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Every Story Matters

We are listening and want to hear yours, as we ALL have a unique story to tell and often, we are unaware of how we positively affect others. Many of  those we have had the pleasure of interviewing wondered what they could share that would be of interest to others. May we say that being in the presence of humble, spirited and honorable folks, makes our lives so much richer?


Workers' Legacy is creating an invaluable archive for future generations. and want to hear from all who have personal or third hand knowledge of mill history in Burke County.  


How might you wish to be remembered? Let us share your story.


Ray Burns,  Henry River Mill Village

Ray Burns shares his story about growing up in the Henry River Mill Village in Burke County, NC. He speaks about both of his grandparents and their lack of access to making money. So, when they were offered an opportunity to move to the village where housing was provided, and to have a roof over their heads, receiving a paycheck every Friday, (cash at that time), it was a step up for them. 

Doris Loven McMahon

Doris shares her experience working in  a textile factory in Morganton, NC. "It was so noisy, that you had to wear could not hear anything. And, they'd lock you in. I went to work at 7 o'clock in the morning and they'd lock the gates. You could not get out and then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the whistle blew, you'd punch out and they'd unlock the gate".

Doris's Video
Turner Snipes

Turner Snipes tells about growing up in a mill-worker family and working in the furniture factory in Burke County. “ I never heard Dad tell me many stories about the furniture work inside the factory, just about mostly the people that worked there and where they’d come from...there was a lot of manual skilled labor involved, and I would hope people will look back and see that people really had to work hard back then to make this nation great''.


Anne Forney Ramseur

“Resident of Drexel, Burke County, North Carolina. Anne started working textiles at Burke Mill on January 20, 1969. Her first job there was as an operator in the yarn twisting department. “It was a very noisy job” “$1.85 an hour is what I started with and where you made your money, we had to do overtime.Standing up all those years on my legs, I walked the whole eight hours and had to use both hands. On the whole, I’m going to say I enjoyed it.”

Evelyn Newton

" I didn't have any sisters or brothers, but I had a lot living like we did there at River Mill. We were almost family with a lot of different people. Had a lot of mamas and grannies."

Patsy Burns Henry River Mill Village

“I worked in furniture, I worked for Century Chair, and I built the chairs and I dearly loved it. I’d put a chair on the table and I'd run around to another table and glue the blocks, put screws in the blocks for the next chairs, and here I'd go back to my table and build another chair. I worked there thirty-five years. I really enjoyed it. I was wanting to work when nobody else cared about working. It was something that I could do, I learned, so they let me work all I wanted to.”

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