Interview with James Cammock, 1984 July 9 [audio]
- Childhood home layout; Cooking and storing food; Games and leisure; Music; ClothesKeywords: Baking; Clothes; Cooking; Floorplans; Food; Games; Homes; Knitting; MarblesTranscript: Cammock: That's way back. Started to school when I was -- 1901.
Wharry: Well, we're going to talk a little bit here and we're going to test this and then we'll proceed with the interview. How's that?
Cammock: You're the boss. What you say goes.
Wharry: Let me rewind that and see how our voice is coming over. Does that sound all right to you? O.K. All right, James. Did you have an attic in your house?
Wharry: You did. And what was kept up there?
Cammock: Oh, just an extra couple chairs. And a small couch up there.
Wharry: Did anyone sleep up there?
Cammock: No. There wasn't enough, but it was ready if anybody was.
Wharry: It was finished off as a room, was it?
Wharry: And how about in the cellar?
Cammock: We had no cellar.
Wharry: Now, did your mother do any canning? Put up fruits and vegetables?
Cammock: No, and I had a wonderful garden, too. Everything.
Wharry: But, she didn't do any herself?
Cammock: No, I don't think so.
Wharry: Did you have a shed outside, separate from the house?
Wharry: And did you have one attached to the house?
Wharry: Where did you keep your wood?
Cammock: We didn't use wood. Coal.
Wharry: Where did you keep that?
Cammock: We had it in bags and we just stored it close to the house. Keep the one inside that we were using so you wouldn't have too much inside.
Wharry: You kept it so it wouldn't get wet from the rain. Now I think in the last interview you mentioned about Irish stew. What can you tell me about Irish stew? Your mother made.
Cammock: Oh, well, there was everything in it -- potatoes and onions -- everything in one. Different greens --carrots and the greens and all that put in there. We didn't waste nothing in those days. When I started to work, it was six cents an hour. And the best part, worked 54 hours a week, ten hours a day and four on Saturday and it only amounted to three dollars. And I think it would be $174.00 a year that I made.
Wharry: Did you have flour? Did your mother use flour?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. She did her baking.
Wharry: And where did you keep that?
Cammock: Well, she had a tin container she put it in.
Wharry: In the kitchen?
Wharry: And did she keep very much of it at a time?
Cammock: Oh, yes. You'd get about a five-pound bag of it and it would last quite a while.
Wharry: And how about sugar?
Cammock: Yes, the same thing.
Wharry: In a tin can? And how much of that did she get at one time?
Cammock: I couldn't say. I couldn't be accurate on that.
Wharry: Did you have pickles or sauerkraut or any of those things?
Cammock: No, I don't recall that.
Wharry: How about oatmeal?
Cammock: Oh, yes. Oatmeal for breakfast. That was the main thing.
Wharry: And where did your mother keep that?
Cammock: Well, there was a cupboard. She kept it in the cupboard there. Where she kept her dishes.
Wharry: In a container?
Cammock: Yes, in a tin container.
Wharry: Did she buy a lot of that at one time?
Cammock: No, not too much.
Wharry: Just a big box, right?
Wharry: O.K. Now, I'm getting to one of your favorite subjects. About games. In your last interview you told Jim that you used to go up to the tollgate and shoot marbles -- play marbles.
Cammock: Play marbles in the evening, yes. Of course, there was a young fellow there my age and his father was running the place. And I can remember before that man came there was a man by the name of Leonard that run that tollgate and he got out and a man by the name of Charles Eaton came in and so we'd go up in the evening and play marbles up there. Didn't have a lot of light. There was no cars, there were horse and wagons come through then.
Wharry: Did you make your own marbles or did you buy them?
Cammock: We bought them all different colors. The main marble was a bigger one than the others.
Wharry: That was like what we would call an agate today?
Cammock: Yeah, that's right.
Wharry: Now, how about other games? Did you have a bicycle?
Cammock: Oh, yes, I had a bicycle. Used to ride the bicycle. And in the evenings we'd get hoops and roll them down the hill down there at Breck's Lane. Roll them down the hill, and we used to have a thing there and we'd push them along. And then some of them would get rags and put on them and light them and push them down.
Wharry: Did you get the hoops off the barrels?
Cammock: No. I don't know where we bought the hoops.
Wharry: You bought them?
Cammock: Bought them somewhere but I couldn't say where now.
Wharry: Did you play checkers or any of those games?
Cammock: Yes, checkers is one game we did play.
Wharry: And how about playing cards? Did you have card games?
Cammock: Never played cards.
Wharry: And did you have swings for the children?
Cammock: Yes, there were swings.
Wharry: And did you play tag?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, hide-and-go-seek.
Wharry: Run, sheepy, run?
Cammock: Yeah, that was a fun game.
Wharry: And the girls played jacks; that was their big game.
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Grab them up -- yeah –
Wharry: Did they use jacks or did they use stones?
Cammock: No, they used little jacks -- four corners, you know. No, I never seen the stones. Jacks is what I actually seen.
Wharry: Where did they get the jacks?
Cammock: I couldn't answer that. They'd have to get them at a store.
Wharry: And I guess the girls played with dolls.
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Little baby coach. Some of them had little ones they'd push around the baby coach with a little baby.
Wharry: And jump rope?
Cammock: Yeah, jump rope.
Wharry: Did you ever jump rope?
Cammock: No. Just the girls.
Wharry: You were telling me about bocce in the last interview.
Cammock: Well, the Company had their big anniversary, you know. And we went there and the Italian people played bocce. Throw the ball and everything. I was just a young kid then. And we went there. And they've had one since then. I didn't have no invitation to go to that. It would have been the 50-year one since I went there. They didn't let me know about this. And you had a little green tag you put on at the first one I went to. Like little powder kegs, you know, with a string on it and you tied it on you. And the women sang and they danced up there and they had plenty to eat up there in a place called Squirrel Run where they had it -- in the woods, back in Squirrel Run.
Wharry: Speaking of singing, did they have a lot of songs when you were growing up or when you lived in that area?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: What were they popular songs or hymns? Church hymns?
Cammock: They was regular songs.
Wharry: Songs that were popular?
Cammock: Yeah, in those days, yeah.
Wharry: Did you play any instrument?
Cammock: No. No instrument at all.
Wharry: Did any of your friends play instruments?
Cammock: There was one named Wilmer Jones. He used a violin. He was playing all the time. He had to. His father played and he went to church there and he learned to play the thing.
Wharry: Did a lot of the children play instruments?
Cammock: No too much of it -- not then -- no.
Wharry: Did your mother do much knitting?
Cammock: Yes, she did. That's one thing she did do in her spare time.
Wharry: She did all this in the house or did they have groups of women that got together?
Cammock: No, mostly at home.
Wharry: How about baking?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Baked her bread. Oh, yeah.
Wharry: How about cookies? Did she make cookies?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: And did she have a sewing machine?
Cammock: No. No sewing machine.
Wharry: Did it all by hand. How about jewelry for the hair?
Cammock: Oh, no. That was all out.
Wharry: Women didn't do that?
Cammock: No. The women -- the dresses they wore you couldn't even see the shoes. They dragged on the ground in them days. And the men they wore derby hats in those days and I remember when I was a kid I had knickers. You tied them here and I hated to get out of them to get into long pants -- the first pair of long pants I went into.
- Hats and men's clothes; Newspapers and catalogs; Politics and elections; Keeping chickens and a goat; Visiting the powder yard; Working for DuPont; Fishing and Hunting; Funerals; Heating and lightingKeywords: Brandywine Creek; Carney's Point, Nj.; Chickens; Clothes; DuPont Experimental Station; Fishing; Funerals; Gardens; Goats; Hats; Henry Clay (Del.:Village); Oil Lamps; Outhouses; Powder mills; Sears-roebuck Catalog; StovesTranscript: Wharry: Did you have a derby hat?
Cammock: Yes, everybody had one. The men.
Wharry: What age were you when you wore a derby?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know. I guess long years before me. Way back in about 19--
Wharry: No, I mean how old were you when you started?
Cammock: Oh, about 1910 -- about 12 or 15. In that age.
Wharry: Now, you said you delivered newspapers to the du Ponts.
Cammock – Yes. Delivered all the du Ponts around there. And it cost one cent for the paper. The Company would get half-a-cent and you'd get half. And I had a long walk in the evening, too.
Wharry: And how about magazines?
Cammock: No, no magazines.
Wharry: Did you ever have any magazines?
Cammock: No. The most popular book around in those days was Sears-Roebuck catalog. And in the bathroom you had to go clear out a square away almost down the back yard to the bathroom. And then your water -- you had to go out front to the pump out on the main road to get the water out in front of your house there. Pump the handle you pull up and down to get your water then.
Wharry: Did they have a big time during Election time? Do a lot of politicking?
Cammock: No, nothing. Oh, they had a big parade. I lived in Henry Clay down there. Oh, the crowds there. And there was people by the name of Lundy. They had an old, big goat and they would put it in the parade and -- oh – it smelled terrible. Oh, yeah, they'd come out, believe me, then.
Wharry: That was the Democrat goat, was it?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Mostly.
Wharry: And did the politicians come out?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, they would come out and make a speech. And then the big parade.
Wharry: Did they have torch light parades?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: You said you had a garden? Was it a big one?
Cammock: Oh, yes. We had a terrible long yard. Lot of grass to cut. Way back there. Planted tomatoes and lettuce. And that early stuff, you know.
Wharry: All kinds of vegetables.
Cammock: And potatoes.
Wharry: Did you plant more than once during the season?
Wharry: Just one crop?
Wharry: And did you also have flowers?
Cammock: There was a few flowers, but nothing compared to what there is today.
Wharry: Did you have chickens?
Cammock: Yes, we had chickens.
Wharry: Very many chickens?
Cammock: Oh, I'd say from 12 to 15 of them.
Wharry: Got eggs from the chickens?
Cammock: Yes. That's one thing we had. You’ re correct on that.
Wharry: What kind of chickens were they?
Cammock: Red Leghorns or something like that. Different mixture. There wasn't just one kind.
Wharry: And where did you keep them -- in a chicken coop?
Cammock: Yes. They had a little shack way down at the end of the yard there, and we kept them there.
Wharry: Fence around there or did they just run around?
Cammock: Yes. There was a fence. They didn't get out to run everywhere.
Wharry: You said you had a goat at one time, is that right?
Cammock: I believe we did have. That was when I was just a small little kid. Don't know whatever happened to it.
Wharry: What did you use it for? Milk?
Cammock: Oh, yes. Used it for milk.
Wharry: How about rabbits or ducks or any of those things?
Cammock: Rabbits. No.
Wharry: Did you do much fishing or hunting?
Cammock: I used to do a little bit of fishing up on the Brandywine right across from the powder mills there. Caught a lot of sunfish. And another thing. When we were kids, I used to carry lunch to my father up there and I sat I guess 25 or 30 feet away from them big wheels going -- You know how big those tires are on big trucks -- well they were big steel or copper wheels, going around -- and if they ever went off -- you'd be just that close to it. Carrying lunch up there when I was just a kid about 10 or 11 years old. And I remember watching him putting a great big -- When you went in to Hagley, did you see the big gates when you go in down there? I saw them put them up in1903. And there was a man working on there and finally he come to where I was working and we were working at the same place. Ed Bader was his name. You'll probably have something in there about him.
Wharry: Was that at Carney's Point that you worked with him?
Cammock: Yeah. We transferred to Carney's Point. I worked at the Experimental Station. They transferred us in 1931 over there -- 40 some of us. See, they used to bring the powder over from Carney's Point on a truck on the ferry. And then they got a law and you couldn't take cans of powder through the city. And then they built a new place and we moved from the Experimental Station over to Carney's Point.
Wharry: The fish that you caught. Did you ever eat them?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: Cleaned them?
Cammock: Yeah. We caught mostly sunfish.
Wharry: Did you ever do any hunting?
Wharry: How did you celebrate birthdays?
Cammock: No birthday celebrations at all that I know of.
Wharry: How about any of your friends. Did they have birthday parties?
Cammock: Probably some of them would have but they weren't like they are today.
Wharry: How about wakes and funerals?
Cammock: Everybody went to funerals.
Wharry: Did they have a big wake?
Cammock: Yeah. They'd have that.
Wharry: At the house?
Cammock – Yeah. In the house. In them days there wasn't funeral homes like now. Nothing in those days.
Wharry: Did different ethnic groups like the Italians, and Irish -- did they have different traditions and different celebrations?
Cammock: Oh, some of them had it for their own self. They'd have a lot. Everybody in that thing was 50 years ago and they had another anniversary here a few years back. I was at the other one before that. The Italians played bocci and they danced and sang. And then they had a big lunch up in Squirrel Run.
Wharry: What did you have on your windows? Window shades?
Cammock: Yeah. Regular shades.
Wharry: Did your mother make the curtains?
Cammock: I couldn't say that.
Wharry: Did the windows open and close?
Cammock: Yes. Either up and down that was all.
Wharry: Did you have screens in the summer?
Cammock: Oh, you had to have screens.
Wharry: What kind of lighting did you use in the house?
Cammock: Candles and oil lamps. No electricity then. And when you wanted to go to bed at night we used to get a stone that would hold heat and you get a piece of cloth and wrap around it and take it up and put it in the bed. The only heat you had in the house was the kitchen stove. No heat in the house anywhere else at all. Put that in the bed to warm your feet up. Then in the morning you'd come downstairs and open the oven door to get your clothes on because it was cold. I lived out on Breck's Lane. You know where that is. That was right in the open and it was cold there.
Wharry: Did they have any lights outside?
Cammock: No. In town through Wilmington they had these gaslights up. But no electric.
Wharry: Nothing around the Hagley area at all?
Cammock: No. No. In town in each square -- gaslight at each corner.
Wharry: What kind of floors did you have? Were they brick or stone?
Cammock: Wood floors.
Wharry: What was the kitchen stove like? Was it a wood stove, coal stove?
Cammock: It was a big long one where you'd have an oven. You'd open a big door and lids on top of it.
Wharry: What did you burn in there?
Cammock: Coal. It was a coal stove.
Wharry: Where did you keep the -- you didn't use any wood, you just used coal?
Cammock: You had to use just a little wood to get it started. Then you'd take your ashes out and you and you would spread them around -- wouldn't put a big pile of them --you'd spread them around in different places. Any holes you'd fill up with ashes because there was nobody to take away your junk in those days.
Wharry: You didn't have a parlor stove?
Cammock: No. Just the only thing was the kitchen stove. Nothing else in the house at all.
- Weddings and receptions; Household objects; Weather in the early 20th century; Going to school; Playing basketball; Work and wages; Dating and courting ; Sledding in the winterKeywords: Basketball; Boots; Breck's Lane; Coffee; Dating; Furniture; Gloves; Grass; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Immigration; Ireland; Lamps; Mittens; Photographs; Sledding; Snow; Street-Railroads; Umbrellas; Wages; Weddings; WorkTranscript: Wharry: How about weddings and receptions? Do you know of anybody that got married around there?
Cammock: Nothing too much that way.
Wharry: No big celebrations?
Cammock: Nothing like they have nowadays. Go to one, they have a couple hundred people there.
Wharry: Did you tie tin cans on -- they didn't have automobiles, of course.
Cammock: They were just coming out -- automobiles.
Wharry: How about at the front door? Did you have doormats or foot scrapers? To get the mud off your feet?
Cammock: No. You had a thing that you put your umbrellas in. If it would be raining, a little round thing to set it in at the door.
Wharry: And what did you do, take your muddy shoes off before you went in?
Cammock: Well, you'd clean them. There was a rag outside to clean them off with. Outside, hanging out there to do that.
Wharry: How did you dry boots if they got all wet? Hang them up in the sun, or what?
Cammock: Just left them in the sun and they'd dry. And shoes if they got wet.
Wharry: Did you use gloves and mittens in the wintertime?
Cammock – Oh, yes. You had to have because it was cold. The winters weren't like now. Up here we get no snow like we did before. Oh, my, it was up to your head. Even a great big train come down there back of me by Alexis High School -- the snow was that bad -- it went off the track -- couldn't get through there. Had to send for another one to push it through. Oh, we used to get snows -- was terrible. And they'd have to send people out from town to dig the roads out it was that bad. Everything was served. The breadman -- he'd come around in a wagon. And the butcherman came around with a wagon. The beer man came around and he had a wagon like these four great big horses pulling it. You've seen that picture, haven't you? All those kind of things those days.
Wharry: Did you drink tea or coffee?
Cammock – Coffee was about what you drank mostly. I never drank tea in my life. I didn't like it.
Wharry: Where did your mother keep the coffee?
Cammock: In a tin in the cupboard. And the store -- you had to go a mile if you wanted to go to the store, it was that far away. There was no trolley cars then. When I was a kid. They came later. And another thing -- they used to have a horse pull the trolley cars in town. Well, you know where Tower Hill School is. Well I was a kid I guess about 7 or 8 years old. So, I went up there one day and here I seen the thing -- the horse pulling the thing -- and they took the horse out and turned the thing around and put it on the other end and went in. That must have been about 1907 or '08 -- somewhere around there. About 7, or 8, or 9 years old. I was eight years old, I think, when I seen them putting the big gates up there that I told you was put up in 1903. I worked for the man that worked on them.
Wharry: What did you drink in the summertime?
Cammock: Mostly ice water. You'd get ice, you know. The ice man would come around and you'd get that then put it in a big pitcher and have ice water. No soft drinks. When I was a kid, there was nothing when you went to the store, there was nothing in cans. There was no jars. Wrap it up in newspaper and take it out. That's the way it was.
Wharry: Did you drink lemonade or rootbeer?
Cammock: Well, they didn't have hardly any of those things. That all came out later.
Wharry: So, you didn't make any of that at home?
Cammock: Years later we did.
Wharry: Did you have any flowers inside the house?
Cammock: No, I don't recall any inside the house.
Cammock: No, nothing around like that in those days.
Wharry: Did you have a grapevine outside?
Cammock: No. No grapes.
Wharry: You had a porch, didn't you?
Cammock: There was a front porch. On the front when you went out of the house. With a railing on the front and then it was just open and a little piece from there was the pump.
Wharry: Did you have any chairs on the porch?
Cammock: Yes. We had two chairs to sit down on.
Wharry: Regular chairs?
Cammock: Yes. Just regular chairs.
Wharry: And what did you use for cutting your grass?
Cammock: We had a lawnmower but it wasn't like they are today. It was a terrible old -- and I used to cut another woman's grass -- a great, big lawn. And I got rich doing that. Fifteen cents for all -- maybe take an hour or two to cut all that grass -- 15 cents. Oh, you didn't get nothing in those days. And if you had a nickel or a dime, you were rich when we were kids.
Wharry: Did you ever water the vegetables or the flowers? Did you have a hose?
Cammock: No, no hose in them days.
Wharry: Just the rain.
Cammock – Rain. Or else go out in the front where the pump was and get it. If it was dry for a week or so.
Wharry: What did you use, a watering can?
Wharry: Did you have raincoats for the bad weather?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, we had them.
Wharry: Did you wear them to school in the bad weather?
Cammock: See, I didn't have too far to go to school. I lived right back of Alexis I. duPont High School and I went right back over through our yard over the railroad tracks and right into the back so I didn't have far to go to school. I went to Alexis I. duPont High School. You didn't do nothing in that school then. There was nothing to do. Now, everything -- play music and everything. Do you know I know every teacher in there from the day I went in there. I remember every one I had. I guess I was about five years old and Miss Clark was the name of the teacher downstairs. Next, Miss McLaughlin. Then you went up and her sister was up there. And there was two people in the school lived there one month and then was -- Mamie Rumer -- she lived out here at Henry Clay. And the other was Bessie Krause. They were the two. I had another teacher; I really liked her. She was a red-headed woman. Her name was Miss Winters. And the first man -- nobody can hardly remember this -- he name was Arthur Spade. And he wasn't there long and another man came in by the name of Warren Yerger and he was lame. He was still there when I left. See, I had to leave to go to work when I was so young because my father died and just my mother and brother. Because my other brother died when he was ll years old.
Wharry: Your other brother was younger than you, right?
Cammock: Just two years from me. He's 86 and I'm 88.
Wharry: Is that Robert?
Cammock: Yes, that's Robert.
Wharry: Did you tell any funny stories or jokes or anything like that?
Cammock: Anything. We would play a lot of games and things around there.
Wharry: How about, did you have any sayings about the weather like, "Red sky at night?" "Sailor's delight.” Or any others that you remember?
Cammock: Only in the wintertime I told you we had snow. It's tame here. One time when I was a kid, I'd say, "Boy I wish I lived down South where they have warm year round." Now, they're getting what we had here -- storms and snow -- oh, it's changed terrible. And another thing, I got a picture -- you know where the Hagley community house is. Well, we played basketball when we were kids. I was about 16 or 17. And there’ s a picture taken. We had a league, you know. And we had a little banquet when the league was over. And the picture was taken of the crowd that was there and there's a pendant hanging up there showing what year it was -- 1914. That's 70 years. 33 people on it. You know how many's living now? Five. And I played on the basketball team and there were eight of us on there and I'm the only one living -- all younger than me. Everyone gone.
Wharry: And what other teams did you play?
Cammock: Oh, we played Defiance and Bronson from in Wilmington. And West End and all of them and one time we went up and played in Pennsylvania somewhere. Oh, we give them a terrible beating. We went as the second team because the team -- great, big fellows -- he said, "If you're the second team, we'd love to see the first team." They were great big fellows, that first team.
Wharry: You fellows were good, weren't you?
Cammock: Oh, we were good, yeah.
Wharry: At what age did the children start working?
Cammock: Some of them started at 12 and 13.14. I started when I was 14.
Wharry: What did you do with the money?
Cammock: Well, you didn't get any money. That would go to the house. You'd get three dollars a week. That would be around 14 or 15 dollars a month. As I told you, somebody figured it out for me and said about $174 a year. You know that ain't no money. But, you did go to the store. The cars run up to Tower Hill School and I lived on Breck's Lane. And that's a long walk clear up to there. And you go there and you could get a big bag full for $5.00.
Wharry: Did you do any dating our courting or anything like that?
Wharry: You didn't date the girls? How about your friends?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, we went out. About eight or ten of us got together and we'd always take a walk in the evening. And we used to sit up -- that place -- what happened at Eugene duPont's place up there now?
Wharry: On Pennsylvania Avenue?
Cammock: Out here. Just across from Breck's Lane up there. There was a flat wall there then. We used to go up and sit there and watch the cars go by there. We would walk every evening around there.
Wharry: Girls and fellows?
Wharry: Did you ever have any wagons or sleighs?
Cammock: Oh, had plenty of sleighs. And some of these bigger fellows, they had ones that you'd put seven or eight on. You know how steep that Breck's Lane is down there? Oh, they go down there and had to have somebody down at the end to watch it so nobody was coming around. Because they'd get killed. Man, you'd go down there like a streak of lightning. I went down once and that was enough.
Wharry: Did they have sleighs that the horses pulled?
Cammock: That's one thing they had every winter. It would be something new for the children to see something like that now. But, I told you we got so much snow. The sleighs with the bells, jingle, jingle as they come along.
Wharry: Did you ride in them?
Cammock: Yes, I've been in them.
Wharry: Who owned them?
Cammock: Oh, the people -- if you had a horse and wagon them days, you were considered rich. Top class.
Wharry: What did you do about -- did you ever collect rainwater?
Cammock: You'd use that to put on flowers because it's better than regular water.
Wharry: How about toys. Were they homemade or did you buy them at the store?
Cammock: Well, there wasn't too many toys around them days. There was some, but nothing like –
Wharry: Did your mother have china or fancy furniture or anything like that?
Cammock: No, nothing those days.
Wharry: Nothing that your folks brought over from Ireland?
Cammock: Oh, I got a lamp that they brought over from Ireland and it's over 100 years old. I still got that.
Wharry: That's quite a treasure.
Cammock: It is. It's pretty.
Wharry: Did the people bring a lot of things with them?
Cammock: I wouldn't know.
- Fishing; Fire in Henry Clay; Visiting local amusement parks; Taking an airplane ride in 1933; Getting milk; Chickens and eggs; Taverns; Celebrating the Fourth of July; Blue Laws; Tobacco useKeywords: Airplanes; Blakeley's tavern; Blue Laws; Brandywine Creek; Brandywine Springs; Cars; Celebrations; Chickens; Dougherty's tavern; Eels; Eggs; Fire; Fireworks; Fishing; Fourth of July; Henry Clay (Del. : Village); Ice boxes; Milk; Montchanin, Del.; Sam Frizzell's store; Shellpot Park; Tobacco; Wilmington, Del.Transcript: Wharry: Did you ever catch any eels?
Cammock: Yes. I went fishing with my brother one time. You know, there's a little bridge as you go into Hagley house. We'd sit on there -- in the water right there on that little bridge. My brother was fishing with me. He got a bite and he pulled it and there was a great big eel that long and they had to pick up a stick and hit and it broke off and went down in the water again. Oh, it was a big one. And it was going to twist the line all up. There was a lot of eels in those days.
Wharry: What did they do with them? Did they eat them?
Cammock: I never did, they'd give them to somebody. But, I never ate them.
Wharry: Did they have a smokehouse where they kept the meats?
Cammock: Nothing like that. And another thing I remember. I was up at Rockford Park on a Saturday afternoon. And on my way down after the game was over, I could see smoke coming up and I hurried on down and at the bottom of Breck's Lane. Well, you know, Hagley house was here. Well, there's a big laboratory building over here alongside, you know, and it was on fire and you have to run away because it had samples of powder and it would explode. And after that, they moved down to the Experimental Station.
Wharry: Do you remember what year that was?
Cammock: I couldn't tell you what year that was. And I remember Sam Frizzell had a store as I told you right where you'd go into Hagley -- right straight across there and it burned down.
Wharry: Burn it all the way down to the ground?
Cammock: Yeah. And going up the Brandywine from the Hagley House up to the gates -- the big gate -- the water was that high -- I mean the bank was just that high over the water and when the water came, it would come all over into the houses there. And when I was a kid, they built a big stone wall and now you see what's there.
Wharry: Did you have any picnics?
Cammock: No. Only that one with the Company that time -- 50 years ago. Didn't have much. I went to a place – Brandywine Springs. The buses were running then -- the trolley cars -- and they'd come down and went out that way and went there. And later on you'd go out Market Street to the other place called Shellpot.
Wharry: Out near where Sears is?
Cammock: That's right were Sears is at. And one time I won about half-a-dozen dolls in one day.
Wharry: What did you do with them?
Cammock: Oh, all the girls around there wanted them. Gave them all to them. In 1933 Elsmere had a carnival down there. And I went there. They were giving seven cars away -- one each night. Well, I won the third car. And when I got the car, I couldn't run it. I had a car before that. It was a Ford Model T. You worked it with your hand. Well, this was one that you had to change gears. Well, I never changed gears so I had to get my brother to haul it home for me. I got rid of the other and got it. I can get that paper and show you where I won the third car.
Wharry: Was it a new car?
Cammock: Oh, a brand new one. Each night. And another thing that happened. When I was a kid there used to be a place at New Castle -- where the airplanes went up from.
Wharry: Near the airport?
Cammock: Down at New Castle. Well, I was a young fellow there. And in 1933, it cost me three dollars and I got on that plane and went in there and they took you up and flew over Wilmington about 10 or 15 minutes and you know I've never been on a plane since then. Didn't have no parachutes. Old shakey thing. I kept looking out. And the other party with me, she was scared to death. And I got a little card to show that. I've never been on one of them since. And that was 1933 that I went up.
Wharry: Did you ever see any airplanes when you were young, flying over?
Cammock: Oh, they were scarce things. That was way back in 1933. I was young then. Very few then.
Wharry: Did you ever go out to Holly Island?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, yeah. Holly Island. That's right across from the powder mills. Yeah.
Wharry: What did you do out there?
Cammock: That's a good place to go to fish out there.
Wharry: Did you ever go there for picnics?
Cammock: I heard somebody say that they had picnics there, but I never went to any of them. But when we went there, we went for fishing.
Wharry: Good fishing in those days.
Cammock – Oh, a lot of bass and sunfish.
Wharry: Where did you get the milk that you used?
Cammock: Well, there was a milkman came around and he lived at Montchanin. There was a man by the name of Jim and he came around with a milk truck and we'd get milk from him.
Wharry: How did you store the milk?
Cammock: Keep it in a refrigerator. I don't know what kind -- it was so long ago.
Wharry: Was it an ice box?
Cammock: Yeah. Ice box. You had to lift the lid and put the ice in alongside it.
Wharry: How about butter? Did you have butter?
Cammock: I don't remember that too well.
Wharry: Where did you get the ice for this ice box?
Cammock: Ice man came around.
Wharry: Did he come every other day?
Cammock: No, about once a week.
Wharry: Your eggs you got from the chickens?
Cammock: From the chickens, yeah. 12 or 15 chickens.
Wharry: Were they brown eggs or white eggs?
Cammock: I guess they were every kind.
Wharry: Were they good size?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: And where did you keep them? How did you store them?
Cammock: Oh, they put them in the refrigerator or in the cupboard. They wouldn't stay around very long because that's one thing you'd have every morning for breakfast. And oatmeal.
Wharry: How about liquor? There were barrooms, taverns, or taprooms? Where they sold beer and whiskey?
Cammock: Oh, we had plenty of them. One up there – Lawless had one up where Church Street is. And right down Henry Clay there was one there. Pat Daugherty had it. And then somebody else took it over. And then you went over to Rising Sun Lane where that bridge is. There was one just on the other side of that by name of Jeff Blakeley. And then you went up to the top of Rising Sun Lane -- that's where the trolley cars came in up close there -- another man had that one but I don't know what his name was. Oh, there was plenty of them around. But they didn't bother me because I didn't drink. This was 4th of July that went by, didn't it? You wouldn't know it was 4th of July. When we were kids they started a month ahead -- and firecrackers going off. Oh, it was terrible. And I lived up there and Henry Clay -- young kids -- and we come down and there was a store there and we'd buy -- you'd get them for a penny -- a box -- and we lined the car tracks with them and -- oh -- they'd go off. You'd think there was a war going on. And then when the thing was over, the store man would give us candles and we'd go out at night. Roman candles. You know how they go up. Shooting at each other, hiding back of cars and poles. Did you ever talk to Ed Devenney?
Wharry: No. I think Jim Bond talked to him.
Cammock: He's one year younger than me. He’ s not in very good shape. We were kids together. And you ought to see the pictures we got in 1916 and 1917. And all these pictures I got and almost everybody is gone. We went up there and I wanted to show him and he couldn't see. He learned his trade in the machine shop.
Wharry: You went up to Hagley with him, didn't you?
Cammock – Oh, yeah. I never went up that far in my life. I never saw it before. I was surprised. I'd love to take that trip again.
Wharry: Well, we'll try to arrange that sometime.
Cammock: And it was so pretty with the trees out and everything. Beautiful. I was amazed.
Wharry: Where did you get these firecrackers.
Cammock: The store. Every store had them.
Wharry: You bought them then?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: I think the last time you talked about balloons. Were they made of paper?
Cammock: They were paper, red, white and blue, you know.
Wharry: You put a candle inside them?
Cammock: I think something like asbestos or something. And when that would die out, it would fall down.
Wharry: What kind of light was it, candle light?
Cammock: I'm not sure what kind. But we were always glad -- See, I lived on Breck's Lane. We was hoping when the wind would come that day the wind would blow them. See, they put a lot of them up in the city. And by the time they come out to our place, they were dying down and we'd run and get them.
Wharry: How big were they?
Cammock: Different sizes, but they weren't too big. Just about that size. Small ones.
Wharry: Couple of feet in diameter?
Cammock: Yeah. Not too big. But, oh, they were something. You knew it was 4th of July, I'm not kidding you. But now there's nothing to it. And another thing --the Blue Laws.
Wharry: Sunday Blue Laws?
Cammock: You couldn't do any carpenter work outside. You couldn't wash no clothes. And we went up -- over to Alexis I. High School to play ball on Sunday. We'd get started. Here would come the police out of town -- Stop -- You can't play ball on Sunday. We said, "They're playing golf down there." "That's different," he said. You couldn't do that or anything. No stores open on Sunday. And there was no police out where we lived in them days. They had to come from Wilmington.
Wharry: Did you do much visiting of friends in the neighborhood?
Cammock: Not too much.
Wharry: How about gambling?
Cammock: No. Any gambling you'd ever see you'd just go to the corner and they didn't have much of anything then. The Blue Laws you didn't have anything. Couldn't have wheels or nothing then. You'd just buy a chance on sugar or something like that, you know.
Wharry: Like you did on your automobile?
Cammock: Yeah, I spent 75 cents that night and got a five-pound bag of sugar and an automobile. When I got it, I couldn't drive it because I had a Model-T. You worked the handle, you know. This was gear shift. My brother he could drive it so he took it home for me. And then I had to learn over.
Wharry: Did women or kids ever play bocce, or just the men?
Cammock: Mostly all these men. I never seen women play or kids, either. Always men.
Wharry: How about smoking or chewing tobacco?
Cammock: Oh, all of them chewed and smoked. The majority of them did. You know, I've never smoked in my life. Got my own teeth. You can't get them out.
Wharry: That's wonderful. You never chewed tobacco or anything like that?
Cammock: Never chewed tobacco; never started to smoke. Never smoked in my life.
Wharry: Did they have cuspidors in the different stores and --? Did they ever miss?
Cammock: Oh, they missed. Sometimes they'd have a contest on that, too.
Wharry: See who could get the most in the cuspidor?
Cammock: Yeah, they hit the thing.
Wharry: The old spittoon.
Cammock: Yeah, spittoon is what they called them. They were the good old days.
- Carrying lunch; Shoes; Watches; Saving money; Celebrating holidays; Sunday routine; World War I; Stoves; Sickness; Getting catalog orders delivered; Household objects 2Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Bathing; Beds; Bicycles; Blankets; Blue Laws; Chicken pox; Cooking; Dogs; Easter; Fourth of July; Furniture; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Halloween; Laundry; Lunch; Mumps; Pets; Pocketwatches; School; Sears-Roebuck Catalogs; Shoes; Stoves; Sunday; Thanksgiving; Work; World War (1914-1918)Transcript: Wharry: Did you carry a lunchbox to school? Or to work?
Cammock: No, because the school -- We had about 15 – They didn't have nothing -- see, we learned our trades in school and we went there and there was nothing. You went there and come out and run around for about 15 minutes. The only thing there was they played ball among themselves but there was no leagues, no football no nothing. Just bat the ball around. There was nothing.
Wharry: What kind of shoes did you wear -- dress shoes or work shoes?
Cammock: Oh, no, button shoes.
Wharry: High button shoes.
Cammock: Oh, wasn't they something.
Wharry: Did the women wear the same?
Cammock: I imagine they did. You had to get a hook to hook them on.
Wharry: How about clocks or watches?
Cammock: No, nothing at all.
Wharry: What kind did they use when they used a watch?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know.
Wharry: A pocket watch?
Cammock: Oh, yes, a pocket watch -- you put it in with a chain. That's what I had. Several of them.
Wharry: A watch pocket?
Cammock: Yeah, little pocket right here. Waltham watch.
Wharry: How about saving money? Did you have a bank where you could put your money?
Cammock: 0h, nothing in them days. Only when we went to the Hagley Community House down there, we went in and they started to let you save your money if you give so much each time and they'd give you a little card and marked it on it and then you got so much. That's the only thing you saved in them days, you know.
Wharry: They paid you interest, did they?
Cammock: No, no interest.
Wharry: How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?
Cammock: Oh, we always had turkey or chicken or ham. Always had that on Thanksgiving.
Wharry: And how about 4th of July?
Cammock: No, nothing then.
Wharry: Parades and all that?
Cammock: Oh, they had everything. They had parades on Halloween. They had everything then, but they don't have nothing no more.
Wharry: Did you have big picnics on the 4th of July? Did churches have them?
Cammock – Some of them did, but we were out in the country, out of the way of most of the places.
Wharry: How about Easter?
Cammock: Nothing to talk about.
Wharry: Were there any other holidays they made a big thing of?
Cammock: No, not that I can recall.
Wharry: And what did you do on Sunday?
Cammock: Went to Sunday School.
Wharry: What did you do in the afternoon?
Cammock: There wasn't much of anything to do then because you couldn't.
Wharry: You could play games, couldn't you?
Cammock: You couldn't do much of anything because of the Blue Laws.
Wharry: But you did play games, didn't you?
Cammock: Oh, we could play ball between us -- just three or four pick up sides and play. In the yard. Had a big yard.
Wharry: Did you have any pets?
Cammock: Always had a dog.
Cammock: Had two years over there. Took us 14 days and nights to go over to Liverpool, England. They was afraid of the submarines. Left Hoboken and they put us all down underneath so they wouldn't be seen taking soldiers over. Fourteen great big boats went over with us and one was a big German ship and it was faster than the rest as a Scout, you know. And when we went over to about three days from Ireland and England, big planes come over and little subs chased everything and come over to protect us. And it took 14 days and nights to just go to Liverpool, England. And when I come back, I come back on a German ship named Kaiser Wilhelm, II. And Americans named it S. S. Agamemnon. And we come back in seven days. I left France. See, it was in New York and they captured it. It was there when the war started. And we took it over.
Wharry: Did you just have the one stove -- the one in the kitchen? You didn't have any other stoves?
Cammock: Nothing at all. That's the only one.
Wharry: Cooked everything there?
Wharry: Did you ever make popcorn?
Cammock: Oh, yes, we done that. It would fly over everything. It wasn't sweet or anything like it is nowadays.
Wharry: Well, you didn't put anything on it.
Cammock: They didn't have it probably then. Had trouble getting anything then.
Wharry: Did your mother do any crocheting or like that?
Cammock: Yes, she knit a little bit. Make a pair of gloves or something.
Wharry: Did they spray anything in the house to kill the odors from cooking?
Cammock: No -- open the windows or door.
Wharry: Did you ever make wine or beer at home?
Wharry: Root beer?
Cammock: Oh, they'd have root beer, but there wasn't much of anything in those days because you had to go way to the store. I was pretty old when the first trolleys came out. Had no telephones. And I told you about the good service we had from the hospitals, didn't I? You had no ambulance, or nothing. You had to call from the grocery and they'd take you to the hospital and bring you back.
Wharry: They didn't keep you there long?
Cammock: Oh, they'd just keep you to fix you up. The doctors they all come around to your house in those days.
Wharry: The people that bought beer and wine -- could you buy it in the taprooms and taverns?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know, I never bothered.
Wharry: So, you don't know whether any of your friends could buy it.
Cammock: Well, there wasn't much fooling around with it then. Not much of that.
Wharry: Did the people get together and have card parties or sewing bees or -- ?
Cammock: Maybe the women did. I never played no cards.
Wharry: Did you have any problems with crime in your neighborhood?
Cammock: No. You could go away and leave your doors open. Your windows open. Day and night. And nobody. And if you'd happen to see somebody on the road or anything, you'd pick them up and fix them up.
Wharry: How about -- did you ever hear much about tuberculosis, or consumption?
Cammock: No. There was so little talk about it. That was the main disease in those days. I don't know whether I had chicken pox or not, but I can remember having the mumps. And one side was swelled up there and it got fat. And put a thing over your head and tie it around. But the other side. But I can't remember ever having the measles.
Wharry: You said you had a bicycle. Did you buy it?
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: Did you go in town to get it?
Cammock: You had to. There was nowhere else you could get it. And if you wanted anything from Sears-Roebuck, you had to send to Chicago for it. There was nothing around here.
Wharry: How long would it take to be delivered?
Cammock: Oh, I guess, probably two weeks or more. No mail delivery or anything at all. You'd go get your mail at the post office. And the post office was a mile away from where we lived. Down Henry Clay and we lived way up Breck's Lane.
Wharry: What did you have in the kitchen outside the stove and table and chairs, and pots and pans?
Cammock: Oh, we had a rug on the floor. Had to because it would be so cold on your feet.
Wharry: Was it a handmade rug?
Cammock: I can't answer that.
Wharry: Did you have a living room or parlor?
Cammock: Yes, there was a parlor.
Wharry: What did you have in there?
Cammock: A table, I know, in the middle. With a couple ornaments on it and I think a lamp on it. We had to use oil lamps in those days. Coal oil lamps or candles. And it was best to have both of them in there. And your water, you had to go outside to the pump to get water. And if you wanted to get a bath, you had to get a big tub and you'd get a bath about once a week. And the women, they used washboards. Scrub with that.
Wharry: What did you have in the bedrooms, like the kids' room and the parents' room?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know. Just chairs. And a little desk in there and a bed.
Wharry: And a place for the clothes, like a bureau?
Cammock: Two closets. That was one thing they did have. Closets to put them in.
Wharry: I guess some of the people kept boarders, didn't they?
Cammock: Some of them did. We never had no boarders.
Wharry: Where did they usually deep?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know where they would sleep because they were at other people's places. I wouldn't know about that at all.
Wharry: How about if you had to have any repairs on your house, who did it?
Cammock: Well, the people that owned it. A man by the name of Winder Laird owned it. He was the one that owned the house on Breck's Land so he'd have to take care of that.
Wharry: Did you do any wallpapering yourself, or any painting?
- First Car; Spending money and picnics; Swimming in the Brandywine Creek; Paying rent; Weekly routine; Sports and games; Getting rid of garbage; Meals and getting groceriesKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Barbers; Baseball; Basketball; Bathing; Brandywine Creek; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; DuPont Experimental Station; Ford Model T; Garbage; Groceries; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Haircuts; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1878-1927; Meals; Socks; Sports; Swimming; TrapshootingTranscript: Wharry: How about darning socks? Who darned the socks?
Cammock: Mother would, if anybody did.
Wharry: How about dancing?
Cammock: Never danced.
Wharry: What was the first automobile that you owned?
Wharry: What year was that?
Cammock: 1917. No, I'm wrong. 1920 and I paid $777.00 for a new car.
Wharry: Were you still living on Breck's Lane then?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, I was living on Breck's Lane. You could pay so much down. I just started to work. See, I started in 1911 to go to work so by then I could have enough money to get one and not put much money down.
Wharry: Did many people have automobiles?
Cammock – No. Very few. And another thing. The first car I ever seen. Alfred I. when he lived on Breck's Lane below me and he had a great big house down there. And his wife had a little car -- a little electric thing with a big handle on it and you'd pull it. That was the first automobile I ever seen. Alfred I. duPont had it.
Wharry: Did you ever have an allowance? Did your mother ever give you money to spend when you were a kid?
Cammock: After I got a little older, we went in to Wilmington and we'd go to Dockstetter's -- we called it then. Theatre. And you'd go up there and spend a dime to get up to Peanut Heaven, they called it. Everybody would buy peanuts and the peanut shells on the floor. And outside was a candy man standing there -- with an all-white suit on -- and a little tray in front and have a piece of candy that big on there and some bags. And he'd have a little hammer -- like a silver hammer -- and he'd break it off and you'd buy it five or ten cents a bag. In front of the theatre.
Wharry: Did you ever go on any vacations?
Cammock: No such thing known as a vacation in them days.
Wharry: Did you ever go on any outings outside the Brandywine area? Picnics.
Cammock: No. Another thing I remember. See, I went to Alexis I. du Pont School. And this is something they're not doing today. Every year you'd graduate at the end of the year when they closed up for vacation. Some of the du Ponts -- I don't know which one it was. Always gave ice cream and cake. And you know you had a full bunch that day -- some you hadn't seen there for a while. I don't know when they cut it out. The last day of school.
Wharry: Did anyone that you know of take music lessons?
Cammock: Only that Wilmer Jones. He learned that from his father. He played at church.
Wharry: And where did you do your bathing, in the Brandywine?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Right there in back of Hagley. There's a woolen mill on the other side -- Hodgson's Mill. We'd go in swimming there and up a little farther there's a place they called it Minnie and we'd go swimming there. And below the bridge there, there's a place they called Indian -- oh, that was deep there -- close to the Experimental Station.
Wharry: Did you ever take a bar of soap with you?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Then you wouldn't have to use the bath tub at home.
Wharry: Did you have a tub in the house or did you have a big pan like?
Cammock: Had a tub like they washed the clothes in -- a big, round tub.
Wharry: Big washtub.
Cammock: Yeah. Heat the water on the stove and get your bath that way.
Wharry: The old Saturday night bath. How about laundry? Your mother did all that, I guess.
Cammock: Oh, yeah.
Wharry: How about haircuts? What can you tell me about them? Where did you get your hair cut?
Cammock: Well, people told you to put a bowl on your head and cut around them.
Wharry: Did you ever do that?
Cammock: No. You'd get somebody -- your mother or somebody to clip it off. They didn't have barbers. But they finally had a barber down there at Henry Clay. His name was John Connelly. Later on we had a barbershop there.
Wharry: Did you ever go camping overnight? With any of your friends?
Cammock: No. Never did.
Wharry: Amusement parks. You mentioned Shellpot Park.
Cammock: Oh, yeah. On Sundays you'd go out there. And out to the Brandywine Springs.
Wharry: How about beaches? Did you ever go to the beach?
Cammock: No. We didn't get anywhere. Didn't have no car.
Wharry: How about the circus -- did you ever go to the circus?
Cammock: I think I went twice. I was just a young fellow and they took me.
Wharry: Do you remember where it was -- the circus grounds?
Cammock: I just couldn't say.
Wharry: Were the houses rented from du Pont and you had to pay them rent?
Cammock: Laird there on Breck's Lane. Winder Laird.
Wharry: Were there many bad floods that you remember along the Brandywine?
Cammock: Down on the Brandywine it got pretty high and it would always flood up and go over into the thing. Into the houses on the other side and that's built the stone wall along there. When I knew it, it was just a bank about that high over the water and it didn't take much for it to go over there.
Wharry: Did your mother use some kind of schedule – like Monday she washed and Tuesday she ironed?
Cammock – I guess they did. I can't say anything about that.
Wharry: Where was the firehouse? Did they have a firehouse around?
Cammock: No such thing as a firehouse.
Wharry: Just the old bucket brigade?
Cammock: That's probably it.
Wharry: Did you have a fireplace in your house?
Wharry: What was your favorite game or your favorite toy?
Cammock: Well, on Saturday we played baseball. That was our favorite game. And then basketball. That was most favorite. We could play down at Hagley Community House. We played there pretty young then because that picture was taken in 1914. If you had come to the house, I could show you a picture of Rockland Bridge. It used to be a covered bridge, too. And on that picture I got Rockland Bridge and it tells you the date the old one was there and when the new one was put in and everything. And the one at the Experimental Station that was a covered bridge when we were kids, too.
Wharry: Maybe sometime we can arrange to have somebody from the Museum see some of these.
Cammock: I can bring them in sometime and show them that one with '33 on with the five that's on there and the basketball team.
Wharry: Any pictures or anything that you have would be great.
Cammock: And I could show you another picture that was taken down at the Experimental Station in 1920 I think where all the best trap shooters – Did you ever hear of German, the great trapshooter?
Cammock: All them great shooters all over the whole country. They tested du Pont powder in the shells. And they had a meeting down at the Experimental Station and they all came there and I got a picture of that and it's 1920. And I guess there must be 50, or 60 or 70 on there and I bet you today out of that there wouldn't be 10 living on it. I got that picture and the dates on there. I'm sitting in the front row and three other fellows from the same place I worked -- they're on there but every one of them is gone. Our boss on there, he's gone. You'd be surprised. And I could show you the basketball team with a bunch on it -- that's 70 years ago on that.
Wharry: Did you have any games you played in the house?
Wharry: How about when a child was born, did a doctor came or did women come?
Cammock: They only had women.
Wharry: What did you use when you were sick? Did you have medicine from the doctor?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. Whatever he give you.
Wharry: How about if you just had a bad cold? Would your mother give you something?
Cammock: You'd have a bottle of some kind of cough medicine.
Wharry: Where did you throw the garbage? The trash?
Cammock: Oh, you had to burn most of it. It was burnable stuff.
Wharry: How about off the table -- food that you wanted to get rid of?
Cammock: Throw that out for the birds. There wouldn't be much left.
Wharry: How about cleaning the outhouses. How did you do that or who did it?
Cammock: Oh, we had somebody that would do that. Come and do that.
Wharry: You didn't have to do it yourself?
Cammock: Oh, no. You couldn't. A big, regular outhose way down.
Wharry: Did you have to pay these people to come?
Cammock – I guess the people who owned the place paid them.
Wharry: When you bought something like furniture, who decided what you would get, your mother?
Cammock: I don't know nothing about that at all.
Wharry: What kind of meals did you usually eat? Like breakfast you had what -- eggs?
Cammock: Yeah. Cereal. Oatmeal. Mostly it was that. Milk was put on that. But nothing you could get in cans or jars or nothing.
Wharry: And how about supper, what would you have?
Cammock: Probably have ham and cabbage. Something like that. Potato you break down.
Wharry: You say you had people that came around and sold meat. And other people came around and sold milk and bread.
Cammock: Yeah, they came around in horse and wagon. No automobiles.
Wharry: They came with a horse and wagon. How often did they come?
Cammock: About once a week.
- Laundry; Activities at Breck's Mill; Taking care of the garden; Trapping rats and mice; Childhood friends; Being driven around HagleyKeywords: Basketball; Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School; Chickens; Clothes; Dances; Gardens; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Hagley Museum and Library; Irons (Pressing); Laundry; Mice; Pests; Potatoes; Rats; Soap; Squirrel Run (Del.: Village); TomatoesTranscript: Wharry: Where would your mother dry the clothes after she washed them?
Cammock: Out in the yard there. From a pole to a tree.
Wharry: A rope or a wire clothesline?
Wharry: Did she have pulleys?
Cammock: No. The rope would stay there.
Wharry: Did you ever make cider at home? Apple cider?
Wharry: Did you have a wringer for the washtub?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. A wringer to squeeze the water out of it.
Wharry: And did she have a big boiler to heat the water before she did the wash or did she heat it on the stove?
Cammock: Oh, she had to heat it on the stove. And the iron -- oh, my -- heavy. Oh, you pick them up. No wonder people wouldn't want to iron clothes with them big heavy things. Oh, they were heavy.
Wharry: How did you empty your washtubs? How did you get the water out of it? Where did you throw it?
Cammock: Take it out and dump it outside. Didn't have no sinks.
Wharry: Away from the house?
Wharry: How about soap? Did you buy or in the store or did you make your own soap?
Cammock: You had to buy it.
Wharry: You told me you played basketball at Breck's Mill Community House. What other activities did they have down there? What other things were going on down there?
Cammock: Oh, they had dances every weekend.
Wharry: Did you ever go to the dances?
Wharry: Did they have any games or anything like singing?
Cammock: Oh, I guess they did, but I never attended.
Wharry: Your big thing was basketball there.
Cammock: That was the main thing, yes.
Wharry: Do you remember any nursery rhymes when you were little -- your mother teaching you? Mother Goose? Old Mother Hubbard?
Cammock: That was the thing them days.
Wharry: Did you have many books in your house?
Cammock: No. Scarce articles.
Wharry: Were there any boats that went up and down the Brandywine?
Cammock: No. Just little flat boats. People owned them would go out fishing in their little flat boats.
Wharry: No little canoes?
Cammock: Some might have later on as time advanced they would have them.
Wharry: Did you use any kind of fertilizer in your garden? Manure or anything like that?
Cammock: No. The ground was good ground. The stuff grew good.
Wharry: And you say you had to carry the water from the pump. During the dry –
Cammock: Yeah. From the pump right outside the house. Right in between this house and the next. It was a double house and the pump was right in between. Outside.
Wharry: And you only planted one crop.
Cammock: Oh, yeah. It kept coming along. And when it was done, it was done.
Wharry: What did you do if you got bad insect bites or beestings or anything like that? How did you treat them?
Cammock: They had something they put on them. I don't know what they had. I'd get stung once in a while and forget about it and it would go away.
Wharry: Did you ever use a scarecrow in your garden to keep he birds away?
Wharry: Where did you get your seeds for your garden? Did you buy them?
Cammock: Oh, yes, you had to buy them. You'd buy potatoes and then you'd cut them out -- the eyes on them and slice them. Every eye you'd plant would come up.
Wharry: Now, did you start these in the house before planting season or did you wait until it was time in the spring to put them in the ground? Did you ever start them inside the house in the wintertime?
Wharry: Early spring?
Wharry: How big would you say your garden was -- how long, how wide?
Cammock: Oh, it would be about 25 or 30 yards. It was a big one. We had plenty of ground there. Too much. We had grass to cut.
Wharry: What kind of vegetables did you plant?
Cammock: Planted potatoes, lettuce, onions. Don't think we had carrots. Tomatoes. No cucumbers. No asparagus.
Wharry: Did you have a manure pile around or a compost pile?
Wharry: Was most of the area in, your garden for potatoes? Did you use most of the space to plant potatoes?
Cammock: No. Tomatoes. She probably did put them up but I can't say for sure. I imagine she put some things up in jars because it was hard to get stuff in the wintertime. Sometimes you didn't get out over a week or longer. We got it those days.
Wharry: Did you ever plant any flowers out around the outhouses? To make it -- ?
Cammock: No. It was way down in the yard.
Wharry: Did you ever pick dandelion greens?
Cammock: Yes. You'd take them and put vinegar and salt on them and have something good.
Wharry: What did you do, boil them?
Cammock: Oh, yes. And -- no they didn't. I think they'd just take them the way they were and wash them good and clean and put vinegar and salt on them and they were good. You know when they're tender.
Wharry: Did you ever have any relatives visit you or live with you?
Wharry: You say you used to deliver papers at the duPonts so I guess you visited their houses and you knew them pretty well and they knew you pretty well.
Cammock: Oh, then, but they're all dead now.
Wharry: I mean when you were doing this they knew you pretty well.
Cammock: Oh, yes. They'd give you a nice present at Christmastime. Up here there was Eugene duPont there. And down farther by the golf course was Eugene E. Right up from me was Felix duPont. And then there was Irenee duPont, W. K. duPont, Charlie Copeland, Winder Laird. I knew them all. I knew everybody around.
Wharry: What did they do about removing snow in the wintertime?
Cammock: Oh, people had to come out of town to take it off the roads and all.
Wharry: They did have snowplows, did they?
Cammock – No. There was no snowplows. Nothing. Man would come out with his shovel and shovel it out. That was it.
Wharry: Did you ever have any problem with rats or mice around your house?
Cammock: Well, I guess they did on account of having chickens. You had to be careful. You had to put something around.
Wharry: What did they put around?
Cammock: They put a trap and set it outside where you'd think they'd be before they'd get in the place.
Wharry: Did you ever have a cat to catch the rats?
Cammock: No. One time I had a little bandy and it had four or five or six little bandies under it, you know. Had it in the coop with the wire on it. So, I went out that night and I come home about 10 o'clock and I liked them. I had a flashlight and went over and looked at them and what did I see in there? A great, big rat. Right in there with them. It must have dug a hole in the bottom. So, I went in and told my brother about it and he got a revolver and he come out and shot it and killed it. But it didn't get them. Right up to the board, right up into there. A good thing I caught it or the bandies would have been killed in the morning. Good thing I went over and looked at it.
Wharry: How about flies or mosquitoes in the house?
Cammock: Oh, boy, you had to bang them all the time.
Wharry: With a fly swatter or newspaper?
Cammock: Yea. Lot of them. They were thick then. The more rain, the worse they were.
Wharry: Who would you say was your best friend when you were young when you were growing up?
Cammock: Ed Devenney. Did you see that picture taken up at Hagley with us?
Wharry: No. I heard the tape when the four of you were together.
Cammock: Well, you get the picture up at Hagley. And Ed Devenney and I -- we were buddies. Every Sunday we went out and took pictures. He's in bad shape now. He's one year younger than me. And they took him up to the old machine shop to show it to him. It shut down in '85 and they moved in to the other one -- that brand new one down there. Do you remember the little Hagley house up there? A man by name of Carpenter run it. I carried mail up there. And another place when I took that bus trip, they took me up to -- what's this place up there -- I forget now. But when I went up, there wasn't a house standing in the place. Everything was tore completely out. What do they call that? It changed entirely. I used to carry mail.
Wharry: Squirrel Run?
Cammock: No, not Squirrel Run.
Wharry: Was it further up?
Cammock: Yes. He took us up in the bus and he couldn't get through.
Wharry: Did you go up by the Sunday School – - the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School? Remember that?
- The Gibbons house and Free Park; Explosions at DuPont Experimental Station; Underwear; Fraternal organizations; Household objects 3; Mother's baking; Interest in baseball; Tools in the shed; Homemade roller coaster; Visiting the powder mills; Breck's Mill basketball teamKeywords: Baking; Baseball; Basketball; DuPont Experimental Station; Explosions; Fans; Free Park (Del.: Village); Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Improved Order of Red Men; Lamps; Lancaster Red Roses; Roller coasters; Safety; Tools; Trunks; Underwear; Wages; Wilmington Blue Rocks; WorkTranscript: Wharry: How about the Gibbons house. Remember that? Remember Free Park or Flea Park?
Cammock: That's what I was telling you about. Free Park. That's the one. Free Park and Flea Park. Well, I was surprised. Went up there. Here we wanted to see it. Nothing at all. Nothing there but old trees and all. That was all houses along there when I was a kid. And the big house up just a little bit from where the office was a man by name of Frank Connable lived in there. Ever hear tell of that? I carried mail up to him. Keg house. Had a keg house in there. I used to carry mail and a man by the name of Stowe was the one that was there. And carried mail to the Hall of Records. And Annie Allen was the head of that. Ever hear tell of her? I knew them all. Down at the Experimental Station I worked down there. And another thing we did when I worked down there -- see they had magazines where they kept their powder and samples and everything in there. So, one day -- I don't know why. But they figured well, somebody might go up in that tower and shoot down there and hit a keg and it would blow up. So, we got kegs of powder and went out about 200 yards back and got a gun and fired and 0-0-0-0. So it wasn't long then and everything was put up steel. And put the kegs in there. And I was up there when that explosion come and killed all those people. I worked the Experimental and I was way upon the hill there waiting and there was a little bottles sitting on the shelf and you know it shook them all. And I run outside and I could see all this stuff coming down -- all kind of roof and everything. And another thing, the powder mills was fixed up there when the explosion come, they had them fixed there when the explosion come that it would flow up and take it off.
Wharry: So the roof would blow off.
Cammock – I set that close -- 25 or 30 feet from it. You had to use steel. It had to be copper or brass because if you used other things, it would set fire. And if that happened, it would be gone. I got all through there. This trip they took me up there. Oh, the dam I never seen before. I don't know what they call that and away up there, you know. See, there's a dam right across from, but I never knew there was one up above that when I seen it from there. You get that picture and look at it. Ed's in bad shape. He can’ t hardly see. And they took him to the place to show him the big lathe in the machine shop and he put his hand on it. He used to run it down to the other place; he learned his trade there. And he only got six cents an hour when he started to work. Ten hours a day and four hours on Saturday.
Wharry: What kind of underwear did you wear when you were a kid?
Cammock: Great, big long things.
Wharry: Long Johns?
Cammock: Yeah. Them days it was cold.
Wharry: But how about in the summertime?
Cammock: Oh, just light shirt. Little white shirt.
Wharry: How about the women? Did they wear bras and -- ?
Cammock: Oh, I don't know. Bloomers, I believe.
Wharry: And you ordered the things from the Sears catalogue?
Wharry: Came from Chicago, you say?
Cammock – Yeah. We were kids then. They didn't have no stores around here. You had to go there to get them.
Wharry: Did you belong to any organizations – fraternal organizations -- Masons or anything like that?
Cammock: I did belong to the Red Men.
Wharry: Where did they meet?
Cammock: Down on the Highlands -- down Forty Acres they called it. I don't know where they moved from there. Now, I belong to the American Legion, VFW, Forty and Eight. Belong to the Moose and all those things now.
Wharry: Did you have a lot of church organizations when you were growing up?
Wharry: Church socials and get-togethers?
Cammock: Not much.
Wharry: How about the women -- did they have any get-togethers?
Cammock: Probably, but I wouldn't know much about that.
Wharry: How about in the summertime did you have any fans? How did you try to keep cool?
Cammock: Didn't have no electric. Just have to use fan. Hand fans.
Wharry: Did you have a place where you kept a trunk?
Cammock: You'd keep that in the attic.
Wharry: Did you have a trunk that they brought over from Ireland when they came over?
Cammock: I guess they did.
Wharry: Do you remember it?
Cammock: It was tin around the edges.
Cammock: Yeah. But the lamp I've got is over 100 years old. The lamp they brought from Ireland.
Wharry: Do you remember what was in the trunk?
Cammock: No, I wouldn't know that.
Wharry: Did your mother make biscuits and buns and all?
Cammock: Might make bread and biscuits.
Wharry: How did you toast he bread?
Cammock: Put it on a fork and hold it over the fire.
Wharry: Did you ever write any letters when you were young?
Cammock: No, I never wrote letters.
Wharry: How about peeling willows for the charcoal? Did you ever do that?
Cammock: They used to come around and cut the trees and cut the bark off and make powder out of them.
Wharry: Did the women peel the willows?
Cammock: I don't know.
Wharry: How about -- I asked you before who did the repair work and so forth.
Cammock: The man that owned the place -- Winder Laird.
Wharry: And I guess you were never dead serious about any girl or proposed marriage, did you?
Cammock: I went with a girl and she got married so I never got married. I used to go out and watch the Blue Rocks. They had the Blue Rock team out there and I seen Curt Simmons and Robbin Roberts before they went to the Phillies, you know. Richie Ashburn. I hear him talking on the TV. Del Ennis and all that bunch. And I seen the first colored fellow come there.
Wharry: Jackie Robinson?
Cammock: No. He's a popular one now, though. He was good out there. He was from the Lancaster team and they come down and played Wilmington.
Wharry: The old Red Roses of Lancaster?
Cammock: Yeah. He had about four or five brothers. It's a small name. He was popular. We didn't have no radios, no television. No electric. Had nothing.
Wharry: What kind of tools did you keep out in the shed? Did you have a pitch fork?
Cammock: You had a pitch fork. A spade. A shovel. And you had a thing with two points on it. And on their end you’ d dig with that.
Wharry – A hatchet and an axe?
Cammock: Oh, you needed both of them. If a limb would fall off a tree or something, you had to cut it up to get it out of your way.
Wharry: What other tools do you remember?
Cammock: I know up in the powdermill, they didn't use anything steel. They used wood.
Wharry: Did the men ever use any after-shave lotion?
Cammock: Oh, nothing in those days.
Wharry: At night when it was cold in the wintertime, instead of running to the outhouse, did you have a potty under the bed?
Cammock: Oh, yeah. You couldn't go to the outhouse at three o'clock in the morning. Snow was too deep to go through and freeze.
Wharry: What year do you remember that you left the Brandywine area? The area where you were living, Breck's Lane? Was it after they closed the powder mills?
Cammock: Oh, yes.
Wharry: They closed the powder mills in what year, do you remember? 1921?
Cammock: I couldn't tell you. I can name everybody that lived on Breck's Lane. Did you know that the train -- the big thing up Breck's Lane?
Wharry: Oh, did it? The Reading Line?
Cammock: Yeah. You know, take the power away and all. It used to come over -- big piers.
Wharry: They're still up there.
Cammock: One time we got caught on there when the train come and we had to lay down on the stone and all the steam coming. We had to watch, you know.
Wharry: You said before in the last interview that you had a roller -- like a roller-coaster thing in your yard that your father made for you. What was it like?
Cammock: It was something like these coaches they have today only it was small. And he had it built up and you'd go down and up on the thing.
Wharry: Like a roller coaster? Did he make it out of wood?
Cammock: Yeah. One time about 15 years ago I met a fellow and he mentioned that to me. When he was going to school, he used to get in it.
Wharry: Was it very high?
Cammock: No, it wasn't too high. You talk to Ed Devenney if you get a chance.
Wharry: The children were not usually allowed in the powder mills were they? Young children were not allowed to go near them.
Cammock: I was only 11, 12 when I carried lunch up there.
Wharry: Did you go right in the area?
Cammock: Went straight in and nobody said anything. Right up to the thing there. Within 30 or 35 feet of where he'd eat his lunch. And we'd hear them grinding – a big piece of powder grinding. Make a terrible roaring sound. Them great, big wheels. I don't know whether Tom McCrea went up or not for his father. He wouldn't come in for an interview. You know about him, don't you?
Wharry: He was interviewed. He used to work at Bancroft's, didn't he?
Wharry: He was interviewed.
Cammock: They invited him but he didn't come. His birthday is November lst and he will be 87 years old.
Wharry: Did you wear shoes around the house or did you go barefoot?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, slippers.
Wharry: You took your shoes off and put slippers on.
Cammock: Yeah, in the evening.
Wharry: This baseball team you were telling me about – you won the pennant.
Cammock: In basketball. We didn’ t win it, we come in second. The team that won it was called du Pont and we were called Grizzly Bears.
Wharry: But you did win a baseball pennant, didn't you?
Wharry: Well, I guess you're ready -- Is there anything else that you would like to tell me?
Cammock: I should mark everything down. Sometime maybe we can get together again.
Wharry: I'd like to see some of those pictures.
Cammock: Sometime we'll go up to Hagley again and I'll bring them up and show you.
Wharry: And you can show them to Frank McKelvey. You know Frank, the one that took you around. He'd like to see those pictures.
Cammock: And the best part of it, it was 70 years ago that picture was taken. It was taken in '14 and as I told you there's only five left out of thirty-some.
Wharry: Well, anything like that you know Hagley is always interested because they're trying to recreate things as they were back in the days when the workers lived and worked there in the powder yards.
Cammock: I can name to you right now everybody from the bottom of Breck's Lane to the top -- name after name that lived there and tell you that qu1te a few of them worked for the duPont Company. They tried to get me to go in to learn my trade when Ed learned his, you know, as machinist. And then the other man next door to me and another man he worked in the wood part and he wanted me to learn that and I never bothered. After he left there, and Ed he worked at the Experimental and he worked at Carney's Point, too.
Wharry: What I'd like you to do Jim is -- We have a release here we'd like for you to sign so that we can use this for historical information, so you sign your name there and then I'll sign my name and put the date on. Jim Bond -- is he the one that interviewed you?
Wharry: O.K. Now, I've got some good news for you. We're going to have a party for all you people. About 45 people. Like yourself that lived around the Hagley yards. And they're going to have a get-together on September 10. You want me to write that down? And I want you to make sure you get there. Somebody will pick you up and take you there. And you ask your brother Bob to come along and you bring him. This is going to be at Hagley. It's a big like a picnic, get-together. All you people that lived around the area, the people that we are interviewing. In the daytime. September 10th from one o'clock until 4:30in the afternoon. And you make sure you bring your brother. Bob is his name? You'll get a notice in the mail about all this but I want you to know about it. You're one of the first ones to know about it because you gave us an interview today. You can tell it to anybody you want to.