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Cotton was a major cash crop in Mecklenburg County. To harvest the crop, farmers hired temporary laborers to handpick the cotton. Some of the cotton would be pressed for the oil in a cotton press like this one. Bales of cotton was hauled by large wagons to the nearest railroad depot and onto textile mills in Charlotte and throughout the state.
North Carolina farmers produced 459,707 bales of cotton a year in 1900. That is equivalent to 22,065,936 pounds. That is over eleven thousand tons of cotton!