Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Source: Oral History Interview

This interview was conducted in the year 2000 and concerns events that occurred in the late 1920s and the 1930s. 

Oral History Collection, MT2000.182 – W.B. Sanford
Interviewed by Betty Rowland
End of Side A & beginning of side B

R:         After you lost your dad, did you stay on the farm?
S:         Um-uhh stayed on the farm.  I left the farm when I was about 17 years old.
R:         And where did you go?
S:         I went to work at what you call the Sunshine Hosiery Mill, did you ever hear of it? 
R:         I’ve heard people speak of it.  It was one of the early industries.
S:         It was, it was, and that’s where I went to work. 
R:         Tell me about the Sunshine Hosiery Mill.
S:         Sunshine Hosiery Mill was a great place to work in those days because you didn’t make a whole lot of money, nobody else didn't either.  I went to work for seven dollars and a half a week.
R:         Seven and a half a week.  Where was it located?
S:         What’s that buildings name, right now.  It’s a bank building over there on the corner of Church and Vine [AmSouth Bank].  It’s a bank building there and got offices in it.  You know where it is.  It’s the tallest building in Murfreesboro.
R:         Oh, that’s Third National now isn’t it?  No it’s uhh [AmSouth] – it was the First City building.
S:         It’s got office spaces in it too.  It’s on the corner of Church Street and Vine Street. That’s where the hosiery mill was.  It run all the way back, it ran a whole block.
R:         Weren’t some of those gins over in that area that you were talking about.
S:         Um-uhh, right down below it is where the fur buyers was, on Vine Street, right down below it.
R:         Okay, how did you get to the hosiery mill?
S:         I walked.
R:         From Readyville!!!
S:         [Laughing]  Oh no, I’d moved to town.  It’s ten or twelve miles to Readyville.  The family had moved to Murfreesboro then.
R:         Oh, okay, we’re right at the end of this.  Let me turn the tape.
S:         I was living on Spring Street, south Spring Street.
R:         Were there a lot of housed in that area?  I know when you drive down that street –
S:         They’re not there anymore.  All that is turned into businesses.  You know where the fire department is there on the corner – down below that, on the next corner down there.  It was along about there.  But all that is business now on both sides of the street there. Houses is all gone.
R:         Tell me more about the hosiery mill, how it operated, the size of it.
S:         Hosiery Mill was one of the best paying jobs, back then, that was in Murfreesboro.  And it was dependable too.  They run a full – I don’t know how many – I guess they worked 200 people and that was a whole lot of people back in those days.  Well I got promoted and made nine dollars a week.  Then I went on and got another promotion and that’s twelve dollars a week.
R:         Now what were they producing?
S:         Hose.  And we had two parts of Sunshine Hosiery Mill.  One we called the old part and the new part.  The old part made cotton hose.
R:         Now we are talking garment hose, not rubber –
S:         No, no, garment hose.
R:         And by hose, do you mean socks?
S:         Men and women’s both socks and ladies stockings.  Now what we called the new department, we called it the full fashion.  They was all big German machines and that’s when I went to work down there and made twelve dollars a week.  They made silk hose.Silk hose, we got our silk from Japan at that time.  Course it was shipped in by boats, you know and come in here by train.  They didn’t have no trucks and nothing like that.  And that’s when I got twelve dollars a week when I went to work on that.  And when I got trained on that I was making thirteen-fifty.  Then when I trained on that a little while then I got twenty-five dollars.  Oh I was rich then, I bought a car!
R:         What kind of car did you buy?
S:         I bought a Ford coupe, a Ford coupe.
R:         What year Ford coupe would that be?
S:         It was either a ’31 or a ’32.
R:         I’ll have to look one of those up on the internet.
S:         Well, you don’t see ‘em anymore.
R:         No, but I can probably find it on the internet.
S:         Of course if you did it would be strictly antique.
R:         Was it enclosed or was it open?
S:         It was enclosed.  It was just a one-seat car.  It had one door on the left and one door on the right and had glasses, you roll ‘em up. It wasn’t automatic shift or nothing like that.  You had to do all your shifting by your feet or hand one.  It wasn’t nothing about it automatic then, at all.  It wouldn’t run over 25-mile an hour, 30 miles at the most.
R:         Where did you buy that car?
S:         I drove it to work.
R:         But where did you buy it, here in Murfreesboro?
S:         I bought it right here from Charlie Burns, Burns Motor Company at that time.  It used to be right over here right where Cavalry Bank is, right below ‘em.  It used to be a big motor company there and that’s where I bought it from.  Boy we had a lot of fun.

What does this interview tell us about work at that time?  (Don't forget that he mentions moving from the farm at the beginning.)

Was Mr. Sanford's experience normal for that time?

Would this interview be a good source for information about Murfreesboro history?  Why?  Why not?



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