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Interview conducted as part of the Crafted with Pride project, which documented residents of Gaston County's mill village communities. This interview features Webb Lineberger (born 1914 in Ellerbee) but includes supplementary material from his wife (name not on record). Both worked at the Hardin Mill and lived on their farm nearby, splitting their time between mill and farm work. At the time of this interview, the Linebergers are both retired. They have 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Lineberger’s brothers and sisters also worked at the mill, as did all six of his children. Over the years Lineberger also worked at the National Mill in Belmont and the Laboratory Mill in Lincoln County, switching when mills temporarily shut down, but his basic residence remained the farm. Lineberger’s father was a tenant farmer on shares, and his mother worked at the Hardin Mill “running reels” eleven hours a day. When Lineberger first started work at the mill he helped his father running cards in the card room. Later he moved to the twister room, then the spinner room. His last few years he was a “section man” or a “fixer,” which involved supervision of others. (It was a twelve-hour day, though he says work was comparatively leisurely in pre-World War II days because of the nature of the machines and the production schedules; workers had time for many breaks during the day, and everyone came home at midday for dinner. Mothers would come home, cook, nurse their infants, and return for the 1:00 afternoon-evening shift.) For some periods of time his family lived in a four-room company house in the mill village. Lineberger met his wife at the mill, where she’d worked since age sixteen. He describes life for mill workers and those who lived on nearby farms as good, characterized by self-sufficiency thanks to the gardens, chicken, hog and cow that most families had. Everyone was friendly and cooperative, pitching in when anyone needed help. He says that when he was a boy he and his friends played baseball (with homemade balls and bats) and a ball-hitting game called “peggie.” Among other details of mill life that Lineberger discusses are shopping at the company store (with tokens, later taken out of their pay); attending a one-room schoolhouse in Pender County when he was a small boy, before his family moved to Hardin – the school had benches, not desks, and the teacher sat in the middle; how later he attended school at Rocky Point, walking five miles at first and then riding in a horse-drawn buggy with his siblings, last of all riding in their father’s Model-T truck; how the school year lasted six months in all, to accommodate crop schedules; the local churches and preachers; how he courted his wife; the fact that we worked in the mill from 1939 until he retired and disliked every single day of the work; how the mill’s generator depended on the water level, and what happened when the water was either too high or too low; how the mill workers had to clean the mill out after floods, but with no extra pay; the arrangement and function of equipment within the mill building (motors, pulleys, belts); accidents; when Lineberger was a boy, the Spanish Flu in Pender County and subsequent malaria; and how much greater a sense of community and fellowship there was in the old days compared to now.





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