Interview with James Cammock, 1984 April 9 [audio]
- Early life and childhood home; Father's death in an explosion at Hagley; ChoresKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Chores; Explosions; Gardens; Hagley Yard; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Ireland; Newspapersl du Pont familyTranscript: Bond: I've got a lot of questions here, Jim.
Cammock: All right, I'll try.
Bond: Let me follow through this thing, and if you think of things just... What is your name?
Bond: What is your address.
Cammock: 38 Caleb Terrace, Woodland Apartments.
Bond: How old are you?
Cammock: I am 88.
Bond: What's your telephone number.
Cammock: I don't have one.
Bond: In which one of the villages did you live, like Squirrel Run or Henry Clay?
Cammock: I lived on Breck's Lane. high school. Right back of Alexis I. du Pont
Bond: Where was your house in this village?
Cammock: About four or five houses down from the main Kennett Pike. Right in back of the school.
Bond: Do you know the street name?
Cammock: Breck's Lane.
Bond: What was your father's name?
Cammock: David Cammock.
Bond: Where was he born?
Bond: Do you know his birth date? What year he was born?
Cammock: No. I know they came to this country...see I was born in this country. They must have come about 18...1880 or somewhere about. It must have been about that time, because I was born in 1895, see. I was born...you know where that bridge goes over Rising Sun Lane? Down at the bottom? Well there's houses just on that other side there about. Twenty feet from there is where I was born. Right there. And it was on this other side was a great big store. Greggs had it. Right across the street from it.
Bond: What was your mother's name?
Bond: Where was she born?
Bond: Do you know when she was born?
Cammock: No. I really do not.
Bond: Did you have brothers and sisters?
Cammock: Yes, I have two brothers. David, he died of pneumonia. I guess he was about...let's see...11 or 10 years old when he died.
Bond: Do you have sisters?
Cammock: No sisters. Just one brother.
Bond: Do you know your grandfather's name?
Cammock: No I do not.
Bond: But they were born in Ireland?
Cammock: Yeah. We'll get down to the interesting stuff. You ask me anything.
Bond: Do you know of any other people who might be available for interviews? Now I talked to Ed Devenney.
Cammock: Ed and Tom McCray. You have their names don't you?
Bond: I don't, but somebody else might. You say Tom McCray?
Cammock: His father was killed up there. My father, he was blew up the same time, but he lived for a week after that. See, when the explosion come, he got burnt so much, and it threw him into a race, you know them races that run down, the water, you know. It threw him in to there. He went to the hospital, and he lived about a week. They took me to the hospital, and when I went in to see him, you couldn't see anything but his eyes. He was just covered all over where he was burned. And he lived about a week. But the other man, Thomas McCray's father, was killed right out. He was killed immediately. My father lived about a week.
Bond: Do you know where McCray lived?
Cammock: He lived in what they called Long Row.
Bond: Do you know where he lives now?
Cammock: Oh no. I haven't seen Tom for...we were kids together. Went around together. Ed and I especially. And I could bring in pictures that you'd be surprised: way back, starting 1916. Ed and I used to go out every Sunday, and we have pictures of everybody that lived up the crick there. You'd be surprised.
Bond: Would you bring them in someday and let me look at them?
Cammock: Yes sir. I'll bring them in, the ones you'd be interested in, and tell you who was the watchman at the Experimental Gate, and that's years and years ago, who was watchman there. I can tell you everything. I was all over that place.
Bond: See, at Hagley we're trying to get all the past history together. And they would be interested in any pictures you have.
Cammock: I can show them some that worked there, and different things like that. I'll bring them in. And Ed, probably, would have some too. If you can get Ed and I together...And here's the best part of it. I got the date of practically every picture was taken in 1916 and 1917. All those I'm sorry. I was going to bring them, but I said, "That man wouldn't be interested." I can show you the two girls holding our pennant up. And that's the best part knowing it's correct: the pennant says 1914 on it. And if you figure that out, it's 70 years this year.70 years. And outside that, there's only five living: Tom McCray, Ed Devenney, my brother, and another fellow named Wilmer Jones. And there's another little girl on it. I'm not positive about her. She got away and I don't know where she got to and whether she'd be living or not. But all the rest is dead. And I know everyone by name on there.
Bond: That's wonderful. Think of some of the chores that you remember such as cleaning or gardening or caring for livestock. What kind of household chores did you have to do when you were a boy?
Cammock: Well I had grass to cut, and I always had a nice garden there.
Bond: The garden was at the house?
Bond: And were you responsible for the garden?
Cammock: Oh yes. I planted the garden all by myself.
Bond: And how old were you when you did this?
Cammock: Oh I would guess about 14 or 15. Just old enough to know...work myself then, because my father was dead, you see. He died when I was about 10 years old. And I had to do everything myself.
Bond: What were the most important chores you remember? Did you chop wood?
Cammock: You had to have wood in those days. And cut That's all. On the weekend we… Oh yes. the grass and garden. played ball.
Bond: You did? Did you have a lawnmower to cut the grass?
Cammock: Yes. A lawnmower.
Bond: Did you cut the grass for anyone else?
Cammock: I cut it for several. And it paid me...a big... And another thing. I started work in 1911, Oh yes, lawn cut...15¢ . 1911. I worked 10 hours a day. Four days (hours) on Saturday. That would be 54 hours. And I got $3.75 a week. And that was $15 a month.
Bond: Did the DuPont Company furnish a house for you or did you have to pay rent for the house?
Cammock: Oh we paid our own rent.
Bond: And you said your father was killed in an explosion. What was the date?
Cammock: The date was May 10, 1906.
Bond: Did the Company give you a job because your father had been killed?
Cammock: No. They didn't give me...I got it myself. I would have loved to have graduated from Alexis I du Pont high school, but I had to leave when I was 14. I would have loved to stay there, and I'd of been the oldest one there now. Now I'll tell you who did give a job...Lammot du Pont give my brother a job. He's two years younger than me. He give him a job, and he'll tell you that too. He's the one got him started. Another thing, I lived very close to Lammot du Pont, and on July 4 he'd come out, and his children would put fireworks and everything up, you know. I was talking to him there one day, and he invited me up to his house to have dinner with him. But I didn't go, you know. Another thing, I was a paper boy. And I went around. I'll tell you, I served papers to all the du Ponts: Eugene du Pont, Felix, Irenee and W.K. du Pont. Laird, Charlie Copeland. I knew everything in that doggone place down there.
- Newspapers; Buying groceries; Going to school; Leisure activitiesKeywords: Deliveries; Groceries; Homes; Marbles; Outhouses; Water; WinterTranscript: Bond: What paper was it? The Wilmington paper?
Cammock: Paper. 1¢ was all you got, and you made half a cent on it. 1¢ the paper was.
Bond: Big money.
Cammock: Yeah. And when you went to the store, you got six loaves of bread for a quarter. It wasn't cut or nothing. And you went to the store to get something, they didn't have nothing, just would wrap it in newspaper for you. There was nothing in cans. Nothing in jars. The beer man come around with his big wagon. It had two, four, maybe six horses pulling it. The meat man, he come around with the horse and wagon. The bread man, he come around with the horse and wagon. That was a day.
Bond: The beer man came around and delivered?
Cammock: Yeah. I lived back of Alexis I du Pont school. And we had winters then that was up to your head. They had to bring people from Wilmington out to dig you out, it was that bad them years. Oh, it's summertime in the winter now to what it was when I was a kid. It was wicked. That's 80 years ago.
Bond: Did your family do many things together. Like play games or go fishing.
Cammock: Oh no. See, I lost my father. Not at all. No. Another thing, the DuPont Company, I can't tell you how many years. They had a 50 year anniversary (it might be the bicentennial he's talking about). Well I went to it. I was just a youngster. And they had the woods, there. And the Italian people, they played bocce. You know how they throw the ball...and all that. And they've had an anniversary since then, another but I didn't go to this here last one. Remember when that was?
Bond: It was 150th one in 1952.
Cammock: Well maybe that's the first one I went to then. Another since I went to was 50 years again, but I didn't go to that.
Bond: Did your mother work? Outside the home? After your father died?
Cammock: No. No.
Bond: What was your house like -- how many rooms on the first floor?
Cammock: It was a two-story house. On Breck's Lane there. Oh, it has really changed from that time to now. It was just --and you had no heat in your house. The only thing you had in your house was the stove you had in the kitchen there and when you would want to go to bed at night, we'd have a --we'd get a -- I don't know what it was made of -- but it would hold the heat. And we'd get a cloth and wrap around it, hang it up and put it to your feet, you know – cold wintertime and then in the morning you'd run down and open it up. And then you'd want to get washed then you had to get one of these tubs and get water and put it in that and the women -- they had to -- you've seen them things --washboard, you know. That was –
Bond: Did your sister help your mother?
Cammock: I didn't have no sister.
Bond: Oh, I thought you did.
Bond: Just one brother?
Bond: What rooms were on the ground floor of the house? You had a kitchen but was there another room on that floor?
Cammock: Yes, another one, yeah.
Bond: What was it used for?
Cammock: It was -- just when you'd sit there in the evening. Yeah. Ask me anything -- I'll answer it.
Bond: Did you have a front porch?
Cammock: There was a front porch -- it was open. It opened right out -- Breck's Lane was right open to the road.
Bond: How many rooms were on the second floor?
Cammock: I think there was two bedrooms as far as I can figure out now.
Bond: Where did you get your wood that you burned in the stove? Firewood?
Cammock: I can't answer that. Oh, yeah -- I guess I chopped it. I know -- you had to do that but -- old branches from trees you'd cut off them days.
Bond: Did you burn coal at all?
Cammock: Yeah. I believe that they did.
Bond: In the mornings on a typical work morning, who got up first in the morning?
Cammock: Well, my mother always got up first. After she got things ready, we'd come running down -- my brother and I -- and open the oven door to get the heat to come out because it was cold in them winter days, believe me!
Bond: Was there any heat upstairs?
No, that -- The only heat you had in your house was that one thing. You had no bathtub. And I went from here about 50 or 100 feet down the back yard to the bathroom to the toilet. It was way down in your backyard then. There was nothing in the house – no telephone in it -- no bathtub in it.
Bond: Did you have electricity?
Cammock: No, we used oil lamps.
Bond: You did not have running water. Did you have a pump?
Cammock: A pump, yeah. Outside -- it was outside there. Right on to the next door house -- the pump was over there. And we went out and pumped it up and down. Yeah.
Bond: Where did you keep your clothes in your room? Did you have a closet?
Cammock: Yeah, I believe -- far as I understand now there was a closet, yet.
Bond: Were there any chores that you had to do before breakfast?
Bond: Where did you go to school?
Cammock: Alexis I. du Pont.
Bond: Did you take your lunch with you or did you go home for lunch?
Cammock: No -- no, we didn't. I guess we'd take it. That's because they didn't give anything then. There was nothing in there when I went to school. There was no school -- the only thing -- you went there – they didn't have no gymnasium. They didn't have no – you know what I mean -- to train you to do things or anything. We just went there. One thing is I can tell you every teacher I had from: only five years I went to school -- started in 1901. See I was born 1895. And I remember every teacher I had. In the kindergarten her name was Miss Clark. Went up to the next room and her name was Miss Lena McLaughlin. And she had a sister up farther and another teacher I had Miss Winters and there was two teachers from there -- lived up the creek there. One was Miss Mamie Rumer and the other one was: oh, what's her name now. She lived right close to it. Another thing, you know a red building right up by the plant there called the Hall of Records? Oh, yeah. I carried mail there. Oh, I can tell you a pile of stuff.
Bond: I bet you can. Did you take your lunch to school with you?
Cammock: Well, to be absolutely sure -- I won't tell you because I actually do not know that now. If I knew it, I would tell you, but I can't.
Bond: What were some of your after-school activities? Did you roller skate?
Cammock: No. They had nothing -- anything like that at all...Nothing around there at all. I know in the evenings when it begins to get dark, we would get hoops – you know get a hoop and run them down the road there and then sometimes we'd put rags on them and push them down.
Bond: The hoop did it have sort of a handle with on it?
Cammock: Some of them had -- you'd push them. And another thing --You know where the top of Breck's Lane is, don't you? There was a big toll gate up there and it was manned by Mr. Leonard Perks and then he left, there was people by the name of Eaton that came in there. And in the evenings we used to go up there. They had lights, you know, because they had a thing down to stop the horse and wagons them days, you know. And we'd go up there and play marbles in the evening, you know. Because the young boy about our age, you know, he'd come out and we'd play marbles.
Bond: Go ahead and drink your coffee; it's going to get cold. You mentioned the rolling of hoops and sometimes you put a rag on it and light it. Did you dip the rag in kerosene or something?
Cammock: Yeah, they had some kind of oil we'd put on it. To make it burn, yeah.
Bond: How big were the hoops, anyway?
Cammock: Oh, good size: Five feet in diameter?
Bond: Beg your pardon? Or maybe three feet in diameter?
Cammock: Oh, no -- yes -- smaller than that. Maybe two feet.
Bond: You mentioned you played marbles. Did you have just one ring? How was the game played?
Cammock: One ring and everybody put a marble in there and then you had a bigger marble, you know, and you'd shoot them out and you'd get 'em and it was yours, you know, and everybody tried to get as many marbles as they could. You'd just have one ring.
Bond: How big around was the ring?
Cammock: Oh, the ring wouldn't be -- about that size. A foot or so in diameter. Oh, no, no. Like that size. Well, that would be about a foot in diameter.
Bond: And you put your marbles in there and then everyone put one marble in?
Cammock: Yes. Put one in and whoever was first he'd shoot and if he hit any, he'd keep shooting until he -- after he hit them out wherever the big one went, why he would shoot from there, you know. And then if he'd miss the first shot and didn't get none, the next one would come out -- four or five of us played.
Bond: How far away did you have to stand when you shot?
Cammock: I'd say about 10-15 feet back. Good distance.
Bond: What were the marbles made of?
Cammock: Well, it seemed like it would be glass to me. Glass and they were all different colors. Yeah.
Bond: Would you say the shooter you would use -- did the shooter have a name?
Cammock: They were glass and sometimes there was different colors in them, you know. Glass marbles.
Bond: They were larger?
Cammock: Oh, they'd be about -- I'd say, you know, how the marble would be. They'd probably be four times what that would be, you know. Different size.
Bond: What other games did you play?
Cammock: Hide and go seek. You know one person would put his hands up and we'd all run and hide in all different directions and he'd go hunt you. And you were supposed to get in that place he was from before he would catch you, you know, and they'd hide and then they'd run in. And if he got nobody, then he'd have to go over again. But the one he would catch, then they had to do that, you know. That's the way we played it.
Bond: Did the boys and girls play the game together, or did only the boys play?
Cammock: No, they played together. Mostly it was only boys, but they could play, too.
- Leisure activities 2; Evening routine at home; Going to church and other weekly acitivitesKeywords: Brandywine Creek; Fishing; Green Hill Presbyterian Church (Wilmington, Del.); Ice skating; SwimmingTranscript: Bond: Did you ever go fishing?
Cammock: Yes, right up on the Brandywine across from the mills over there. You know there's a road from the Experimental Station runs along that way. Well see there's the mills over here and there's the creek here and we'd go up that way right opposite the mills. Go up there and fish way up there; catch sun fish.
Bond: Did you go ice skating in the winter time?
Cammock: I couldn't skate, no. My brother he could a little. I never could skate. But they did skate there up the Hagley hills -- along there.
Bond: Did you go swimming in the Brandywine?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Right across from the Experimental Station. We used to go in -- they called that Indian Rock there. And then another place up from it we called that Minnie. And then we went in swimming back of Hudson's Mill. You know where the mill is across from Hagley? Right across from Hagley House. There was a big woolen mill there.There used to be Walker's Mill -- Hodgson's was the first one that I know. Hudson --Tom Hodgson -- Tom and Bill Hodgson.
Bond: Was it on the same side as the keg mill?
Cammock: It was right opposite the Hagley -- you know where we played there down by Breck's Lane. It was across the Brandywine right over there by the dam on the other side. O.K. Well, it's not there anymore and I don't know about that one.
Bond: Did you ride in boats much – were there boats around?
Cammock: Yeah, they had some boats -- not much of it, though.
Bond: Can you tell me what a typical week-day evening was like? What did you have for dinner?
Cammock: Mostly it was potatoes and make like a stew and stuff like that, you know. Things like that.
Bond: Did you have meat very often?
Cammock: Not too often because the meat man came down only once a week, you know a Like I told you about the horse and wagon -- everything was horse and wagon.
Bond: Did your parents have a horse and wagon?
Cammock: Oh, we had nothing. Nothing at all. Anybody had a horse and wagon, they were considered rich.
Bond: Did anyone have a horse without a wagon?
Cammock: No, not that I recall.
Bond: Did you eat dinner the same place you ate breakfast and lunch?
Bond: Did your family say grace before meals?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Yes.
Bond: Was there much talk at the table when you were eating?
Cammock: No -- no -- very little. Not too much at all. No.
Bond: What did you do after dinner?
Cammock: Oh, we'd generally go out -- maybe play ball. Then the people lived next door to us, their name was Foster and there was three girls there and one boy; he was our age; and we'd go out there -- we had a fairly big yard, you know. And we'd go out and playball; fix up sides and play ball. And what we'd do. I played with the oldest girl; her name was Anna Foster. And her and I would play my brother and Joe Foster. Well, we'd get in there and play and they'd get first bat, you know, and it would take a long time to get them out, you know, to get them out. And we'd come up to get our turn, they'd quit and wouldn't play. She mentioned that to me one time when I met her years later about what they did. Her father, he worked up in the blacksmith shop up in the Hagley Yard. His name was Charlie Foster. He lived next door to us.
Bond: Is Mrs. Foster still around or the Foster girls still around?
Cammock: Only one of them. There was four girls and the one boy. The boy died first -- that was Joe. He was our bunch, running around with us. He died. And then, let's see, which one -- Anna -- she was the oldest girl. I guess she was about two years older then me. She died next, and then Louisa died, and Nellie was the other daughter. She's still living as far as I know.
Bond: Was she married?
Cammock: None of them got married at all. None of them. The boy got married.
Bond: Would you have any idea where Nellie Foster lives?
Cammock: Somewhere around Lincoln Street. That's where they lived the last time I knew them. Whether she moved away after they all died -- see, they all lived together and they used to get in the car and they used to go down to Florida a lot. The whole three of them worked for the DuPont Company -- and all was pensioned off and they told me they divided – you know when they bought anything, divided the money between all of them -- paid their share, you know. So I guess they were pretty well off. And that's the only one left -- would be Nellie -- And she should be probably -- oh, she'd be getting close to 80 or so.
Bond: What time did you go to bed?
Cammock: Oh, you'd go to bed early those days. Guess you'd be in bed by eight o'clock, then, because it was cold. Nothing to do at night. Icy cold days. In summer time we'd sit out probably until 10:30 or 11. Nice in the evening, you know, then, maybe 11 o’ clock in the summertime.
Bond: What did you wear to sleep in?
Cammock: We had what we called pajamas. then, yes. Yeah, they had them
Bond: Was there any last-minute activities such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, bedtime stories, things like that?
Cammock: No, none of that. That's one thing -- See, I've got my own teeth yet, too. You can't get them teeth out. Have to pull 'em out.
Bond: You must have taken care of them.
Cammock: Oh, I did, I did, yeah.
Bond: Were there activities that the family took part in every week? Such as going to church or visiting friends?
Cammock: No because -- See, I lost my father, but I went to Sunday School. I had a pile of cards that high. They'd give you one every Sunday. I went to Greenhill Presbyterian Church. Do you know where that is?
Bond: Yes. I've been there.
Cammock: I went there and they'd give you a card every Sunday and you go there, make you go, you know, get that card there.
Bond: I assume you were Irish you went to St. Joseph's.
Cammock: Oh, no.
Bond: You’ re Presbyterian?
Cammock: Yes. Presbyterian, yes.
Bond: Were many of the Irish Presbyterians?
Bond: Did your family go to church together -- your mother, your brother and you?
Cammock: No, I don't think my mother went. I don't think she did. See, they come and picked us up, you know, and took us to church. I had a pile of cards. They'd give you a card every Sunday you went.
Bond: Were there activities that the man engaged in every week, such as Mason meeting, band practice, going to the saloon?
Cammock: No, we didn't have nothing like that them days. My people came from County Down Newton Ireland. I can tell you everything. I remember everything from when I was five years old that's happened. I remember everything.
Bond: You certainly do. Do you have many memories of your father?
Cammock: No. Not too much. I know he built a thing in our yard. We'd get on it, you know. Like a roller skater. You know roller thing -- down -- way down in the yard and run on it, you know.
Bond: What was his job in the powder mill?
Cammock: I don't know. I can give you more details on that when we get on to that. I've got that all saved for you.
Bond: Were there any activities that the women did every week such as sewing club or church circles or something like that?
Cammock: No. Only thing mostly they'd go out and walk around and take pictures -- something like that -- but they never did a whole lot.
- Children's Sunday activities; Celebrating holidays; Visiting Wilmington, Del.; First job at DuPont; Pension from DuPont for father's deathKeywords: Basketball; Dancing; DuPont Experimental Station; Fourth of July; Free Park (Del.: Village); Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Hot air balloons; Mail; Memorial Day; Pensions; Sam Frizzell's store; Street-railroads; Wilmington, Del.Transcript: Bond: Were there activities that the children did every week? Sunday School you mentioned. Did you play basketball or baseball?
Cammock: Basketball. Tell me about basketball -- that's one thing we got into. And that's another thing, I want to bring you that picture in where we had our team, you know. And there's -- do you know how many's on that picture? No. There's eleven. Do you know how many's living on it? Me. See there were eleven, but nine of them was players and one of them was the manager and the other --he was the assistant manager, you know. They were older than us, the ones that run the team, you know.
Bond: Was this a school basketball team?
Cammock: Down there We played. Oh, no. Just the one the community had. for the ones that lived around there. Went down in there.
Bond: This community house -- was that at Breck's Mill?
Cammock: Yeah. Breck's Mill, yes.
Bond: What kind of activities did they have at the community house? You mentioned basketball.
Cammock: Oh, yes. That was the main thing, that basketball.
Bond: Did they have dances.
Cammock: Oh, yes. They had dances -- every week-end I think they had dances. At day time.
Bond: Did you ever go to dancing school?
Cammock: No. I never danced. Old fashioned.
Bond: What were some of the seasonal events that your family celebrated such as Christmas or birthdays?
Cammock: They didn't celebrate much of anything them days. There wasn’ t anything -- great thing like that, you know what I mean. It was different. It wasn't like they are today. Entirely different.
Bond: Why was that? Do you know why that was?
Cammock: I don't know why it would be. Of course we'd have Christmas -- turkey for Christmas. But you know, outside of that there wouldn't be anything else.
Bond: Did they celebrate the Fourth of July?
Cammock: Don't mention Fourth of July. We started a month before the Fourth of July and you never heard so much banging in all your life. They'd buy the fireworks and put 'em off and Fourth of July day would come you'd see a dozen balloons up in the air. They really -- oh, they were good for that. They were patriotic them days, believe me. That's one thing they really was patriotic about. And oh, you ought to hear them things. And then they cut that out, and everything kept cutting out as we were getting older, so they did. Getting away to nothing.
Bond: You mentioned the balloons. Were these the old hot-air balloons?
Cammock: Yes. When we'd see one coming down, you know, mostly the wind would blow certain way it would bring them over us, you know. It was blowing out from Wilmington where we were out outside the high school and then they'd blow out that way and we could run again and we could see them coming down, you know, falling down when the thing burned out in them.
Bond: Were these balloons that had baskets with people in them?
Cammock: No. Just a little thing underneath, nothing at all.
Bond: So it was a hot-air lighted thing?
Cammock: Yeah. there. A light in there -- bit gas light kept them up
Bond: How big were these balloons?
Cammock: Oh, they wouldn't be, just small ones. Not too big, no. Just about that high and you'd see them all different colors flying up. And, oh, they were patriotic those days. Oh, my, everybody going out. And when I was younger they used to get a horse and wagon and come out go -- and on Memorial Day there would be about 15 or so in there with guns in this wagon, you know, and they'd come out and they would go to all the cemeteries, you know, and they would fire so many shots over the cemetery. And when they got out there, we would all run and scrambled to get them shells that they fired. And we would run from one cemetery to the other and to every.one to get them. The horse and wagon, you'd keep up with that. All things were different 80 years ago.
Bond: These Fourth of July celebrations -- did they have a big celebration in a park someplace where someone gave speeches?
Cammock: Well, probably they would, but out in the country we didn't have too much. Probably would have, but I really have to tell you, they'd start a month ahead of time and all the time night and day going until the Fourth of July was over. They was really patriotic them days.
Bond: Did the children shoot fireworks in those days?
Cammock: Do which?
Bond: Did the children have fireworks to shoot off in those days?
Cammock: Oh, yes. And they mostly had in the evenings sprinklers, you know, and things like that, you know. Sky rockets. You know what a sky rocket is. They had them kind of things those days.
Bond: Did you go down town to Wilmington on the trolley much?
Cammock: There was no cars running out there.
Bond: Well, didn't they get a trolley line out to Rising Sun?
Cammock: They did, yes. Later on. Run right down through there because that's what I come on from the DuPont Building carrying the mail out there. I got around there a lot. I got to the Experimental.
Bond: Do you know where the little Hagley house is way up on the hill?
Bond: Is it the old Hagley house?
Cammock: It was a little one. Big was down here right where the machine shop is and from there that was there. And then there was another one way up over a hill there and a man by the name of Lee Carpenter was the head there; I carried mail up to him. They called that Hagley.
Bond: See, I haven't been here too long, so I don't know the names of some of these things. When did you start working for du Pont?
Bond: What was your job?
Cammock: I first started in the mailing room in the du Pont building carrying the mail from one office to the other. And then when I found out there was a man carrying the mail out to the Experimental Station and up to the Brandywine and up to Hagley and everything, you know, well, he was retiring. And, see, I lived out there so then they gave me the job carrying that mail, you see. And I come out and I carried the Experimental Station. You know where the Hall of Records is? I carried mail to the Hall of Records and up to this office over here --it was right inside the machine shop there -- that was office there. And I left there and went along up there past a big fence. See they had the fence to shut off. You couldn't get in the powder yard. And you'd go up to Free Park. You know where Free Park is?
Bond: Yes, I know where it is.
Cammock: Well, that's where Hagley house was, up by Free Park. This little house. And I used to carry mail up there.
Bond: Do you remember the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School building? On Blacksmith Hill? Do you know where the old blacksmith shop was? The Sunday School building is just down from Free Park. Down the road from Free Park a little bit.
Cammock: Oh, I'll tell you what that is now. That's the big one where all the du Ponts go. I'll tell you the name of it in a minute. That church there.
Bond: Old Christ Church?
Cammock: Yes. There. Hagley House wasn't far from that.
Bond: So you say your brother actually got a job with du Pont because your father was killed in an accident?
Cammock: Mr. Lammot du Pont got him the job. But I didn't get -- I got it myself. See, I had to go to work because we didn't have no income or nothing for just the three of us then, you see.
Bond: Did your mother get any kind of pension from du Pont?
Cammock: Got nothing. As far as I know, the only thing she ever got from it was five hundred dollars when he got killed. If they give you nothing, you know it's different from what it is today and that's all I know of. I know that much. I was smart enough to know what was going on. But as far as I know, five hundred dollars was all she got. So, I don't know what McCray got; guess they'd get the same thing. They were relation to us; they were our first cousins, you see. He was killed outright; I think his leg was blown, off, too. But my father, he lived for a week. See, it blew him into that creek that run down there, you see, and he got all wet and then, see, it turned to pneumonia and if you're all burnt, too, you know. I could just see his eye so he was all covered all over with tape, you see.
Bond: That's too bad. Do you remember about some of the stores around there, Frizzell's grocery store?
Cammock: Oh, boy. You had to walk half a mile or farther just to go to one store they had down there in Henry Clay. And people by the name of Cavannaugh had that because one of the boys played on our basketball team.
Bond: Were there a lot of taverns or saloons around?
- World War I and World War II; Getting injured working for DuPont; Neighborhood sounds and smells; Explosions at Hagley Yard; Ordering from catalogs; Keeping animals; Tobacco useKeywords: Blakeley's tavern; Carney's Point, Nj.; Explosions; Hagley Yard; Lawless' tavern; Sam Frizzell's store; Street-railroads; Tobacco; Toy's tavern; Trolleys; World War (1914-1918); World War (1939-1945)Transcript: Cammock: Oh, there was enough of them around. There was one up there on that road up there -- what do you call it -- Church Street. Do you know where Church Street is up there?
Bond: I don't know it by that name.
Cammock: It's up there. Well, there was one there. Laws had it. And down Henry Clay, there, Tom Toy had it. And there was one over on Rising Sun Lane just across the bridge. Do you know where the bridge comes across there? Just a little bit up there about 100 yards up there and the man had it his name was Jeff Blakeley. When I was in the service -- See, I served a year and a half over in France -- almost two years. That was mostly all trench war then.
Bond: World War I.
Cammock: And now this last World War II was more planes fighting and everything. Another thing, I got blew up, too.
Bond: Oh, you did?
Cammock: Carney's Point. That was during World War II: See, I was working -- I worked with I- I've been all around everywhere -- in the ballistics range, testing guns and ammunition and so when they were working on something to keep it from flashing, you know, powder, so when we were fighting the Japanese, we could fire them in the dark and they wouldn't know where we were at, you know. And see, when you shoot, you know, the flash would come out of the gun, and we worked on that and these fellows they'd make different samples of powder, you know, and test them to get something to put in each one to try to cut it down. Well, I worked in there outside the door, doors that thick, you know. And we'd test it and I had to have safety glasses on. And this fellow put a little bit too much stuff in there and it blew the doggone gun up and the doors that thick and it picked me up and threw me from here over to that door out there.
Bond: Did it hurt you?
Cammock: Oh, yes. My leg here got a scar on it just like that. They took me to the hospital for two weeks: and a fellow said he had seen me laying on the floor, he said, you could put a golf ball in there it looked like. But it got all right. Oh, I got around a lot.
Bond: What are some of the sounds you remember in your neighborhood when you were a boy?
Cammock: Oh, the owls hollering at night. There were a lot of owls around there.
Bond: Did you hear any noise from the powder works?
Cammock: Oh, no. I lived too far away from there. I probably could hear the whistle blowing for them to start working and to quit. I could hear that. If the wind blew that way.
Bond: What's the worst smell that you can remember?
Cammock: Well, that came from -- later one -- that would come from that place down there. I can't think of it --way off from there. There wasn't much odor unless it would come from that mill over there. There was really few odors then. Them days.
Bond: What was a most pleasant odor you can remember?
Cammock: I'd say it would be the flowers and all in the spring. No bad odors that I can recall.
Bond: So when you first lived out there, there weren't any street cars, but they came later?
Cammock: Oh, no. tell you. The trolley car pulled by horse. People ain't going to remember. was later. And another thing I want to I can remember when they had a horse and Now that's something You know where Tower Hill School is?
Cammock: They come out of Wilmington to Tower Hill School there and they had a horse pulling the trolley car, you know -- just like a trolley car., Well, when they come out here to Tower Hill School there, they took the horse off and turned the thing around and the horse went on the other end of that and pullet it in town there. That was before they got the electric thing.
Bond: And then when they had the horse car, was there a horse car that went down Rising Sun Lane to Henry Clay or --?
Cammock: Oh, no. Nothing went down there. just almost Rising Sun Lane. No, it just came to Tower Hill.
Bond: And then there was a turn table.
Cammock: Yeah. And then they took it and pulled it right in town again. Ain't many people remembers that, either, I'll tell you that.
Bond: Were children ever allowed in the powder mills?
Cammock: Yes. Well, I'll tell you that part because I used to go up and sit right along side the powder mills --20 feet away from it -- and it would go (roaring noise) and if it had blew up you would never have found a piece of me. I'll tell you. I'm keeping that part until later on, because I carried lunch up there to my father. So I got a lot –
Bond: Well, go ahead, tell me now.
Cammock: Yes: I used to carry lunch up there to him all the time -- up there -- hot lunch, you know. Sit there about 15 minutes, half hour with him, while he ate his lunch. There used to be big wheels about that long and that wide and they run around in kind of a trough. But see –
Bond: The grinding wheel.
Cammock: They had to be either copper or brass, you know. That was it. And yes: They couldn't have anything else. They'd run around (roaring noise). If it ever went, you'd never have found a piece of me. There was nothing. Yeah. I could go up there anytime I wanted. Walk right in the plant and anything, you know. Carry the lunch right up there. Nobody bothered me. And there was a bread man, he used to go up there with his horse and wagon. And he had buns and stuff on there and his name was Sam Frizzell -- for the people – pies and stuff for them to eat. Oh, I know everything about that.
Bond: This must have been Frizzell's store. Sam Frizzell?
Cammock: Yeah. He had the store, you know.
Bond: So you would take your father's lunch into the mill?
Cammock: Right outside the mill right there. And that great big (roaring sound)
Bond: Did other children do the same thing?
Cammock: I haven't seen nobody, no. But they could do it, I guess. Of course, they would be on different shifts, probably, you know. Yeah. Right there. Carry a hot lunch up to him.
Bond: Did anyone in your family -- you or brother work to make extra money when you father was still living?
Cammock: Yes. I told you I cut grass 15 cents is all you'd get paid for that. That would be on a Saturday. You'd cut every Saturday. As I told you I worked for $3.75 -- it would be a week -- $15.00 a month, and work 54 hours. A big pile for 15 cents.
Bond: Was there a company store?
Cammock: No. No company store. No nothing. Only this little store there about half-a-mile from where we were and I had to walk down there to get the stuff and bring it back. Outside -- I told you the bread man and the butcher man came around and the beer man. I remember all them coming around with their stuff.
Bond: Was there an ice man who came around?
Cammock: Oh, yes. There was an ice man.
Bond: So, you had an ice box, did you?
Cammock: Yeah, you had to put ice in it.
Bond: Who emptied the pan under the icebox?
Cammock: Oh, whoever would find it. Anybody would empty it.
Bond: Did you buy anything from catalogs in those days?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Sears & Roebuck. When we were kids that's where we got our uniforms. We got things off them. You know what you wanted when you went to the bathroom? You know the pretty paper they give you now, don't you? They didn't give it out them days. You went up and you got a big Sears & Roebuck and pulled the pages out of that. Didn't anybody ever tell you that?
Bond: Oh, yes. I used to be out on the farm when I was little.
Cammock: That was the idea then. What did they do before the Sears & Roebuck catalog? I don't know that. That was ahead of me. That was out when I was a kid, you know.
Bond: Let me stop just a minute here. O.K. Now we're back in business, Jim. You were starting to say –
Cammock: Well, they had magazines with all samples of powder all through the yard. Quite a difference from each other. Well, they were galvanized in with the galvanized -- they were made of that, you know. Well they got a hint that somebody went up in that Rockford Tower with a rifle -- they'd take a shoot down into that they blew the whole thing up. Well, then we got powder can and we set them about three or four hundred yards away and got somebody with a gun and soon as that went it, it exploded you know. So, they said they'd get up in the tower and shoot and blow everything up. Well then they put the real steel magazines then – tore them down and put up the -- bullet would hit and wouldn't go through it. All that kind of stuff.
Bond: Did you have a flower garden at your house?
Cammock: I like flowers We had flowers and a regular garden -- yeah.
Bond: What kind of flowers did you have?
Cammock: There was pansies and I can't name all of them. Some of them go -- and you had sun flowers -- grow way up -- yeah- the big sun flowers.
Bond: Did you have sweet peas?
Cammock: I don't remember. We had roses, too.
Bond: Did your mother can many vegetables from the garden?
Cammock: Oh, yes. She put stuff up, yeah. And you had that later on in the wintertime. You had too of course, lot of things you wouldn't get. Sometimes you'd get snowed in and you wouldn’ t get out for a week. It was terrible then. Now the winter time is like summer time almost. Now to what it was when we were kids. Oh, it was wicked.
Bond: Did you have chickens? Did you keep chickens?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. I had a bunch of chickens. We raised chickens there. I had a place running along – it must have been 200 yards back -- a great big yard --and all that grass to cut and everything, and I had a big chicken yard way down there and our bathroom was way down in the yard -- you had to go out there.
Bond: Did you have a cow?
Cammock: No, we had no cow. No.
Bond: Did you have any pigs? Any other livestock?
Cammock: I think we had a goat one time -- a nanny goat.
Bond: Did you drink milk?
Cammock: Oh, yes.
Bond: Where did you get the milk?
Cammock: Milkman. And his name was Jim Olney and he lived up at Montchanin.
Bond: Did he come by every day?
Cammock: No, it wasn't every day, but he come down at least twice a week.
Bond: What was considered a luxury? A watch, or fabric for a dress?
Cammock: I don't know any luxury -- ice cream or something, and didn't have much of that, either. Them days, everything was different from what it is today, believe me. You ask me anything I'll answer it correctly and tell you the truth what it is. Because I want you to get things right
Bond: What kind of tobacco did people use then? Chewing tobacco -- smoking tobacco?
Cammock: Oh, that puts me in mind: one time my brother was out -- there was about seven or eight of them together, you know, and one of them had a great big plug of tobacco and they all took a chew.
Bond: How old were they?
Cammock: Oh, they wasn't very old. And he took it and -- boooyy --he got so sick, he vomited. And do you know he never touched it -- didn't smoke either. But I never started. Never smoked in my life.
Bond: Did most people smoke or chew?
- Going into Wilmington; Doctors and medicine; Testing gunpowder; Retiring; Daily life and everyday objects; The pulp keg millKeywords: Breck; Clothes; Doctors; Gun powder; Hats; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Immigration; Ireland; Kegs; Medicine; Pensions; s Lane; Water; Wilmington, Del.Transcript: "No, we didn't know a way in there... the trolley cars didn't come anywhere near us..." "My mother fell down the stairs onetime and broke her ankle..."
- Explosions at Hagley; Women's Clothes; Daily life and everyday objects 2; Relationships between the Irish and Italian workers on the Brandywine; Working at the DuPont Experimental Station; Flooding on the Brandywine; Toys and gamesKeywords: Brandywine Creek; DuPont Experimental Station; Explosions; Flooding; Free Park (Del.: Village); Games; Hagley Yard; Irish Americans; Italian Americans; Locks; Marbles; Toys; Women's clothesTranscript: "Yeah, there was several... did you know about the one that killed 30 or 40 at one time?"
- Newspapers and magazines; Thoughts on the du Pont family; Ghost stories; Tricks and pranks and HalloweenKeywords: du Pont family; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Ghost stories; Halloween; Honey hunts; Newspaper deliveries; Newspapers; Outhouses; PranksTranscript: "They didn't have much of them, but they had newspapers in the evening..."
- Concerns about working in the powder yards; Carrying lunch to the powder yards; Summarizing the interview; Looking at old photographsKeywords: Hagley Yard; Photographs; SafetyTranscript: "No, it's just the thing, it was nothing to them..."