Interview with James Kindbeiter, 1984 April 6 [audio](part 1)

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  • Identifying where he lived in Walker's Banks and his parents and siblings
    Keywords: Company. Experimental Station; Company. Lower Yard; Diamond Bridge; E.I. du Pont de Nemours & amp; family history; Genealogy; Kindbeiter's Hill; Lloyd's Hill; Squirrel Run; Tom Catalina's store; Tyler McConnell Bridge; Walker's Bank (Del. : Village)
    Transcript: Bennett: I'd like your name first and would you spell your last name for me, please.

    Kindbeiter: All right. James K-i-n-d-b-e-i-t-e-r.

    Bennett: And where do you live, your address?

    Kindbeiter: 1803 Society Drive.

    Bennett: And your age?

    Kindbeiter: Just had a birthday a month ago -- 79, past.

    Bennett: Your telephone number?

    Kindbeiter: 792-1236.

    Bennett: Now, what we are interested in, Mr. Kindbeiter, is learning how life was different along the Brandywine when you grew up as to the way it is today. So, I'd like to ask you some questions and you tell me what you remember. I'd like to know first of all where you lived, in which village?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we lived over -- well there's the second house we lived in up here. We had three houses up there. Now, I tell you, I think -- what do you call him, the curator of the Hagley Community House lived in that house.

    Bennett: O.K. That is at Walker's Bank.

    Kindbeiter: Walker's Banks. Now that is three houses -- one here, and one there. Now we had the two in the front and one in the back. Mrs. Copeland owned them and remodeled it.

    Bennett: How long did you live here?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, lived there twenty years.

    Bennett: Did you live anywhere else on the Brandywine?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, we lived at Walker's Banks right under the Tyler McConnell Bridge.

    Bennett: Is that house still there?

    Kindbeiter: No, it's torn down.

    Bennett: Because of the road that cuts through?

    Kindbeiter: Well that road went up to the keg mill up at -- oh, the keg mill it was known as, about right across from where your place is up there.

    Bennett: That's a nice picture. I like it.

    Kindbeiter: Well, I'll tell you who I think lives at the other end of that house. He's a relative of mine. His mother was a Bonner. Now that was the first house built on the Brandywine.

    Bennett: The Bonner House?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. And Chick Laird's finally got that. They all died off.

    Bennett: What was the address of this house? Did it have a number where you lived?

    Kindbeiter: It didn't have any number.

    Bennett: No street name?

    Kindbeiter: It come right down the front road and the back road. The back road went over in the field and the front road come on down past the woolen mill.

    Bennett: I've heard about Kindbeiter's Hill.

    Kindbeiter: Well, I'll tell you about that, too. My grandfather was the superintendent of the Lower Yard at the Experimental Station. That's how he lived at the house right at the gateway coming into that. Across the covered bridge. Now the covered bridge was a good sized bridge -- two sides to it, one right and one left. The house sit up on the bank and the gate was down to the right. It went down to the Experimental Station. That was always a black powder yard. That's when he was superintendent there. That's a long while ago. Now that hill has had - well the county finally built a new road around it and the man that got the superintendent's job at the Lower Yard, Ed Lloyd. He was quite a gentleman. He was from down the state somewhere near Farmington. Then they changed the name from Kindbeiter's Hill to Lloyd's Hill.

    Bennett: Depending on who lived there.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah that's it, and people went along with it.

    Bennett: It's nice to have a hill named after you, isn't it?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. The county built a new road for DuPont's around it. Free, of course.

    Bennett: Would you tell me your father's name?

    Kindbeiter: Peter.

    Bennett: Peter Kindbeiter. And where was he born?

    Kindbeiter: He was born in this country, up the Brandywine.

    Bennett: Where, do you know?

    Kindbeiter: Down under the Tyler McConnell Bridge. The Tyler McConnell Bridge runs across, it's the new bridge - comparatively new. They built it across by the machine shop, Hagley yard across from the Experimental Station.

    Bennett: Did that area have a name at that time?

    Kindbeiter: Well, that was -- We lived in Walker's Banks. That was Henry Clay over on that side of the Brandywine. St. Joseph's School was up the hill.

    Bennett: When was your father born, do you know?

    Kindbeiter: I do know, I read it on the headstone up at the graveyard every once in awhile. Oh, well, I'm 79 now. He must have been born -- well, he was married in 1906 or '07, and I don't know how old you'd say he was. And my mother -- her name was Farren.

    Bennett: What was her first name?

    Kindbeiter: Rose.

    Bennett: Rose Farren. Where was she born?

    Kindbeiter: Squirrel Run.

    Bennett: Do you know when she was born?

    Kindbeiter: No, I don't.

    Bennett: Do you know where she lived in Squirrel Run?

    Kindbeiter: Yes, she lived right the second road back. The trolley track was the main road, run up to the end of the trolley line. And Carpenter's place was on the right and then there wasn't much of anything up there. Big Tom Catalina's store was up at Diamond Bridge, and that was really the last place up to the end of the line. But, she was born up in Squirrel Run, the second street back. There was only two streets in there. The second street back.

    Bennett: Would you name your brothers and sisters for me?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Lawrence is the oldest.

    Bennett: Do you know when he was born?

    Kindbeiter: No. He's dead now.

    Bennett: Was he born at Walker's Bank?

    Kindbeiter: He was born at Walker's Banks and he later lived out at Graylyn Crest. He was finally the superintendent of Congoleum-Nairn at Trenton. He worked before that at the box shop up there. All us kids had to go to work to support the family. My father had both his legs cut off on the Pennsylvania Railroad and that all enters into it. So, my mother was born up at Squirrel Run and her name was Farren.

    Bennett: You were mentioning your brother Lawrence.

    Kindbeiter: Lawrence, he was the oldest.

    Bennett: Then who came next?

    Kindbeiter: I did. James. And then Harry. Then Joe. There were seven of us. Joe was born after Harry, and then the twins were born. And then Margaret. Now, we'll start over again.

    Bennett: You named everybody but the twins. What were their names?

    Kindbeiter: Catherine and Rose. Catherine Hazzard lives on Delaware Avenue. I don't know whether you interviewed her or not.

    Bennett: No, but someone did.
  • His grandparent's family; his acquaintance with Catherine Hackendorn's family; the grocer Simon Dorman acting as a fake magistrate as a trick on strangers caught stealing honey
    Keywords: Catherine Hackendorn; Dairy farming; Drowning victims; Du Pont, H. A. (Henry Algernon), 1838-1926; Hagey's saloon; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Social life and customs; Industrial accidents; Simon Dorman; Tricks; Tricksters; Walker's Banks
    Transcript: Bennett: Can you tell me where your grandparents were born?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. My grandparents were both born in this country. They were born up -- now wait a minute -- no, they weren't born in this country. My grandmother was born in Ireland - Donegal. That's where they eat potatoes, skins and all. And my father's people were born in Alsace Lorraine. They came to this country and duPonts had a bunch of labor scouts -- catch every ship that come into New York, sailing boat or any other kind of boat. And they would offer jobs to the people on the boats, and my father and my grandfather worked in the powder works. And my grandmother come over later from Donegal and she worked for Harry du Pont, up where the museum is now. They had prize cattle up there all the time and the help wasn't allowed to drink any of the milk. They poured the milk out.

    Bennett: You weren't allowed to drink the milk?

    Kindbeiter: No, weren't allowed to drink the milk. They'd pour the milk out. So, you don't want any of that on there.

    Bennett: Sure, that's fine. It's true.

    Kindbeiter: It's true, all right. But that was old Colonel Henry that owned that place. That's where the Wilmington Country Club is now. Winterthur is up there.

    Bennett: How long did she work there?

    Kindbeiter: Well, she worked there -- I can't tell you that. But, she worked there until she got married and settled down.

    Bennett: With seven children, she must have settled down.

    Kindbeiter: Well, no, my mother had seven children. My grandmother had, oh, she had pretty near that many. Mike, Lizzie, Mary, Katie, Jimmy - six. Six and seven - it kept us all struggling. As soon as any of us were able to go to work -- When the twins were born, my mother was in the hospital and my father was in the hospital next to her. He had both legs cut off on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and he stayed in the hospital seven days. And the Pennsylvania Railroad gave him a job when he come out. There was no compensation or nothing taken care of it. So, they gave him a job at sixty dollars a month and he had seven kids to keep. And the wife and himself -- that was nine of us. So you can understand why we had to get out and go to work.

    Bennett: I think most of the children did work at an early age.

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah, they had to.

    Bennett: Do you have any pictures or letters or old things that were your grandmother's that you might have in your possession that we could see?

    Kindbeiter: Well, I loaned all the pictures and letters that I had to a nephew of mine down in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Two years ago. I could get them anytime I wanted them, but he was writing a history on the family. My wife was born up there in New York State and that's how come he was writing the history on the family.

    Bennett: What was his name?

    Kindbeiter: Jimmy Morrison. He's the city planner for Jamestown, North Carolina. He was city planner for Hi-Point. When he got a better job, he moved on.

    Bennett: Do you know any other people, Mr. Kindbeiter, that might be interviewed like I'm interviewing you today that would have memories of the Brandywine?

    Kindbeiter: Well, I'll tell you, I don't because most everybody is dead. Like old Mike Maloney and that gang lived up Squirrel Run, they're all gone. And Leon Lloyd -- he was a great friend of ours, he passed away about three years ago. I don't know of anybody else that could help you out.

    Bennett: Well, if somebody comes to your mind, you can tell me later.

    Kindbeiter: Well, the Hackendorns. Catherine Hackendorn. They lived up next to Pat Daugherty's saloon up on the main road.

    Bennett: I interviewed her.

    Kindbeiter: She's quite a character. She's all right. Well, now let's see how many was in her family. There was Alfred and John and Bud, Tessie -- that's four I counted. Maybe there might have been another one, I don't know. The house that she lived in up there, Lawless owned that house. And right -- walk out the back door and across the run was the Bonner house. That's the first piece of real estate the DuPont's ever sold up the Brandywine. The Bonner house. And he built a house there. Charlie Daugherty, he was a contractor, built the house. I remember that well. But Chick Laird finally bought that house and he fixed it all up, put garage under the front porch. And then the DuPont's later sold Tom Sterling a house next door to Bonners and Dick Cavanaugh used to run the grocery story up next to Hagey's saloon. That picture up there is Hagey's saloon. Well, you know that goes back pretty far.

    Bennett: Hagey's saloon?

    Kindbeiter: No. Hagey's. Simon Dorman was her uncle. He run a grocery store there.

    Bennett: At Hagey's?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, at Hagey's. And then after -- he got drowned. He walked out the store one evening and walked right down to a place we always called Indian Rock in the Brandywine -- right straight down the hill. He went down there and drowned. Why, I don't know - whether he was drinking or what happened to him. But, he was always a joker. He always set himself up as a magistrate. Fake, now, not true. They would get some stranger from Wilmington to come out and they were going to get honey out of a tree. They'd take them out on the farm -- where the Experimental Station Boiler House is there now. They'd start getting the honey out of the tree, you know, and the bees could deposit it there, and then they'd get the rest of the gang and start shooting shotguns. They'd shoot up in the air; they wouldn't shoot to hurt them any. Then they'd take them down to Hagey's taproom, and Simon Dorman would always hold a court there. This is all fake. And they'd put them in the back room and after a while they would escape and get out. That's the way it went.

    Bennett: That person was probably half-scared to death? [Laughs] That's funny.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Well, that's one of the funny part up there.
  • Stone mason hiding whiskey bottle in steeple of Christ Church; catching bullfrogs for Father Scott and Wilmington Country Club; swimming, chores, and description of his family's house in Walker's Banks
    Keywords: bullfrogs; Christ Church Christiana Hundred; Drinking; Dwellings; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Social life and customs; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Rag rugs; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Church; Tricks; Wilmington Country Club
    Transcript: Kindbeiter: And the funny part of the whole story that I wake up and laugh about that at night. You know where Christ Church is up at Greenville? Up the steeple, on top, I'm talking about. They were building that steeple up there - the stone masons working on that steeple. And Stuart and Donahue was the contractor - had the job building the steeple. That must have been 1910 or '12. Roughly there. I won't swear to the date. But the stone mason up there had a quart of whiskey. He had the quart of whiskey up on the scaffold with him. And his boss come up to see how he was making out and he'd bury the quart in the steeple. And the boss suspected something and he watched what this man was doing and the man stayed there from Stuart and Donahue until quitting time. 4:30 - five o'clock or six o'clock whatever time was. And he watched for the quart of whiskey. He knew there was a bottle around somewhere and the man had put so many brick up for so many rocks up and cemented them in there that it was too much to tear out to get the whiskey out. So, there's a bottle of whiskey in the steeple of Christ Church.

    Bennett: Do you mean Christ Church or do you mean St. Josephs?

    Kindbeiter: No, it's Christ Church. I know about St. Josephs, too. The du Ponts were very good to the Catholics up there. Of course, I'm Catholic, too, but I would say that don't make any difference. DuPont's gave them the ground to build that church there. And that's way back before my time. And they built the church, and they stole most of the material to build it down at Hagley. Hagley yard. So, I go back as far as W.W. Laird. He converted the man. Now, I don't know whether W.W. Laird was a Presbyterian or Methodist or what he was, but he converted this man to be a Catholic. Father Scott. And Father Scott took over pastor of St. Josephs. And he and W.W. Laird always went hunting together, shooting ducks. I can remember the ducks. We had a screened-in porch and I don't know how we got the ducks, but we had ducks, anyway. And we'd have to pick them on that back porch and the wind blowing, you know. And you pull the feathers out of the ducks and they would stick to the screen. So, then Father Scott raised mushrooms up in the church basement. He had quite a farm up there. And then when they'd have an explosion down at the powder works - I must have been the dumbest kid in school. He'd come over to the church - "Oh, where's Kindbeiter. Gotta go down to the Hagley yard -- an explosion down there." I'd drive him down there. So then, he dropped me like a ton of bricks. No wonder he did. They had a run - we called it a run - it was a stream - run down between the Kennett Pike and the Church. Now, the Kennett Pike - Miss Amy duPont's place the other side. It's a hospital. My wife died out there, I should know the name of it. Bennett: Pelleport?

    Kindbeiter: Pelleport. She moved up to Centerville. Lived in California in the winter and moved up - Mary Louise McCue we're talking about up on Centerville Road. She bought the house, or her mother bought the house off of Miss Amy. But, this stream run down through the middle of the lot. There's a road there now. There wasn't any road there. The Kennett Pike was a toll road. Father Scott found out there were bullfrogs out there. Good-sized bullfrogs. Of course, as I said before, I must have been the dumbest kid in school. He sent me down there to catch bullfrogs. Well, I caught bullfrogs for two or three weeks and I found out that the Wilmington Country Club was buying bullfrogs and paying a good price for them. So, I started up the bullfrog business. I was selling the bullfrogs to the Wilmington Country Club and he found it out. Oh, man, he boxed my ears. He'd take both hands and that's the way they would handle you, by boxing your ears. And then I lost out with him all together. After that. He didn't like that very much, but you couldn't blame him.

    Bennett: When you were growing up, did you have chores to do?

    Kindbeiter: Well, more or less. We didn't have much to do. We'd get up in the morning and put a bathing suit on and go out in the Brandywine swimming and stay there until we got hungry in the afternoon. Come home and get something to eat and go back again and stay there.

    Bennett: You didn't have to bring in the wood or carry wood?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we always brought the wood in after dinner at night, we'd haul the wood in and get two or three buckets of water for my mother. But we didn't have no specific reason to haul that stuff around.

    Bennett: Was it your job to get the water or was it your brothers or how did your parents handle the chores?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we all pitched in. All of. The first one they'd catch would go out and get the wood.

    Bennett: Did you try to not be caught?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Well, lots of times. Sure.

    Bennett: Tell me about your house. Would you describe the that house you lived in. How many rooms?

    Kindbeiter: Well, this house I showed you a picture of. We had - you opened the front door and you walked in. There was a big kitchen. They talk about eat-in kitchens, but this place would skate in now it was that big. And in back of that was, well they call it a pantry now, I don't know what we'd call it then.

    Bennett: A shed, maybe?

    Kindbeiter: Well, it was all built in the house.

    Bennett: Was it lower or on the same level?

    Kindbeiter: On the same level. And then they had big thick windowsills. On account of explosions they were that thick. And the walls were that thick outside. And then you'd go upstairs, up winding stairs have a bedroom at the top of the steps and another bedroom. And then on the third floor we had two bedrooms. That was up still another flight. So that was two, three, four and the dining room downstairs or whatever you want to call it.

    Bennett: It was all a separate room?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. And then the back kitchen was another separate room.

    Bennett: Now what was that used for?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we used to store potatoes and things like that in there for wintertime.

    Bennett: Would you call it a root cellar? Or was it larger?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, it was as big as this room.

    Bennett: Let's say this room is 10 by l4?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, it is all of that. And then...

    Bennett: Did you do the washing out there?

    Kindbeiter: Do the washing out there and store the pots and pans out there that they would only use on certain days like these Jews they have certain days. And that's about what it amounts to. And then when they broke in that house, it had a parlor on the second...

    Bennett: Going up the winding stairs?

    Kindbeiter: No. Walk the winding stairs over top of the head. Over about here it had a big room there. That's the same as we had on this side. But then they closed that off and built a winding stairs up there and they put a bath upstairs and two bedrooms on the first floor. The first floor was joined up with the first floor on the first house. That was three bedrooms. And then they built a bath in the back and the bedroom in front of that and two bedrooms on the top floor. It was like a hotel. And I think we paid the whole amount of $20 or $25 a month's rent. It wasn't any more than that because you couldn't afford to pay it.

    Bennett: What was the floor? Was it a wood floor?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, the floor was rough wood. And to stop getting splinters in your feet you had to put carpet on it to walk on it. And in them days they had carpet and everybody who lived up there had a big ball of carpet rags. I don't see them anymore. They would cut up these rags -- tear them up into small pieces, small lengths and sew them into another carpet. Unwind it and make a carpet.

    Bennett: Like plaiting, you mean?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, they'd plait it in there.

    Bennett: Called a rag rug. So they saved all the rags?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, they saved all the rags for that. Oh, them people up there were thrifty.
  • Discussing locations in Walker's Banks; getting married at Breck's Mill during Prohibition; anecdote about DuPont Gun Club and visiting Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
    Keywords: Breck's Mill; DuPont Gun Club; Laflin & amp; Prohibition; Rand Powder Company; Walker's Bank (Del. : Village); Weddings; Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, Calif.)
    Transcript: Bennett: Did your mother do a lot of canning and that type of thing?

    Kindbeiter: Yes, she did. She had to to eat in the wintertime. We had a big garden up where the DuPont Gun Club was. Now that's where -- the gun club was up the top of the hill. And then they had -- that's on the Experimental Station now, and they later tore that down. That's the Gun Club there.

    Bennett: And where's your house?

    Kindbeiter: Well, let's see. This is it here. Now this is the front road and the back road. Road run on the back and a road in the front.

    Bennett: Now Catherine Hackendorn said Mattie Ferraro lived there.

    Kindbeiter: Yes, Mattie Ferraro was in this end. And we lived in that end.

    Bennett: She said you lived down here.

    Kindbeiter: No. Well, now wait a minute. That's wrong. When we were first born, we lived down under the...

    Bennett: Here's the bridge.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Well, no that's a covered bridge. Up here was another bridge. That's the Tyler McConnell Bridge. We lived down under it along the Brandywine. Now, I don't know what this place is down here. This is Breck's Lane, isn't it?

    Bennett: No, Breck's Lane is over here. See, this is all Walker's Bank. This is on this side of the Brandywine. And one of these houses is still here. But if Mattie Ferraro lived there --

    Kindbeiter: That's right and we lived here.

    Bennett: Well, she got it mixed up then because she said that somebody else lived there.

    Kindbeiter: No. There's the shed that we had the chickens in. Kept chickens there.

    Bennett: In the shed.

    Kindbeiter: That's right. And then you come on over across -- now, the two roads met at this house right in here. There's the woolen mill there. These houses are torn down. They were substantial houses. They were stone houses. They tore them down. I'll never forget that -- that's where we were married.

    Bennett: At Breck's Mill?

    Kindbeiter: Breck's Mill and it went on for a week. Of course, my wife didn't like it, but she couldn't do nothing about it. She was already hooked up. That was in Prohibition days -- 1905 -- no, 1925. And we were getting alcohol up in five-gallon cans down at Rising Sun, Maryland. And we always carried a hatchet on the floor of Ford Sedan -- carry a hatchet to break -- let the whiskey run out on the ground if they caught us. And that was the reason that wedding lasted for a week. My wife was born in New York State. She didn't go for that much. And I guess I was an outlaw with the rest of the gang and we had a good time.

    Bennett: You said the gun club -- the garden -- you were describing your family garden.

    Kindbeiter: The family garden -- where's the gun club? Now where's Kindbeiter's Hill here?

    Bennett: Well, I would think -- how did it relate to the gun club?

    Kindbeiter: Well, right in back of that.

    Bennett: Well, then it would be here, wouldn't it going up where the gun club is?

    Kindbeiter: The Gun Club, that's torn down now. Funny thing about that gun club. I was out in San Jose in California and they had a house out there that some nut from New England told a woman if she would move to California and build a house and keep building to it, every time she built a room she would be close to saving her soul. This woman, she was as bad as the man was that sent her out there. It was a house that was cut up terrible, but in spite of everything, this woman kept looking straight down into the kitchen to see if the help was all working. And that San Jose is down below the airport in San Francisco. And then on the first floor, when you walked in there, I said to my granddaughter and son, I said, "I know them people in there." "Oh, you do not." I said, "Yes, I do. That's Topper Warren that shot at the DuPont Country Club." Now he shot a bullet rifle and they had seven or eight tin -- oh, big as that mirror up there.

    Bennett: Like targets?

    Kindbeiter: Targets. And they would cut out an Indian's head and his wife would load the rifle and he would shoot over his shoulder and cut out the Indian's head. And that was Topper Warren in San Jose. He was with Laflin & amp; Rand, St. Louis.

    Bennett: Probably demonstrating for the powder?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, that's it. Well, that's one of them things that come back to me. They had them in a cage out there. Nobody could shake hands with them or anything. They were in there.

    Bennett: Why?

    Kindbeiter: They didn't want nobody pulling at them or hauling at them. They had a lot of people in cages in there.

    Bennett: You mean to protect them?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, to protect them. To stop the people from pulling at them, going through there. You know how the people do. They want to get the sleeve out of their coat or the seat out of their pants. Or something else.

    Bennett: Souvenirs.

    Kindbeiter: And they had other people. Who they were, I don't know. We spent an hour -- a couple hours in that museum and then we went across the street after lunch and a few drinks.
  • Large family garden and his mother and neighbors canning; garbage pit and outhouses; "fixing" a watch for a chemist; typical breakfast and lunch
    Keywords: Breakfasts; Canning and preserving; Coffee; copper wash boilers; Outhouses; Refuse and refuse disposal; scrapple; Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogs; Walker's Bank (Del. : Village)--Social life and customs
    Transcript: Bennett: Tell me about your mother's garden.

    Kindbeiter: Well, the garden was up the top of the hill, up right in back of the gun club, down in there. We had a garden about three times as big as we should have. My father never could get us to stay in there very long. And we raised quite a few of things that my mother would can and put up for the wintertime. My father didn't have much help up there. We'd always have something else to do. You know how it goes. But, out where the golf course is now on top of the hill, they had a man out there running a farm out there named Jones. He'd come in and plow up the ground. He'd plow up big chunks of dirt as big as a truck. We'd have to break them all up and smooth it out. But he was a pretty good man.

    Bennett: What did you grow?

    Kindbeiter: We grew all things that were in the truck line. Tomatoes was the principal thing. And then there was carrots, beets, lima beans, snap beans.

    Bennett: Like today.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, we grew everything in there.

    Bennett: Did your mother have help in the canning or did you boys have to help in any way?

    Kindbeiter: No, they never let us near. We'd spoil it. The neighbors would all come around and they'd help each other. Like a big community affair.

    Bennett: Then each one took so many jars of tomatoes, let's say?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Just a community affair. And it worked out good that way.

    Bennett: Would they use like the summer kitchen - did she have the stove out in the summer kitchen?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. They'd use that all the time. And like if they were canning tomatoes, they'd cook them in the wash boiler. I don't know if you've ever seen a wash boiler. Have you?

    Bennett: No, tell me.

    Kindbeiter: Well, it's a boiler that they would sit on the stove and they'd boil the clothes with a stick on top; they'd keep working around. Mostly copper boilers. And everybody had one of them up the Brandywine. All made out of copper.

    Bennett: Was that wood stove or did you ever have coal?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, we had coal in the wintertime, but in the summertime we had wood mostly.

    Bennett: Well, when you say about the copper boiler, that makes sense if you're going to can a lot of things, it would be a big container.

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah. That would do it.

    Bennett: What happened to the garbage? What did you do with your garbage?

    Kindbeiter: Throwed it over the back.

    Bennett: Did you have a pit?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, dug a pit; throwed it over up between our house and the woolen mill. There was a drop in the ground went down to the Brandywine and that's how we'd get rid of all the garbage.

    Bennett: And everybody put it in the same place?

    Kindbeiter: Same place. And then the worst of it, the crick would get high. They'd have a flood in the crick. It'd take all the garbage away.

    Bennett: So that cleaned it up. Sent it down the Brandywine.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Took it down the Brandywine.

    Bennett: What would you do with broken bottles or old - would you throw those in there as well?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, they'd go in there, too. Everything.

    Bennett: Where was the outhouse? Was that...

    Kindbeiter: The outhouse now - We had two outhouses. One was three passenger and the other was - a three holer and the other was a two holer. And they were built away from the house.

    Bennett: Towards the Brandywine?

    Kindbeiter: Well, one was towards the Brandywine and one was up between the roads.

    Bennett: Was this for the whole group of houses?

    Kindbeiter: No, that was -- each house had their own.

    Bennett: What did you use for paper?

    Kindbeiter: Sears-Roebuck catalog.

    Bennett: Everybody did. Did you use anything else other than the Sears-Roebuck?

    Kindbeiter: No, because Sears-Roebuck was good for that. The paper would last longer, and you wouldn't put no holes in it.

    Bennett: Just everything right.

    Kindbeiter: I still got a Sears-Roebuck catalog over there. Well, that catalog is 1905 or 1920. They got 50 cents for that catalog. What year is that published?

    Bennett: That's the 1902 edition of the Sears-Roebuck. I like looking at these. [Tape is switched]

    Bennett: It says 50 cents and they explain why it costs 50 cents.

    Kindbeiter: This is interesting all this reading in front.

    Bennett: Look at the watches $8.50.

    Kindbeiter: And I'll bet they'd run, too.

    Bennett: Probably. Well, everything was built better, don't you think?

    Kindbeiter: That reminds me of a story. I worked down at the Experimental Station one time - chemist's helper down there. And then I learned my trade as a machinist down there. But, I was a chemist's helper then. And this doctor had a watch that he had to shake it to get it running. I said, "I'll fix that watch for you. Do you want it fixed?" "Yeah." "I'd like to have it fixed." He had a big steam oven down there that they would heat different chemicals in, you know, running all the weekend and all that. So, wash the watch out in a beaker full of water, stuck it in there and said, "You come back Monday and that watch will be fixed." I thought the thing would be melted. Do you know that watch started? It run. And that guy, that guy I worked with him later up at Newberg, New York. He was in charge of the fabric and finish department. Gravener was his name. He said, "Hey, you fixing any more watches?" I said, "No, I gave up the watch making job."

    Bennett: While you were ahead. Tell me about like a typical morning when you were growing up. Who got out of bed in the morning first? Who got up first -- your mother? Your father?

    Kindbeiter: Well, I'd say my mother got up first. And then she'd start calling. I don't know whether she had numbers up on the wall or not. But she'd call them. And you'd better get up. So, we knew better not to lay in bed to get up and we wouldn't do nothing but put a bathing suit on and go out in the Brandywine.

    Bennett: But how about in the wintertime, did you go to school?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, we went to school. We moved up where that picture is now.

    Bennett: In Walker's Bank.

    Kindbeiter: And we would cross the Brandywine. We walked back almost to where we lived before to Hagley Yard -- the gate. You see the gates up there. Well, we'd walk back to that and DuPont's had a dump that come out in the field. They threw a lot of copper and brass and everything out there. And we would walk down there -- down the Walker's Bank side of the Brandywine. We'd have a flat-bottom boat. They had several of them down there. We'd paddle across to the Henry Clay side and walk to school up Barley Mill Lane.

    Bennett: Before you left for school, did you eat breakfast together or did you each eat your separate breakfast?

    Kindbeiter: Well, everyone who was up they always ate together. And you didn't have much of a choice. You eat and that was the end of it.

    Bennett: What did you usually have for breakfast?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we had a good breakfast. We had -- the principal thing in the wintertime was scrapple and fried potatoes. And we'd drink coffee, too. In the morning. The kids, they were raised on coffee. And have toast and bread, whatever you wanted. And you'd eat that and get out.

    Bennett: Did you take a lunch with you to school or did you come back for lunch?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah, we had a lunch. We always carried - it tickles me to death - they talked about a brown bag here. They give a sliced sandwich - nothing in it and they'd furnish coffee here in the house. I never have been down there but they tell me what they have. But, we always had - well an apple or an orange or whatever was in season - a pear - and then you'd get a sandwich or two sandwiches - big thick slices of bread on them. So, you'd get plenty to eat. And if there was any cake around on Monday, we'd get a piece of cake. But the other time, why we'd go dry.
  • Clothes storage and fighting bedbugs; after school recreation including baseball, marbles, and hoop rolling
    Keywords: Baseball; Boys--Social life and customs; Children--Social life and customs; Games; Insect pests; Marbles (Game objects); Marbles (Game)
    Transcript: Bennett: When you came home from school, did you change your clothes?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah. You'd change your clothes. Yeah, you'd change your clothes right away when you came home from school. And the pair of pants, you put on was worse than the ones that you took off. So, there it is.

    Bennett: Did you each have your own chest to store your clothes in? How was that in your bedroom?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. We had a chest and had a big closet. And we knew who the clothes belonged to. That was understood.

    Bennett: One closet, you mean?

    Kindbeiter: One closet and then they had boxes like trunks along the wall. Besides that, the bedbugs were along there, too. Oh, boy, my mother used to get gasoline and all kinds of chemicals and shoot in the baseboard. The people lived next door to us was - Devenney up at Mendenhall. Well, they didn't care much about the bedbugs. I used to sleep in a hotel out in Sheldon, Iowa, they'd have tomato cans - the four legs on the bed was sticking in tomato cans and the bedbugs would get educated and they'd drop down from the ceiling. I didn't stay there very long. I can remember my mother, yet, fighting bedbugs up there. This is a funny turn of the conversation. Well, now, I don't believe they have bedbugs anymore.

    Bennett: I don't know. If they do, I don't know.

    Kindbeiter: But, I'll tell you what happened when we moved in here. This place was full of cockroaches. It was overrun with them. There's a toaster out there still hanging up. I got a cable and I hang it up there when I use it. I don't like them things. Oh, they'd come around and they'd spray it once every three months. The cockroaches would follow the guy around with the spray. But, now, they use this Terminex outfit and they do a good job. We don't have any trouble like that anymore.

    Bennett: Like when you came home and you changed your clothes. Then did you do chores or what did you do then?

    Kindbeiter: Well, if mother wanted some wood, we'd bring the wood in. Bucket of water and then we'd disappear. Just like anybody else, you know.

    Bennett: Did you chop the wood? How did you do the wood?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we'd saw the wood up first and then we'd split it. Oh, we had plenty of saws around there. They were big saws -- saw the wood up. And then you would split it and pile it up and let it dry. And then it was ready to burn.

    Bennett: Did you do it the same -- you were taught by your father -- is that the way your parents did the same thing?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, same thing.

    Bennett: No change. Then did you do your homework then, after you did chores?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, we did the homework after six or seven o'clock at night.

    Bennett: After dinner. Did you play games then when you went out?

    Kindbeiter: No, we played games early when we'd get out of school. Come home.

    Bennett: What would you play?

    Kindbeiter: Well, mostly played baseball. And we'd play baseball summer and winter -- snow on the ground -- didn't make any difference.

    Bennett: Where did you play?

    Kindbeiter: Right along the side of the road. We never walked up - they had a good baseball diamond -- we never bothered walking up there for that.

    Bennett: Too far. Did you ever play marbles?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah. We played marbles. Shot marbles all the time.

    Bennett: Tell me how you shot marbles. Tell me about the game.

    Kindbeiter: Well, first you'd have a circle marked out.

    Bennett: About how big?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, well, that would vary. It would be at least 18 inches. And then you'd put the marbles down in there and then you'd have a man -- they always called it a man. It was a big marble. Shoot it like that. I have to bend my fingers around to get that now. Shoot it like that. And then whoever would get the most marbles when the game was over, they'd keep. But they won the game.

    Bennett: All right. All the marbles were in the center circle?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: And then you had the outside circle?

    Kindbeiter: No, no outside circle. It was marked off the space outside. You had to keep back of that space. And shoot the marbles up to the center stroke.

    Bennett: And would they have to get out of that circle for you to get them?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah. They'd get out of that circle. When they got out of the circle, they were yours.

    Bennett: They were the smaller marbles?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, they were smaller than what we always called the man.

    Bennett: The man, he was larger. What were they -- were they plain colored ones?

    Kindbeiter: Well, they were plain colors, but they were mostly made out of clay. We'd buy them. You'd get a whole bag full of them for a quarter.

    Bennett: I don't think I've ever seen the clay marble.

    Kindbeiter: They were made out of clay. They had some system to make them things. They'd come out round. If they had humps in them, they were no good.

    Bennett: Where did you keep them? Did you keep them in a bag?

    Kindbeiter: Keep them in a coffee can.

    Bennett: What did your brothers use, another coffee can?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. We used a community coffee can.

    Bennett: And you all kept them together, then?

    Kindbeiter: And then one brother. No, one brother would start to holler about the other one. He lost some of the marbles.

    Bennett: You took his marbles? [Laughs] What other games did you play? Baseball, marbles?

    Kindbeiter: Well. We used to have a game up there we'd roll a hoop. Now, I don't see that anymore now. We would get a piece of iron, bend it up perfectly round and take it to the blacksmith and he would weld the ends of it together -- the two ends. And then we had a hook, I guess you'd call it a hook, about this long. You would put that over the hoop and you'd push it.

    Bennett: Would you say a stick about two feet long?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, about two feet long.

    Bennett: And what would the hook look like?

    Kindbeiter: Well, the hook -- the hook -- let's see -- here's the hoop. It would be longer on this end and out like that. Kind of a hook.

    Bennett: Like on a shoe hook? Button hook?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Like that. And then we'd push that along. And then we'd race with that along the road. See who would get -- win.

    Bennett: Everybody had their own hoop, then?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: I haven't seen that.

    Kindbeiter: I don't see it no more, at all. I don't know what ever happened to it.

    Bennett: Would they take it to the blacksmith in the yard?

    Kindbeiter: Take it up to DuPont's blacksmith. He'd weld it together -- "Get the hell out of here, you can't come back here no more."

    Bennett: I guess the iron was available from the keg mill, do you suppose?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. They were up in the Hagley Yard.

    Bennett: That sounds like it was fun?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, well, we'd get out on the road and hold that centerpiece out and let it drag on the hoop. And run it along the road.

    Bennett: And then it would roll faster and faster?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, faster and the one that would get there first, why he would win.

    Bennett: How old were you when you did this?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, 12 or 13 years old. We had to make all of our own recreation.
  • Children and parents' dinner and evening activities; taking a bath on Saturdays; Sunday chicken dinners; taking lunch to his father before school
    Keywords: Baths; Blacksmith's Hill; Children--Social life and customs; Chores; Dishwashing; Families--Social life and customs; Homework; music; Newspapers; sleeping arrangements; Working class families
    Transcript: Bennett: At dinnertime did you all eat together?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, we'd all eat together.

    Bennett: Did your sisters set the table or the boys?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, the sisters set the table. And before they ever set the table, mother would always set it because we'd always break the dishes.

    Bennett: Then, now you all ate dinner together. Did you say a prayer, or not? Before you ate?

    Kindbeiter: No. But we all helped to wash the dishes.

    Bennett: Then you carried the dishes to the kitchen.

    Kindbeiter: And washed them. And then you'd dry them and put them away.

    Bennett: And then it was time for homework?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we'd always get outside maybe an hour before homework. And then mother would come out on that porch and holler on us to get home.

    Bennett: Then would you all go to bed at the same time?

    Kindbeiter: No. When they'd get finished their homework, they'd gradually wind off and go to bed.

    Bennett: Did the boys sleep in one room and the girls in another?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Well, the girls always slept in one room and the boys in another room. Sometimes there were four of us in a room. They were big rooms. But the girls, there were three of them, they always managed. They had a double bed and a single bed. And we had two double beds.

    Bennett: Did you each have your own trunk to keep your clothes in?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we kept the good clothes in the closet. What you wore on Sunday. You had to get civilized on Sunday, you know, you wore shoes and everything.

    Bennett: Now tell me. When you said about Sunday. Did you have a Saturday night bath getting ready for Sunday?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, Saturday night bath in the tub in this back kitchen. That's where you took the bath. That's before we had bathtubs. And then when Mrs. Copeland bought that whole place up there after the war, she put running water in and bathrooms and everything.

    Bennett: But before that you had the tub?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Had a pump outside.

    Bennett: And the water was heated on the stove?

    Kindbeiter: Water was heated on the stove and then we'd pour it in the tub. And you'd use this affair to take a bath in there.

    Bennett: Now, did everybody get clean water or did one bathe after the other?

    Kindbeiter: Well, no, they figured that two would -- because we'd kick on carrying so much water.

    Bennett: You had to heat it, too.

    Kindbeiter: Well, that's true. But no more than two would use the tub. It was a wash tub.

    Bennett: Then you were all clean for Sunday morning.

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, clean for Sunday morning.

    Bennett: And then you wore your shoes to church?

    Kindbeiter: Always had to put shoes on. Mother would stand at the door to make sure we had shoes on.

    Bennett: Did you all go to church together?

    Kindbeiter: Well, sometimes. Part of us would leave ahead of the rest of the gang if they were slow. Getting ready. They'd get tired waiting and go on. But we always more or less went together.

    Bennett: Then after church, you had a dinner, a big Sunday dinner? How was Sunday different?

    Kindbeiter: Well, Sunday was different. We had it around two or three o'clock in the afternoon. We'd always have plenty of chicken. We raised chickens down there, had plenty of chicken for Sunday dinner and we had a lot of company, too. From out of town - come out to get something to eat. I never understood that, but they would. So, they were nice people. But my father was putting up for all of them.

    Bennett: Was this relatives?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, relatives and relatives' friends. One relative would get somebody else to come out. Now, I wouldn't say they done that all the time, but they done that a good bit of the time.

    Bennett: What else was special about Sunday dinner?

    Kindbeiter: Well, we had everything - everything that come down the pike for Sunday dinner that you could eat. Parsnips, carrots, potatoes.

    Bennett: Well, you mentioned cake. You said you had cake for school on Monday?

    Kindbeiter: Well, that could be done on Monday.

    Bennett: Did you have dessert during the week or just on Sundays?

    Kindbeiter: Sometimes we'd get dessert. We thought we were living if we had dessert during the week.

    Bennett: Well, I understand that.

    Kindbeiter: The living conditions weren't too good, but we always done all right. We always got along with everybody and helped the other person out and they helped us out. That's the way it went.

    Bennett: Did your mother pack a lunch pail for your father that maybe you children would take to the yards?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: At lunch time, or how did that work?

    Kindbeiter: Well, my father worked at the yards, up at - what do you call - Blacksmith's Hill. He was a plumber up there. We would stop on the way up in the morning and drop the lunch pail off. And then come on back to school. We would have plenty of time to do that.

    Bennett: And then he would bring it back in the evening?

    Kindbeiter: Then he'd bring it back when he got done work and they would air it out, wash it out, and get ready for the next feed.

    Bennett: After dinner what was your mother and father doing?

    Kindbeiter: Well, they would mostly sit around. They would read the evening paper and they'd sit around out on the porch or in the living room. The living room and kitchen was all the same -- dining room all the same. They enjoyed themselves.

    Bennett: Did you ever play games together or did you have a piano? Was there music? Or how did you do?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, we had a hurdy-gurdy -- a victrola. You wind it up.

    Bennett: Did you enjoy that?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah, we always looked forward to playing that.

    Bennett: Was it only played on special occasions?

    Kindbeiter: No, anybody could play the thing if they had the ambition to wind it up.

    Bennett: When you said the newspaper, how did you get the newspaper?

    Kindbeiter: Why, let me think. Oh, they delivered the newspaper to us.

    Bennett: One of the boys in the neighborhood?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah, one of the boys in the neighborhood delivered it. And then they'd come around every Saturday and collect for it. Delivered the paper and trusted you for it.

    Bennett: Did you ever deliver the newspapers?

    Kindbeiter: No, never did.

    Bennett: Did your brothers?

    Kindbeiter: The Saturday Evening Post one time and it cost the people so much money to pay it off that they quit it.

    Bennett: It was a luxury.

    Kindbeiter: That's it.
  • His mother's death; selling glass bottles and pulling dandelions at Nemours; his friendship with Judge Laffey, Vice President of DuPont Company
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Ir& #xE9; e), 1864-1935; Laffey, John P. (John Paul), 1863-1937; n& #xE9; Nemours (Blue Ball, Del. : Estate); Parents--Death; Pneumonia; Shoes; World War (1914-1918)
    Transcript: Bennett: Did you like school?

    Kindbeiter: Yes and no.

    Bennett: Where did you go?

    Kindbeiter: Well, I would go to St. Josephs until I got put out. And then I'd go down to Alexis I. du Pont. And when I got put out of there, I'd come back to St. Joseph's.

    Bennett: Sounds to me like you gave your mother a few gray hairs.

    Kindbeiter: Well, I guess we did. Mother died at an awful young age. She was about 40 years old when she died and what happened to her, we always had a clothesline out alongside the house. And we would always get enough wire -- single strand wire -- to wrap around the poles and make it tight to hang up the clothes. She was out there hanging up clothes one day and the wind was blowing in the month of May. And she got pneumonia out there hanging the clothes up. And it killed her.

    Bennett: Then who took care of you children?

    Kindbeiter: Well, now that's -- I had two aunts -- Katie and Mary. And they would split it up between themselves. They raised us -- they looked after the kids.

    Bennett: Did they move in your house?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, they moved in. They moved in right away. And it's not like now -- any relative that come in the house to live, why they'd say, "What's going on there?" You know how they'd talk. But it was never anything like that.

    Bennett: No. It was a necessity. Minds were different in those days. People now look for trouble. And gossip.

    Kindbeiter: That's it. Well, I had a lot of it here myself last week. Do you still have that tape recorder on?

    Bennett: Yes, it's on.

    Kindbeiter: The woman lives up the hall here, her name is Wilson. At quarter of eleven, I had an appointment at 11 o'clock. And Wilson come down here and he had been drinking. He come in. And Levy, an old man down here that's partially blind - I feel sorry for him; I look out for him - and he come in. I says, "Now, I gotta get out of here." Well, he says, "Is it all right if we stay here?" I says, "Sure, you can stay here." So, Wilson - I didn't know Wilson was drinking. Wilson was drinking. He gets out in the hall - his wife went out for her music lesson - he fell against another Israelite's door against the hall. Boy the next day she went downstairs and raised Hell with the woman that's manager of this place. She's a pretty good sport. And, I give him something to drink; she was going to break the door down if I didn't let her - and I wasn't even home. I didn't get home until four o'clock in the afternoon. And I stopped down at Elkton. I went to Maryland, went down to Charlestown, and I come up and stopped at Elkton and had an oyster stew up there. And that was all I wanted to eat. And then I had potato salad with it and bread and all that. And I wasn't home here at all, but she swore that I was. So, I'm still having trouble with her.

    Bennett: It's better if you can to say hello and goodbye and nothing else. When you find somebody that's a trouble maker. Just be polite.

    Kindbeiter: Her husband is a nice kind of guy. They're from up around Claysville, Pennsylvania. That's where - Claysville - he knew the man I went to work for later on - Judge Laffey was vice president of the DuPont Company. They lived almost side by side. He was - the man that built - that laid the track for the B& amp; O Railroad to Chicago and then after he got in Chicago, he looked around and he went down to West Point, Illinois. And he drove stakes in the ground and set up a farm there. He knew the family up there.

    Bennett: Before you went to bed, did you brush your teeth? Where did you do all these kinds of things? If you had an outhouse where did you brush your teeth, in the kitchen?

    Kindbeiter: In the kitchen. You make a pretense of it and let it go at that.

    Bennett: And you got washed at night or did you get washed in the morning?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, you got washed both times, night and the morning. We had to. We'd been out in the dirt and our feet were black.

    Bennett: You didn't wear shoes unless you had to?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: Did you wear shoes to school?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah. Oh, they put shoes on to get us to school.

    Bennett: Did you wear old shoes? Or what happened to shoes if you outgrew them? Did you pass them down to your brother?

    Kindbeiter: Pass them down. Hand them right down to the rest of the gang.

    Bennett: Same way with the clothes?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: Did you belong to any clubs or organizations as you were growing up, like the Boy Scouts or...

    Kindbeiter: No, they didn't have none of them around there up the Brandywine. No clubs at all.

    Bennett: Thinking of Breck's Mill, I've heard about Alfred I. had a...

    Kindbeiter: He had an orchestra there.

    Bennett: Yeah, and he had a baseball club there way back...

    Kindbeiter: Yeah.

    Bennett: And you were not involved?

    Kindbeiter: I was too young to be in that. But, he had an orchestra. I remember that. How I got crosswise with Alfred I., we were kids up the Brandywine, going around the saloons getting the bottles that were empty. And we'd break them up and take them out there. They'd put the glass on top of the wall. Out at Alfred I.'s. Have you ever been out there?

    Bennett: Yes, I have. You were involved in that?

    Kindbeiter: Yeah. Well, we used to take that glass up there and get 10 cents a pound for it.

    Bennett: Where would you take it - to the house?

    Kindbeiter: No, take it to the building. They had a temporary building set up down there. And then we'd go back at night and steal it. Well, I mean, that's incriminating myself, but we'd go back at night and then the next day we'd take it back and sell it to them again. So, he knew what was going on. But later years, you figure that man was no dummy. He knew what was going on. But then, he was a great hunter and he was out with a 22 rifle one day - he and Will Scott was his secretary - lived down at Rockford Road and Willard Street in Wilmington. And Will Scott shot his eye out. And then I come along and went to work with a gang up there pulling dandelions up out of the grass. It would have been just as well if we had left it alone. But we were getting paid 25 cents an hour, something like that, and Alfred I. - We were out pulling the dandelions out of the lawn in front of the garage, and there was a kid very industriously pulling the dandelions up. And I throwed an apple at this boy and hit Alfred I. in the good eye. So, he fired the whole crowd of us. But, I often been down to his place at Heaping Forrest in Jacksonville, Florida. And later years I went to work for Judge Laffey and he was vice president and legal adviser of DuPont Company. And he got Alfred I. a divorce out in Deadwood, South Dakota. He got that quietly, you know, so the people back here didn't know it. And Alfred I. asked him, "John, how much do you make a year out here?" Oh, he said, I'm lucky if I make 12-14 thousand dollars a year. It's a good year if I make $14,000. Well, he said, you come to Wilmington and we'll give you $25,000 a year. So Laffey quit - closed up his practice and moved to Wilmington. He lived at the Clayton House at 5th and Market. And then he moved out to 826 Franklin and from there he moved out to 3 Red Oak Road. I could tell you a lot more about that, too.

    Bennett: Well, go ahead.

    Kindbeiter: Oh, you wouldn't want to hear that. Well, it's all clean. Laflin and Rand. No, I'm wrong. Lewis -- Lewis. Laflin and Rand was a competitor of DuPont, making explosives out in Illinois and Missouri. Lewis invented a machine gun and he sold it to the Imperial Chemical, and the Imperial Chemical was owned half by DuPont's and half by Imperial Chemical. And that's when United States got into the World War. They didn't have a machine gun. So, they started to manufacture this gun in Montreal, and they shipped in what they had here or needed to go overseas. And the dirty sons-of-guns were selling the same machine gun to the Germans, shipping out of Valparaiso.

    Now this man often told me that, Judge Laffey, him and I were pretty friendly. We used to go down to Elkton every Saturday afternoon drinking beer. That's after the Prohibition come back. But they had beer a long time in Elkton in Maryland before they had it up here. So, he would get reminiscent on this stuff and the way the DuPont Company got the German chemists over here. The German government put them in jail over there. So they got wind that DuPont's were hunting them and were going to bring them over here. They put them on a ship over there dressed as Red Cross nurses. And brought them over the Atlantic Ocean off the Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City, and that's where they unloaded them. The soldiers never knew whether they were women or what they were. So, he often marveled about that. And then they made the payoff down at 16th and K Street to Doheen. He was a Government man, you know. But, Doheen was tied up in that oil. So, he come up and ring the bell, or push the button on the gate and they'd look out and if he looked all right, they'd say, "Come in." And he'd come in and he'd throw his package down the bear trap. There was a bear pen in the back yard. Didn't have no bears in there, but it was all cleaned up and the fence was all built around it. And that's how the Government got paid off for this German chemist coming over here. They don't like to hear that, but that's the truth.

    Bennett: Well, you learn a lot over a beer, don't you?
  • Fourth of July picnic, Christmas traditions, and local saloons
    Keywords: Bars (Drinking establishments); bocce; Christmas decorations; Du Pont, Iré né e, 1876-1963; Fourth of July celebrations; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Social life and customs; Jeff Blakeley; Ned Connaway; Pat Daugherty; poker; Tommy Lawless
    Transcript: Bennett: Let's talk about holidays. What was the most important one?

    Kindbeiter: The most important day was Fourth of July. Up where the Experimental Station is built now, they called that the Horse Field. They always had a big picnic up there. All the Irish get together, drunk, sober and every other way. And one guy in particular, Joe Rowe, that had a bad back, couldn't work. And he was religious. You'd go by his house, he faced the Brandywine on the lower road up the next block from us. You'd hear him shouting in there 10 and 11 o'clock at night, hollering about how the people were going to Hell when they died. And all this and that. He got religion. And he wasn't able to work. But he put half-a-beer on his shoulders on Decoration Day -- or 4th of July and take it right up Kindbeiter's Hill and go back and get another one. And he was never able to work. Well, his father was as bad as him towards the end. He was always shouting on religion. Well, nobody up there paid attention to religion. They were born Catholics and went to church. For Protestant church, they went to Mt. Salem. And the priest and the ministers all got along together. I thought that was a good idea. And they should, too.

    Bennett: What happened at the picnic?

    Kindbeiter: Well, they'd have the bocce game. The Italians would have the bocce balls. They were a solid ball, round wood ball, carved out -- plain wood. And they would throw them and then they'd have the upper end of the line marked out. Whichever one would stay in that line and get closest to it would win. That was bocce. And the rest of the gang, they played poker. That was the Irish. They played poker and drank up the beer.

    Bennett: Did they play baseball?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, they'd have a game there, but nobody ever paid any attention to it.

    Bennett: Was there music?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, yeah, they had a bandstand there and music.

    Bennett: Dancing?

    Kindbeiter: Dancing.

    Bennett: The food -- did everybody take their own food?

    Kindbeiter: Well, they would all chip in. They'd pay their share and then cook up a lot to eat.

    Bennett: Was there fireworks?

    Kindbeiter: No. No fireworks. That's before the fireworks got popular. Oh, Irenee du Pont was the man that brought the fireworks around here. Up where his place is up at Granogue.

    Bennett: How about Christmas? What happened at Christmastime?

    Kindbeiter: Well, Christmastime, of course, we'd have the traditional Christmas tree, decorated up.

    Bennett: What did you put on it?

    Kindbeiter: My mother would always take care of that with -- they'd take Christmas balls from one year to the next -- and like that and they'd look all right when they got them up there. And then, we'd open our presents. We'd get shoes or clothes for Christmas. And everybody got the same thing, like clothes or shoes. Whatever they could afford is what we got and we knew enough to keep our mouths shut about it. Christmas was just another day. It was a holiday and nobody worked. Nobody worked, but the saloons done a pretty good business up there on Christmas.

    Bennett: Oh, they were open on Christmas?

    Kindbeiter: Oh, they were open. Ned Connaway was at the top of Rising Sun Hill. That's where the bus comes down and turns, next to Walter Carpenter's place. I think Tower Hill's got that now. Well, Ned Connaway got the smallpox up there and they closed that saloon. And then they had Jeff Blakeley's down the middle of the hill, and Jeff Blakeley was a big fat man. He run the saloon. That's right where the bridge crosses the road.

    Bennett: Was it on Rising Sun?

    Kindbeiter: On Rising Sun. And then Pat Daugherty's - he married a cousin of mine - no credit to him, but he did. That was over at - he bought Tom Toy out. Tom Toy run the saloon over there until he got too old and he didn't run it no more. That's where Catherine Hackendorn lived next door to that. And then up at St. Joseph's Church, Tommy Lawless - well, we always called him Tommy - he was a priest over at Salesianum. We called him Tommy and the Father run --

    Bennett: Was it called Lawless Tavern?

    Kindbeiter: No, it wasn't called Lawless. Tommy Lawless run this saloon up there right at St. Joseph's Church. He lived up the Kennett Pike, right straight up and then he'd walk down every morning and opened up the taproom. They had it pretty well populated; they had Ned Connaway's and Jeff Blakeley's, Pat Daugherty's and Tommy Lawless'. For a small community they had four saloons up there. You had no business going thirsty. But they didn't pay much attention to Saturday or Sunday. I wouldn't want this to get out where they'd hear it, but they're liable to persecute them people. You'd go around to the back and get in the back door. Up in the coal regions they never closed up. Never closed up.

    Bennett: I remember that now - they didn't close on Sunday.

    Kindbeiter: Of course, the women would want them to close, but they wouldn't pay attention to the women.

    Bennett: How much was a beer?

    Kindbeiter: A nickel.