Mama told us that one especially hard year during the Depression, her family ran out of canned food and all they had to eat was molasses over cornbread. My Grandpa had worked for someone with a molasses mill and was paid in molasses.
There was usually just one molasses mill in the community. People brought their sorghum to them to have their molasses made, and the owners kept a little bit of the molasses as payment.
The thing Mama remembered most about helping make the molasses was the yellow jackets that were drawn to the pans of syrup, and the challenge of keeping them away.
This fellow at the Museum of Appalachia's Homecoming was apparently very experienced, because he always remembered to duck when the mule brought the pole came around.