Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Occupations in the Census

While doing some genealogy research, I happened upon a census form that contained my Grandfather Garrison. It was one of the years that listed the occupation of the head of household. This particular year, it stated that my grandfather had been a weaver in a silk mill. Really? I never knew that. It got me wondering about the name of the company. The census that year was in High Point Township, Guilford County, North Carolina. So, I decided to do a little digging to see if I could find out the name.

Well, that area of the country had a lot of industry, including cotton, hosiery and silk. The silk mill that is talked about a lot in that area is the Stehli & Co. Silk Mill. According to the High Point Historic Industrial Architecture Survey, "A departure from various types of cotton textiles came with the construction of the Stehli Silk Mill in 1906 on the block bounded by East Green Drive, East Russell Avenue, Cable Street, and Park Street. High Pointers had invited Swiss silk weaver Emil J. Stehli to come to High Point to establish a silk mill there. He had already established a successful silk mill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1898. Initially the High Point silk mill was a throwing plant that converted raw silk imported from Japan into yarn, which was then sent to the Lancaster plant to be woven. In 1912, the company abandoned another plant in Paterson, New Jersey, and moved all its silk production machinery to High Point. This resulted in the Stehli Silk Mill in High Point becoming one of the largest plants in the world for the exclusive manufacture of broad silk. At that time the company had 600 employees who could produce six million yards of silk in one year. By 1918, the company had built four additions. The Stehli Silk Mill made a strong impression on the city of High Point not only by the silk it produced, but also as a model mill."(1)

I don't know for sure, but I would bet, based on the time, place and type of business that this was where Grandpa Garrison worked. He went on later to be a tobacco farmer in West End, NC. For a previous story on that subject, click here.

Finding this out about Grandpa G. made me curious about what some of my other ancestors did for a living. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my 7th Great Grandfather, George Haworth, worked on a plantation or farm at one time. He talked about what he got paid and the tools you needed to bring if you wanted to do that kind of work. In the next blog, he talked about becoming a weaver. His grandson, Micajah, built a mill on Abbott's Creek, NC and it stayed running for many years. Many of his descendants went on to be farmers in different areas of North Carolina.

My paternal Great Grandfather, Jacob Monroe Hatch and many of his children, worked on the golf links in Moore County, North Carolina, where Pinehurst is located. Unfortunately, I do not know which course they worked on. In 1930, my Grandfather Plinny, Jacob's son, at the age of 18 was a grocery store clerk and went on to manage grocery stores around North Carolina, including A & P.

According to the 1870 Census, my maternal great grandfather, William Franklin Garrison and maternal grandmother, Ida Welch, lived next door to each other. Their fathers were both farmers.

The 1910 Census for my Great-Great Grandpa Garrison showed he was a farmer, most of his life, but it also indicated that he served in the Confederate Army. That is so awesome that you can find out info like that from the census! That vital piece of information helps those looking to join one of the societies, such as United Daughters of the Confederacy.

So as you can see, there is lots of fun information to discover in the different census forms. I am still finding cool stuff, as I dig deeper into my family history. I'll share more as I find it.
(1) High Point Historic Industrial Architecture Survey, Prepared by Laura A. W. Phillips, Architectural Historian, 59 Park Boulevard ,Winston-Salem, NC 27127 336-727-1968, August 2014, lawp@bellsouth.net

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