Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Truth about Child Labor???

"Little Lottie, a regular oyster shucker in Alabama Canning Co. She speaks no English. Note the condition of her shoes... - NARA - 523398" by Lewis Hine - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -Link

The National Child Labor Committee, an organization dedicated to the abolition of all child labor, was formed in 1904. Photographer Lewis Hine produced much of his work for the organization. You can see his work here. The following is an article written to discredit allegations made by the National Child Labor Committee and the photographs of Lewis Hine.  Much of this work included efforts to keep children in school.

Child Labor Conditions Much Better Than Expected:

Conditions in these places are much better than I expected to find them and everywhere 1 have met the most cordial co-operation and anxiety to do the best that can be accomplished T found these mills in the South generally well lighted and ventilated heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Generally the employers have been quick to utilize modern inventions such as exhaust systems for the removal of the lint, and cold water sprays, instead of the hot water sprays, in the summer to humidify the atmosphere for manufacturing purposes and the blower system for heating in the winter and cooling the air in the summer.

In spite of the sensational literature that is flooding the country at this time in one form or another much of it garbled a great deal of it written and foisted on the public for purposes of trade I have found the employer in nearly every case a most humane man.

Education Opportunities Afforded

Through the humane instincts of the mill owners, educational opportunities have been secured to the children. Kindergartens and schools are supported in whole or in part by all the operators. The public school system in the South is still in an imperfect condition and furthermore appropriations are insufficient to maintain the schools longer than four months in the year.

For the children who work in the mills there are night classes in arithmetic reading and writing. Frequently half of the children will go to school for a period and then alternate with the other half later on in working the mills. There are libraries supplied by the employers and churches toward the support of which they contribute entirely or in part.

New Laws (in Georgia)
Section 1: That from and after the approval of this Act no child under ten years of age shall be employed to labor in or about any factory or manufacturing establishment within this state under any circumstances.
Sec 2: That on and after January 1, 1907, no child under twelve years of age shall be so employed or allowed to labor, unless such child be an orphan and has no other means of support or unless a widowed mother.

However, many times these laws were ignored and, in most places, factory owners could not be prosecuted unless it could be proven that he knew the child was under age.

Sources: Fuel Magazine: The Coal Operators National Weekly, Volume 7 and other sources

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hawkins County Marble

"US Capitol west side" by Martin Falbisoner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

The Hawkins County marble was the first quarried and it is said that it w brought to notice by the favorable expression with reference to it by Dr Troost, the first State geologist.
In 1838 the Rogersville Marble Company was formed for the purpose of sawing marble and establishing a marble factory in the vicinity of Rogersville. Orville Rice was elected president and SD Mitchell secretary. The company operated to a limited extent for several years, erected a mill and sold several thousand dollars worth of marble annually, which was mostly distributed in East Tennessee. In 1844 the company sold out to the president, Rice, who on a moderate scale carried on the business for many years. He sent a block of the “light mottled strawberry variety” to the Washington monument This was called the “Hawkins County Block” and bears the inscription “From Hawkins County, Tennessee. Another block of one of the best varieties was sent, by act of the Legislature, which was called the State Block. These blocks attracted the attention of the building committee of the National Capitol, who although they had numerous specimens from all parts of the Union before them, decided in favor of the East Tennessee marble. An agent was sent out by them to ascertain whether or not it could be obtained in quantity who upon examination found the supply apparently inexhaustible. As a result of these circumstances, an extensive quarry affording an excellent material, has been opened near Mooresburg, Hawkins, County, and is now known as the old Dougherty Quarry. From this was obtained marble for probably one half of the ornamental work in the Capitol at Washington. The balustrades and columns of the stairs leading up to the House and Senate galleries, the walls of the marble room, and other parts of the building are made from it. It has since been used in the United States Treasury building, the State house at Columbia, SC, and many of the finest buildings in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The stone from this quarry has not been used for general construction on account of the high price which it commands for ornamental work. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The people of the frontier counties were complaining of the constant depredations of the crows, squirrels, and wolves, as well as the ravages of the Indians, so the second General Assembly passed the following law in 1797:
Each county in this State (Tennessee) is authorized to lay a tax to be paid in squirrels or crows scalps on every person subject to a poll tax in their respective counties, not exceeding twenty five squirrels to each poll. One crow's scalp was to count for two squirrels scalps, and every person who failed to deliver his number of scalps was to pay one cent for each undelivered scalp. The scalps were to be delivered to the respective justices appointed to take the lists of taxable property and were by them to be burned after making proper entries on their books. (Image from The Graphics Fairy)

I don't even want to think about doing this!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Juneteenth, the 8th of August and other dates that you may not know

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, which would go into effect on January 1, 1863. This only applied to states under Confederate control and did not include Tennessee.

Juneteenth or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate.

The Eighth of August is the day celebrated in East Tennessee and Kentucky and probably some other places as well. It was the only day blacks in Knoxville were allowed to visit Chilhowee Park.  Read a little about Andrew Johnson's slaves- Sam and Dolly were probably the best known.  Sam Johnson started a Freedman's school in Greeneville: Link

Finally, on October 24, 1864, Andrew Johnson freed all the slaves in the state of Tennessee.  Read more about Andrew Johnson's role here: Link

It is fitting the the celebration will held on Saturday August 8th at Chilhowee Park. You can read the details here. Link

The day will start with a service at Freedmen's Cemetery, adjacent to Knoxville College- a place where several of Andrew Johnson's former slaves are buried.