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Cotton picking time

There was great excitement in Archie Waiters's voice when he told about cotton-picking time.  That was the time of year when people could make the most money. Waiters recalled:

Everybody picking.  Everybody, men, women, and children in the field.  Babies in the field--put in shade with water at the end of the row.  Nobody home.  Littlest children watch the babies.  You better watch them because . . . the big ones drink up baby's milk.  Baby hollering and you think he is sick.  You have to watch the child who is watching the baby.  Four and five year olds watch the baby.  Six year old pick.  Some five year old pick.

Woman leave field at eleven AM and put on a pot.  Others pick until twelve.  Back in the field at 12:30.  All day you be grabbing that cotton.  Twenty cents a hundred.  More money than any other time.

Listen to the interview with Mr. Waiters.

(Archie Waiters interviews, 12-29-77, 9-17-80, and 7-3-84, in Amelia Wallace Vernon interviews, South Carolina Library, Columbia, S. C.) 

Fig. 129.     Cotton-picking sack
Fig. 130.     Field scale
Fig. 131.     Numbers on field scale
Fig. 132.     The Lightning Calculator

Fig. 133.     Cotton grown by Otis Waiters
Fig. 134.     Gin house scale

Fig. 135.     Weight for gin house scale
Fig. 136.     Second weight for gin house scale

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Copyright Amelia Wallace Vernon. All rights reserved, 1998. Revised, 2008.