At that time, the Georgia child labor law prohibited children under the age of 12 from working in mills and factories, unless the mother was a widow or disabled. If she was, then no child under the age of 10 could work. Hine documented six of the children working at the mill: Mell, Mattie, Mary, Alex, Eddie Lou and Elzy. On that date, Alex, Eddie Lou and Elzy would have been working illegally.
Exactly three months later, on April 22, 1909, Catherine brought her seven youngest children to the South Georgia Methodist Orphan Home in the Vineville section of Macon. Mell and Mattie stayed with her. No children over the age of 12 were allowed in the orphanage. It must have been a devastating event. Catherine apparently returned to her home in Tifton, hoping to get by on her wages and those of Mell and Mattie.
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