We were in Lapanto, Arkansas and saw some big cotton fields. Johnny Cash is from there and was a cotton picker. The Novel by Grisham, The Painted House was written for that area, the movie was filmed there. Johnny wrote and sang, the song that had the lines, “Jump down turn around pick a bail of cotton, jump down turn around pick a bail a day.” The locals said Johnny was known for picking a bail a day. That is 400 lbs of cotton.
(Sherry & I on the porch of the Painted House)
Now my sister Shirl is growing cotton. No not acres, but a few stalks (methinks).
Shirl volunteers at the Belmont, NC Historical Society. She enjoys it, She,like me, moved to Belmont in 1954, she married and left soon after, I stayed for a couple years. Upon her return she has enjoyed rolling back the years and looking at history.
Belmont was a cotton mill town. There were approx 26 mills in town, that is amazing to me, that only one or two remain partially operating.
Our politicians allowed our jobs here and probably where you are to be shipped out of the country. I still wonder what every one is doing for jobs now. Of course with 8-9% unemployment many are out of work.
The Imperial, above built in 1904, below this is even gone.
We still grow cotton in NC and the USA. I snapped a few pictures of cotton fields as we traveled. We saw huge loads of cotton in Arizona (I believe). Once back breaking work, the mechanical cotton pickers do the job, not as well as hand picking, but they do a good job.
When I was in HS there was a course in ‘Textile engineering’, it was sort of a Crip course with 3 credits, so I took it. I really never liked school but I enjoyed taking the bus over to the Textile School for the morning.
(Making the sliver in the tall cans from the carding machine, I believe Sherry’s dad was in this area).
(Tall cans at the back, forming the roving)
The process is fascinating, from the picker/carding machine that form the cotton blanket of fibers, then into little puffy ropes (called slivers), then the slubbers that pull and wind this rope into a smaller stream of cotton (roving), then to the spinner that spins the cotton into a thread. The small threads then are ran thru twisters that actually make the thread, the size is determined by how many smaller threads are ran thru it.
(Spinning room from the 1900’s to many this seems terrible the kids working, but to them if they were back on the farm they would have been working)
It then goes to a winder who winds it onto a standard spool for the weavers and dye house.
(I may have some processes out of order or missed one)
(A prized picture in Sherry’s family, pointing to her dad)
Sherry’s Mama worked as a spinner, starting at 12 yrs old. Sherry worked in a Hosiery Mill. In the early 30’s my daddy was a loom fixer and my mama was a weaver.
Charlie Pride sang a song, “But I never picked Cotton”. I never worked in a cotton mill, but I have known some wonderful folk who did. Cotton is an amazing plant, it’s fruit produces some beautiful and useful material, you may be wearing some.
Sherry’s parents were working in a mill in North Carolina, my parents were working on a farm in Georgia, about 100 years ago.
You would be amazed at the skills of the cotton mill worker.
Looks like an Auto truck
Love the miniature Pick-up!