Tobacco Bag Stringing

MRS. SARAH CALL and MRS. OAKLEY, Wilkes Co., N.C., are both widows. Mrs. Call and Mrs. L. L. Oakley are Mrs. Oakley's daughter and daughter-in-law respectively. Mrs. Call has 2 children living with her. Mrs. Call is 45 and her mother 82.

INCOME: The only other income they have besides the money from stringing bags is a little they get by renting out the land for other people to farm. The latter is very unprofitable.

EXPENSES: Taxes are about $6 a year, but last year's haven't been paid. They don't know what they spend on food, but it takes all they have and they owe some besides. They very rarely buy clothes or anything else but food.

HOME CONDITIONS: The house has 5 rooms and 34 acres of land. These 2 widows are practically destitute; therefore, their house is in about the same condition as the rest of the people around who are in the same situation. They have to buy most of their food and have no money for it, so they go in debt and remain there. If it wasn't for the money they make stringing bags, they would be much worse off, if possible. They get their fuel off of their land, and they own a cow and a few chickens. They have been string as long as they can remember, and Mrs. Oakley is still able to string at her age. They can do 5000 a week; it doesn't tire them at all since they mix it with their other work.

[Source: "Tobacco Bag Stringing Operations in North Carolina and Virginia." Richmond, Va.: 1939. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]