During the Civil War, the largest employer in Lenoir City, TN was a cotton mill, owned by Dr. Benjamin Ballard Lenoir (whose father founded the town). When the Union Army got to town, they burned the Lenoir’s general store because the family supported the Confederacy. But before they got to the cotton mill, Dr. Lenoir gave the secret Masonic handshake to several of the Union officers – so they didn’t burn it down.
September 15, 1845: Earlier in the year, 5,000 women cotton mill workers in and around Pittsburgh go on strike for a 10-hour day and an end to child labor. Months into the strike, hundreds marched on the Blackstock Mill, one of the largest in the area. The women broke down the factory's gates and forcibly expelled the scabs, while the men who accompanied them kept the police at bay.
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