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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Children in the Mill Village

 
 
Children in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
1. Children in the Mill Village Marker
Inscription. Early textile mill owners alleviated labor shortages by recruiting entire families for employment. Offering homes as well as jobs, owners created villages of workers from which the mills could draw. Children - sometimes as young as seven - filled the lowest paying, lowest-skilled positions in the mills. From 1880 to 1910, one quarter of the textile mill workforce was under sixteen.
The family labor system blurred the distinctions between work and play for children. Many learned about millwork from their older siblings and parents. Living in close proximity to the mill, children visited family members at work or visited other children there to play. Children often went from "helping" relatives to taking on their own work. Available jobs paid little and required more dexterity than skill. Many children worked as doffers, sweepers, and spinners, earning just a few dollars per week.
Most mill villages provided free schooling through sixth grade, though many children attended sporadically, or for only a few years. A child's income sometimes made the difference between poverty and subsistence, therefore having a child work was often a necessity for mill families.
Opinions on child labor varied. Some mill owners saw millwork as the best education children could receive. Others viewed it as necessary for poor families.
Children in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
2. Children in the Mill Village Marker
During the early twentieth century, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) launched a campaign to expose child labor conditions. Photographers like Lewis Hine visited mills and captured young workers on film. In 1913, North Carolina adopted a law that prohibited labor for children under twelve. Still, without government enforcement young children continued to work in the mills.
Millwork comprised only part of children's responsibilities in the mill village. With working parents, most children also had chores at home. Those enrolled in school or too young to work in the mill often helped with cooking, milking, and cleaning. Henry rogers recounts, "I had to do the cooking, and the scrubbing the floors, and making the beds, and so forth. Usually when I got home from school my job was to clean the house and cook supper."
Despite the rigors of work, adults often remembered their mill-village childhoods fondly. The sense of community children felt helped shield them from the harsh realities facing their families. Welcomed and cared for by neighbors, mill children grew up with an established support network. According to Hugh McCorkle, his Highland Park village "was a two-hundred headed family. Everyone on this hill, we looked after one another."
 
Location. 36° 8.287′ N, 79° 25.646′ W.
Children in the Mill Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
3. Children in the Mill Village Marker
Marker is near Burlington, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on Glencoe Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Glencoe Village is 3 miles north of Burlington, NC from NC Highway 62. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NC 27215, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Men in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); African Americans in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); Women in the Mill Village (a few steps from this marker); Calling the Mill Village 'Home' (a few steps from this marker); Working the Shift (a few steps from this marker); After the Whistle Blows (within shouting distance of this marker); A Legacy of Community (within shouting distance of this marker); Cotton Dust and Poverty (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Glencoe Research Forum. This website provides information on historic Glencoe Mill and the restored mill village. (Submitted on July 5, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.) 

2. Glencoe Textile Heritage Museum. (Submitted on July 5, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.)
Children working in Cherryville Manufacturing Company image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
4. Children working in Cherryville Manufacturing Company
November, 1908. Cherryville, North Carolina

 
Additional keywords. Alamance Cotton Mill, Glencoe, Fabric, Textiles, Company Shops, Holt,
 
Categories. EducationIndustry & CommerceNotable Places
 
Boy from Loray Mill in October 1908 image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
5. Boy from Loray Mill in October 1908
who says he's "been at it right smart two years." Gastonia, North Carolina
Rhythm of the Factory Series of Markers - on the Glencoe Mill Building image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
6. Rhythm of the Factory Series of Markers - on the Glencoe Mill Building
The Rhythm of the Factory - Series of Markers image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
7. The Rhythm of the Factory - Series of Markers
Life and Labor in North Carolina's Textile Mill Communities
Glencoe Mill image. Click for full size.
By Patrick G. Jordan, June 27, 2010
8. Glencoe Mill
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 5, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 776 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 5, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.   4, 5. submitted on July 9, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina.   6, 7, 8. submitted on July 5, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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