, and I took it.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you learn how to fix?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Just watching the other ones and helping them a little. I was doffing; I had time when I'd get around. Maybe I'd have thirty or forty minutes before I'd have to start back in doffing again, until the frames got full. I'd be around with them, watch what they done, help them a little.
PATTY DILLEY:
They didn't mind.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, they didn't mind showing you back then. They was glad for you to learn, before you could step up. I stayed there on the first shift, and then they wanted somebody on the second to fix, and I went on the second. All totalled, I was there forty-five years and nine

Page 10
months. I started in 1928, and they shut the mill down in 1973. And I worked the last week; it was December 12 it ended. Me and the bossman, J. P. Sweet—he was the shift overseer—we worked there until they run everything out and shut it down. And people from overseas tore the machinery down and moved it out and moved it overseas.
PATTY DILLEY:
This was Burlington?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Burlington's, yes. When John died, Burlington bought the mill from Geitner's heirs. Burlington had it about fourteen years. They was a pretty fair company to work for. Everybody thought they'd be so hard, but they wasn't too bad.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did people think was going to happen when Burlington bought it?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They thought they'd have to quit, they couldn't take it, and all this and that and everything. They finally settled down into it. They laid off a few hands and built it up a little more, but …
PATTY DILLEY:
They made you work a little harder?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, making you work a little harder, a little steadier. You didn't have as much time to go around and aggravate other people.
PATTY DILLEY:
[laughter] Did you have time, when you first started working, to go around and speak to people?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes. Back in the thirties, why, the doffers would go to the swimming hole.
PATTY DILLEY:
Really?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. Go in swimming. They had what they called the head doffer. He would get out and whistle them up; about fifteen, twenty minutes before doff time, he'd go hunting his doffers up. He'd run down

Page 11
away across the park there. He'd whistle for them. He could whistle right keen, and here they'd come. Some of them would be sticking in their shirttails and putting on their shirts, running from the swimming hole to get back in time to start doffing again. [laughter] That's the way they used to work, but when the Burlingtons bought it they cut all that out. Well, before Burlington bought it that was cut out. The Geitners tightened it up some, you know; they had to, for competition.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did maybe this tightening up come with the eight-hour?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, it did; a whole lots of it did. But that was back when we was working eleven hours, when they done that. People didn't work as hard back then as they did when the eight-hour law come in in 1936.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you or how did people feel about the eight-hour law?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They was glad for it. You didn't have to work as long, but you knowed you was just going to have to work harder while you was a-working. But about then, all you had to do was just go to work, sleep, and eat, about. You'd work half of the day, eleven hours. We'd go to work at six o'clock. They'd have it shut down an hour for dinner—everybody'd go home for dinner—and we went to work at one and worked till six. Eleven hours.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you were working, did you always get to go home for lunch and home for dinner, or did you have your dinner brought to you?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
We always went home when we was working eleven hours. We didn't have no break when the eight-hour law come in; we worked straight through, eight hours, like they do now. And they had people bring their lunch, what they wanted to eat, and then they got to putting in these little cafeterias, drinks and stuff like that. That was all right then.

Page 12
PATTY DILLEY:
Did any of the wives or the children that were at home bring men's hot lunches?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have anybody bring you hot lunches?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Sometimes Mama would send us hot lunches, hot sandwiches, such. But most of them went home for dinner. They shut down. But in the eight hours, if anybody had time they could go to the cafe, send to the cafe to get… Go around amongst the hands, when somebody'd have time, say have thirty or forty-five minutes. If you wanted a sandwich or a drink. That was before they got the machines and stuff in. They'd go up to the cafe up there at the right corner and get a big poke full of stuff and bring it back. Yes, that was pretty good times back then. It wasn't too hard.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you get involved in the hosiery or the machines that you bought?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I built a house down there in Burke, and I built me a building behind it.
PATTY DILLEY:
When was this?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Back in the early fifties. I was still working at the mill; I just done this on… There was a fellow up at the Cape Hickory Hosiery Mill—my wife, she worked up there then—and he had some machines. Frank Johnson; he lives out here now. I bought them from him. He was a fixer.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 13
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
She (wife) was on the second shift; I worked the first. And I got to going up there and helping around the knitting machines and helping her turn socks.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you get paid for it?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, I was just up there helping her. And I got to where I liked it pretty good. And Frank come to me one day, and he said, "I've got some knitting machines I'd just sell you, if you'd like to go into that business." I said, "Well, I've got a pretty good building down there." It was twenty foot wide and forty foot long, a block building. I said, "I'd have to have it wired." He kept talking to me about it. He said, "I'll let you have them. I've got fifteen pretty good machines. I'll let you have them for three thousand dollars. I believe you could borrow that much on them." So I got to talking around down at the bank, and they said they would finance it. So I just took them. Had the building wired and started them up. And Cape Hickory took all the socks I made. They had plain white cotton men's work socks, and he said he'd take all I made.
PATTY DILLEY:
How much were you paid?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I think he first started on seventy-five cents a dozen. After we got set up, me and my wife would run them eight hours. I'd come in from the mill at two o'clock, and I'd start them up and run them. I hired a fixer who come down and helped me fix; I didn't know how to fix them. It was a fellow who worked down there; he was about my age. He said he'd help me out when he went home. He'd come up every evening, and if I had any down he'd fix them and get them back a-running. My wife would run them a while every morning. She was a good knitter over

Page 14
at Cape Hickory. Then I'd run them a while every evening. We got so we could put out three or four hundred dozen a week. And Cape Hickory said he wanted some more. He said he'd take all I made if I could hire a knitter. Run them …
PATTY DILLEY:
Like while you were at work.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. Run them eight hours. My wife's sister wasn't doing nothing then, and she come out there. She was a knitter, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was her name?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Bernice Carpenter. She lives out there right on the other side of that church, the Church of God. That's over on the next corner. Then she run them a while for me, and we got so we could make six hundred dozen a week. And we done that for about a year, and me and her working and running them, too, I paid off the machines in about a year and a half. Then she run off and left with another man, after we got …
PATTY DILLEY:
After you got your operation all going.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
And I couldn't handle it by myself, so I just shut them down. And I sold them.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were you able to get a pretty good price on them?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No. Well, they was about three to four years older, you know. I got two thousand dollars out of them, but I had bought three more. I had eighteen when I sold them, and I sold the whole bunch for two thousand dollars. They was all in working shape, running. She stayed gone, and I got a divorce. Then I married Eva, and I've been married to her for eleven years June the first of this year.
PATTY DILLEY:
Has she ever done any work outside the home?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes. She used to inspect for this mill down here, and

Page 15
I forget the name of it. It was out here in Hildebran for years and years. She worked out there. Then about the time we got married, they moved her. He built down there and moved his hosiery mill down there, and she worked till she got sixty-two. She retired. She's almost a year and a half older than me, and I worked on till I got sixty-two, but the mill shut down before I got sixty-two. I'd have been sixty-two in '74, and it shut down in '63 ['73]. On July 26 I would have been sixty-two; I could have retired. Of course, when you signed up, you know, for unemployment… And in '74 they give me a six weeks' bonus, and the last check I drawed down there was for $525, I believe it was.
PATTY DILLEY:
That was for two weeks?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, for a week, for work, and they give me a six weeks' bonus. What they call mustering out pay. Then I had to wait till them six weeks got off; I couldn't sign up till they run out. See, that was money I made, and I couldn't sign up. I wasn't unemployed. I was still unemployed, but I got paid for it, six weeks. And then when they started to have you sign up, why, I signed up all of '74, about. I drawed ninety dollars a week. And I didn't care about looking for no job much about that; of course, you had to look for a job. The last of that year, I think I lacked about a week of drawing all of my unemployment out. I'd keep in touch with Shuford's Mills—that's about all the mills around here then—and they wanted somebody over at Granite Mill. And I told them yes, I'd take it. I was about through signing up anyhow, and I went over there and worked. But when I got sixty-two, I was put in for my old-age pension. I went to Shuford's that winter; I believe it was in '74. Yes, it was just a little while before Christmas. And I was

Page 16
already signed up and drawing OAB, and I stayed on over there till I worked out all I could, in '75; then I had to quit. In '76 and '77 and '78, I worked for Shuford's till I worked out what I could and then I'd have to quit. Then I'd go back the next year and work.
PATTY DILLEY:
Just to get your Social Security.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. They let me do that. But this year, I ain't got to go back no more.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you think they're cutting that out?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I worked over at Dudley Shoals for two years and at Granite for three. And I went back over to Dudley and I thought I was going to get back on, but the man come back had quit, on fixing. So they said they'd let me know if they had anything at all.
PATTY DILLEY:
You're still waiting to hear?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, I'm still waiting to hear. Of course, I ain't hurting too bad. [laughter] I've got a little old shop out here. I went into woodwork now. Just something to piddle about at.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you get involved in doing the woodwork?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
After I went out of this hosiery mill business down here, me and my brother made a few swings. He had a saw, and we started making a few porch swings and selling them. Then I made a few cabinets for people. Mrs. Braden wanted some cabinets made. And stuff like that, and I just kept adding a piece of machinery now and then. I've just got me an old hobby shop out there now.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of machines do you have out there?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I've got a 10" big saw and a 7" big saw and a drum sander and a band saw and a little 6" planer, and that's about all the machines

Page 17
we got, only just hand tools and electric skillsaws and drills.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you have a lathe?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, we don't have no lathe. Never did have much use for that, making cabinets and porch swings and yard sets. So I ain't been doing much of that till recently.
PATTY DILLEY:
Which brother was it that you went into this with?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Ralph.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he ever work at a furniture place?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
He worked down at Hutton Bourbonais for years. Then I got him a job at the mill in 1942; he come up there. And he worked at the mill until he retired.
PATTY DILLEY:
How come he switched from Hutton Bourbonais up there?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
It got so cold down there. They didn't have much heat. In the wintertime you'd about freeze to death, had to wear heavy coats and work in them.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why didn't they put in …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
An old building, I guess they thought they couldn't heat it. They had steam pipes in there and stuff, but you'd have to stand right on top of them to get a little warmth.
PATTY DILLEY:
It is a real old building.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
And he said if I could get him a job up there… He come up there and run the quilt machine on the third shift with me, when I was looking after it. And he stayed up there till he retired; he quit at sixty-two.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did the pay compare between working furniture at Hutton Bourbonais and working in a cotton mill?

Page 18
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
In some categories it paid about equal. The upholsterers and stuff like that, they make good money. But that's where you're skilled. But textiles, it come up after the eight-hour law come in, tremendously. It growed more than other things did; it caught up, eventually.
PATTY DILLEY:
It caught up to the furniture.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. They make about as good now as they do in furniture factories, cotton mills.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was furniture considered a better job than working in a cotton mill?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes, back then it was. And hosiery mills paid lots better, too, than the cotton mill did until the eight-hour law come in and they set the minimum wage. And then it started climbing. But the hosiery mills and the furniture factories, woodworking plants, was paying more than the minimum wage was when the eight-hour law come in. Yes, you could go to town and tell they were cotton mill workers that worked in the cotton mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Well, they didn't have enough money to buy decent clothes, and they'd just wear their old work clothes to town and didn't have too many to change. They might have one change to go to church on Sunday or something like that, a good pair of pants or a suit. Maybe it was handed down from somebody else. They kept that to go to church with, and if they'd go to town, they'd just go in their work clothes, cotton on them and everything.
PATTY DILLEY:
From working in the …

Page 19
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, working in the mill. But after the eight-hour law come in and they got to making more money, they got coming out. By 1940, if you'd go to town, you couldn't tell who was working at the cotton mill and who wasn't, then. They caught up and was making more money, and it was a better living, and they could buy better clothes. But cotton mill people had it rough back in the early twenties and teens.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did people in town consider them a lower class of people?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, they did. People that had better jobs wouldn't associate hardly with cotton mill people. They called them cotton mill trash. [laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you call them that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, I worked in the cotton mill. My people worked in the cotton mill. But they come out. There was more change in the cotton mill than there was in any other industry, as far as coming out. Now people in cotton mills go dressed to work a heck of a sight better than they did on Sunday way back there. They had it rough.
And textiles didn't run all the time, neither. In the early thirties and late twenties, they'd shut down two or three or four months at a time. We had it rough.
PATTY DILLEY:
And this was even before the Depression.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes. The way John Geitner said, when they couldn't sell their goods, they just had so much worth in capital, and when they would get that all run up in cloth, that's all they could do, nothing else but shut down. They didn't have more capital, you see, to pay off and to buy their cotton and stuff.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would he come and tell the workers and explain that to them?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Oh, yes.

Page 20
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he call them all together?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, he'd have meetings. And Burlington's, when they bought it, they'd have periodic meetings and talk to the help, tell them what was going on. If they doing good, or say they're doing bad. Of course, Burlington was a big concern. They had so many other things to back them up. That's the reason they bought so many cotton mills out. They was in furniture and hosiery and household… Everything, I guess, you used in the house was Burlington-made.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they give a reason for why they moved overseas?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They was a-getting down. They made sateen and pongee cloth. The market fell out of the sateen, and they couldn't sell it. That was when most of this synthetic stuff come in. And they went to corduroy then. And we could make the yarn all right upstairs in the spinning room and carding room, but they couldn't weave that corduroy downstairs on the old looms they had. So they said there was nothing else to do but just to shut down. They was making anywhere from twenty-five to forty percent seconds. The machines wouldn't weave that type of cloth, you see, they was just wore out so bad. And they said they couldn't afford at that time to replace them; they said it would take a million dollars to replace the looms with modern looms. So they just closed it down.
PATTY DILLEY:
And sold the machines to someone overseas.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
And I don't know who they ever sold the building to. I think it's a storage place now. I see big trucks sitting out there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why was it called Ivey Weavers?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I don't know whether I can explain that to you or not.

Page 21
The man that was in the Southern Desk started it. And he was some kin to the Geitners. And they swapped stock or done something, and old man Ivey was the one that started it. And naturally he give it his name. It was the Ivey Cotton Mill when he had it, and then the Geitners bought it and they enlarged it, and Mr. Ivey kept the Southern Desk. And they got the cotton mill. They enlarged it twice. They built it longer in 1919 or 1920. That was before I went to work; I was just six or seven years old. And then in 1947 they built twenty-five foot more to it on the railroad side all the way down, and they enlarged it that much more. So it was 100 foot wide and about 300 foot long.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of cloth did they make? Was it all cotton?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, all cotton. They tried synthetics a couple times, but they couldn't make no headway at it, the weaving it, and some of our spinner frames wouldn't spin synthetic, old machinery. And they just decided to do away with it.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was it like inside the mill? Was it airconditioned?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They airconditioned the carding room and spinning room in 1959. They never did aircondition the weave shop, though.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was there a lot of dust in the air?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Quite a bit, but we spun fine yarns, and it wasn't as bad as a coarse mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
Like stuff for blue jeans?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, stuff like that, heavy yarns. All ours was fine yarns. We made that pongee and sateen. They was what they called counts of fifties and sixties, numbers of yarn. Their warp was always the heaviest; it was around forties count. And the filling that went in the

Page 22
warp… See, the warp sits back here on a big roll, and it would come across the loom, and then the shuttle would go backwards and forwards and weave it into cloth. And that's what they call the filling. And they would weave thousands and thousands of yards.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever hear tell of anybody getting brown lung or getting sick from breathing the dust?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, not down there. We never did have no complaints down there, as I ever heared tell of. And some of the people worked there all their lives.
PATTY DILLEY:
All their lives, and never did get any kind of lung disease. I want to go back to when you were running your hosiery operation in the back of your house. Was that pretty profitable?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, it was. We made enough to pay for the machines and buy our yarn, and everything come out of that. And we paid for the machines in about a year and a half—not over two years—three thousand dollars off. And the upkeep of the machinery and stuff all come out of what we made [with] the socks. We kept it separate from what we made. We didn't put none of our money, what we made, in the hosiery mill. We couldn't do that.
PATTY DILLEY:
You just put the money that you made out of the hosiery mill back in.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Back into it, and paid off the hosiery mill debt, you see. We had to keep it separate. That was the only time I ever had a checking account, when I had the hosiery mill. We put the money in the checking account, and we wouldn't write checks for nothing but just for the hosiery mill.

Page 23
PATTY DILLEY:
I understand a fixer in a hosiery mill gets paid pretty well. Did you have to pay him pretty well?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Back then I think we paid him three to three and a half an hour, and he'd come up there some evenings and maybe work two or three hours on the machines.
PATTY DILLEY:
So he wasn't there all the time.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, he wasn't there all the time. He was just a parttime fixer. He had a regular job; he worked eight hours at another mill as a fixer. He just come up there to help me out.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who was this?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I forget his name now. He lived down there on Longview.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
PATTY DILLEY:
… raw materials?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Valdese Manufacturing Company.
PATTY DILLEY:
And they specifically made yarn for hosiery mills?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, they made hosiery mill yarn. I'd go up there and haul a case back in the back of my Chevrolet. A case weighed about 150, 175 pounds. Little cones about that big around. You'd get a case of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
How much would a case cost?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I think the price per pound was about thirty or thirty-five cents. I'm not sure. And that little case would run you maybe a hundred, a hundred and twenty-five dollars.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then you would sell your finished socks?

Page 24
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of socks were they? Were they sewn in the toe or did you have them looped?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I had them looped. They had loopers back then.
PATTY DILLEY:
And your wife did that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, I had to have that done extra. I had to have a looper. Frank Johnson that I bought the machines from, I'd bring his sister sacks full up there, and she was looping for me. And I paid her so much a dozen.
PATTY DILLEY:
So she had her own machine at home to loop them on?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, she had her own little looper. There was lots of them around in homes then. Women would stay at home and work. A mill would be glad to put them in homes where the wives had smaller kids. Just pay them so much a dozen for every dozen they'd do. Then they could work like they wanted to.
PATTY DILLEY:
So this was what Frank Johnson's sister did?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. She had a looper in her basement, I believe. She looped for other mills, too. I'd bring her maybe fifty, seventy-five, a hundred dozen at a time and leave them, and then she'd call me when she could get them done and I'd take her some more.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then you'd take them back over here to the Cape Hickory Hosiery, and they'd pay you seventy-five cents?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Seventy-five cents a dozen. You know about things going up and up. I think the last we made was about ninety-five cents or a dollar a dozen. Of course, the wages and the yarn was going up, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was it a pretty competitive kind of industry?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, there was lots of people had little hosiery mills back then and done work like that. But the reason I bought them from Frank Johnson, Frank Johnson worked for him; he said he'd take all I

Page 25
made.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you had a ready market. You didn't really have to worry about selling them.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, that's the reason I took it pretty quick. He told me he would take all I made, so that was good enough. I knowed how to work it for him, just getting the machines in and getting them set up and things like that done, and get started. And he stuck to his word. As long as he hanged on at the mill, he bought my socks.
PATTY DILLEY:
Frank Johnson was just the fixer for them?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, he was a looper fixer.
PATTY DILLEY:
And he must have set up his own little operation, too?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No. His sister had one. Anybody could buy a machine, anybody that was a looper, and put it in their home, or a mill would be glad to put one in your home. But he just done that work at the mill, fixed the loopersdown there. He had about twelve or fourteen. Cape Hickory was a pretty good-sized mill. Back then they didn't have no seamers like they got now. They seam all of them now except on big heavy socks. But everything was looped back then.
PATTY DILLEY:
Which do you think makes a better sock?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
The seamers now don't leave no ridge or nothing in the toe loop. Back then, the old seamers, when they first come out, some of them left a ridge in the toe. But they got that down pretty quick and got it a-working. The seamers took over pretty good. The loopers went out. They don't loop nothing now, only them big heavy socks. If you'd seam a big heavy sock, it naturally would leave a ridge on it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were the machines you had the circular knitting machines?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. The top would go around, and the thread would come in at

Page 26
the back through the eyes, into the needles. You'd have two or three or four threads coming in the back of the machine, in the fingers. They had cams on them, and them fingers would fall down. While one would lift out, the other would fall in, a different kind of thread. Put rubber in the top of them, you see, and hold them up like that? They had to have rubber in them to make that. You'd have to have it fall in at the right time and cut out at the right time, and that was all done with cams on the drum. They was pretty complicated little old machines.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever learn anything about fixing them?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, I got so I could fix them fairly good. I couldn't tear one down and put it back, probably, but just put in needles, and where cams would wear out and stuff like that, I'd do all that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Replace the cams.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
Mrs. Sigmon, were you a knitter or an inspector?
MRS. SIGMON:
Inspector, mender, tier; anything they wanted me to do, I did. [laughter] When I went down there, I didn't know what …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
You worked for what was his name?
MRS. SIGMON:
Louis Marston.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
What was the name of the mill?
MRS. SIGMON:
Longwear.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Longwear Hosiery Mills, down here in Hickory.
PATTY DILLEY:
How long did you work that work?
MRS. SIGMON:
Twenty-some years.

Page 27
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you like it?
MRS. SIGMON:
Oh, yes. I mended for them several years. Then when one of the inspectors quit, I started that. And he come and asked me if I'd go to the finishing room and work, that they needed somebody there and putting them in the bags. I went in every morning at four o'clock I'd run([unknown]) knitting machines till seven or seven-thirty, eight o'clock, then went to inspecting.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever want to be a knitter?
MRS. SIGMON:
No, I never did care about that. I knitted top knitting way years back when I was young. But I never did care nothing about knitting. They wanted me to learn to seam, but I wouldn't do it.
PATTY DILLEY:
When did you first go into working in hosiery?
MRS. SIGMON:
I don't know. When first I went to work, it was top-knitting, you know top-knitting. I don't guess you do, though.
PATTY DILLEY:
No, but I've heard other people talk about it.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
That was back in the forties, wasn't it.
MRS. SIGMON:
Then I stayed home for years and years and raised my young'uns. Then I went back in after I got my young'uns raised.
PATTY DILLEY:
How old were you when you first went to work?
MRS. SIGMON:
I guess it was '29; I was eighteen or nineteen years old.
PATTY DILLEY:
And you went into hosiery?
MRS. SIGMON:
I [unknown].
PATTY DILLEY:
Oh, did you?
MRS. SIGMON:
You know where the snack bar is? It's an old mill. Back then it was a mill right beside it. That's where I went to work,

Page 28
upstairs.
PATTY DILLEY:
Upstairs in that house?
MRS. SIGMON:
I don't know what …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
That's where the garage is now, isn't it?
MRS. SIGMON:
Yes, that's right.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
On down there where Groves …
MRS. SIGMON:
He built a crossroad back down there.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
He built on down further. I remember when the Groves was in there.
MRS. SIGMON:
I remember being upstairs on the third shift, and had to work all night long.
PATTY DILLEY:
My goodness.
MRS. SIGMON:
And when I finished, I come to Hildebran for Floyd Tillis, and worked downtown.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
That was when they was working eleven hours, before the eight-hour law come in.
PATTY DILLEY:
Mr. Sigmon, when you were back in elementary school, why did you decide to go to work rather than finishing out school?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Well, I was always wanting to go to work, and I thought I never would get fourteen. [laughter] When I finished the fifth grade and got fourteen on the twenty-sixth of July, I didn't go back.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did your family think about it?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
They wanted me to go on, but I wanted to quit.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you went to work in the shoestring factory.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, the first place I ever worked was the shoelace factory. Then the cotton mill, and that's where I stayed until I retired.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you were working in the cotton mill and were learning all

Page 29
your different jobs, did you ever run up against somebody that maybe didn't want to teach you, that wanted to keep all their skills to themselves?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
There wasn't nobody like that back then. I guess you run up on people like that now. Back then they'd be glad to show you and help you out so you could get a better job, come up. They was needing help; they was wanting people to learn. And the companies would tell their people to help learn other people. I never did run into nobody who ever did fail to show me anything or try to teach me something, when I was interested in it.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's neat. We had run into some people from some of the hosiery mills, that the fixers really didn't want to teach anybody else how to fix. Did you run into that, Mrs. Sigmon?
MRS. SIGMON:
Yes, I did.
PATTY DILLEY:
They were afraid, maybe, that someone might take their job.
MRS. SIGMON:
You ran into people like that.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Now, but back then there were so many jobs and new jobs were coming open and new things coming in.
PATTY DILLEY:
And they were trying to fill out a third shift and everything.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Wanting more people to learn.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was there a kind of labor shortage here in Hickory?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
It used to be back then. Lots of people that lived on the mill hill back there in the twenties, they'd bring their kids out there and let them see what they was doing and show them. And the bossman would let them do that, so when they got through schooling, if they wanted to come to work they could have a job, and know a little

Page 30
something about it, you see.
PATTY DILLEY:
So they would help their parents at their work?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, help their parents. I went out there and helped Mama lots of days. She was skinning quillers—before they got the quill-skinners—by hand. And I'd go out there and help her skin quills lots and lots of days.
PATTY DILLEY:
How long did she do that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
About four or five years. Her and another woman would keep all the strings down off of the quills by hand.
PATTY DILLEY:
What would happen to the younger kids in the family while she was working?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I had a younger sister, and we would stay with the neighbors.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would she pay them a little bit to take care of you all?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Had a good garden, might give them a few tomatoes every time we went there. [laughter] Didn't have much money. I don't imagine, when she was skinning quills by hand, she didn't make but about eight or ten cents an hour. We could take three or four dollars and get about a week's groceries at the store.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why do you think she decided to go to work? I know she didn't do too much work outside the home.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I don't know how come she went to work. She just thought she wanted to, I guess.
PATTY DILLEY:
You were a little young then, I guess. It's hard to remember. In the early part of working at Ivey Weavers, if people had a complaint about something or something was wrong or they didn't think something was being done right, how would they go about getting it corrected?

Page 31
Could they go to their bossman in the shop?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, we'd go to the bossman if it was… You see, they had an outside boss that looked after the upkeep of the houses and the pump houses and everything like that. My brother done that for years and years. What they called master mechanic. And he seen after the machine shop, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was his name?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Irving Sigmon. He worked there about all his life.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he die about the time John Geitner died?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, he lived a little longer than John did.
PATTY DILLEY:
Because I had talked to somebody who worked under him, I think, as a mechanic there. Red Canipe?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, I reckon. He worked there for years under Irv. He took leukemia, I think, the year that Burlington bought it. And he retired. He was rundown in his health when they bought it. They wanted him to stay on, but he told them he didn't want to. They bought the mill in October, and in January he found out he had leukemia. And he died a couple days after the next Thanksgiving. But he was there for years and years.
PATTY DILLEY:
Mareda was talking to me some about her husband and what he had done in the mills, and she had mentioned that he was at one time working with a union. Was that at that plant?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, that was up here at Longview Shuford's Mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they ever have any kind of campaigns or organizers come around the Ivey Weavers mill?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, we never did have no cause for it. I think they tried a couple times, but people wouldn't go for it.
PATTY DILLEY:
What do you think about unions, back then and now?

Page 32
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I believe they contributed some about getting the textile wages up. But as far as working under a union, I don't believe I'd ever like it.
PATTY DILLEY:
What do you think you wouldn't like about it?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
The union has got laws, too, to go by, and if I'm working with the plant, I just don't feel like I can satisfy both of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
It would be like a second boss or something.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. And rules of the union. So if I'd see something that I could help the company out, I would do it. And I don't know whether the union would agree with that or not. We never did have no big hassle over unions down there. Once or twice while I was working there I think they tried to unionize it, but they voted it down.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why do you think the Shufords had so much problems with …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Shufords' was pretty hard on their help back then. They say it now, but I never did work for them only just for that reason. But they're a good company to work for, I think, now, from what I've been working for them. I worked at two of their plants. I worked some out here, at Quaker Meadows, and at Granite Number Two Plant, and over at Dudley Shoals. And I wouldn't want to work for no better people. There you got freedom, but they, everyone expect you to keep your job up. I think if you just lay out in the canteen room and go back and your job would be all tore to pieces and you wouldn't care about straightening it out if something was wrong, you can't blame a company for that. As long as you do your work for Shuford, I… They say they used to be harder than they. Textile help may be a little bit harder to get, too, now than it used to be back then.

Page 33
High school graduates coming up don't look for jobs like that any more.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you think they're having to be better to get the quality help?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. If they can finish school, they want better jobs, in an office of a textile plant or something like that. But as far as going and taking a job, they don't look for no jobs like that.
PATTY DILLEY:
What have your children done?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I got two kids, a boy and a girl, and he worked down there before the mill shut down. And then he went to Carolina Mills in Newton. A bunch of them went from Ivey Weavers down to Carolina Mills. They was a-wanting help at that time. He's a fixer in the carding room. He lives in Startown, and my daughter does, too. She's working as a clerk down there at one of those chain stores.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they finish high school?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Neither one of them; they went to the eleventh grade, but they didn't… My boy, he was playing football and broke his arm, and then he wouldn't go back. And my girl had trouble with her teeth, and she had to have her teeth pulled before she finished school, so she quit on account of that.
PATTY DILLEY:
She didn't want anybody to see her without the teeth in?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
She had an upper plate before she was fifteen. They both went to the eleventh grade, but they didn't get to finish. Now they've got a boy and a girl, and my girl's got a boy and a girl. My boy's got two girls. And my girl's children both finished high school.
PATTY DILLEY:
What are they doing?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
He's working in the grocery store, and my granddaughter's

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working at Catawba Memorial Hospital.
PATTY DILLEY:
What's her name?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Connie.
PATTY DILLEY:
I just thought I might know her, because I worked down there for a little while.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
She works in the office in the Emergency Room. Then one of my boy's girls graduated this year from high school, and he's got one more who'll graduate next year, and all four of them will be through high school.
PATTY DILLEY:
Have any of your grandchildren gone on to college or anything like that?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No.
PATTY DILLEY:
It sounds like you've got a hard-working family.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes, they've been working pretty good.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you had your building back there for your hosiery, why did you build that in the first place?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I built it for that.
PATTY DILLEY:
I was wondering whether you had some other kind of shop out there.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No. Didn't have no other kind of shop in it, only I made a few swings in it after I sold my hosiery mill machinery.
PATTY DILLEY:
I wanted to ask some real general questions at the end here. Are you involved in politics in any way?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, I just vote, that's all.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you consider yourself a Democrat or a Republican?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
A Republican.

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PATTY DILLEY:
You're the one Mareda was telling me about [laughter] that was the Republican.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
She's a Democrat. [laughter] Me and her and her husband, when he was living, we used to go down and we used to have some awful arguments. [laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
What would you all argue over?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
About the politics and about who would be the best man and all that. [laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Why do you think you became a Republican and the rest of them were Democrats?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
All of them was Republicans except her.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was her husband a Republican, too?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, he was a Democrat. That's the reason she was a Democrat.
PATTY DILLEY:
What appeals to you about the Republican Party?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I don't know, not too much difference—Democrats, Republicans. If they was running the endeavor, it may be better. I was just raised up a Republican. [laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Your daddy was a Republican?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. And Mama, and all the boys was.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you go to church anywhere nearby?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. I ain't been in a pretty good while. I go over here to Mt. Hebron Lutheran. And my wife goes over there to the Baptist.
PATTY DILLEY:
I knew that your family had been Lutherans. So you're probably one of the early German families that settled here?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I don't know as we was any relation to Germans or not. Some people say the Sigmons originated from over there, but I don't know.

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PATTY DILLEY:
It's so far back that you don't remember anything about it.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
My daddy always said he had a little Dutch in him. His speech. He said his daddy's daddy's ancestors was mostly Dutch and come over here.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he keep up on family history?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, he never did do much of that. My brother's boy was trying to get up a family tree and go back, but I don't know what he ever done about that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Which brother is this?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
This is Cloyd. He married Lucille Fulbright, lives right behind the old schoolhouse that was tore down.
PATTY DILLEY:
Is he still alive?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
No, he's been dead. His wife and daughter lives down the street. She teaches school down below Hickory.
END OF INTERVIEW