Interview with Grace Toy Ferguson, 1984 April 19 [audio](part 1)
- Early childhood; Explosions at Hagley YardKeywords: Brandywine Creek; Chicken Alley (Del.: Village); Explosions; Hagley Museum and Library; Hagley YardTranscript: Schumacher: Marry you...
Ferguson: No. Father Scott married me. Father Lawless was at my wedding.
Schumacher: Oh, Ok. That's her brother.
Johnson: I see. I'm going to start by saying I am interviewing Grace Toy, who is Mrs. Ferguson now, at her home at 1017 Park Place.
Ferguson: Where do you work, at the post office?
Schumacher: Mother, she works at the Museum.
Ferguson: Oh, the Museum. Up the Brandywine?
Johnson: That's right.
Ferguson: Oh, God save us. That's where I was born, up that way.
Johnson: I was wondering if you could tell me in which village you lived when you were a child.
Ferguson: Where what?
Johnson: Where did you live? In what house were you born?
Ferguson: Long Row.
Schumacher: No mother. This house was on Main Street. You were born in this house.
Ferguson: Oh yeah, I was born up here. That's Main Street.
Schumacher: And here's Uncle Tom's saloon. And here's old Hackendorns and Lawlesses and…
Johnson: Oh, could you tell me the names of the people in this picture?
Ferguson: That was Mrs. Lawless and Sam Hackendorn. He lived here. And seven French people lived there. I didn't know them. But old Mrs. Lawless lived there. No relation to the Lawless you interviewed. And here's where I was born. Right here. And here's Uncle Tom's saloon.
Schumacher: Now mother, she's going to be taping you.
Johnson: I wonder if you'd tell me your age?
Johnson: And what was your maiden name?
Ferguson: Grace Toy.
Johnson: And you described the location of your home on Main Street in the Village. Could you tell me what your father's name was?
Ferguson: Neil J. Toy.
Johnson: And where was he born?
Ferguson: I don't know where he was born, up the crick. Up the crick I guess, but that's where he was from.
Johnson: Did he work in the powder yards?
Ferguson: No. He was a carpenter by trade. What do you call...He was a millwright.
Schumacher: Not a millwright. He was a very good carpenter. Cabinetmaker.
Ferguson: A cabinetmaker. That's it.
Johnson: Did he work in the powder yard villages, on some of the houses there.
Ferguson: No, I don't think so.
Schumacher: He built a big home up on the Kennett Pike.
Ferguson: He built Miss Selena du Pont's house up on the Kennett Pike.
Schumacher: And didn't he die up there mother?
Ferguson: He died up there on the job. Had a...short of wind. It was a windy day in October, and he rode his bicycle up there. And he went to light his pipe, and he fell over dead.
Schumacher: Mother was six.
Ferguson: Doctor said if somebody had been there with just a little whiskey, a mouthful, he'd have never died. But there was nobody around. He was the first one there, cause he had charge.
Johnson: Could you tell me your mother's name.
Ferguson: My mother's name was Kate McClafferty. And was she born in the powder yard village.
Schumacher: No, she was born....she was born in the Upper Banks,I guess. Up around: Chicken Alley...
Ferguson: Chicken Alley. Right opposite Chicken Alley. That's where he married her from.
Johnson: Now, one of the people who I've read about was Ann Hudson. And her mother's name was McClafferty. Was your mother related to her, do you know?
Schumacher: Anne Hudson? Sister.
Ferguson: Annie Hudson? Down on Holliman Street?
Ferguson: Yeah. That was Aunt Annie. Mom's sister.
Johnson: And did you have any brothers and sisters?
Ferguson: I had one brother James H. and Thomas. And they both died. And I had a sister born, she was a little baby. I don't remember.
Johnson: I guess she died when you were young?
Ferguson: Yeah. Before I was born, I guess.
Johnson: And how old were your brothers. Were they older than you?
Ferguson: Oh yeah. One was 15 years older than me, and another was 5. He got two children living, two boys. And my oldest brother had a daughter, and she's still living. Grace Toy. I don't know what her name is.
Schumacher: You mean Grace Lynch, mother?
Schumacher: Grace Lynch?
Ferguson: Grace who?
Schumacher: Grace Lynch?
Ferguson: Yeah, Grace Lynch.
Johnson: Do you know if your mother's father worked in the powder yards?
Ferguson: In the powder?
Johnson: In the powder.
Ferguson: Yeah. He worked in the powder. All mom's people did. In fact, my brother did too up there in the powder yard. My youngest brother worked in the powder. One of them roll mills.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the powder yards as a child? Did you ever go in there?
Ferguson: The powder yards?
Johnson: Yes. Did you ever go in the powder yards?
Ferguson: Oh, we used to play up there with all the powder mills running. Then they put a stop to it.
Schumacher: Tell her how you remember when they had the explosions, how the windows blew out of the houses.
Ferguson: Oh yeah, blew the curtain off the wall over to here.
Schumacher: And knocked her things off the wall. If she hadn't been there, I guess they'd have got a fire. That was the house right on Main Street, right next door to the tavern. Was that right? The one where the curtains blew out?
Ferguson: Yeah, right on Long Row. On Long Row.
Johnson: Long Row.
Ferguson: It blew the top off that peanut butter...er...Butter dish.
Johnson: Did it break?
Ferguson: No. It was a pewter dome...
Schumacher: Mary has it... My sister has it now. And it had a little ornament on the top...
Ferguson: A little knob...
Schumacher: And the knob was just completely bent over from the explosion. But mother was born in that house, and then they moved up on the Kennett Pike.
Ferguson: On the estate...the Toy estate.
Schumacher: On the Toy estate across from the Wilmington Country Club.
Ferguson: Then they sold it. Then I moved back again to Long Row.
Schumacher: To Long Row. That's up from the CI..D. house. There were six houses.
Ferguson: Six houses. We lived on the second one from the corner.
Johnson: Do you remember how many years you lived there before you moved up to Kennett Pike?
Ferguson: Oh no.
Johnson: How old were you when you moved?
Schumacher: How old were you when you moved up to the big housemother?
Ferguson: About seven or eight.
Schumacher: I think you were seven.
Johnson: How old would you have been when you moved back?
Ferguson: About ten, I guess. Then I moved down to Long Row. They sold it.
Johnson: What do you remember about living there? Do you remember what the house was like inside? Did they have curtains on the windows?
Schumacher: We had a great big room, the front room. There was a door and one window with little tiny window panes .And it was one great big room. We didn't have a dining room. It was like a keeping room, you know.
Ferguson: Then I had a little back room too.
Schumacher: Then we had a long kitchen that went opposite the big living room. And then we had a big round table in the living room where we ate. And we had a genuine Tiffany lamp over that table. And the table was solid oak with the big lion's claw feet, you know. And then in this room was a great big closet next door to the stair steps, and the stair steps had a door you closed to go up the steps. And that's where mother kept her washer. Remember when we did the wash, we kept the wash in there?
Schumacher: And then up stairs, on the second floor, was two bedrooms. And the first one, when I was a kid, that was called the sitting room. That was the Victorian furniture was in there. That was where you went and sat on Sunday. And then up on the third floor there was two more rooms. So it was a row house. It was six row houses. They were all the same. And right outside the front door was your coal box where you kept the coal for the stove.
Ferguson: We had a stove in the living room.
Johnson: I guess you lived there after you were married then?
Johnson: I see.
Ferguson: Then they sold the house and we had to move. We moved into Wilmington. Shall cross Avenue.
Schumacher: I was 15 when we moved.
Ferguson: Then I moved over to Jackson Street. And they sold that, and I moved up...
Schumacher: Mother, she's just interested in when you lived up the crick.
Johnson: I guess you were born in that house, though?
Ferguson: Yes. They were all born in Long Row.
Johnson: How many children did you have there?
Schumacher: You had six, mother. One died.
Ferguson: One died.
- Childhood games; Memories of Toy's tavern; Peeling willows for gunpowder productionKeywords: Baseball; Basketball; Black powder; Brandywine Creek; Candy; Golf; Ice skates; Ice skating; Jacks; Jump ropes; Marbles; Swimming; Toy's tavern; Willow treesTranscript: Johnson: Now what do you remember about your childhood? What they mostly want to know is do you remember playing with other children when you were there?
Ferguson: Was what?
Schumacher: When you lived in Long Row, did you play with the other children in that area?
Ferguson: Yeah, sure.
Schumacher: She wants to know what you did growing up, mother. What did you do? What did you play?
Ferguson: We skated on the ice and we made -- played over under the trees and things like that.
Johnson: What was it like to skate on the ice in those days?
Ferguson: Oh, God, I loved that. Skate all the way up the Brandywine -- up to Holly Island. And there'd be water on the ice and we'd skate, anyway. We'd come home with -- had long pants on -- and we'd come home with our backside all wet.
Johnson: Was that from falling on the ice?
Ferguson: Yeah. Oh, God, yeah.
Johnson: Did anyone ever fall through the ice?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Lots of people did but nobody got drowned up there.
Johnson: What did you do when they did that?
Ferguson: They took them out, and took them in the house and warmed them up. Maybe gave them a little whiskey or something, you know, and they were all right. But I never fell in. I used to skate a lot – quite a skater.
Johnson: What kind of skates did you have?
Ferguson: An old pair of skates that hooked on to your shoes. Not like shoe skates. I didn't have them. I couldn't afford them.
Johnson: Did all the children have the same kind of skates?
Ferguson: Yeah. Clamp-ons.
Schumacher: We didn't know what a shoe skate was.
Ferguson: No, they didn't.
Johnson: Did they stay on pretty well or did you have trouble?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. they stayed on. I skated all the time with them.
Schumacher: That ice got so hard up there that we used to build fires on the ice.
Johnson: Is that right?
Schumacher: You could take a car out on it. If you had one, which we didn't have.
Johnson: Did anyone take a car out there?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Schumacher: That's how strong. That's how heavy the ice was. And we'd build a fire. We'd skate all winter long. And then we'd swim all summer long.
Ferguson: That's the extent of our -- the kids all swam there. Everyone swum across the crick, that was a big feat.
Schumacher: When you were six.
Ferguson: When you were six.
Schumacher: We had a fellow that lived a house down the end of us. His name was Scotty Heatherton. And his mother --his aunt raised him. What was her name?
Ferguson: Annie -- Annie -- Miss Annie.
Schumacher: Miss Annie. She was a school teacher up at the old school up in…
Ferguson: She taught some of the du Pont's too.
Schumacher: Yeah. Up at the little one-room school.
Schumacher: And the summer you were six he would take you out in the boat in the middle of the crick and he'd throw you over -- swim or drown -- and that's how we learned to swim. So, we were all good swimmers.
Ferguson: And Gracie, the youngest was six, and came home and said, "I swum the crick." I said, "Who did it?" It was Scotty. I said, "Oh, my gosh." "Well, don't be afraid now, it's done. I went across the crick."
Johnson: Did you learn to swim the same way? Did somebody show you how to swim there? Did you swim the same way? Did they just throw you off the boat, too.
Ferguson: Oh, no. I don't remember that. We used to swim. No, nobody ever throwed me out of a boat. I used to have an old boat, though. We'd paddle it and have a tin can to get the water out of it. And go way up the crick, we'd go.
Johnson: Was it your boat?
Ferguson: Yeah. It was anybody's boat, I guess.
Schumacher: It was anybody's. It belonged to anybody.
Johnson: Anybody could take it?
Schumacher: Everything was community.
Johnson: You must have had good times.
Ferguson: Oh, I did. Kids nowadays don't have good times.
Johnson: Did you play baseball or any other games like that?
Ferguson: Oh, I did, when I went to high school. I graduated from Alexis I.
Johnson: I know Martina Lawless said they played baseball upon the field there.
Ferguson: Yeah. I played baseball; I played basketball and then when I got older I played golf. Quite a golfer. But that was after Bill died. He died. He was only 36 when he died, and left me with five kids.
Johnson: Now did he work in the powder yards?
Schumacher: He worked for the railroad.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the tavern? I don't think women were allowed in the tavern, but I wonder if you know anything about it.
Schumacher: Your uncle's tavern. Tom Toy's tavern?
Ferguson: Oh, yes. I know.
Johnson: Well, what was that like?
Ferguson: Oh, it was nice. And he had old stuffed birds in the windows. Stuffed birds. I don't know where he got them. We used to sell whiskey bottles in there. We'd go to the dump where the bottles were and get bottles and we got five cents for a bottle. We'd go in the side door and the bar tender would come out and look at the bottles and give us a nickel and away we'd go to buy candy.
Johnson: Where would you buy the candy? Was there a candy store right nearby?
Ferguson: Yeah. Down -- there was a candy store down at the bottom of the hill.
Schumacher: Breck's Lane, right across from --
Johnson: And what was the candy like? Do you remember that?
Ferguson: Oh, Just penny – - hardtack.
Schumacher: Oh, I remember. We had watermelon slices.
Ferguson: Slices, yes. And big long licorice sticks with light buttons on them. Licorice. Remember the licorice?
Schumacher: Yes, the licorice babies.
Johnson: What were some of the games the girls played when you were little?
Ferguson: My kids?
Johnson: No, you, what would you have played? Did you jump rope?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. And hide-and-go-seek and all like that we used to play.
Johnson: Did you play jacks?
Ferguson: Jacks. No, not very often. Once in awhile.
Johnson: Do you remember how that was? Would you go out after supper and play?
Ferguson: Yeah. Jacks. We used to play jacks on the table.
Johnson: Would the table be on your porch or indoors? Would you play indoors or outdoors?
Ferguson: Outdoors. I know we played marbles.
Johnson: I was just going to ask that. Did you play marbles? Did the girls play?
Ferguson: Yeah. God, yeah. Played marbles all the time. Shoot.
Schumacher: Excuse me--let me see if I can find her scrapbook.
Johnson: How did you play? When you played a game of marbles, how would you do it? Would you draw a circle in the sand?
Ferguson: Make a circle in wood and put the big marbles inside it and then you would shoot. If you get one of the big marbles out, it would count, you know. That's how we played. I used to be good at that.
Johnson: Did you have a collection of marbles of your own?
Ferguson: Yeah. Your own. I don't know where I got them.
Johnson: Did you keep them in a bag?
Ferguson: In bag -- a paper bag.
Johnson: Did you have the same kind of marbles as your brother? Was there any competition there?
Ferguson: Pretty ones and ugly ones.
Johnson: Do you remember how they scored the game in detail?
Ferguson: No, you shoot. And then if you'd shoot that marble out, that was yours. You'd keep that, you know. And then you'd put other ones back in again and shoot that one and then you win that and you'd take it out and keep it.
Johnson: Did they play all year round or did you just play marbles in the spring?
Ferguson: We played them in the street -- you know, draw a ring around like that.
Johnson: Was it a seasonal game? Did you have certain games you played in the summer and certain games you played in the spring?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. We made our own games, you know. We didn’ t have not people to teach you anything. You had to make your own.
Johnson: Did you ever have to peel willows?
Johnson: Did you ever make a game of peeling willows?
Ferguson: Make willows?
Johnson: Peeling willows for the Company. Some of the children used to…
Ferguson: Oh, my cousin -- my cousin Annie Hodgson's mother had them. We used to go up there and peel them for them. But I never did it. We didn't down the crick. But we'd go up there to the Upper Banks and peel willows.
Johnson: Somebody said they sort of made a game out of peeling the willows. That some of the children would do it for money, but others would help for fun.
Johnson: Did you play with dolls, too?
Ferguson: Oh, I played golf.
Johnson: I say with dolls. When you were very little, did you have a doll and carriage, too?
Ferguson: Oh, no, I didn't play when I was little. I played when I was working at Hercules.
Johnson: I mean little dolls that you wheeled in a baby carriage -- little dolls you'd dress up. The little girls, did they have their baby dolls?
Ferguson: Little dolls, yeah. Somebody would give them to them. Didn't have no money, no nothin’ .
Johnson: I heard that Alfred I du Pont used to give out dolls at Christmas time.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: Did you ever go to his parties?
Ferguson: Yeah. Mrs. Laird used to invite the children up for Christmas and each one would get a little sack and something else. And oranges. And breakfast food. And she was good. Them Lairds were nice people.
Johnson: Now, this would be in Christmas day.
Ferguson: The day before Christmas. Couple days before.
Johnson: And would the party be in Breck's Mill there?
- People from the neighborhood; Church picnics; Getting water; Bathing; Stealing fruitKeywords: Bathing; Du Pont, S. Hallock (Samuel Hallock), 1901-1974; Free Park (Del.: Village); Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Irish dancing; Maps; Octagon soap; WaterTranscript: Schumacher: This is a map my brother sent us. He gave us this a long time ago. He works at the DuPont Experimental. This is Free Park.
Ferguson: That's where Christ Church is.
Schumacher: This is across the crick. Here's where we lived.
Ferguson: On Long Row.
Schumacher: Near C.I.D. House. That's where Red, Lucy and Jimmy lived. Near Frizzell's Store.
Johnson: Now, Red, Lucy and Jimmy -- what was their last name?
Schumacher: Lucy Daugherty lived on one side. There was two houses. And Jimmy Haley lived on the other side. And Jimmy Haley was the watchman for Hallock du Pont. And when daddy died, Lucy told everybody that my mother gave my father a pill.
Ferguson: I gave him a pill. She was a witch.
Schumacher: She was. We used to call her Red Lucy and then run. She'd throw dishwater at us and everything. But they lived side by side and they never spoke to one another. They used to fight and never spoke to one another. They lived right down here in the C.I.D. house. Of course, they made it into one, now.
Ferguson: It's there, yet, the C.I.D. house.
Jones: Now, there's someone named Mrs. Hayward whose maiden name was Jones. Did you know her?
Johnson: Mrs. Jones? Her name was Ethel Jones.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. They lived in Long Row. They lived --
Johnson: They lived in the C.I.D. house for awhile.
Ferguson: And he used to play the violin.
Johnson: Right. Yes.
Ferguson: And they went to Mt. Salem.
Johnson: Yes. And you say you knew Martina Lawless as a child?
Ferguson: Oh, I knew her well.
Johnson: Now where did you meet because she didn't really live…
Ferguson: She lived up near the church.
Johnson: Yes, she lived right next door to the church when she was really little. How did you get together?
Ferguson: Walk it. That's all we had was walking.
Schumacher: She means, mother, how did you meet her?
Ferguson: Oh, I don’ t know. I just -- Her brother was a priest.
Johnson: Well, you went to the same church?
Ferguson: Yeah, same church and same school. They were nice people.
Johnson: And did you play with her after school? Would you be likely to walk up to her house and play games?
Ferguson: Oh, I didn't play with her much. She was up the top of the hill. I played with people down below along Long Row.
Johnson: How did you know her? I mean, was this later on that you knew Martina?
Ferguson: The what?
Johnson: When did you get together with her? You say you didn't play --
Ferguson: After church, of course.
Johnson: At church.
Ferguson: Yeah, church affairs.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the picnics that they had?
Ferguson: Yeah, up in Squirrel Run. I used to go to them.
Johnson: Yes. That was right at the top of Squirrel Run. Is that right?
Ferguson: Yeah. In the woods. That's where Hallock du Pont lives.
Johnson: And can you tell me something about the picnics?
Ferguson: Oh, they used to have -- they'd build a platform and my husband's grandmother used to dance and jig -- her and Mr. Casey, Jerry Casey. And they'd play and then they'd dance. And I used to get out there and dance, too, but I was just a kid then.
Johnson: What was her name? Your husband's grandmother?
Ferguson: She danced all the time. Every Fourth of July, she'd dance with Jerry Casey. She was a good jigger. She'd jig. Irish jig.
Johnson: They had Irish jigs at Irish Day -- really fun to watch. And would they have a contest of any kind?
Ferguson: No, but there would be guests there like, you know, for the 4th of July. And then they had stands all around there with sarsparilla and all that kind of stuff. And ice cream. They'd have ice cream. You had to buy it, of course.
Johnson: And was that the entertainment that everyone would look forward to -- the jig?
Ferguson: And then that would last until it started to get dark. And the du Pont people would come pull up the platform. And you'd dance on the platform -- a great, big platform. And then they had a place where the musicians used to sit -- for violins and something else. Yeah.
Johnson: Would they be the same violinists that played with Alfred I. du Pont's band or was it a different band?
Ferguson: Different band, I guess.
Johnson: Do you remember their names?
Johnson: Would they come up from Wilmington?
Ferguson: Yeah, from Wilmington. I know Alfred I. - his – I don't know -- he never played there, I don't think. But that's where they had the music.
Johnson: And when did all the other people dance? Would they dance after the jig was over?
Ferguson: After the jig -- the jigging was over. That was the main hour. They'd get out there and everybody got off the platform. And then they would stand there and jig. And Bill's grandmother -- my husband's grandmother was quite old when she used to jig. She used to jig every year. Towards the last she couldn't jig anymore.
Johnson: And was she the only one who would do that?
Ferguson: Yeah, only one that jigged was her and Jerry Casey.
Johnson: Did anyone else dance at that time?
Ferguson: Oh, well, we all -- everybody danced. But she was the only one who jigged. Get out there and jig – she could jig like nobody's business. And my husband could jig with one leg but he couldn't make the other leg move.
Johnson: And did other people dance on the platform or did they dance after they took the platform away?
Ferguson: Oh, they danced on the platform. The platform would stay there until after the party was over and then the next day they would come and tear it down. du Ponts put that up free.
Johnson: Did any of the Italian people do dances of their own kind?
Ferguson: Oh, God, the Italian people were there all the time.
Johnson: Did they dance, too?
Ferguson: Yes, yes, they danced. Did you know any Italians up there?
Johnson: Well, I interviewed Mrs. Pesce.
Ferguson: Vick Pesces? Oh, Pesces, oh, yeah.
Johnson: Did you know her?
Ferguson: They were nice people.
Johnson: Yes, she seems very nice.
Ferguson: Oh, they were nice.
Schumacher: Which one did you interview?
Johnson: I don't know what her first name was offhand.
Ferguson: They were very nice people, the Pesces.
Johnson: Yes, she seems nice. Do you remember how they did the washing when you were a child?
Ferguson: How they did what?
Johnson: How they did the wash. Do you remember -- did you have running water in that house or did you?
Ferguson: God, no. You had to carry it from clear across the road in the house. I remember when my kids were little, my husband died. And my oldest girl, Catherine, would -- I had somebody put some kind of a gas stove up in the shed for me, and I'd go up there at night when I come home from work and do the washing. And Catherine --my Catherine would come with me and she would mind the little ones down in the house -- down the steps – and we had to carry the water. In the wintertime we would carry the water the night before and we'd get home the next night it was froze. And we'd have to crack it all around. Oh, God. I could write a book if I had brains enough.
Johnson: About how far did you have to carry that water?
Ferguson: Oh, about from here to the end of our lane, wasn't it?
Schumacher: About 100 yards to the pump.
Ferguson: Pretty near.
Johnson: And when did they get running water?
Ferguson: Later year.
Schumacher: In 1937.
Johnson: Was it 1937.
Ferguson: That late?
Schumacher: 1937. We left there in 1937. Then they renovated the houses and put running water in.
Johnson: You fetched water all that time?
Schumacher: And when I went to school -- I went to St. Joe's, of course, and then I graduated and then we moved into town after I graduated from high school. Or from grade school. And then when we went up to high school. You know, a shower was something new to me. In the summer, we'd take a bath in the crick, you know, wash your hair with the Octagon soap and that's what we would wash our hair with. When we all had beautiful hair when we were little. But we'd take a bar of Octagon and wash our hair and then dunk your head up and down in the crick and your hair was washed.
Ferguson: It was washed then.
Johnson: What did you do in the winter?
Schumacher: We used a bucket -- a basin. If these kids today had to go through what we went through, but we had a good time.
Ferguson: They was happy.
Schumacher: We had a good time.
Ferguson: A good time.
Schumacher: And then in the summer we'd go up in the orchard and steal apples. Green apples, and sit up in the tree and eat them.
Johnson: Where was the orchard?
Schumacher: It was Mrs. W. K. -- where was it, mother. Mrs. W. K's we used to sit up there -- it's right along.
Ferguson: Right in here.
Schumacher: Up in here. Mrs. W. K's, I think it was. And she had two dogs called Molly and Splinter. And they were dobermans. And they used to chase us. I used to be scared of those dogs.
Ferguson: That was up at Miss Mary's house.
Schumacher: Miss Mary's, yes.
Ferguson: Up the top of the hill.
Schumacher: Miss Mary.
Ferguson: Them dogs would chase the devil out of those kids. They weren't afraid, though.
Schumacher: Oh, we certainly were afraid of them -- those two big dogs.
Ferguson: You'd run, though, if you'd see them coming, you know.
Schumacher: And then we used to go up to Broadwater’ s right at the top of Breck's Lane.
Ferguson: Breck's Lane.
Schumacher: Right next door to the entrance to…
Ferguson: Hallock du Pont's house.
Schumacher: Hallock du Pont's house. There's a little frame house that sits there. And in the back before you get there, there's a big brick house. That was Broadwater's. And they had a seckle pear in their front yard and we used to throw the school bag up in the thing to knock the pears off. And then one day -- they had a dog named Square -- she put the dogs on us. And one day Jake Toomey -- my sister Catherine threw her suitcase up and it got stuck up there -- so Jake went up to get the suitcase and the dog came out and he was stuck up in the tree and the dog wouldn't let him out. He was late for school and he got -- you know. That's the kind of things we did when we were little.
- Chores; Going to school; Sledding; Living in a single parent household; Breakfast and meals; Stoves and coalKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Chores; Coal; Food; Meals; Newspapers; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Sam Frizzell's store; School; Single parents; Sledding; Stoves; Toomey familyTranscript: Johnson: Did you know Jenny Toomey?
Schumacher: Yeah. Her daughter and I were very good friends.
Schumacher: Jenny Toomey.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Schumacher: Her daughter, Jane, and I went all through school together. And Jane died I guess about a year ago. Died of cancer. But Jane and I grew up together. And the Bonners.
Johnson: I'll try to get back to what your life was --
Schumacher: She don't want to know about us, she wants to know about you, mother.
Ferguson: About me?
Johnson: When you were little, do you remember what life was like when your mother was running the household? Did she give you all jobs to do in the house? Did you help her when you were little?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: Do you remember if you had a specific job to do, would you have to do something every time she did the cleaning, say, would you?
Ferguson: Oh, no. I did whatever I wanted to do. Mom did it.
Johnson: How about the lamps? Did you have to clean the lamps when you were little? They must have had oil lamps, is that right?
Ferguson: The what?
Johnson: The oil lamps?
Ferguson: Oh, I had that job -- to clean the shades. I used to do that. We had oil.
Johnson: Did you have to do that every day?
Ferguson: Yeah, every day -- oh, yeah. They had wicks on them. The shades would get dirty and you had to clean them.
Johnson: Did you have a certain time when you would do that? Would you do it every night or every morning?
Ferguson: Every night. Every night I cleaned them when I come home from school.
Johnson: And did you used to walk to school? Did you have a certain way to go to school every day?
Ferguson: No, just went up the lane. That was it.
Johnson: Up the lane. And you went to St. Joseph's, is that right?
Ferguson: Yeah, I did. I didn't finish there. We moved and I went to Alexis I. and I graduated from Alexis I.
Johnson: And would you go up in a group -- with a group of children? When you went to school, did you walk in a group?
Schumacher: Who did you go to school with, mother?
Ferguson: Oh, Katie Callahan, Sarah McLoughlin, and a whole bunch of them. They all were down at the bottom of the hill and we'd go up the lane. In the wintertime we had a sled and we used to slide down.
Johnson: Oh, I was just going to ask that question .
Ferguson: An old sled. And we’ d have to wait until everybody come down and this girl and I would wait until everybody come down and then we'd go up and come down and everybody was pushing us that way, pushing us this way. We had an old sled. We used to have a lot of fun.
Johnson: Could you steer that sled at all or would it just go and you'd have to jump off?
Ferguson: We'd jump off.
Johnson: What would happen if the sled broke? Would you take it to be fixed?
Ferguson: No, God no. We didn't have any after that.
Johnson: Some people said their fathers fixed them.
Schumacher: They would take them down to the powder yards.
Johnson: I see. That's right. Do you remember if you had a garden in your house?
Ferguson: Did we have a dog?
Johnson: A garden in the back of the house?
Ferguson: A dining room?
Johnson: A garden. Did you grow vegetables?
Ferguson: Oh, we had no garden, no.
Johnson: Did anyone help your mother out to sort of take your father's place? Would your uncle at the tavern help your mother because he was so close?
Ferguson: Catherine used to mind -- go up in the shed with me and she'd mind the kids.
Schumacher: Mother, mother, no. She's talking about when you were a little girl. Did your uncle that had the saloon did he ever come down and help my mommy out, your mother?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, I guess he did, yes. He had a big saloon there.
Johnson: Yes. How about when your mother needed groceries. How did she get the groceries? Were they delivered to the house?
Ferguson: Yeah. We used to have an old wagon -- used to come around with the groceries. We had a store at the bottom of the hill -- Frizzell's -- yeah. We used to go down there. He had everything. Had to buy it and carry it back yourself.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about your birthdays? Did your mother have a birthday party? When you were little?
Ferguson: Oh, I never had no parties. Didn't have no money.
Johnson: How did your mother make out with you all. I don't know quite how I want to say.
Schumacher: How did she make out financially?
Ferguson: Who, my mother?
Ferguson: Oh, it was tough going.
Schumacher: Where did she get the money, mother?
Ferguson: Why, from the Toys.
Schumacher: From the estate.
Ferguson: Yes, from the estate. We got a little bit from it every month.
Schumacher: They had money at one time. And somebody dwindled it away.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about a typical day in the morning? How would you get up in the morning? Would your mother call you?
Ferguson: Mother called me, yes.
Johnson: And do you remember what you would have for breakfast?
Johnson: Who would get up first? Would your mother always be the first one up?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: Would you come home for lunch?
Ferguson: No, we carried our lunch to school. Great big hunk of bread, that's all, something in it, maybe.
Johnson: And did you help with dinner when you got home from school? Did you help?
Ferguson: Oh, I had to do what my mother told me to do.
Johnson: Would you have a certain job? Would you have to peel potatoes? Or would your brother have a certain job?
Ferguson: Oh, no, not necessarily. I'd do it, though, to help.
Johnson: What were some after school activities? Did your mother read a paper?
Ferguson: Did she what?
Johnson: Did she read a newspaper?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, we had a paper.
Johnson: Do you know what it was?
Ferguson: Oh, no.
Johnson: What would be your favorite dinner. Do you remember anything about what dinners were like?
Johnson: What were your dinners like? Do you remember any dinners you particularly liked?
Ferguson: Oh, we had potatoes, and tomatoes and gravy and stuff like that.
Johnson: And what time would you have to go to bed?
Ferguson: About nine o'clock or half past nine.
Johnson: Was your bedroom quite warm or would you have to dress in the wintertime in the living room downstairs?
Ferguson: Yeah, right. By the stove.
Johnson: Did you have any heat in the bedroom at all?
Schumacher: They had a stove in the living room -- a pot-bellied stove. And then they had a register.
Ferguson: A little heat would go up.
Schumacher: The heat would go up there. I can remember we used to sit on it to get warm and stand on it to get dressed.
Johnson: When did they put the registers in? Do you know that? Would that have been there all the time?
Schumacher: Oh, yeah.
Ferguson: They were there -- they had to be. To heat the upstairs.
Johnson: So it wouldn't have been such a problem being cold there?
Ferguson: No, not really, because that pot-bellied stove that was in the living room -- right in the center of the living room like right up against the wall and the duct was over top of that so that the heat would rise. It was different.
Johnson: What did the pot-bellied stove burn? Coal?
Schumacher: It burned coal.
Schumacher: That stove we had in the living room.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Schumacher: We had coal in there.
Ferguson: What? Oh, yeah.
Schumacher: We had a coal box right outside the front door.
Johnson: And did they deliver the coal to your house?
Ferguson: Did I what?
Johnson: Did they deliver the coal? Did you have a regular order and did they deliver it?
Johnson: Oh, yeah. They would deliver from Green and Flynn. It's Shield’ s now. Green and Flynn -- that's where we got our coal.
- Getting ice delivered; Going to church on Sundays; Celebrating ChristmasKeywords: Christmas; Deliveries; Halloween; Ice; Iceboxes; Laird family; Pranks; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.)Transcript: Schumacher: I wish I had one of those signs.
Johnson: You did have a sign?
Schumacher: Yes. It had 25, 50, 70 and 100. It was a black sign with white letters. And whatever amount you wanted, you put that number up in the door. And that's how much he would leave. And he would be out there chipping at the ice and when he took the ice into the houses, all the kids around there we could chip ourselves some. He knew we did it because everybody did it. He had an old wagon -- a horse-drawn wagon. I can remember that and I was only a little thing. But I remember that ice. And then we had a refrigerator that you put the ice in the top and then there was a pan underneath and nine times out of ten the pan would overflow.
Johnson: Whose job was it to clean out that pan?
Johnson: Who was supposed to empty the pan under the ice box?
Ferguson: Oh, about every other day, wasn't it?
Schumacher: When you were little, mother, did you empty the pan?
Ferguson: Oh, sure. Who else? Throw the water out and back again and put it in there.
Johnson: Do you remember where you slept when you were real little or what your bed was like?
Ferguson: I slept up -- when I was up on the Pike, I slept on the second floor.
Johnson: What about in the house that was down on Main Street next to the tavern? Do you remember what your bedroom was like there?
Ferguson: Oh, no, I forget that.
Johnson: Do you remember what a crib would have been like?
Schumacher: Do you remember a crib, mother?
Schumacher: Yes, do you remember what cribs looked like when you were little?
Ferguson: We didn't have no crib. We were grown up.
Johnson: Yes, you were the youngest. Now, did the whole family go to church Sunday?
Johnson: Did you all go together?
Ferguson: Mom would make a cake and ice it and eat half the icing before it was done.
Schumacher: No, mother. She's talking about going to church.
Johnson: Did you all go to church together?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, sure. Every Sunday.
Johnson: Well, when did you have the cake? When would you eat this cake?
Ferguson: Eat the cake?
Johnson: Eat the cake with the icing?
Schumacher: No, mother, when would you have it?
Johnson: Was this for a birthday?
Ferguson: After my mother got it cooked.
Schumacher: Mother, did you have it on Sunday?
Ferguson: Oh, my, only on Sunday. That's the only time you got cake.
Johnson: Well, that was nice that your mother made cake. Do you remember anything about Christmas?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Somebody would go out in the woods and get a Christmas tree.
Johnson: Who cut down the Christmas tree -- your older brother?
Ferguson: Yeah, the older brother would get a tree some place. We'd have it in there- take papers and put little things on it -- designs, you know.
Johnson: Well, that's just the sort of thing they want to know. How did you -- did you make those little paper chains for your tree?
Johnson: Did we what?
Schumacher: Did you make the ornaments for the tree?
Ferguson: Oh, yes, sometimes we would.
Schumacher: What kind of ornaments did you make?
Johnson: What were they like?
Ferguson: Made out of paper and put big crayons all over them. And then we'd get them out of paper, we'd put them up, too.
Johnson: You mean other than newspaper?.
Ferguson: Newspaper, yes.
Johnson: Did you ever buy those fancy glass things that they put on a tree?
Ferguson: We had no money to buy nothing like that.
Johnson: How about candles? Did you put candles on your tree?
Ferguson: No. We were afraid to set the house afire.
Johnson: Everybody says that. Nobody used candles on the tree.
Ferguson: No, not much.
Johnson: Where would your brother get the tree, do you know that?
Johnson: Where would your brother cut down the tree?
Ferguson: Out in the woods someplace. Anyplace -- if they'd see a tree, they'd take it.
Johnson: Would they want a certain kind of tree? Were they fussy?
Ferguson: Oh, no, they'd take any kind.
Johnson: Did they have any trouble fitting it into the house?
Ferguson: Oh, no. They'd stick it in a barrel or in a bucket and put water in it and that's where they'd sit it.
Johnson: How about stockings? Did you hang up stockings at Christmas?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: Where would you hang those up?
Ferguson: Underneath the mantle piece. We had a mantle piece behind our stockings up there.
Schumacher: There was mangle pieces in every one of those rooms.
Johnson: Is that right? Every house?
Ferguson: All over the place.
Schumacher: Every bedroom had a mantle.
Johnson: That sounds very nice.
Ferguson: I was five years old when my father died. Five years old. And I can remember his lunch came back from where he was up the Pike and I eat the stuff out of the -- out of his lunch. I can remember that.
Schumacher: That was the day he was killed.
Ferguson: He had a little wicker basket like that. He carried his dinner in that. Mom would have pudding for him and stuff like that.
Schumacher: I remember my grandmother. She was a pretty woman. I called Gracie and she thinks Catherine has that album. Does she?
Ferguson: I don't know. We'll have to ask her.
Schumacher: And she says she has the Bible.
Ferguson: She has the Bible, I know, because I gave her the Bible.
Schumacher: I wish we had the scrapbook. It has pictures up there.
Johnson: Yes, I'd love to see them.
Schumacher: I'm going to go call her and see if she's got that. If she does, I'll get it for you and I'll get you some pictures. Excuse me.
Johnson: Can you remember anything about what Christmas presents you might have gotten at Christmas?
Ferguson: Oh, God, we wouldn't get much. If you got one present, you were lucky. Course, when Laird's took over we used to go up there and every kid would get a little sweater, and soap powder to wash your hands, and breakfast food, and one big orange, and that bag of hardtack candy. Oh, they were good, the Lairds.
Johnson: Now where would they give this out?
Ferguson: Up at their home, right near where Miss W. K. lived, down in the,right up by the railroad track. Had a big home. And they had a sunken garden up there. Mrs. W. K. had a sunken garden.
Johnson: Did she have swimming pool, too? A swimming pool up there?
Ferguson: No, she had no swimming pool, but she had - I think -- maybe she did have a swimming pool, but we weren't allowed to go up there.
Johnson: How about Halloween? Do you remember going around to the houses at Halloween.
A. Oh, yeah. All the big bugs' houses. They'd give you a big old orange, or an apple. Each one. they always did.
Johnson: Would you dress up the way the children do today?
Ferguson: Oh,yeah, we always dressed up.
Johnson: Do you remember what you dressed up as?
Ferguson: Any old clothes you could get - blacken your face.
Johnson: Do you remember any tricks people would play on Halloween?
Ferguson: Any what?
Johnson: Tricks? Tricks -- tricks on Halloween.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Rap on somebody's door and run like the devil.
Schumacher: Empty over the outhouses.
Johnson: Did the girls do that, too?
Schumacher: Yeah, we did that. We used to get Jimmy Haley's was up on top of a hill like, you know. And he'd say, "They're not going to get me this year." And he went up there with a shotgun. He had a shotgun in his hand. He was a very nice man. He was an old bachelor who lived next door to Red Lizzy. And he was sitting up in the thing and we snuck around -- it was up by Miss Mary's -
Ferguson: And the way he went down the hill.
Schumacher: And he went down the hill in the outhouse with the gun in his hand saying, "I'm gonna get you kids. I know who you are."And we all ran, but he never did anything. That was one of the big tricks at Halloween - to upset the outhouse. And then we used to throw the huchi balls on Mr. Lloyd's -- he had a store -he took over Frizzell's store. And he had a tar roof on the store and -- you lam those great big -- we call than huchi balls -- I don't know what they call them now -- great big green things that fall off the tree.
Johnson: They grow on trees.
Schumacher: Well, he was deaf. And we used to throw them up on the roof.Well, it made an awful sound. And he thought -- well, he was a veteran of the var - he thought the war was starting again. We did some terrible things. But, we'd laugh, and then we'd run. And he had a little corner store and he had all penny candy in the window and we'd go down. Had a big--like a beveled showcase-- and we'd point to that and point to that --get it in a little bag - penny apiece. We used to say, "Give us good measure." But he would never give us anything extra.
Ferguson: I sent my son down to the store to get a quart of milk -the man -- he said, "What kind do you want, Billy? Want that kind? No. Want this kind? No. What the devil do you want." He said, "I want a quart of milk for my mother." He told everybody about that. Got a big laugh out of it. And he named him Doc. Called Doc. What are you gonna be? I don't know.You're gonna be a doctor.. I'll call you Doc. And that's all he ever got was Doc.
Schumacher: But he didn't turn out to be a doctor. He works up at DuPont Experimental Station.
- Listening to music and the radio; Memories of father's funeral; Taking care of chickens; Playing outside; Explosions at Hagley; Description of Toy's tavernKeywords: Chickens; Eggs; Explosions; Funerals; Hagley Yard; Hide and Go Seek; Radios; Run Sheepie Run; Toy's tavernTranscript: Johnson: Did you celebrate your graduation?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. We had quite a lot, you know.
Schumacher: When you graduated from high school, did you celebrate? Did you have a party or anything?
Ferguson: Oh, no. No parties, but we'd all get together around there but had nothing to eat or nothing like that.
Johnson: Do you remember singing any songs in those days? Would you remember what songs they sang? Did you listen to a gramophone or record player the way they do now?
Ferguson: I forget what songs we sang.
Schumacher: Did you have a record player?
Ferguson: God, no.
Schumacher: Did you have a radio?
Ferguson: No. We didn't even own one of them.
Johnson: Did you go out with other children and listen to somebody else's?
Ferguson: Oh, yes. John Callahan lived in the yellow house. He was the first one had a radio. And everybody went up to his house to hear the radio. And we thought that was big to get invited up there.
Johnson: Do you remember any houses being built or torn down? Did they build any houses there while you were there?
Johnson: Do you remember anything about your father's funeral?
Ferguson: I was only five.
Johnson: Yes, you don't remember going to it or being frightened.
Ferguson: No, I remember I wore my cousin's dress to the funeral. And when I come home, I wouldn't take the dress off and they had to chase me all around the place to get a hold of me to take the dress off. I can remember that. We had chickens – a few chickens— and they chased me all around the chicken coop to get the dress. Wouldn't take it off.
Johnson: Did you help your mother with the chickens? Did you ever go out and get eggs?
Ferguson: Oh, yes, sure. Go out in the shed to get the eggs.
Johnson: How often would you have to do that, every day?
Ferguson: Every day to get an egg.
Johnson: Would you do it in the mornings?
Ferguson: No, do it in the evening when we came home from school.
Johnson: Did your mother ever kill any of those chickens to eat?
Ferguson: Mom wouldn't kill them; she got to like then. She had names for them all.
Johnson: So, you never ate the chickens -- you just got the eggs.
Ferguson: Never ate the chickens -- just got the eggs.
Schumacher: She didn't want to kill them.
Johnson: I can see that. Did you have a dog when you were little, a dog of your own?
Ferguson: No, I never had no dog.
Schumacher: Did you have a cat?
Ferguson: Yeah, we had cats all around.
Johnson: Did your mother feel you needed a cat to run the house?
Ferguson: Yeah, keep the mice out.
Johnson: That's what Jenny Toomey said -- that her father said you couldn't run a house without a cat.
Schumacher: Was Jenny Toomey born up the crick?
Ferguson: I don't know where Jenny was born. I guess she was.
Johnson: I think she said she was born on Charles Banks, but she doesn't remember much about that.
Ferguson: She lives up there by herself, don't she?
Schumacher: Did you see that grape arbor that she has alongside her house?
Johnson: No. I didn't really notice that.
Schumacher: I'n at grape arbor was there when I was a kid. That's how long it has been there. It gets grapes every year. We used to go down there and just pick them off. I often wonder, you know, whether it's producing any grapes now. It's so old. It's on like one of those trestle things, you know. Alongside her house.
Ferguson: After a while they got so they locked the gate.
Ferguson: It would be nice if you and she could get together sometime Yeah.
Johnson: Maybe at the Museum. Do you remember anything about going into the powder mills? You said you remember going up there as a child.
Ferguson: We used to play up there It's a wonder we weren't killed -- the damn things a going.
Johnson: What were some of the games you played?
Ferguson: But we used to play up there all the time.
Johnson: Would you play hide-and-go-seek?
Ferguson: Yeah. Play up there, again, past the mills. Play that. All the way up, then down
Johnson: What else would you play? What other games would you play?
Ferguson: Hide-and-go-seek. Run, sheep run or something like that.
Johnson: And did you ever get in the men's way? Did they scold you?
Ferguson: No -- they never said nothing to you.
Johnson: Did you ever have to bring anybody's lunch up to the powdermills?
Ferguson: Yeah, my brother's. We used to bring it up to him. He’ d be waiting for it.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the explosions? Did anyone ever get a job because his father was killed or something in the explosions.
Ferguson: My brother's wife worked in that big explosion that killed a good many and she worked up there and he was sick and he went up to the powder yard to meet her. And the priest came down from the church and went up through there. A lot of people were killed. Young kids working up there. Then they put a stop to that.
Johnson: Why was the priest coming down the hill?
Johnson: Why did the priest come down the hill to get your brother?
Ferguson: Give than communion or something.
Schumacher: Oh, your sister-in-law didn't die?
Ferguson: Oh, no. She come running down, I can remember her coming down the road and he went up to meet her. And he was sick then with T.B.
Schumacher: Yes, he had tuberculosis.
Johnson: I guess I forgot to ask you what your brothers' names were.
Ferguson: James, the oldest one was. And the next one was 'Ibm.
Schumacher: And Tan was her favorite.
Ferguson: Yeah. The other one would tell on me all the time. Saw me talking with some boy, he'd go bane and tell mom. ' fellow.
Johnson: Would you go out with fellows from the powder yard area or would they be from somewhere else?
Ferguson: Oh, just from around there -- people we knew.
Johnson: Do you remember what the tavern looked like inside and did they have any fights or anything going on in the tavern or were things pretty nice?
Ferguson: Ihe what?
Johnson: The tavern.
Schumacher: The tavern - did they have any fights in there? Or did they get along real nice with one another?
Ferguson: Oh, yes. They got along.
Schumacher: Is that the bar where the Catholics were on one side and the non-Catholics were on the other?
Johnson: Yes, that was interesting.
Schumacher: Did they have seats in there?
Ferguson: Yeah, guess they did.
Schumacher: Well, you used to go in there. Don't you remember if they had seats that you could sit down. Did they have tables?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Seats.
Johnson: Did they have any people that they talked about or that were real characters that would come in there?
Ferguson: Any what?
Johnson: Any workers -- were there any strange people that came in?
Ferguson: Oh, no. Not very often. They were afraid of the powder mills.
Johnson: Would they care in after work, would that be a usual thing?
Ferguson: Yeah. After work.
Johnson: Did most of the men come in after work or would you say just a few came in all the time?
Ferguson: A few just came in.
Johnson: Did you know any of them?
Ferguson: Yea, but I can't remember their names.
Johnson: Would they say hello to you?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
- Getting water and using the outhouse; Shopping in Wilmington; Hair; Clothes; May processions; First CommunionKeywords: Clothes; Communion; Deliveries; Hats; May processions; Outhouses; Peddlers; Plumbing; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Shopping; Stockings; Street-railroads; Water; Wilmington, Del.Transcript: Johnson: I asked you about the water. I didn't ask you about your toilet. Where did you go to the bathroom?
Ferguson: Up on the hill.
Johnson: Right behind the house.
Schumacher: No, we had a chamber up in the second floor. And then you'd just take it out to the outhouse.
Ferguson: A chamber with a lid on it - about that high.
Johnson: Oh, I see.
Schumacher: And empty it out every day.
Johnson: Oh, that was comfortable enough. Were all the houses like that? They would use it inside and then take it out.
Schumacher: Yeah, take it out. We had a -- the houses all had stairs that went from the second floor down to the backyard. There was a back hall there. There was two bedrooms and a back hall. So that the chamber sat in the back hall and then you just took it right out that door, down the steps and up to the thing. And then you'd rinse it out and bring it back in.
Ferguson: That was Mary's job.
Schumacher: Her sister, Mary. But everybody's house was like that. Nobody had plumbing out there. We always used a pump. And once in awhile when you'd go to get water, a toad would come out of the pump.
Johnson: Was that water good to drink?
Schumacher: Oh, Yeah. It was good water. It was cold. Pump water. And then we had one neighbor who was very fastidious and she went over and she would tie cheesecloth on the - - Remember Mrs. Martin?
Ferguson: Yeah. Out of salt bags. She'd save her salt bags and tie them around there so the bugs --
Schumacher: So that no bugs would come out in the water. I wonder if that pump is still there.
Johnson: It would be nice to walk around and see. What about a springhouse? Did you have a spring house?
Ferguson: Spring house?
Schumacher: No, we didn't.
Johnson: Did anyone in your family have a job for extra income? Did your brothers have a paper route, for example?
Ferguson: Extra? No.
Johnson: Extra income?
Ferguson: The one, one job, that's all.
Johnson: Do you remember street cars running through the village?
Ferguson: The what?
Johnson: Street cars or trolley cars going through?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Schumacher: Stopped right in front of our house -- the tracks.
Ferguson: Right in front of the house.
Johnson: And did you take that into Wilmington sometimes?
Johnson: About how often would you go into Wilmington on the street car?
Ferguson: Oh, when you went to town you’ d get to go on the tro11ey. But any other time, you'd have to walk.
Schumacher: How often did you go on the trolley?
Ferguson: Oh, not very - once a month, maybe.
Johnson: Did you have to go down town Wilmington to go shopping?
Ferguson: Yeah, downtown Wilmington, yeah.
Johnson: And about how often would you go and would it be for clothes and things like that?
Johnson: You didn't have to go for your food, though?
Ferguson: For shoes?
Johnson: For food - meat, or vegetables? Things like that, or bread or milk?
Ferguson: Oh, no, we didn't have to go to town.
Schumacher: We had a bread man.
Johnson: But you would have to go for shoes and clothes occasionally.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the trip in? Did you have any funny experiences?
Ferguson: Any what?
Johnson: Any experiences on the trip into Wilmington on the trolley?
Johnson: Do you remember anything about the way you wore your hair?
Ferguson: No. I wore my hair parted with plaits around it. I had light hair.
Johnson: How about your mother? How did she wear -
Ferguson: She had coal black, beautiful hair - down to her waist, and she wore plaits around her head.
Schumacher: Sometimes in a bun.
Johnson: Do you remember anything - what your mother's dresses were like around the house? What were her dresses like? What would she wear?
Ferguson: My mother? Oh, housecoat. Gingham. Wrappers they called them.
Johnson: And what would she have in her pockets? Do you remember that? In her pockets? Would she have a pocket? Would she carry anything in there?
Ferguson: She'd have a pocketbook in there -- a little pocketbook. She carried that with her.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about flowers? Did you go picking flowers?
Ferguson: No, we never had no flowers. Dandelions out in the yard. We had— what do you call it— the yard-- flowers that smell so nice.
Schumacher: Lilacs. Lilac tree.
Ferguson: Well, we had a beautiful lilac. We had orange blossom trees in the back. And we had trees - we didn't have flowers. And we had a mulberry tree and we had a lot of lilacs. They were big. And the orange blossoms were pretty. We used to carry than in the May procession.
Johnson: Oh, tell me about the May procession.
Ferguson: Oh, the May processions. They had then in May. And all the little girls were white with the veils. And then they'd have one girl -- they'd select one girl to crown the Blessed to her, you know, and she'd have her two little maids like there with her. And, of course, we all picked our own bouquet from home and that's what we carried. And this was the big thing - the May procession every year. We'd go from school up on Barley Mill Road, come out of the school, and then we would walk down Barley Mill Road and into the church.
Schumacher: Remember, Mother, the May processions?
Ferguson: Yeah. I was standing there one day and you went by and a man said to me, "I bet that's your little girl." I said, "How do you know?" She said, "She looks like you."
Schumacher: Isn't that the one you were pregnant or something and I said I want to walk with my mother?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. I started crying -- I want to walk with my mother.
Johnson: Did they have May processions when you were little?
Ferguson: Yeah. I never got on them. We had to go get dressed to go in and walk in. I never crowned the Blessed Mother or nothing.
Schumacher: No, we were just in the May procession.
Johnson: Who got to crown the Blessed Mather?
Schumacher: Whoever the sister picked.
Johnson: Just one person?
Schumacher: Just one person a year.
Johnson: Were you ever picked?
Schumacher: No, my sister Mary was. But I think they did that because they felt sorry for mother because that's the year my father died.
Ferguson: He died in January. And it was held in May.
Schumacher: It was usually one of the richer kids they selected, you know.
Ferguson: She done good, though. Got up there in front of us and everybody was crying.
Schumacher: It's a sad thing, but it's beautiful.
Ferguson: Well, everybody saw her crying, you know, knowing her father died and she was up there. I told her, I said, "No look, don't dry, just smile." So, she did.
Schumacher: And, of course, when we made our first Holy Communion that was another big thing with a procession and everything.
Johnson: How old were you when you made your first Communion?
Johnson: Now when did they change it, because Jenny Toomey said she was 12 or 13 and it was customary to be 12 or 13 when she made her first Communion and later it became they became much younger.
Schumacher: I don't hmm… Mother, how old were you when you made your First Communion?
Schumacher: Now see. Then they changed it because I was seven. And now they're going back again. You hear these kids making their First Communion they're nine, ten, eleven, twelve years old. I met a neighbor of mine in Sears last week and she said, "I'm looking for a pair of shoes." for her first Holy Communion. I said, "She make her communion yet. " She's ten years old. She said, "No. She's going to make it this month." But, when I - you were seven -in the second grade.
Johnson: You were very young.
Schumacher: In the second grade you made it.
Johnson: Do you remember what your first Communion dress was like?
Ferguson: Oh, it was white. All lace, collar, long sleeves.
Johnson: Did you buy it or did your Mother make it?
Ferguson: Oh, she bought it, I guess. I don't know where she bought it -where she got the money, but she bought it.
Johnson: You didn't get to pick it out? She picked it out.
Ferguson: Oh, no. She picked it out.
Johnson: Well, I guess that was canon at that time. Do you remember if you had a catalog to buy things from- like a Sears catalog?
Schumacher: Did you ever buy from a catalogue?
Ferguson: Yeah. Yes, mom would send away.
Johnson: Was it a Sears catalogue?
Ferguson: I don't know what it was.
Johnson: Do you remember anything she bought?
Ferguson: No. Something we had to get, I guess.
Johnson: Do you remember any peddlers caning through with cloth on their wagons? Did any peddlers cane through? Would they have clothes or cloth on their wagons?
Schumacher: Any peddlers care through with material? To sell to make dresses?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Peddlers used to cone around and man would buy something off them.
Schumacher: Did they sell spools of thread and things like that?
Schumacher: And material?
Ferguson: Yeah - pieces of goods.
Schumacher: What else?
Ferguson: Stockings, little sacks to wear, little caps on your head. stockings, things like that. Not shoes because…
Schumacher: Drygoods, I guess.
Ferguson: Dry goods, yeah.
Johnson: What were your stockings like, do you remember that? Were they all dark?
Ferguson: All wool -- big long ones.
Johnson: And did most of the children wear hats in those days?
Ferguson: Did they what?
Johnson: Did they wear hats or caps?
Ferguson: Yeah, they wore caps, yeah. I don't know where they got then, but they got them.
Johnson: Did some of the mothers knit the caps.
Ferguson: Yeah, somebody give than to than, I guess.
Johnson: Did your mother do any knitting? Did she had time to knit?
Ferguson: No. No, she didn't knit. I did, though. When I grew up. I used to knit.
- Hairstyles; Doctors and medicine; Swimming in the Brandywine Creek; JewelryKeywords: Brandywine Creek; Corn silk; Diphtheria; Doctors; Dr. Chandler; Earrings; Hair; Home remedies; Irons (Curling); Jewelry; Medicines; Scarlet fever; Smoking; SwimmingTranscript: Johnson: Do you remember anything about putting your hair up at a certain age to show that you were a young lady?
Ferguson: We had a curling iron with curlers. Put it over top of the stove and it got hot. You got— like that to see if it was too hot.
Schumacher: And then you'd burn your hair.
Ferguson: Burn the devil out of it. Boy, I wouldn't want to go through that again, would you, Peg?
Schumacher: I'm Franny, mother.
Ferguson: I call them all different names.
Johnson: Would you have to curl your hair very often like that or would you just do that on special occasions?
Ferguson: Special occasions.
Johnson: Other times you'd just have it in braids? Do you remember if your brothers smoked?
Ferguson: No, I don't remember that. I remember we used to smoke. Corn silk. Old smoke would come out the windows.
Schumacher: How old were you?
Ferguson: Oh, I'd do that when Jeanne and Bessie would come up.
Schumacher: Her cousins would come down from New York.
Johnson: Was the corn growing out in the yard?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. But, they had Windows in them like a moon, you know, and smoke would come out there.
Johnson: Did your mother say anything or notice it?
Ferguson: She used to. "What were you doing out there?" "Oh, nothing." "Oh, yes you were. I saw some smoke coming out the chimney --out windows."
Johnson: Did your mother ever spank you when you were little?
Ferguson: Oh, I guess she did.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about doctors? Did you have a doctor when you were little? Do you remember him coming?
Ferguson: Yeah. Dr. Chandler.
Ferguson: Dr. Chandler. He had a horse and buggy.
Johnson: Do you remember him coming to the house?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, I remember him.
Johnson: When would he come, when somebody was sick?
Ferguson: Yeah. That’ s when he came.
Johnson: Do you remember anybody being sick?
Ferguson: My brother was sick. I was sick. My mother was sick sometimes.
Johnson: What did they have? Did they have measles, do you remember?
Schumacher: Diphtheria, didn't they, mother? Did they have diphtheria?
Ferguson: Yeah. Diphtheria. I had that twice.
Johnson: You had it twice?
Schumacher: mother had it twice.
Ferguson: Yeah, I had it twice. Then, my daughter Catherine had scarlet fever and it left her deaf in one ear. So she wears a hearing aid now.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about what the doctor did when he came?
Ferguson: Oh, he'd check your nose and check your ears and all like that, look at your eyes, your chest.
Johnson: Did he give you medicine?
Ferguson: Yeah, he'd give it to you. Then I had a cousin at Frizzell’ s that had a drug store down in Henry Clay next -- right Uncle Tom's saloon -- right on the same level. And if you had a prescription, you'd have to go down to him.
Johnson: Do you remember what the doctor's medicine was like?
Ferguson: Oh, no. Just pills or something like that.
Johnson: Did he ever tell you what you should eat or prescribe diets or anything like that?
Ferguson: Oh, no.
Johnson: What would you have to eat when you were sick? Did your mother make…
Ferguson: Oh, she'd give you puddings and things like that -- rice, pudding.
Schumacher: I'm trying to get my sister at the beach. She lives down at the beach.
Ferguson: Who, Catherine?
Ferguson: She'd go to Bingo tonight.
Schumacher: Yes. But, I'm sure that I can find you some pictures. She's coming up tomorrow. So, I'll call her later tonight and if so, I'll give you a call later tonight.
Johnson: Oh, great, I'd be glad to come back.
Schumacher: Yeah. There'll be some pictures in there. Can I ask her something?
Johnson: Yes. Schumacher: Mother, remember when -- you know where the black gates were that we used to shimmy in?
Schumacher: Right at the top of our street -- our road? Remember the barn there that had the horses in it?
Schumacher: Whose horses were they? Were they Hallock's?
Ferguson: Hallock du Pont's, I guess.
Schumacher: Were they?
Ferguson: I guess.
Schumacher: There was a big barn there with all these horses in it. We used to run through the barn and the horses they'd all holler. And that was at the entrance to Squirrel Run.
Johnson: Where would that be now?
Schumacher: Right at the foot of Barley Mill road.
Johnson: Would that be where you go into the Museum now?
Schumacher: Where do you go into the Main Museum now?
Johnson: The main building there, they have two big black gates.
Schumacher: With the big balls -- cannon balls?
Schumacher: Yes, right there. It was right alongside of that. And if I remember, they used to have a little sentry house inside those gates, didn't they?
Ferguson: Have what?
Schumacher: A little sentry house for a guard? Inside those black gates?
Ferguson: Yes, right there by the gate.
Schumacher: Yeah, the gate. They had a sentry there.
Ferguson: Yeah, he'd sit there all day; you couldn't get in there.
Schumacher: And then when he wasn't looking, we'd shinny through the gates. And then we used to get up on that column where all those cannons are and we'd jump off there to jump in the crick.
Ferguson: Jump in the water.
Schumacher: And one day Jack Toomey -- I'll never forget it -- he accidentally knocked one of the balls off. Well, we all thought we were going to be exploded. We thought the world was going to come to an end. We thought that thing was real. I'll never forget that.
Ferguson: It was iron.
Schumacher: It was a big iron -- like cannonballs. And we all ran and poor Jack, left him in the crick, and we thought we were going to get blown up. He's dead now, Jenny's oldest son.
Johnson: It says here, how do you and your family feel about progress?
Johnson: How did you feel about progress?
Schumacher: How did you feel about progress from where you lived there?
Ferguson: Well, we didn't how what progress was, I guess.
Johnson: Did you like the new inventions as they came along?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: I think you sort of covered that when you said the radio was – And did women wear hats and scarves?
Schumacher: Did women wear hats and scarves?
Ferguson: Oh, yes.
Schumacher: Did you wear than to town - when you went to town, did you wear a hat?
Ferguson: Oh, yes, sure.
Schumacher: So, in other words, you wouldn't go to town without a hat on?
Ferguson: Oh, no.
Schumacher: And your gloves?
Schumacher: They were proper ladies in those days.
Johnson: Yes, you see in all the pictures.
Schumacher: High-button shoes.
Ferguson: Button shoes, yes, that's right.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about cosmetics? Did your mother wear powder?
Ferguson: Wanted rouge, we had beets.
Schumacher: They used beets.
Ferguson: Beets - for rouge - to make your cheeks red.
Schumacher: That was their cosmetics. Helena Rubenstein never found out about that, did she, mother?
Schumacher: About your beet juice?
Ferguson: Oh, no. Poor old beets used to catch it. Put a couple wads on there. We used to have healthy skin.
Johnson: What about jewelry? Did your mother ever wear jewelry?
Ferguson: God, no, we had no jewelry.
Schumacher: No, your nether. She probably only wore her wedding ring, I guess.
Johnson: Did she have a wedding band?
Ferguson: I guess so?
Johnson: How about earrings? Would she had had earrings?
Schumacher: Tell her about her earrings - about her pierced ears.
Ferguson: She had a pair of earrings and they were like a dime. Around thing, plain, like a circle like a ring, but it was an earring. And she wore them all the time. Pierced. And she lost one. And she never had no money to buy another one. So, she'd take it out of this ear and put in this ear for a while so the holes wouldn't close up. I can remember that. She only had one earring. It was gold, though. I don't know where she got that.
Schumacher: I have her cameo. I have her beautiful cameo that was my grandmother's.
Ferguson: Someone gave it to her, I guess.
Schumacher: I guess she wore that the day she got married, I don't know.
Ferguson: Maybe, I don't know.
- Traveling in a buggy; Weddings; Household objects;Keywords: Baking pans; Canning; Centerville, Del.; Coffee; Cooking; Goldey-Beacom College; Kettles; Kitchen tools; Kitchen Utensils; Laundry; Mason Jars; Mousetraps; Stoves; Washpans; WeddingsTranscript: Johnson: Do you remember anything -- are you getting tired?
Schumacher: Yes, she is; I can tell.
Johnson: Well, we can stop and I can came back. There are more questions I haven't asked you about.
Schumacher: Can you go a few more questions?
Ferguson: Yeah, a few more.
Johnson: Do you remember anything about a wagon or a horse and wagon?
Ferguson: About who?
Johnson: A horse and wagon. Did you go anywhere in a horse and wagon?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. When I was growing up, I used to go with a fellow and he'd hire a horse and wagon. On Madison Street. And he'd come out with a buggy and I'd get in and away we'd go. I thought that was big.
Johnson: Where would you go of an evening?
Ferguson: We used to go to dances - up to Centerville to dances. And hide the horses in a hedge up there and then we'd come out and go home. And then he'd take me home and then he'd take what you call and then he'd walk home from there to Rockford.
Johnson: Was it necessary to obtain your parents' consent before you got married?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Sure.
Johnson: Do you remember what being married was like? What would your dress have been like? Your wedding dress?
Schumacher: What did you wear the day you got married, mother?
Ferguson: A suit. It was the style then. And a big hat with a big plume in it.
Ferguson: Where did you get married?Ferguson: St. Joseph's on the Brandywine.
Schumacher: Get married at five o'clock at night, didn't you?
Ferguson: Yeah. Five o'clock, then Hercules people all came out to see me.
Schumacher: And the priest came back for dinner.
Ferguson: Father Lawless.
Schumacher: And they had chicken. Stewed chicken, didn't you?
Ferguson: Stewed chicken.
Schumacher: A big wedding, mom.
Ferguson: Oh, I thought it was big.
Schumacher: It was, because my mother worked then. Of course, she went to Goldey. She graduated from Goldey-Beacom.
Ferguson: I went to Beacom's.
Schumacher: Yes, and then she graduated from there and then she went to work at Hercules. And then she married my father.
Ferguson: I worked there before I was married and then when I was married, and the baby was only six months -- l6 months old— and I had to go to work because the insurance money was all gone.
Schumacher: This was since my father died.
Ferguson: And then I called my old boss and I asked him if there was an opportunity, could I come back and he wrote me a beautiful letter. The first opportunity was when the depression was on and two weeks from then l went to work. And then I had to get somebody to mind the kids -- some girl. She managed Billy and Mary and Gracie. You two were able to go to school.
Johnson: Now, I have a whole list of objects to ask about, but if you are getting too tired, I can wait.
Ferguson: Oh, what are they?
Johnson: Do you remember a mouse trap for example in your kitchen? Did you have a mouse trap?
Ferguson: Mouse trap?
Schumacher: Mouse trap in the kitchen?
Ferguson: Oh, sure.
Johnson: What was it like?
Ferguson: A little trap like that.
Johnson: Like the ones they have today?
Ferguson: Yeah, just about like that.
Johnson: Did it have the spring or did it have the cover?
Ferguson: It had a spring and as the mouse went in there the thing would go off and the damn old mouse trap would go from here to over there. Then we had to go get it, get the mouse out and throw it out. He was dead.
Johnson: Do you remember a coffee pot?
Ferguson: Yeah, we had an old coffee pot.
Johnson: Did your mother make coffee every morning?
Ferguson: Yeah, sure. And tea at night.
Johnson: Did she grind her own coffee or did she buy it all ground?
Ferguson: Sometimes she'd grind it and then after awhile it came already ground.
Johnson: Do you remember a coffee grinder in the kitchen?
Johnson: Do you remember any muffin pans?
Ferguson: Any what?
Johnson: Any muffin pans?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, we had then.
Johnson: A gen pan?
Ferguson: Muffin pans, uh-huh. Mom would make cakes and put them in the muffin pans. Now you get one, and you get one, and you get one. That's what she said.
Johnson: What were the muffins like, do you remember?
Ferguson: Oh, no. Just little muffins -- sugar -- sweet.
Johnson: How about a dishpan? Did she have a dishpan?
Ferguson: We had a great big dishpan for dishes, yeah.
Johnson: What color was it?
Johnson: It was enamel, I guess.
Johnson: And what was your kettle like?
Ferguson: The what?
Johnson: Did you have a kettle to make the tea or to boil water?
Ferguson: Sometimes we did. If it would get broke, we'd have to get another one, you know.
Johnson: What was it like? What color?
Schumacher: You went in for the gray things.
Johnson: How about wash tubs?
Ferguson: We had wooden wash tubs. And then after awhile tin ones come through. But we had mostly wooden ones.
Johnson: They would have been heavier than the tin, right?
Johnson: They would have been very heavy.
Ferguson: Yeah, the wooden ones were heavy, but the other ones were lighter.
Johnson: How about Mason jars? Did you have those for canning?
Ferguson: Have what?
Johnson: Mason jars?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, they had them all the time.
Johnson: Now did your mother do a lot of canning?
Ferguson: Oh, yes. An awful lot.
Johnson: Did you help her?
Ferguson: Oh, sure.
Johnson: What were some of the things she'd make.
Ferguson: She'd put up tomatoes and coleslaw -- not coleslaw, but chili sauce, ketchup and stuff like that, chow chow.
Ferguson: Oh, she always put up peaches.
Johnson: Where did she get the peaches?
Ferguson: You'd have to buy them from truckers that came around.
Johnson: How about a wall telephone?
Ferguson: Oh, God, no. We had no telephone.
Johnson: You mentioned oil lamps. How about a soapstone griddle?
Ferguson: A What?
Johnson: A griddle for cooking things?
Ferguson: No, we didn't have that.
Johnson: They have one of those in the Gibbons House. A cherry pitter?
Ferguson: A what?
Johnson: A cherry pitter.
Ferguson: Oh, God, no.
Johnson: Cabbage slicer?
Johnson: Green's Almanac?
Johnson: A high chair?
Ferguson: Yeah. A high chair.
Johnson: You were the youngest, so you wouldn't really remember that. A butter mold?
Ferguson: A what?
Schumacher: A butter Hold to make butter. Did you make butter?
Ferguson: No. Mom bought it.
Johnson: And we mentioned the ice box. Did she have an egg beater?
Ferguson: Yeah, a hand one. Like they are now, you know, hand heaters.
Johnson: Did it have a little screen on it? We have one egg beater in the Gibbons House that has a screen on it so it won't splash on you.
Schumacher: Did it have a little screen on it so that the egg wouldn't splash?
Ferguson: No, I don't think so.
Johnson: Do you remember a pitcher.
Schumacher: A pitcher.
Johnson: We had pitcher, yes. Silver. Tin. Agate like.
Johnson: What was your table like, your kitchen table?
Ferguson: Yeah, kitchen table.
Johnson: What was it like, do you know?
Ferguson: Round. It was a round one. Made out of wood.
Johnson: Do you remember the cook stove?
Ferguson: The what?
Johnson: The cook stove?
Johnson: Did you have a lid lifter?
Ferguson: Yeah, a lifter to lift the lids up.
Schumacher: I remember that.
Ferguson: Old cook stove. Yeah, we had…
Schumacher: It was like silver - not silver, but it was like - and you'd lift the plates up and you'd drop the thing and it would be hot.
Johnson: An ironing board?
Schumacher: Did you have an ironing board, mother?
Ferguson: Well, sure. Made out of wood.
Johnson: How about clothes - did you dry the clothes outdoors?
Ferguson: Put the clothes out in the yard.
Johnson: And did you have a wash line out there?
Ferguson: Yeah, a line.
Johnson: Do you remember what that was like?
Ferguson: Oh, no. Just a regular rope to hang up your clothes.
Johnson: Did they have a pole to hang them up?
Ferguson: Yeah, hand then up in the air.
Johnson: Could you just put it around a tree or would you have a pole that somebody put in the ground.
Schumacher: I think around the tree.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah, around a tree.
Johnson: I have the feeling they used trees a lot because there were so many trees.
Schumacher: I use my trees at home now.
Johnson: Clothes pins?
Schumacher: Did you have clothes pins, mother?
Ferguson: Pay phone?
Schumacher: Clothes pins.
Ferguson: Oh, yes, some kind. Wood.
Johnson: What would you do on a rainy day?
Ferguson: We didn't wash on a rainy day.
Johnson: How about in the winter if you had a month of cold weather, would you have to dry it in the house?
Ferguson: Yeah, dry it in the house. We had lines in the house.
Johnson: Did you have a wringer to do the sheets when you were washing the sheets by hand?
Ferguson: Have a what?
Johnson: A wringer?
Ferguson: A wringer, yes.
Johnson: And would that have been out in the shed?
Johnson: Medicine chest?
Ferguson: Medicine chest, yeah, we had that.
Schumacher: You didn't have a medicine chest.
Ferguson: We had some kind of closet that we put the stuff in.
Johnson: How about a dry sink?
Ferguson: A what?
Johnson: A dry sink.
Johnson: Must have been dry if they didn't have running water.
Schumacher: We used to set them on a bench.
Johnson: A shelf clock?
Ferguson: A what?
Johnson: I think I've probably asked you enough today.
Schumacher: She's getting irritable now because she's getting tired.
Johnson: Thank you, very much.
Schumacher: She said thank you, mother.
Ferguson: Oh, you're quite welcome, I'm sure.
Johnson: Now, I brought along this release form. If you would please sign your name here and it just says that you will let the Hagley Museum…