08 March 2012

Talking with Aunt Ree about the 1940s

     I visited with my Great-Aunt Ree yesterday and made a point to talk to her about our family history. I've interviewed her before and she's always willing to talk about anything she can remember.

     I asked her about growing up in mill towns.  Most of her memories come from when she was between 10 and 15 years of age, around 1940 to 1945.  This is great information considering my interest in the upcoming 1940 Census release.

     Her family worked in cotton mills in Greenville, South Carolina, such as Brandon Mill and Judson Mill, before moving to Atlanta around 1945.  Her mother, Auline, worked as a spinner and her father, Vernon, worked as a doffer, while Aunt Ree worked as a battery hand. My Grandaddy, Ree's brother, also worked in the mills though I'm not sure what job he did.

     Apparently Vernon was involved in a (failed) effort to start a Union during the depression, which got him blacklisted from mill work. The family had to move to Clinton, SC to find work for a while until they could find work in Greenville again.  Aunt Ree said that a mill worker might make $20 a week, spent $2 to rent a house in the mill village, and spent $5-$7 on groceries. During the war families never ran through their ration coupons (except sugar) simply because they didn't have the money to do so.

     I recorded our conversation and will create videos about them. If you haven't seem them yet, you can view some of the videos I've made from previous conversation with Aunt Ree, many of which pertain to World War II. Click Here.

1 comment:

Michael Pierce said...

Nice post. Makes me think that I need to sit down with my parents and ask them more about their childhood in the 1940s.


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