Interview with Jane "Jenny" Toomey, 1985 February 12 [audio](part 2)
- Continued discussion of historic photographs of the area and photographs in the "Workers' World at Hagley" publication by Glenn PorterKeywords: Charles' Banks; Chicken Alley; Daniel Toomey; Eugene Dougherty; Fires; Iron Bridge; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; tin factoryTranscript: Joe Toomey: Piers supporting the railroad bridge are right up here. Right above these two houses. They were already chopped down.
Johnson: I was going to say, it looks there is nothing there.
Joe Toomey: This mill race over here is on these, right here by Breck's Mill. In fact there's a couple of these big stones lying right along the road here, you see them, and that's where they came from.
Jennie Toomey: An old man told me one time that these houses were moved. There was an old man lived around here, he told me one time, old Mr. Buchanan, that these houses had been moved. They were there, and when they went to build that trestle across the yard, they moved these two houses down here, to make room for the trestle to go through there. That's why they're built up so high.
Joe Toomey: He told me there was some kind of a factory right here at one time.
Jennie Toomey: Right in the corner of our yard, there was a tin factory.
Joe Toomey: I dug up all kinds of chains and tin and everything in the back yard there one time, and that's what he told me, there was a factory there.
Jennie Toomey: There was a factory there, but it was before my time.
Joe Toomey: I've never seen any pictures...
Jennie Toomey: But he was an old man and he lived around here when he was young.
Joe Toomey: I've got a picture here of him when he was...
Jennie Toomey: Oh, yes.
Joe Toomey: That's who she's talking about and that was taken back in the 30's, he was in his 80's then when that was taken, that's when he was telling the stories.
Johnson: What was his name?
Jennie Toomey: Buchanan. I think you interviewed Bill Buchanan, haven't you?
Johnson: The name sounds familiar.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, Bill Buchanan - this was his father.
Joe Toomey: Yes, he worked up in the powder mill - he's in the records up there.
Jennie Toomey: Bill worked at the DuPont shops.
Joe Toomey: [?] He worked in the powder yard.
Johnson: When he talks about the iron bridge, is that still there?
Jennie Toomey: Oh, yeah, when you ride up on the bus, have you ever ridden, you know, it goes over towards Chick Laird's place, that's it. That's where I used to walk across that to go to school.
Joe Toomey: That's the iron bridge. Right on the other side is [Charles's Banks?]
Jennie Toomey: Just on the other side of the iron bridge, in front of Chick Laird's house.
Joe Toomey: And where the Soda House is now is where the Upper Banks were, so the Toomey's, my great-grandfather Toomey lived in the Upper Banks right there by the Soda House. She was born right across the bridge, soon as you go across the bridge, the iron bridge, right there, Charles's Banks.
Jennie Toomey: My whole family was born there. There's a lot of our treasures in there.
Joe Toomey: If I can keep [Chrissy?] from getting...
Jennie Toomey: Oh, one of the grandchildren was here and she took everything out of that drawer and read it and looked...
Joe Toomey: Take it out of it and put it away on me someplace, I go looking for it, I can't find it. She said nobody touched it...That's Henry Clay Village and all that stuff there. This is the back of our house right here, Breck's Mill, that's probably Hagley's photograph's here, maybe they have that up there.
Johnson: [Inaudible comment]
Joe Toomey: There's a picture of Charles's Banks in here, too. There's the Experimental Station, looks like.
Johnson: Yes, they had that picture in the "Workers' World."
Joe Toomey: What I was lookin' for...
Johnson: Now, this is bell that Ann H. Hudson said that Daniel Toomey used to ring, I think you can see it right here. She said that he would ring that bell every day. And that was Mrs. Ann Hudson - she was on Upper Banks. She can remember Daniel Toomey ringing the bell.
Joe Toomey: I don't know - may be true, can't prove it by us...
Jennie Toomey: What are you looking for?
Joe Toomey: Charles's Banks.
Johnson: Oh, you have a picture of Charles's Banks?
Joe Toomey: Yes, we have a picture in here and then part of the factory and the houses, I showed it to you, didn't I?
Jennie Toomey: I don't remember.
Joe Toomey: Just yesterday or today.
Jennie Toomey: Oh, well I don't remember that long.
Joe Toomey: Yes, that's too long ago. [Laughter]
Jennie Toomey: Well, my grandchildren say, "Granny I heard you were losing your memory." I said, "Yes, for things that happened yesterday, the day before, but things that happened a-way back I can remember. Or my own name, sometimes, I can't.
Joe Toomey: ...Chicken Alley's still there, you know. People live in those homes.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, people still live in Chicken Alley.
Johnson: Oh, I didn't know that.
Joe Toomey: Remember the iron bridge, people's home back...
Jennie Toomey: What was it, six houses, I think they made into three.
Joe Toomey: Yes, I think there's three there now.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, there's three houses there now. They belong to Mr. Laird.
Joe Toomey: That's all up Chicken Alley...What was Chrissy looking for in all of this stuff?
Jennie Toomey: What?
Joe Toomey: What was Chrissy looking for?
Jennie Toomey: She was just looking, she was just lookin'. Now there was pictures in there, the children, I took them all out because every time they went to open the drawer they got stuck. Every child gets their picture, I have 14 great-grandchildren and every time one of them gets a picture taken, they bring me a picture in a frame. I have them all in a plastic bag back there. Some of them are in that drawer and every time you would open the drawer, they'd get stuck so I decided to take them out and put them in a plastic bag. I keep them up for a little while when they first give them to me. I need a room just to put them all in.
Joe Toomey: There's pictures up at Hagley. I told those guys up at Hagley they ought to get her to go up there 'cause they have groups of men up there unidentified. She could identify a lot of them.
Jennie Toomey: I was up, my daughter and I went up there five or six years ago now, 'cause she's dead about three years. There was a picture where my brother-in-law was on them. We were looking at the pictures and somebody come over and said you sound like you might know these, and I said, yes, I do. So she said, well, we're going to come down and talk to you. She took my name and address. And when I was doing something up St. Joseph's Hall, somebody else took my name and address, and somebody else took my name and address. That was three different ones before you came to ask me anything. None of them ever came, I don't know what happened to them.
Johnson: Well, they have so many people working...
Jennie Toomey: They lost my name and address, I guess.
Johnson: I'm just wondering if you know any of the people in "The Workers' World" book, in pictures in here. Most of these are just scenes in there, you couldn't tell them, but - this is in Tom Toy's tavern...
Jennie Toomey: Oh, yes. And this is just up at the top of Rising Sun Hill, wasn't it? Blakeley had a store on Squirrel Run, Sam Frizzell was right this side of Breck's Lane, that was right up here across from...This was Harry Gregg's store here. This was Frizzell's, it was right across from Breck's Mill, there in that hollow space that goes in up there, that's where...
Joe Toomey: Where the rocks are along the road there.
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, I have that Hagley book. Somebody gave it to me for a Christmas present, or birthday present or something.
Johnson: There are a whole bunch of men on there, but I think it's so small, you can't really tell who they are.
Jennie Toomey: They're kinda -- This here is my brother-in-law.
Johnson: Oh, the one on the end. On page 27. [photograph of Meadowbrook Fife and Drum Corps, circa 1907]
Joe Toomey: Yes, he's in a lot of pictures up there - he stands out like a sore thumb.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, they all have derby hats on.
Johnson: And what was his name?
Joe Toomey: Dougherty.
Jennie Toomey: Gene Dougherty.
Joe Toomey: Eugene Dougherty.
Jennie Toomey: There's the trolley running right down...see this is the houses that were over across the road here.
Joe Toomey: See, there's Coley's house, burned down houses, see, that's the way it is now, see how the two of them burnt down.
Jennie Toomey: What is it?
Joe Toomey: Coley's.
Johnson: That's Coley's house where it burned down in the other pictures.
Joe Toomey: Chick Laird's version of the house that burned down, he said it was the volunteer companies came. There, if you want to read that.
Johnson: Oh, thank you. [Laughter]
Joe Toomey: He and I [collaborated on it?]
Johnson: Would you know anybody in this picture? This must have been taken at St. Joseph's.
Jennie Toomey: Up at St. Joseph's, yeah, that's in front of the school, but, no, they were before my time, all of them. They were all before my time, I think. Yes, that's St. Joseph's.
Johnson: How about these men here? This is probably before your time, too, because this would have been taken in the residence when it was a...
Jennie Toomey: ...the DuPont Club, no I don't know anything about that.
Jennie Toomey: I remember going to a party or something, I just barely remember being taken to Breck's Mill for a children's party or something and getting a doll, I think it must have been the first doll I ever had. That's the only thing I remember about it, who took me or how I got there, I don't know.
Joe Toomey: Remember that ticket I have from a Breck's Mill dance in l888?
Jennie Toomey: What?
Joe Toomey: Ticket from Breck's Mill for a dance in 1888, where is it?
Jennie Toomey: Yes. You have them, some place.
Joe Toomey: I have them, I thought you'd say that.
Johnson: Here's a picture of a trunk.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, that looks like a tin one.
Johnson: Yes, that looks like it's metal.
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, Edward Beacoms, yes, they lived in Squirrel Run, the Beacoms. Steerage - says steerage on it, I guess they had to bring the lightest things they could.
Johnson: The ones they have in the museum are made of wood, they have one in the Gibbons' House that's made of wood.
Jennie Toomey: T don't know if there are any of those Beacoms left, living or not. Have you...
Johnson: I know they have interviewed one, this is a long time ago before my time with the museum.
Jennie Toomey: Bessie was one of the girls, or women, and I think I saw not too long ago where she died. And I think that must have been the last of them. They were all older than me I know, they have to be older than me. I'll be 89 in July.
Johnson: You don't seem like you are 89.
Jennie Toomey: I will, be, 27th of July. [laughs]
Johnson: ...read about the fire at Main Street.
Jennie Toomey: The part there about Letty Laird is funny, that's what he wants you to see, I guess.
Johnson: Oh, says Joe Toomey, the alarm was turned in by Joe Toomey. He was about eight.
Jennie Toomey: Yes. Mr. Laird's really in bad shape. He still goes to his office. I don't know where his office is, up in Greenville, I imagine. But the letter he sent me said to call his office and I called and a woman answered. And when she answered, she said, "Hello", real loud, and I said could I speak to Mr. Laird, and she said, "Who's calling?" And I said, "Jenny Toomey", and she said "Jenny Toomey". So I don't know whether he can't hear well and she was doing it for his benefit or not. She was just screaming almost when she said it. So I don't know who works in his office or anything, but I had a hard time understanding him. He called me a couple of years ago and wanted to know about that fire up the road. And I said that Joe knew more about it than I did. Joe was out at the time, I said when he comes in I'll have him call him. So when Joe come in, I said I talked to Mr. Laird and he sounded to me like he had a stroke, you know, he was talking very slowly. Then Joe called him and he talked to him, and he talked to him. And I hadn't told him what I thought about it. He come out and he said Mr. Laird sounds like he had a stroke. And I said well I thought the same thing when I talked to him, so he did have. But he still gets around some. He doesn't drive anymore. When he came here at New Year's with my book, he was in the car - was a young man driving for him. I said, "How is Mr. Laird?" He said, "He's right there in the car." So I went out, and it was a very cold day, I didn't go all the way out, I just went to the edge of the porch and hollered to him. Said "How are you?"
- A ticket for an 1883 event at Breck's Mill and Joe Toomey tending the furnace there fifty years later; a 1930s fire near Hagee's saloon; local nicknamesKeywords: Breck's Mill; Dougherty's; Hagee's; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Nicknames; Toy's Tavern; Volunteer fire departmentsTranscript: Johnson: This is the ticket to the Third Grand [?] of the Blue Rose Social Club, to be held in Breck's Mill, Saturday, November 24, 1883.
Joe Toomey: You can take that for Hagley's collection if you want it.
Johnson: Oh, thank you very much.
Joe Toomey: I have another one.
Johnson: You have another one?
Joe Toomey: I found those in Breck's Mill. This family took care of Breck's Mill from the time it reopened in '33, I think it was. And my father took care of it, my brother took care of it, and I took care of it all through high school and so forth.
Jennie Toomey: Tend the furnace, they had a furnace...
Joe Toomey: My story - my story.
Jennie Toomey: Shoveled into it...
Joe Toomey: My story.
Jennie Toomey: I'm sorry [laughs] go ahead.
Joe Toomey: This happens all the time. So there was a large furnace over there. We kept - coal-fired furnace - and one night I had banked the fire for the night, and just happened to look up in a little cut out in the rafters up there, and I saw something sticking out and I reached up, pulled it out, and that's what I found, was those tickets. They came from Breck's Mill and they were stuck up in there for many, many years before I found them. Fifty years later, I guess.
Johnson: That was a long time ago.
Joe Toomey: In fact, I was overcome by that coal gas one night, Chick Laird saved my life. He was there, he was the one to reopen the mill. And I had fired the furnace and sat down to wait for them to leave. He called down...he called down and I didn't answer so he came down looking for me. The coal gas - I was overcome by it. I came to over here on the settee, we had that. Next thing I knew a couple hours later. If he didn't call at the door, I guess that would have been the end of me, probably.
Johnson: Isn't that lucky!
Joe Toomey: You may take that with you.
Johnson: Thank you very much.
Joe Toomey: I still can't find - I know it's in a newspaper article that I've got here. It's got a picture of Charles's Banks, part of the factory in there, some of the homes in there. Anyways...the foundations are still over there. Where the factory was there and where her home was there. I worked there one summer for Chick Laird, cleaned out that section. All the foundations are still there.
Johnson: Do you remember the Talleyville Fire Company being there?
Joe Toomey: At that fire?
Johnson: It says here, Talleyville Fire Company was there.
Joe Toomey: That's what he says, but my uncle ran up the, up the, to ring in the alarm. There were no telephones around then, and he ran up the hill, and pulled the alarm up there.
Jennie Toomey: Was up the top of Rising Sun.
Joe Toomey: That was for the city, that wasn't for volunteer fire companies. Chick says in that it was Talleyville, but I don't, I think it was the city fire company that come out here. Yes, that was in 1933 that fire took place? We had a tough time pinning that down.
Johnson: All he says is about 1930.
Joe Toomey: Yeah, well, you see, my grandfather was still living up here then, 'cause that's where we were, it was the Fourth of July. He moved shortly thereafter, the other side. That's the reason I say 1933, we know that. You said '33, that's about right. Think about it for a minute. When did Aunt Jessie get married?
Jennie Toomey: '33. But they were over there for some time before she got married.
Joe Toomey: Not long. They were still up here when the fire took place.
Jennie Toomey: When was the fire?
Joe Toomey: You and Aunt Kate, you sister, and Jimmy Potter and myself were up there visitin' Grandpop, when that fire took place. And you were down talking to him and he and I just walked up to the Main Street, right across from Hagee's, and happened to look down the road and saw the fire come out of the homes down there. We ran down to Uncle Jack and he ran all the way up the hill and rang in the alarm. Now, that was in '33.
Jennie Toomey: I don't know.
Joe Toomey: I know right before she, well it might have been almost the same time.
Jennie Toomey: I know she got married in May of '33. She got married the day after Aunt Kate died.
Joe Toomey: You said she was living over there then?
Jennie Toomey: Yes. I remember a few things. [laughs]
Joe Toomey: Well, all right, well then in that case, based on you memory, that fire took place in '72. It happened on the 4th of July, if she got married when they lived in Walker's Banks. He and I, Mr. Laird and I talked about it on the phone, checked with her, dates around, and we finally settled on 1933.
Jennie Toomey: They had a small fire here next door, too. And he asked me when it was. And I called the woman who used to live here and she told me - what'd she tell me, 1934 or '44?
Joe Toomey: '43.
Jennie Toomey: '43.
Joe Toomey: And I straightened her out on it last night. They're all wrong.
Jennie Toomey: Well, I told Mr. Laird '43, so it's gonna stay that way, I'm not going to try and correct it.
Johnson: Charles's Banks...
Joe Toomey: 1945, is what it was.
Jennie Toomey: Well, I'm not going to bother correcting it, I told him '43.
Joe Toomey: I was home, I was coming' right down the hill and the fire was up that way - the fire engines were out front, and I was in the Navy in '43 and '44. I was in California both years, so, it couldn't have taken place - I wasn't home.
Jennie Toomey: I called her yesterday morning and she told me '43. Then I was upstairs last night and she called and told him she made a mistake...
Joe Toomey: Well, I straightened her out, Mom.
Jennie Toomey: But I had already told...
Joe Toomey: Just lived there, she didn't know [laughs].
Jennie Toomey: I had already told Mr. Laird that she said '43, so that's the way it's gonna stand now, if he puts in that book - nobody is going to question it.
Joe Toomey: I am.
Jennie Toomey: Well, you can, but what effect do you have?
Joe Toomey: I'm getting to be the authority around here, I'm the only one tells them accurate dates any more. That's what I was kiddin' them - the day of the gathering for the old timers over here, I took off one of my day's vacation. When I told them where I was going, and I said, "I'm going as a guest." They said, well it's for old timers. And I said, "Yeah, I've only been there for sixty years, I don't qualify." [Laughter]...
Jennie Toomey: Do they know about all those saloons that were around here?
Joe Toomey: Those pictures are from Hagley, most of them.
Johnson: I see that somebody from Hagley helped to write the book, so probably, I really don't know...
Joe Toomey: Hagley has all those prints, is where he got all that stuff, sure.
Johnson: Well, he has more than were just in the Brandywine Village.
Joe Toomey: Well, he got pictures of elsewhere too, probably, but most of them are from...
Jennie Toomey: I remember them all being here.
Johnson: Do you remember Tom Toy's Tavern? Mrs. Ferguson's uncle...
Jennie Toomey: There was two on Rising Sun Hill, there was one just around the curve up there, and there was one up at the top.
Joe Toomey: They're in there.
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, I know they are. One was Blakeley's and one was Dougherty's I think.
Joe Toomey: The Toy's lived right on this hill. They lived right on Breck's Lane up here. The Toy's, I was telling her, the Toy's lived right on Breck's Lane, on the hill, next to...
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, but they were, that wasn't the...was a way down from the Toy's that run the saloon, down a couple generations.
Joe Toomey: Well, I tell you what there was a lot of, is Dougherty's. There was about ten different Dougherty families around the Brandywine here and not any two are related to each other. There was one right here, we had Dougherty's when I lived up in Squirrel Run - they weren't related, and there were Dougherty's up by the church, Dougherty's over there, Dougherty's up on Rising Sun Lane, Dougherty's up the road here, Dougherty's...
Jennie Toomey: And a lot of them had nicknames to distinguish them from one family...
Joe Toomey: Tell her about some of the nicknames.
Jennie Toomey: One was a Barney Dougherty, because the father's name was Bernard, they were the Barney Dougherty's - Maggie Barney and Philip Barney and all - well, there was Mickey the Goats, because they kept goats. [Laughter] I forget the others. I remember the Barneys, and even the women of the family - one was Maggie, she was called Maggie Barney. Their name was Maggie Dougherty, because her father was Barney.
Joe Toomey: I'm going to tell her something, wait 'til you see the argument I get out of her, probably.
Jennie Toomey: Why?
Joe Toomey: Part of my - I'm making up this family tree, which grew into more than a family tree for the reunion this coming summer. Part of it was putting down nicknames. My father and all four of his brothers had nicknames and that's what most of the people knew them by, their nickname, they didn't know them by their proper name, see, so I decided I had better put their nicknames in there, so they would know who was who. So I put the nickname down, like one Uncle was Bum, he was a good basketball player around town and played over here in Breck's Mill - you've got pictures up there in Hagley, I've seen them - on the basketball team up there - [Mt. Vernon?] basketball team - I was up there two weeks ago - they've got them up there. His right name was Daniel, he was Daniel, Jr., his father was the one that got killed in the powder mill explosion. Well, he was Bum - Shoot was another brother. Shoot owns the course record for The DuPont Country Club up here, the original DuPont Country Club, which will never be broken because the course is not there any longer. My father was Jake, or Jakey. Jakey was what everybody called him. [Booker?] was William, see, I put all those nicknames in there. My brother was called Jake, any that are in the family, the immediate family that I could think of - the nicknames - I put in there. Well, I was over talking to my daughter Sunday and I all of a sudden remembered another nickname that I had forgotten. I asked her if she had any more nicknames that she could think of and she said, no, she couldn't think of any. You know which one I came up with?
Jennie Toomey: Who?
Joe Toomey: Stump.
Jennie Toomey: Erase it [Laughter].
Joe Toomey: I told you I was going to get an argument.
Jennie Toomey: You can erase that.
Joe Toomey: No, it's not going to be erased, it's going in there. It's in there - I gave it to Doreen to type already. That's what my father called her. As I put in there, Stump, she laughed, with her laughing, she picked it up - I said what are you laughing about, the nickname - she never heard it before. She said no, the explanation you have there - the name my father called her most of the time. [Laughter]
Jennie Toomey: All the time - he always...
Joe Toomey: I remember him still, I was telling her, standing at the bottom of the stairs trying to get her up, he'd always yell up to her, "Stump, you better get the hell up out of there." I forgot it completely, then I just heard about it.
Jennie Toomey: I didn't know anybody remembered that. [Laughter]
Joe Toomey: Just struck me in talking to Sharon Sunday that Stump...
Jennie Toomey: I was always the shortest one of the family. I had a boyfriend before that who called me Shorty all the time.
- Joe Toomey, Jenny Toomey's son, discussing his research on the Toomey family, particularly his great-grandfather Timothy ToomeyKeywords: census records; family history; Genealogy; Toomey, Daniel F., 1877-1915; Toomey, Timothy Aloysius, 1897-1949; Toomey, Timothy, 1852-1906Transcript: Joe Toomey: So I'm going back up to Hagley again - next Monday and see if I can...
Jennie Toomey: I thought you cleaned them out with all their information.
Joe Toomey: Yeah - I don't know if you people - do you have any history at all of when these homes were built up here, are you just guessing, built in 1802 or so?
Johnson: Well, there's someone now that has a map which, I think it lists all the families at a certain time. I don't know if that would tell the dates as well or not.
Jennie Toomey: The what - what were you looking for?
Joe Toomey: This house, when this house was built.
Jennie Toomey: Oh, the house - he's trying to find out how old it...
Johnson: I think they have a lot of things there that they don't really have organized yet, and he only found...
Joe Toomey: The index cards they gave me when I first walked in for Toomey, they didn't have Daniel Toomey on the index card - the one that got killed from the explosion - he's not even in there, so they're not up to date at all.
Jennie Toomey: I imagine most of these houses are built soon after the powder mills started.
Joe Toomey: Microfilm, though, up there is excellent for newspaper research and census research, that's what I used mostly for information I needed.
Johnson: Yes, I think they get a lot of their information from census records.
Joe Toomey: Yes, see I got the 1900 census - it turned out that her father and all of the children were living in Charles's Banks in 1900. They moved up here in 1904, so everybody was there - Charles's Banks - they were all listed in the census, gives the date of birth, that they came from Ireland. Questions on the census like - can you read? can you write? can you spell?- they're all on there.
Jennie Toomey: What?
Joe Toomey: On the census of 1900...your father. That's the reason I come up with all the new dates on him, the census. And then the Toomeys, in 1900, my great-grandfather, my grandfather Daniel, who was killed in the powder mill, and my father, were all living in the same house, in the Upper Banks in 1900, so they were all right there. They had all the birth dates of all three of them, by looking for my father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather. They were all there in that census - took a lot of looking. Part of the problem was that I happened to remember, just luckily I remembered from working at the elections, this side of the Brandywine is Christiana Hundred - that side of the Brandywine is Brandywine Hundred, so it's two different census reports that you have to look at. If I kept looking at Christiana Hundred, I would have never found the Thompsons, but I just all of a sudden remembered Charles's Banks was in Brandywine Hundred and Upper Banks is in Christiana Hundred. I've written down where they are in the census and everything if somebody else wants to go up there and look at it.
Johnson: I didn't know they made that division in the census.
Joe Toomey: Yes, oh yeah.
Johnson: There is an old map that shows the two Hundreds right next to each other.
Joe Toomey: Well, 1900, now - I did look at 1850 and 1860, but they were so hard to read, I gave up on them and I finally just - well they were all here, the two grandfathers were here anyway, the great-grandfather and the grandfather were here, so I'll get this 1900 census, I got that from them and then started looking through it - luckily they were all there together. All of her sisters were alive - all their birth dates were there, and that's where I got her straightened out on when her oldest sister was born. She had them two years apart and two of them are three years apart.
Jennie Toomey: I was just figuring from my own birth date back - you know, to the others when they were born, to find out when they were born, 'cause I didn't remember, only for myself and my brother, next brother older than me, my sister younger. I knew of those three, but the others I just guessed at them - year they were born, knew their birthdays, but not their year. He got them all straightened out.
Joe Toomey: I got a copy of Timothy Toomey's birth certificate - death certificate - from Dover. I ran into a problem in that, I didn't - you know looking up the Toomeys, so I always thought that Daniel Toomey, when he was killed, came from Ireland and I think my mother did too, really. And so when I found out that he didn't come from Ireland, that he was born in the Upper Banks, I thought - oh. So then we went up to the church - she and I stopped at church and looked up the marriage certificate for Timothy Toomey - the one born in Ireland or...all that I knew was that he was married, marriage certificate out here, he was married up at St. Joe's on the Brandywine in 1874, so I went up there and looked at that record and it said in the record, and she said, "Look, right there, Upper Banks." I said, "Oh, who in the heck did come from Ireland, maybe my great-grandfather never did come from Ireland." [Laughter]
So then when I got to Hagley, I found out the church records are wrong. He was actually born in Ireland, the census reports confirm that - Hagley's records confirm it, see he was born in Ireland in 1850 - I know that now. He was married up here in 1874, so he came from Ireland some time between 1850 and 1874, but if I can find out where in Ireland, then I want to go to the Mormans or somebody, see if I can trace it back - some other source - immigration services or whatever.
Johnson: I read a story about the Mormans being able to trace...
Joe Toomey: They have a place right over here on DuPont Road, you go up Breck's Lane on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, you go down about a half mile, turn right, their church is right back in there.
Johnson: But the records would be in Utah...
Joe Toomey: Oh yes, they have an office here for that, you can contact them here and they can get the records for you, for a price. But the more information you have to give them, the cheaper it will be. That's why I'm trying to get all the information I can, then I'll give it to them and say he was born in such and such a place in Ireland, can you tell me when he came over. That's about all I need to know there, when he came from Ireland.
Johnson: And what were you going to say about his death certificate from Dover?
Joe Toomey: Oh, it had on there Ireland, but up 'til that time it was the Upper Banks - from the church records - Upper Banks. So then I struck on getting his death certificate from down there and it had right on there, born in Ireland.
Jennie Toomey: It's a good thing we don't need our dining room table often, with all these books and things on it.
Johnson: I was doing the same thing last night before I called.
Jennie Toomey: They are all handy.
Joe Toomey: Don't touch it, all my research material is here.
Jennie Toomey: Mr. Laird puts a lot of work into those books.
Johnson: This is really nice with all of the...I think they have a different picture of Fleming's Tavern in "The Workers' World".
Joe Toomey: See, Hagley's got part of their records up there, they've got a lot of information of that centennial that took place in 1902. And they've got a list of all the workers and how many years they worked at Hagley. They had him down for 32 years in 1902, so I know he started working there in 1870. And her father, they had him down for 16 years, no 26 years. He started working - he came over in '74, but he didn't start working until '77. So for three years he was here, but, anyway he didn't go to work right away at Hagley like Timothy Toomey did though. I'm assuming he came over in 1870, he may have come over, he was only twenty years old.
Johnson: Well, they tell us that they had recruiters over in Ireland, trying to get workers to come over, they had a good reputation.
Joe Toomey: That's why I don't know how he ever came at 18 years old, or 20 years old, by himself, to go to work at...
Johnson: You kind of think he must have been promised a job.
Joe Toomey: So they probably recruited him, that's what I kind of think, too.
Jennie Toomey: Who was that?
Joe Toomey: Timothy Toomey. How would he ever know to come over here?
Jennie Toomey: Somebody in this country sent for him, I guess.
Joe Toomey: Well, no, they recruited them, she's saying - DuPont's actually recruited the workers over in Ireland.
Jennie Toomey: Oh.
Johnson: They liked Irish workers, they were good workers, so they would send a person over to tell them about jobs that were here.
Joe Toomey: Do you have any facts on that at all up there, or just what somebody tells...
Johnson: No, they do know - they have the names of some people. Now my information goes to the 1840's, since they tell about - we interpret the Gibbons House and John Gibbons came over in 1836 I think.
Joe Toomey: How did you determine that?
Johnson: Well, for one thing, he was in the Civil War, so they have his records, how old he was at that time, and I guess the Company also has records of when he started working, because they know how much rent he paid and where he lived.
Joe Toomey: You've got to have records on how long they worked. Well, that list of workers for the Centennial, it has the years of service, everybody, all the workers up there at that time in 1902 and Timothy Toomey is listed for 32 years.
Johnson: They were there - the list, you know, it was a hundred years and it takes in so much time...
Joe Toomey: They knew he went to work there in 1870, but I'm just wondering, did they know when he came from Ireland? I'm trying to find out...
Johnson: I doubt that they would have...
Joe Toomey: Find out where in Ireland he came from - is really bugging me more than anything else right now, outside of...
Jennie Toomey: They wouldn't be bothered about where they came from, just so they got here and went to work, I guess, was all they cared about.
Joe Toomey: She says they're from Cork because they called them "Corkies", I said well, from what I know of the Irish, they had all these different terms - "Lace Curtain Irish" and all that kind of stuff, and it meant that they were dirty Irish and Lace Curtain Irish and Corkie Irish and all this kind of thing. They were slang terms, maybe didn't mean they came from Cork at all. She said well they called them Corkies, so they had to come from Cork.
Jennie Toomey: Some man said to me one time, "Where did the Toomeys come from?" I said, "Oh, they were Corkies", he said "What's the matter with the Corkies?" [Laughter] I guess he was one too, I don't know what he was. It was just kind of a nickname they gave them because they came from Cork.
Joe Toomey: Well, I'm going back to the church records first. I want to get up there - that Monsignor up there is so busy - he gave me about five minutes of his time that one day, but I want him to let me go in there and just sit there and look through these books he has up there. When people were married and when they died and so forth, and to see if perhaps in there it would indicate where in Ireland he came from.
Johnson: I don't know what records they have in...
Joe Toomey: He's got all the records up here - the whole church from 1840 on, so...how accurate they are, they're wrong on him, 'cause says born in Upper Banks, they're wrong.
Johnson: I know somebody just found her wrong marriage date in the church where she was married [Laughter] This wasn't St. Joseph's, it was some church in Pennsylvania.
Joe Toomey: Well, it can happen - or dates of birth - she said, her father always said he was born in August, he never knew what date, so he picked the 15th of August as the date he was born - that's what they went by all the time. Well, Hagley's records show him as August, born in August, for the census. The census of 1900 says August. So we know August the 15th, I don't know.
Jennie Toomey: Well, I think he told us at the time, you know, he knew he was born in August, but he didn't know the date so he just picked the 15th because of the Feast of the Blessed Mother.
- Recalling Mrs. Toomey's 1984 interview; final remarks including her husband's grandparents' rolling pin and the worker's reunion at HagleyKeywords: antique kitchen utensils; Recipes; Rolling pinsTranscript: Joe Toomey: Well, is there anything else you would like to know about the creek that you can think of?
Johnson: I think I've asked you just about everything that we have. Would you like to look at our questions?
Joe Toomey: No, you read them all [Laughter].
Johnson: This is the first questions and this is the second.
Joe Toomey: Did you cover them all today?
Johnson: Just about, I think between this time and last time that I covered them.
Joe Toomey: I wanted to listen to the tape that she gave you the first time.
Johnson: Oh, do you mean the transcript? Would you like a copy of that? Now I don't have one here, but they have one in the museum, and if they'll let me, I'll make a Xerox copy there and give you that.
Jennie Toomey: They tell, they would let him hear the tape when he was up there last week, if he wanted to, but he didn't have time.
Joe Toomey: Oh, I would love to have it. The transcript she's talking about. Then I can edit it and correct the things that you told her wrong.
Jennie Toomey: Yeah [Laughs].
Johnson: I have the tape I made today - that's the only tape I have.
Joe Toomey: Coal storage, our coal bin is still down there if you want to see it.
Jennie Toomey: What was that?
Joe Toomey: The coal bin is still down there. We have an oil tank in there now. In fact my kids never saw coal, so I went down there one year at Christmastime. I went down and took a few pieces of coal out and brought it up and showed it to them. They took it to school and showed it to all their kids.
Jennie Toomey: The oil tank is in there now.
Joe Toomey: Games you played - songs - Red Rover, Red Rover. Oh, this is some of the questions you asked today, too.
Johnson: Yes. They're going to do still a third interview. They're going to send someone else around next time so that whoever comes can ask any questions that they think I missed.
Joe Toomey: She tells a different story [Laughter]. No, she'll be glad to talk to anyone comes down here.
Johnson: Different people have different areas that they know about, too. One of our interviewers has interviewed people who got rolling pins to make Italian specialties and she learned a lot about cooking and things now - where they kept their rolling pins and...
Joe Toomey: My mother still has her rolling pin - I don't know - that wooden one you have out there.
Jennie Toomey: What?
Joe Toomey: The rolling pin.
Jennie Toomey: Oh, that belonged to my husband's mother, I still have a potato masher and a rolling pin that were my husband's parents - probably grandparents because his parents always lived with their parents - they never had a home of their own, they all lived together. So I imagine the rolling pin and potato masher, which is pretty beat up because I use it for a hammer [laughs]. The rolling pin is perfectly good, I don't use it any more.
Joe Toomey: Belonged to Timothy Toomey - the one came over in 1870 - started working up there - I said belonged to the great-grandfather probably.
Johnson: Would he have made that by hand?
Jennie Toomey: No, I don't think so, I think it's just a...
Joe Toomey: Where is it?
Jennie Toomey: In the drawer where the dish towels are. Now he'll say where's the dish towels, I guess.
Johnson: When you were cooking for Mrs. Laird and those other people, would you have a book that they gave you to cook from?
Jennie Toomey: Would I have what?
Johnson: Did they give you a recipe book to use, to cook from?
Jennie Toomey: Oh, yes, if you wanted it, if you needed it, you know, but mostly, they don't have any fancy things. Mrs. Ross has enough cook books to stock a store with. Then she has her own special cook book, special ones that she uses. She gave me one, she gave me one one time that she had put a hard back thing you know - she was giving them out at Christmastime for different friends and all, she gave me one. So I told her one day, I haven't decided whether to give that cook book to Mary or Jane, that was my two daughters. She said, "Oh, do you think they would like to have one?" I said "Yes", so she gave me another one for each of them [Laughter].
Joe Toomey: This is what she used to chase my father in the house with.
Jennie Toomey: [Laughter] You know what I do with it - sometimes there's something I'm trying to cut, I put the knife in the...and hammer with that, that's what does that to it.
Joe Toomey: That the rolling pin?
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, that's it.
Joe Toomey: That could be hand made very easily - both of them.
Jennie Toomey: Yeah, that was here when I came here so I'm sure it belonged to his grandparents.
Johnson: One thing that occurred to me when you were talking about the furniture, do you know what kind of wood they used? To make the furniture with?
Joe Toomey: There's a desk right there - I don't know that one. The sideboard, it was here when you came here?
Jennie Toomey: Yes.
Joe Toomey: Did Uncle Jim make this?
Jennie Toomey: No, this came off of that desk.
Joe Toomey: This sideboard was here, I don't know, I don't know anything about wood, I couldn't tell what kind of wood - send a carpenter down here, I'll get a carpenter try to figure it out.
Jennie Toomey: I don't use the rolling pin anymore - I don't bake, I let Mrs. Smith do my baking anymore. She's a good cook.
Joe Toomey: Some soft wood mostly, I would think maple or something like that. I don't know what they would have used.
Jennie Toomey: The only thing I bake anymore is cookies.
Johnson: Really, things you can buy are so good now.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, I baked cookies this morning. I had them all done by eight-thirty. I keep the cookie can - I have to keep it stocked because everybody knows where it is, soon as they come in they go for the cookie can.
Joe Toomey: Cabbage rolls you made, too.
Jennie Toomey: What?
Joe Toomey: Cabbage rolls - pig in the blanket or lumpkeys, Polish name.
Jennie Toomey: I have to watch the clock too, I want to put them in the oven pretty soon.
Johnson: I've stayed here long enough. Thank you for letting me see those cookies.
Joe Toomey: Glad to have you. Glad you all are getting down here to talk to her while she's still around. Took quite a while to get you down here, several times they promised to come, kept telling you you have to get down there.
Jennie Toomey: Get Mrs. Johnson's coat.
Johnson: Well, we did the interviews last year, last February was when I was first here and we were going great guns but then the secretary left. She was really very helpful, but she got a better job. And then Frank McKelvey, who is the man in charge of it, was very sick this summer - he had a heart attack and then this was the day of the party. Remember, he wasn't there because he had just had a heart attack, but he's gotten better now, so now we're starting up the interviewing again.
Jennie Toomey: Well, the man that was on the bus was very helpful, the bus that we were on anyhow. Looks like it might have stopped raining. Sun's trying to come out.
Johnson: Really took away our snow.
Joe Toomey: Yeah, it was a lot of fun just talking to the people over there, the old timers talking to each other and getting to see each other - hadn't seen each other in years and years, and years and years. Course some of them had their children, some of them my age, and I got to talk to them. But Mrs. Ferguson and the - she has somebody that takes care of her?
Jennie Toomey: She had a colored woman with her the day of the thing.
Joe Toomey: None of her children came, I don't know why.
Jennie Toomey: Somebody said she couldn't see very well and she couldn't get around very well. She's older than I am.
Joe Toomey: I don't know why Catherine or one of them didn't come with her, Frannie or...
Jennie Toomey: She was a couple of years ahead of me in, she must be 90 at least, or 91, because she was ahead of me in school in St. Joseph's.
Johnson: Yes. She's awfully nice though. And her daughter told me that the woman who takes care of her enjoyed that meeting with...
Jennie Toomey: Yes, she seemed too, yeah. Well, I hadn't seen her for years, and then I didn't see her there until somebody else said to me, "Have you seen Grace Ferguson?" I said, "No." She said, "Well, she's right up there." So I went right up and spoke to her then.
Joe Toomey: Yeah, I went up and talked to her, too.
Jennie Toomey: Then I came back and told Joe and he went up and another woman was there - I asked her and she hadn't seen her and she went up and talked to her. So she was real pleased. How about this, don't forget it.
Joe Toomey: You and I guess Mrs. Ferguson...
Jennie Toomey: Huh?
Joe Toomey: You are about two of the older ones left around here.
Jennie Toomey: Yes, I guess so. I'm the oldest one up St. Joseph's. [Final words in static]
Johnson: Thank you very much.
Joe Toomey: You're welcome - goodbye.