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There was no public water or electrical service on the lot Mae Willie and Samuel Love bought for their Clover home in the 1950s. And the street they lived on was a mud road. Mae Willie, now 92, had to use lamps for lighting in the beginning. And she and husband Samuel, now deceased, used buckets to carry water for cooking, bathing and drinking for the first few months.
Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of stories on Clover residents and their connection to the community, to mark the 125th anniversary of the town of Clover.
There was no public water or electrical service on the lot Mae Willie and Samuel Love bought for their Clover home in the 1950s. And the street they lived on was a mud road.
Mae Willie, now 92, had to use lamps for lighting in the beginning. And she and husband Samuel, now deceased, used buckets to carry water for cooking, bathing and drinking for the first few months.
“There was a family that lived up above us, on another street,” Mae Willie remembered. “And that’s where we got water until my husband got the pipes to run down to where I am on Zion Church Road.”
For about 60 years, Mae Willie Love said, she has watched the Roosevelt community and the town of Clover grow around her. She and Samuel built their one-story brick ranch in a remote wooded area at the edge of town, she said. Today is it surrounded by other homes and next to Roosevelt Park.
Clover has always been a close-knit community, Mae Willie said, and people did what they could to help each other. She did her part, too, helping in a variety of community causes.
“For so many years, I was a member of the Clover Rescue Squad Auxiliary,” she said. “Every Saturday, we would go in the front of the Community Cash and sell cakes and pies for the auxiliary. At Christmas time, we had a family night, and we would turn the money over to the paramedic unit.”
Mae Willie was born in 1920, in a rural part of York County just below the state line. She was one of 10 children who grew up in a farming family. They hoed and picked cotton.
“You didn’t have nowhere to go for anything but work on the farm, and that’s what you did,” she said. “And we went to school, but the school only went up to the seventh grade. After that, if you knew somebody who lived in the city, you could go live with them and go to school.”
She met her future husband, Samuel, at Mount Harmony Methodist Church in the Bethel community, where their families both worshiped. She married him at 20, and started working at the Klear-Knit clothing factory in Clover.
She had only attended the rural school through the seventh grade, so in the evenings, Mae Wilie took classes offered for adults at the former Roosevelt High School.
“You learned things you didn’t know,” she said. “There was a group of people who went to night classes. You passed your grade, just like you would in school in the beginning.”
Mae Willie also worked for about four years in the cafeteria at Clover’s Kinard Elementary School, cooking and baking and serving meals to students.
“They didn’t ship the food already cooked to the cafeteria. We had to do the making of the pies, cooking the vegetables and making all the things the children had to eat,” she said.
At the holidays, she said, they even baked turkeys for the children.
After a stint working at Gaston Memorial Hospital, Mae Willie went back to Klear-Knit, and retired from the plant in 1980. The sewing plant, once one of York County’s top employers, closed in 1996.
“I was a presser and a folder,” Mae Willie said. “When I would get a bundle of shirts, I would have to press that shirt, fold it and pin it and put it on a table. There was someone who would sit there, put a tag on it and put it in the box, and they would be ready to ship it.”
It was hard work, but she was glad to have a job. “When you work on production, you have to do so much a day,” she said. “And I was working there, going to school and keeping house.”
Samuel Love, who died 24 years ago, worked for 36 years at Firestone Mill in Gastonia, N.C. The couple didn’t have any children, but she said they still supported local schools and community events.
“One young man, his parents were deceased, and he was going to graduate from Roosevelt, but he didn’t have the money to buy his ring, his robe and cap and things,” she said. “My husband and I, we gave this young man the money to get the things he needed to graduate.”
For the last 50 years, she also has served her church, Mars Tabernacle Fire Baptized Holiness Church in Clover. She chaired the trustees and worked in the missions department.
“I enjoyed going there,” she said.
She used to attend basketball games and community functions at Roosevelt Park, which is behind her home. “Anything in the community that needed people to help, I did it, because of the need,” she said. “Whatever they would have to sell, I supported that.”