My mother recently came down for a visit. It was great having her here. We spent some time going through my family photos that I have collected. We came across a few of her grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks Moss. I wrote about her previously, but after finding these pictures, I think there is more to tell.
According to her birth certificate, her name was Caroline. When Carrie Lou Hicks was born on March 21, 1888, in Amherst, Virginia, her father, Lemuel, was 38 and her mother, Emma, was 27.
As she came of age in the early twentieth century, historically there was a shift taking place in America. Consumerism was growing in terms of magazines and fashion. Gibson Girls were the rage. These women were displayed in magazines like Harpers, Scribners. These women displayed self-confidence. “The envy of all who knew her, the Gibson Girl remained aloof of her surroundings but not to the extent of haughtiness(Source: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/gibson.htm).
Most women during this time still lived and work on the farm. However, Carrie Lou and her family moved from the farm in Amherst to the city (Lynchburg) sometime between the 1900 and the 1910 census. The 1910 Census shows that Carrie and two sisters (Allie and Elizabeth) worked as stitchers at a shoe factory(Craddock & Terry Shoes). Carrie’s father, Lemuel, also worked at the factory as a Night Watchman.
On August 30, 1913, Carrie married Thomas Irving Moss. It appears that she stayed home while raising their three children. In the 1930 Census, she is listed as not working. However, at some point, Carrie went back to work as a she is found to be working as an Operator Room Repair for the public schools in the 1940 census. While she is listed as employed for the census, the census also indicates that she had been unemployed for 50 weeks that year. Carrie only had a 5th grade education (source: US Census, 1940). As you recall there was a depression going on. In April, 1935, “FDR signs legislation creating the Works Progress Administration. (Its name would be changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration.) The program employs more than 8.5 million individuals in 3,000 counties across the nation” (Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/rails-timeline/).
At some point she started working in the cafeteria at John Wyatt School. Carol Sublett Johnson recalls lacing up her corset for work since her arm was in a sling. Betty Sublett Whitehead recalls Carrie bringing home cookies from work.
Carrie died in 1956, according to her death certificate, she died from pulmonary insufficiency and anoxia. She was 67 years old.