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Brazos Mill Boys: 1913

Brazos Mill Boys: 1913

November 1913. West, Texas. "Some of the younger boys working in Brazos Valley Cotton Mills at West. One, Charlie Lott, was 13 years old according to Family Record. Another, Norman Vaughn, apparently 12 years old, was under legal age according to one of the boys there, Calvin Caughlin, who did not appear to be 15 years old himself. These and two girls that I proved to be under legal age were all working in this small mill. It was an exceptional case, but it is likely that as the children become tired of school later in the year, there will be many more at work." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Sorry, no Czechs

It's interesting to note that none of the boys named here have Czech surnames. West is a town where Czech immigrants began arriving in the 1880s; there were many Czech-owned businesses by the 1890s. The town is most recently famous for the ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage facility explosion on April 17, 2013, but it's mainly known to travelers along Interstate 35 for kolaches, and places that sell them, like the "Czech Stop".


I spent a little time working in a cotton mill in my youth, earning money for college. I remember the horrible lint that got all over you in certain parts of the mill. You can tell from this photo why mill workers were nicknamed "lintheads".

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