2015-12-19 / The Bullhorn

All in a few decades’ work

By Delaney Sullivan
Bullhorn Editor

Pictured are Odis Stevens, Roxboro Cotton Mill plant manager, and Jimmy Clayton. Pictured are Odis Stevens, Roxboro Cotton Mill plant manager, and Jimmy Clayton. Roxboro Community School (RCS) is just what its name implies, a school that’s been a part of the Roxboro community since 1899.

In 1899 the Roxboro Cotton Mill was opened and was a huge part of the community until 1999.

Jimmy Clayton, a mill worker and Roxboro resident, worked at the mill for over 49 years. Clayton started in 1950 and worked until January of 1999. For 23 months in between, Clayton served our country in the 3rd Infantry Division in the U.S. Army.

When Clayton was a boy, he worked alongside his father in the warehouse portion of the mill. Later, in November of 1952, Clayton started working inside, but on July 10, 1953 he went into the Army. On June 10, 1955 Clayton returned from the Army and continued working at the mill, on the night shift. In 1970, he move to first shift, and worked it until he retired in 1999.

“Some days I think I crawled to work,” Clayton said, laughing. He has lived in the Village, what the locals call the neighborhood across from RCS, since birth. He was born in one of the first houses built in the Village.

His grandparents came to Roxboro from Hillsborough and his grandmother was the first to tie a knot on the spooler machine in the Roxboro Cotton Mill. The street Clayton currently lives on was named after his grandmother.

“She’s still here,” Clayton said. His grandparents as well as his parents, worked in the mill. Clayton’s mother was just 14 when she started working.

“When the mill closed, my mother said that it was a death in the community,” commented Clayton. In December 1999, 23 days before Christmas, both the Longhurst and the Roxboro Cotton Mills (operating as Tultex at the time) closed.

When asked how he felt about the school being where the old cotton mill once stood, Clayton said, “I think that it’s just wonderful we have that. I was looking at the cars one afternoon and it made me happy.”

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