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Collection Number: 04381

Collection Title: Mary Ann McDonald Collection of Orange Factory Oral History Materials, 1852-1983.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract In 1978, the city of Durham's plan to construct a dam and reservoir on the Little River, which would eradicate the textile mill village of Orange Factory, eight miles north of Durham, motivated the people of the village to form the Orange Factory Preservation Society. They obtained nomination for the inclusion of Orange Factory on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the engineering company hired to build the dam financed an archeological investigation of the area and a social and economic historical study that included oral history interviews with Orange Factory inhabitants. The findings, however, were not considered sufficiently "historically significant" and, in 1983, Orange Factory's residents were moved to other homes and construction of the dam began. Transcripts of interviews conducted in April-May 1983 and a report written in August 1983 by Mary Ann McDonald, a graduate student in folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McDonald was hired by Mid-Atlantic Archeological Research Inc., of Delaware. She interviewed five men and six women from Orange Factory, N.C., whose dates of birth ranged from 1892 to 1921, all of whom had worked in the Orange Factory mill. Topics of the interviews included physical layout of the mill and its surroundings; relations with co-workers and supervisors; local health care; midwifery; recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, dancing, and crafts such as quilting; religion; and the 1983 closing of the mill and why many people chose to remain in Orange Factory instead of going elsewhere.
Creator McDonald, Mary Ann, collector.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Mary Ann McDonald Collection of Orange Factory Oral History Materials #4381, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mary Ann McDonald, Chapel Hill, N.C., in May 1983.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The textile mill of Orange Factory, eight miles north of Durham, N.C., was built in 1852 on the Little River. It changed names several times as it changed owners, becoming the Willard Manufacturing Company sometime after the Civil War, the Little River Manufacturing Company in 1906, and the Laura Cotton Mill in 1916, a name it kept until it closed in 1938 at the height of the Depression. The population of the mill village, which retained the name of Orange Factory, dwindled then, but a number of its residents opted to stay there, either commuting to Roxboro where the mill's owners operated a larger facility, or trying to find other work.

In 1978, the city of Durham announced intentions to increase its water supply by constructing a dam and reservoir on the Little River, which would eradicate Orange Factory. The people of the village, linked by both blood ties and a strong sense of community, banded together to form the Orange Factory Preservation Society. Their efforts succeeded in a nomination for the inclusion of Orange Factory on the National Register of Historic Places. In accordance with that nomination, the engineering company hired to build the dam financed an archeological investigation of the area, and a social and economic historical study which included oral history interviews with Orange Factory inhabitants. However, findings were not considered sufficiently "historically significant." In late 1983, Orange Factory's people were moved to other homes, and construction of the dam began.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Mary Anne McDonald, a graduate student in folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was hired by Mid-Atlantic Archeological Research, Inc., of Delaware to conduct the oral history interviews and to write a report on the project for the City of Durham. This report, completed in August 1983, and the transcripts of the interviews, which were made in April and May 1983, constitute about two-thirds of this collection.

McDonald interviewed five men and six women, whose dates of birth ranged from 1892 to 1921. All had worked in the Orange Factory mill. They were asked about such topics as the physical lay-out of the mill and its surroundings; relations with co-workers and supervisors; local health care; midwifery; recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, dancing, and crafts such as quilting; religion; and the 1938 closure of the mill and why many people chose to remain in Orange Factory instead of going elsewhere. McDonald also prepared a rough draft of a topical index to the interviews.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report.

15 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by name of interviewee.

Texts of the interviews (average length about 30 pages), including McDonald's typed notes and observations on each; her report, Oral History Studies at Orange Factory, which describes project objectives, procedures, and subject matter covered; and her handwritten index to the interviews.

Folder 1

Interviews Effie Roberts Castle #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 1

Folder 2

Interviews Odell Castle #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 2

Folder 3

Interviews William Henry Castle #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 3

Folder 4

Interviews Albert G. Cox, Jr. #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 4

Folder 5

Interviews Grace Johnson Crabtree #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 5

Folder 6

Interviews Virginia Johnson Dixon #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 6

Folder 7

Interviews Chester Ellis #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 7

Folder 8

Interviews Janie Roberts Ellis #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 8

Folder 9

Interviews Vesta Roberts Ellis #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 9

Folder 10

Interviews Vesta Roberts Ellis (Part II) #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 10

Folder 11

Interviews Beatrice Dixon Lanier #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 11

Folder 12

Interviews Garland Roberts #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 12

Folder 13

Interviews Ruth Johnson Suggs #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 13

Folder 14

Rough Topic Index #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 14

Folder 15

Oral History Studies at Orange Factory #04381, Series: "1. Oral History Interview Transcripts and Report." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983.

About 25 items.

Arrangement: by subject.

Materials compiled by McDonald during the course of the project, including lists of questions to ask; financial and procedural information; and such printed matter as articles on similar mill villages and about Orange Factory itself.

Folder 16

Preliminary Case Report #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 16

Folder 17

Scope of Work #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 17

Folder 18

Memorandum of Agreement #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 18

Folder 19

Budget Information #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 19

Folder 20

Interview Questions #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 20

Folder 21

Miscellaneous People to Talk To #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 21

Folder 22

Correspondence with Annette Liggett (of the City of Durham) #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 22

Folder 23

Orange Factory Pay Roster, 1899 (Photocopy) #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 23

Folder 24

Orange Factory: Article and Pamphlet #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 24

Folder 25

Orange Factory: Newspaper Clippings #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 25

Folder 26

Reading Notes #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 26

Folder 27

Miscellaneous Articles (Re North Carolina industrialization) #04381, Series: "2. Supplemental Information, 1899-1983." Folder 27

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Audio Tapes.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Photographs, circa 1930s-1983.

43 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.1. Black and white photographs.

These fourteen images are copy prints of photographs belonging to the interviewees, mostly taken between 1945 and 1964. They depict various people and buildings in Orange Factory. McDonald's own descriptions of them follow.

Note: The Southern Historical Collection has added its own numbers, P-4381/1 through P-4381/13, to those assigned by McDonald: OF-1, OF-2, etc.

P-4381/1-13 are 17.5 x 12.5 cm.; P-4381/14 is 10 x 13 cm.

Folder 1

P-4381/1 (OF-1) Water running over the dam. (Collection of Grace Crabtree, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Taken from the Orange Factory side of the river. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/2 (OF-2) Boy feeding dog. (Collection of Grace Crabtree, photographer unknown, around 1948-1954.) This is Grace Crabtree's youngest son George "Graham" Crabtree. He was born in 1938 and looks between ten and fourteen in the picture. In the background on the left is Jim Castle's house which was later torn down. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/3 (OF-3) Bill Johnson with bull dog. (Collection of Ruth Johnson Suggs, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Bill Johnson is the youngest of the Johnson family. His older sisters are Grace Johnson Crabtree, Virginia Johnson Dixon, Ruth Johnson Suggs, and Katie Johnson Blanchard (not presently an Orange Factory resident). Bill Johnson looks to be between age eight to ten in this photo. On the right you can see the end of Grace Crabtree's house, on the left is Sidney Robert's house which was torn down in the early 1970s. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/4 (OF-4) George's Grocery Store. (Collection of Ruth Johnson Suggs, photographer unknown, date unknown.) George Mazaka was a Greek from New York City who married a woman from Orange Factory, Minnie Forbush. They settled in Orange Factory and George Mazaka took over the store. In this picture from the left are: James Suggs, Jr., Curtis Dixon, unknown, James Suggs, Sr., Harvey Rhew, Wayne Ellis, and (maybe) Mose Ellis. Seated in the chairs are the owners Minnie Forbush Mazaka and George Mazaka. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/5 (OF-5) Boys on the porch of the store. (Collection of Ruth Johnson Suggs, photographer unknown, date unknown.) This is an earlier picture than the above one, as it shows the porch still intact. From the left: George Crabtree, Milton Roberts, Ray Ellis, Ben Crabtree, Jr., Wayne Ellis, Sam Ellis (kneeling), and Bobby Ellis seated in the front. Again, George Crabtree was born in 1938 and looks to be between seven and nine years old in this picture which dates it as between 1945-1947. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/6 (OF-6) Young woman and boy with store in background. (Collection of Ruth Johnson Suggs, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Ruth Johnson Suggs with her sister Grace Johnson Crabtree's youngest son George. The store with intact double porch is in the background. George Crabtree seems to be about six or seven years old in this picture, which dates it at around 1944 or 1945. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/7 (OF-7) Young woman with boy. (Collection of Ruth Johnson Suggs, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Katie John son Blanchard with Ben Suggs in front of the Johnson home. This house is directly across the street from Mrs. Crabtree's home, which you can see in the midground. The Castle house is in the background at the right of the picture. This was the only Orange Factory home with a double porch. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/8 (OF-8) Boy and coal shed. (Collection of Ruth unknown.) Peter Suggs playing in front of the coal shed at Ruth Suggs' home. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/9 (OF-9) House with outbuildings. (Collection of Grace Johnson Crabtree, photographer unknown, date unknown.) This is the Sidney Roberts house which was next door to Chester Ellis' house. Sidney Roberts died in 1972 and the house was torn down in 1974. The lot was then sold to the city. The kitchen was added on the back. Later Mr. Roberts added on a cinderblock kitchen to one side, this photograph is before the cinderblock addition. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/10 (OF-10) Girl in a field. (Collection of Grace Johnson Crabtree, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Virginia Johnson Dixon's daughter Linda Dixon Grinstead in Grace Crabtree's back yard. Linda was born in 1947 and appears to be between six and eight years old in this picture which puts it between 1953 and 1955. The house is in the background. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/11 (OF-11) Vesta Ellis on O.F. Rd. (Collection of Vesta Roberts Ellis, photographer unknown, Feb. 2, 1967.) This is taken from in front of Vesta Ellis' present home looking up the road. The Castle house is on the corner, then Garland Roberts' house, the Chester Ellis' house. You can see that there are no houses on the opposite side of the street, as shown in John Flowers book on Orange Factory. Mrs. Crabtree, Mrs. Dixon, and Mrs. Suggs all state that they cannot remember there ever being houses on the other side of that street. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/12 (OF-12) Vesta Ellis and the Castle house. (Collection of Vesta Roberts Ellis, photographer unknown, Feb. 2, 1967.) Taken from in front of Vesta Ellis' house. The Castle house is on the left. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/13 (OF-13) The Albert Galton Cox and Ed Cox families in front of their house in Orange Factory. (Collection of Albert Galton Cox, Jr. of Durham, photographer unknown, date unknown.) Albert Galton Cox was part owner of the Orange Factory Mill and also worked for many years as the manager of the mill. His son by his first marriage, Ed Cox, also worked as a manager and bookkeeper. A. G. Cox owned 200 to 300 acres of farm land and employed several tenant farmers. He had this house built for his family sometime around 1910. For further information see the Albert Galton Cox, Jr. interview. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

P-4381/14 The Orange Factory mill, seen from across the Little River, circa 1935-1945. #04381, Subseries: "4.1. Black and white photographs." Folder 1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.2. Color slides.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.3. Contact Sheets.

Copies of vintage prints and some contemporary pictures of Orange Factory people and places. Most of the images on Contact Sheet #2 were enlarged and are in Folder 1 of this series.

Image P-4381/1-2

P-4381/1

P-4381/2

Contact Sheet #1. Unidentified man and woman on Orange Factory bridge, circa 1930-1939. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/1-2

Image P-4381/3-4

P-4381/3

P-4381/4

Contact Sheet #1. Ruth Suggs, her mother, and an unidentified woman on a porch; Orange Factory store in background. (1930s?) #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/3-4

Image P-4381/5-8

P-4381/5

P-4381/6

P-4381/7

P-4381/8

Contact Sheet #1. Young girl with bicycle; Orange Factory store in background. (1930s?) #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/5-8

Image P-4381/9

Contact Sheet #1. Chester and Mary Ellis doing yard work in front of their Orange Factory home, 1981. Photo. was taken by Gigi Mackey, a Duke University student; it appeared in the May-June 1981 Duke Alumni Register. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/9

Image P-4381/10-11

P-4381/10

P-4381/11

Contact Sheet #1. The Orange Factory Methodist Church, 1981. Photo. by Gigi Mackey, from the cover of the May-June 1981 Duke Alumni Register. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/10-11

Image P-4381/12

Contact Sheet #1. Odell Castle's home, and his car, 1983. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/12

Image P-4381/13

Contact Sheet #1. View of the Orange Factory Methodist Church, 1983. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/13

Image P-4381/14-17

P-4381/14

P-4381/15

P-4381/16

P-4381/17

Contact Sheet #1. Different views of an old house near Orange Factory, 1983. From McDonald's notes: "A Mattie Ellis from over near Ellis Chapel lives there now, with no running water or electricity - house is built in several parts and appears to be very old." #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/14-17

Image P-4381/18-23

P-4381/18

P-4381/19

P-4381/20

P-4381/21

P-4381/22

P-4381/23

Contact Sheet #1. Albert Gaston Cox's home in Orange Factory. Same as P-4381/13. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/18-23

Image P-4381/1-3

P-4381/1

P-4381/2

P-4381/3

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/6. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/1-3

Image P-4381/4-5

P-4381/4

P-4381/5

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/12. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/4-5

Image P-4381/6-8

P-4381/6

P-4381/7

P-4381/8

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/11. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/6-8

Image P-4381/9-12

P-4381/9

P-4381/10

P-4381/11

P-4381/12

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/10. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/9-12

Image P-4381/13-14

P-4381/13

P-4381/14

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/2. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/13-14

Image P-4381/15-17

P-4381/15

P-4381/16

P-4381/17

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/1. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/15-17

Image P-4381/18-20

P-4381/18

P-4381/19

P-4381/20

Contact Sheet #2. Unidentified couple next to car, circa 1950-1955. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/18-20

Image P-4381/21-22

P-4381/21

P-4381/22

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/3. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/21-22

Image P-4381/23-24

P-4381/23

P-4381/24

Contact Sheet #2. School pictures of Katie Johnson Blanchard (now of Rocky Mount), the second-youngest in the Johnson family. circa 1940s. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." P-4381/23-24

Image 25-27

Image 25

Image 26

Image 27

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/5. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." 25-27

Image 28-29

Image 28

Image 29

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/4. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." 28-29

Image 30-31

Image 30

Image 31

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/7. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." 30-31

Image 33-34

Image 33

Image 34

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/9. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." 33-34

Image 35-37

Image 35

Image 36

Image 37

Contact Sheet #2. Same as P-4381/8. #04381, Subseries: "4.3. Contact Sheets." 35-37

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Processing Information

Processed by: Laura O'Keefe, March 1985

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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