Interview with James Gamble, 1984 April 5 [audio] (part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • Description of houses and people on Rising Sun Lane, where Gamble lived as a small child
    Keywords: Bars (Drinking establishments); Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Neighborhoods; Neighbors; Rising Sun Lane
    Transcript: Lotter: As I said, Mr. Gamble, we're interested in learning what life was like in Henry Clay Village, and first of all I would like to know where you lived.

    Gamble: Where I lived up there? I lived 19th and Rising Sun Lane - that's where I was born. There were two houses there.

    Lotter: I see, this was a double house?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And these were company houses?

    Gamble: No, no, they were privately owned.

    Lotter: I see, do you remember much about the house?

    Gamble: Well, it was a two-story, or I think it was about a three-story house and had a pretty good-sized porch on - both of them - had on the front. And I'm remembering this from when I was small. I spent a lot of time in the summertime on the porch and across the street from it - well, it was a two story house and it was a six-room house, my father and my sister and myself, mother, lived there at that time. And next door to the house was a man who was a coachman for one of the du Ponts.

    Lotter: I see, this was in the other half of the house?

    Gamble: In the other house - the corner house where the trolley cars make the turn next to that where I lived. And it was a fairly good-sized house and then there was quite a bit of ground to the back, right towards the Rockford Park, in the back. And then there was quite a bit of ground from that and the next house, and it was a double house too, but it wasn't - it originally was one house. And my Grandfather and Grandmother lived there and she was - they raised their family there. And his name was Frizell - Samuel Frizell.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: I had a lot of fun there, I lived there a lot of the time.

    Lotter: And your grandmother and grandfather, I want to make sure I have this straight, lived in the other half of the house?

    Gamble: No, this is another house that was there.

    Lotter: This was next to your house?

    Gamble: No, we had about - I'd say fifty foot, close to a hundred foot between where we lived - that was the garden that my grandfather had.

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: Backed up against the ground from the Rockford Water Tower, when you come down the hill. And next to that, if you want it - they used the wood shed there and a coal shed, and the next was where my grandfather had his tools, and the next was just a place there, that you had, that all them houses down there had, those kind. And my job was to cut the wood, bring in the coal - buckets of coal - and see the shed, I had to cut the wood in there.

    Lotter: In the shed?

    Gamble: Yeah, in the wood shed, that's in bad weather, in other, I used to split it.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Then next to that was his outside workshop. And he was crippled with rheumatism, so he used to back up against the old thing, and he says, "Now it's your turn." He had a thing and he used to grind and grind, grind the tools that he had there, he didn't need them, he was too old to use them.

    Lotter: But he liked to keep them in good condition, huh?

    Gamble: That was his exercise. Going up the steps, I don't know if you've ever seen a house like this, the steps run from about two inches, or three, to about eight inches here, that's how they were. They go round, that's how you went up the steps there. And we, my brother, we mostly slept on the third floor, that's when we were up...

    Lotter: These are the inside steps that you're describing?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's coming up.

    Lotter: Well, what was the layout of the house inside?

    Gamble: Well, it had a big kitchen, a good-sized kitchen. And we cooked, it was in the wall, a lot of fire brick and stuff, and we used the wood in there, and it had double doors, and that's where you make the bread or make pies...

    Lotter: So this was almost like a built-in oven?

    Gamble: That's what it was.

    Lotter: Now did you have another stove besides that?

    Gamble: After that, yeah, we had a - Grandmother and Grandfather had a big stove, 'cause he was cooking for - she was cooking for six people, that's why - Aunts and Uncles. And then she had another stove, but we had a pump outside, and it was between the two houses and you used to have to pump the water and bring it in. Oh, the kitchen was big, bigger than this, and that's where they all came - Sunday night we'd go - the ones that were married, and my father - we had two children, my father had three children and we came down from my other Grandmother who lived up in Squirrel Run. You know where Squirrel Run is?

    Lotter: Yes, I do.

    Gamble: We come down at night time, my mother died when we were small, so he had the job of carrying them down. Carrying my brother down, and I was seven years old, my brother was four, and my sister was about eleven or twelve, something like that, I forget. We had another sister, but she died younger. And that would be our Sunday night - go up to Grandmom's. We'd ride up on the trolley cars, because it was a long walk then, and we had to come down through the Experimental Station on the opposite side, on the far side, on the trolley car. And we liked that because it was one of them old Toonerville like you see in the thing, well that's the kind of cars they had on there.

    Lotter: Yes, I see.

    Gamble: And we would come up through there all the way up to Squirrel Run. Then my father would walk us from there down to my Grandfather's.

    Lotter: I see, down to Rising Sun, yes.

    Gamble: Rising Sun, and we'd eat there and then from that we'd go to home, and we'd have to walk home, or ride, get on the trolley car, and we lived then, my father and my brother and myself, my sister lived with my Grandmother, she raised her. And she, let's see, Grandmom there, well the rest of the family, Uncle Tom and Uncle George and Uncle Jack, my Aunt Nan and we had a - before that the man that had the drugstore down in Rising Sun, his son stayed with my Grandmother, he was there for a short while, but he graduated from high school. And all of us were there and then we walked down, summertime, and go down Rising Sun Lane. And I nearly knew everybody down Rising Sun Lane because when I lived there, somebody bought me a bicycle - tricycle, so I rode the tricycle right down Rising Sun Lane.

    Lotter: Oh, you did?

    Gamble: Yeah, and I used to kid the man who had the saloon down there, he was a great, big fat man. And the man who had the tavern across the street from us, he was an Irishman and he had a daughter the same age as me, I was only small then, and we used to play together.

    Lotter: Who was the man that had the tavern? Do you remember his name?

    Gamble: Well, that was Jimmy Dugan was his name, that had the tavern, one on the top of Rising Sun Lane, Jimmy Dugan.

    Lotter: On the top of Rising Sun Lane?

    Gamble: Yeah, and next door to him was the Dougherty's home, or Dockerty's home. It was Charlie Dougherty and he had three sisters. There was Lizzie and I can't think of the other two, but anyway, they, those two were seamstress, the house is still there, I don't know whether Dougherty is living in it or not. Then there was a - one of the girls married a man by the name - what was his name, I can't think of it - Bradley, no, yeah, Bradley. And they raised this girl, Bradley, that was one of the sisters, and she graduated from high school the same year as my sister did, they both lived there.

    Lotter: This is your older sister?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's the only, the other was a brother. This Dougherty girl did. And then there was a little house next to it and Grandmom and Grandpop wanted my dad to buy it, but he had the trouble with my mother dying, sickness and all, and he couldn't buy it. We liked the little house, and I was sitting on the porch and we had a picture taken one Sunday, by this Bradley girl - I'm trying to think, Bradley, Bradley was her name, but she went by her mother's name because her father wasn't living. And there was my sister, no Jenney Bradley, my sister, Frances, and myself, my brother wasn't born. Or he was born, but he wasn't with us, he was down at the house, and myself. And next to myself was a doll as big as I was, and I don't know where that picture is.

    Lotter: Oh, I wish you could find it.

    Gamble: And then we went on down - next to that was people by the name of Toner had the house - now this is on the left hand side going down, it was Toner lived there. And he worked down at the Experimental Station. And they had a boy living with them, too, he was older than I was. He was a cripple. And then you go next to that was a house going down, there were four houses there altogether, now they might have been owned by the DuPont Company, I don't know. But I know there's a road where you see that stone wall going around there, right around on this side of the stone wall on Mrs. Copeland's property, there was these four houses and then you go across the railroad tracks, it's up high.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: New Bridge Station.

    Lotter: Yes.
  • Houses, stores, and people on Main Street and Creek Road, including his Uncle Sam Frizell's grocery store, walking toward Hagley Yards
    Keywords: Barley Mill Road; Bars (Drinking establishments); Breck's Lane; Drugstores; Hagee's Tavern; Hagley Community House; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Neighborhoods; Neighbors; Sam Frizell's grocery store; Toy's Tavern
    Transcript: Gamble: And then you go there and you cross the railroads and on the other side of the railroad, there was the houses, you see, I don't know whether there's any up in Squirrel Run now, or not, of the houses there that were like the ones across from the Experimental Station, those old, stone houses?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Well, there was four in there. I remember being in there when my Uncle Jack Frizell got married, and he rented one, didn't go home because he was a machinist and he worked most of the time different places in the country, and they had, rent that, because my mother was living at that time, and I went there for - had dinner, because we walked down Rising Sun Lane. And after that, there was a one single house there, and that was something like the one my Grandfather lived in.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Because it was owned by my great-grandfather who is in the business up there - had the coal business hauling all the coal for DuPont's across the Experimental Station. Had his place in town, and this house, lived in by Kelley, that was the people's name that lived in there. His wife and my grandmother were sisters, she was - Conly - C-O-N-L-Y, I think, or so, or E-Y, I don't know which, not spelled like a lot of them are spelled. And he had a place in town, had a big coal business too. So, when you got down to the house - it's the last of that - I don't know whether you noticed, they got great, big brick - stones up here, as you come around the road you see these stones. Well, there was another house here, coming down, and that was the last one there. Then you go from that one, I think - I did know the name cause they had a couple boys around my age, lived there. And you go around the other place, hit where the trolley cars - they meet there in the old time - and they used to get out and they had their stick, and they'd stick that stick in there and turn that. Well, that's to turn their light out, and the other one came in the opposite way, had to stop, he turned his in the same box and that turned his on, so he was free to go this way, where the other one was going this way.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And then you go - I guess you heard of Simon Dorman's place, didn't you?

    Lotter: No, I haven't.

    Gamble: Oh, you haven't?

    Lotter: No, where was that?

    Gamble: That's right after you make the turn.

    Lotter: Oh, this is down on Creek Road?

    Gamble: Yeah - what do they call it now, Creek Road?

    Lotter: Well, or Main Street?

    Gamble: Yeah, Main - I knew there was a name for it, but I can't think of it. Then you come to that place, and next to that was a little white house sit up and next to that was - a drug-, no, no next to the tavern there, down there.

    Lotter: There was a tavern just as you turn the corner?

    Gamble: No, there was a tavern nearly where - it's still there, no.

    Lotter: Are you talking about Hagee's?

    Gamble: Hagee's, yeah, yeah, Hagee's place. And next to that that was the two or three-story building of the Odd Fellows Building.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And I was only in it about twice - two times because they had a big dinner up there one time, the Odd Fellows had a - you know, yearly dinner or whatever it was, and my granddaddy was a great Odd Fellow, belonged to the Gray, or Odd Fellows or whatever they call it. And we were up in there, but on the first floor, my Uncle George kept a drugstore, George Frizell.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: He was a druggist in the business. And then after you passed the drugstore, you hit the place where his wife, whose name will be, before she was married, was Toy.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And that was Toy's Tavern then, I think it's kinda a frame house there. And then you go hittin' that there was another store, and it was down underneath like the tavern is, and the store over there. And it was kept by my cousin, my grandmother's sister's husband, he had the mail.

    Lotter: How do you spell that?

    Gamble: Who?

    Lotter: His name.

    Gamble: What did I say - I know it, I'm getting - he was Cavannah, or Cavanaugh, you can put.

    Lotter: Cavanaugh?

    Gamble: Yeah, they used to call him Dickie Cavanaugh, kept the store, and he had a son, same age as me, it was Bob Cavanaugh, and had a daughter, can't think of her first name - I used to dance with her too. But they moved away after they - no, they moved further down, they had a house built - Cavanaugh, they had to give up the store. And next to that was about two houses - and Bogans, did you...

    Lotter: I've heard of Bogan.

    Gamble: Well, Bogan's had this brick house and Cavanaugh had the other house, and that's where he moved his grocery store to. Because when you get down a little further from that, there's a double house there on the corner. I don't know whether it's still there or not - where you go up Breck's Lane. Breck's Lane is right across from the old Hagley Community House they called it.

    Lotter: Yes, yes, that's right.

    Gamble: Yeah, there, that's where we used to play baseball. Well, I got that far. And, oh yeah, then right across from that there was, where you come down Barley Mill Lane, I think they call that, Barley Mill, well you come down that, there's a place in the wall, sits back, you know, a little, then you go 'round and then up, going up towards the old machine shop was a grocery store there. And my uncle, I had more uncles, my Uncle Sam, he kept the grocery store there, and Uncle George had the drugstore.

    Lotter: So that was Uncle Sam Frizell?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: I see, I've heard of him.

    Gamble: You might have heard of him.

    Lotter: Yes, I have.

    Gamble: Yeah, he was a hunchback, he had the measles when he was young, and that's how it left him, he had this...

    Lotter: Oh, that's a shame.

    Gamble: We often talk about...

    Lotter: What did your Uncle - do you remember going in your Uncle's store?

    Gamble: Well, one time.

    Lotter: Do you remember...

    Gamble: It burnt down in around - I was born in 1903 and I was about four or five years old, I don't know which it was, but I remember going in there.

    Lotter: Do you remember anything about the inside of the store?

    Gamble: Well, no, it was just - what I can see was just like the old-time country store was, you know. Big, old counter on the one side and had the groceries - not like they are today. It was just an old country store, they sold nearly everything, 'cause he had quite a business there, and they used to have a horse and wagon. And I think a fellow by the name of Felix Clarkson come over here from Ireland, worked there. And there was a fellow wasn't altogether right, but he used to come up to Grandmom and Grandpop's quite a bit, because they kinda looked after him. His name, we used to call Ned Eddler, and he just, you know, swept the store and stuff like that, I kinda remember. And then you go from there on up and there was only - know the stone houses there now, where you go up...

    Lotter: Charles du Pont's house?

    Gamble: That little house - where you're going up towards the Hagley Yards.

    Lotter: Oh, up towards the Yard.

    Gamble: Yeah, next to the Yard.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Well, there was a house there and that was - George Jones was the man who lived in there that I can remember. And then that was all with the exception four houses, four or five, those houses were all men who drove the wagons for DuPonts up in the Yard - like the Powder Yard.

    Lotter: I see, now you're talking about on the Creek side of the road?

    Gamble: Yes, yeah, this side. That's as far as you get up because the trolley car used to make its turn and go on up to the-where the Hall of Records is, where you go into there.

    Lotter: Yes, and that's the way the trolley car went into Squirrel Run?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: I see, I didn't know that.

  • Houses and people walking down right hand side of Rising Sun Lane and Blakeley's tavern
    Keywords: Bars (Drinking establishments); blackface; Canoe Club; Grocery trade; Harry Gregg; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Neighborhoods; Neighbors; Rising Sun Lane
    Transcript: Gamble: Well, another one now, you come down the other side of Rising Sun Lane, where my Grandfather lived. Dougherty was on this one, and I was telling you what - there might be - there was five or six houses down there.

    Lotter: This is on the right hand side?

    Gamble: Yeah. And if I can remember right, there was Craigs lived next door to Grandmom.

    Lotter: Was that a double house?

    Gamble: That was a double house that they lived in. Then next to that was a single house - I can't think of his name - I used to go over there and sit and talk to him. He come here from Ireland, years ago I guess, and he had a carpenter box, and my other cousin, he was great for antiques and he come on here from Atlantic City where they ended up, and he had pictures in there, little Irish pictures he brought from Ireland. And he gave this boy the box, tools in it, he was retired, an old man. And he took all those pictures off, and he was in business, he and his wife. He married a girl from Lancaster, up around there, and they'd sell them.

    Lotter: Oh, for Heaven's sake.

    Gamble: He was wonderful on that, that's where he lived. And then there was a double house there, and I can't - I do - I told you Boner's was, you know where that was, next to the grocery store.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Then you come to the double house, and I did know the people in there - oh, yeah I know, I can't think - he had boys too, this man - and his wife died. He had two boys and a girl, I can't think of them, maybe it'll come to me. But next to that there was a single house, there's pebble now, you know, stones on it. And those three houses were owned by Copeland, Mrs. Copeland.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And next to that was down in the store - little notion store down there.

    Lotter: Whose store was that?

    Gamble: Huh? That was - she ran it, now I don't know who run it before that - she was a lady who kept house for us for a while.

    Lotter: And her name was?

    Gamble: She had - Ayers, Mary Jane Ayers, she kept house. Then when she married, she had a married name, too, I think.

    Lotter: And she had just a little notions store?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's what - candy, ice cream - I'd go down and get candy. That was after she kept house for my father for a while, couple of years. There there's only the one, a road that goes up to the back, Mt. Salem Lane, in the back there.

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: Well, that's where - school house, used to be a school house.

    Lotter: The Yellow School House.

    Gamble: That's where my Mother and all my - all went to school. And that's more til you get down to the bridge, you know, when you go across the bridge. And then next to that, there used to be one store on the corner, after you make that go-around, go up Creek Road, whatever you want...

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: There was one store, and Harry Gregg owned that, or had it, and then in back of that there was a Canoe Club, because when we kids go down there and go swimming, we always - underneath the Canoe Club, that's where we changed our clothes.

    Lotter: The Canoe Club, then, was right by the bridge?

    Gamble: Yeah, on the same side as the bridge - old frame bridge that we had, that's where I swam a lot.

    Lotter: Was it a covered bridge when you lived there?

    Gamble: Yes, that's right, it was.

    Lotter: Now, do you remember any taverns or inns on Rising Sun down near the bottom of Rising Sun?

    Gamble: Yeah, that was, that's the one near, the last one by the station house - you go up to the new bridge station. That's the store - that was run by Blakeley, Jeff Blakeley was his name.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: He'd sit out on the porch and I used to holler at him, and he was so fat that he'd sit there, and he'd lean on it like this - I didn't say very good words to him once going down there [laughs], anyway, he laughed and another time I'll tell you about, right by there. We went over to the station, and in back of that station there was a fellow, boy I was with then, he lived back by my Grandfather, back in there - his name, oh - anyway, they had the tar, they tar the stuff with, well me and him, we put it all over our hands and over our face, and we were going up Rising Sun Lane, we were colored people, we kept saying. And he was there, and leaning - "Hey," he hollered at us, "What do you want?" He said, "You get up that hill to your Grandmother, and you, get over there home." He had to go through that house - and we were black. So, I forget how he got it off, his father was a shoemaker back in there, had a shoemaker shop. Grandmom and Mrs. Craig next door, that was the women caught me, two people, they washed it off with pump water - now it was tar on my face, and used between the pump water, coal oil. Now you get coal oil [laughs] and they were talking, "When your mother come home..." my mother was living then, "When your mother come home..." It was all off by that time, it was soft.

    Lotter: Where was your mother at that time?

    Gamble: She was in town, she had to get on a trolley car and go to town.

    Lotter: She was in Wilmington?

    Gamble: Yeah [laughs]

    Lotter: It's probably a good thing.

    Gamble: Well, that was when I was younger - that just came to me - when mother was livin'.

    Lotter: Now, the house - you said Blakeley's Tavern was right on the corner - I think there's a small building - there are two buildings behind the tavern, between the tavern and the next house - do you know what those were used for?

    Gamble: No, you go in the tavern - there's a road goes back from the tavern.

    Lotter: This looks like the tavern right here.

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And a road going back - is this the road?

    Gamble: No, that's a driveway between - the tavern - here's the end of the tavern. Then this road comes on an angle from the tavern, like that, goes back in there. Now, there's a stone building there.

    Lotter: Yes, a small, stone building.

    Gamble: Well, that's where my uncle - when the store burnt down he was in the bread business.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And that's where he lived, then, with the Blakeley's. Because Mr. Blakeley couldn't get around right, and that's where he kept his horses and things there. And then they had that building built, so he was in the egg business, Mr.

    Lotter: I see, the other building that's there, he had built.

    Gamble: Yeah, the frame building.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: That was - he was in the egg business, and chickens. Because Mrs. Blakeley, she took care of that.

    Lotter: I see, so that's where he kept all of his chickens?

    Gamble: Chickens, yeah, and eggs.

    Lotter: And the house next door to Blakeley's, was that a house or was that an inn at one time?

    Gamble: On the same side coming up?

    Lotter: Yes, the next house up from where Blakeley had his tavern.

    Gamble: Going up the hill?

    Lotter: Yes, going up the hill.

    Gamble: Oh, I don't know - they were...

    Lotter: Or was that a private home?

    Gamble: Let's see, when you get up there a piece, there's two houses right in back of that, comin' down, I'd say, on that side, the wall, there was one, well that was my great-grandfather's...

    Lotter: Yes, you told me.

    Gamble: That was his home, and then the brick - stone house that you see - the old stone house? That was built after - it took care of Mrs. Copeland, that house was taken care of by the man that had the greenhouse, the du Pont - her greenhouse and her garden up on this side...

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: Because they tore all these down that came around that way and then she built that house there and then they, the Connely owned that other house and they owned it until father went to settle the will. And my aunt, she had all sisters, no brothers, and my Grandfather had two brothers, they took everything. They weren't all honest in those days either.

    Lotter: No, that's too bad, that's too bad.

    Gamble: Yeah, it was, for them. They say she had five sisters, my aunt, but we can only get four as we were counting them.
  • Family history, immigration stories, and moving to 17th Street
    Keywords: 17th Street and Bancroft Parkway; Emigration and immigration; Green Hill Cemetery; Huguenots; Immigrants; Sand Hole Woods cemetery; Scott's quarry; Stonemasons
    Transcript: Lotter: Well, getting back to your immediate family, you say you have one older sister...

    Gamble: No, the older sister, she lived until she was, I don't know how old Frances was. Evelyn, do you remember how old Frances was when she died? She married a man by the name of Elliott, and he was head of the...

    Evelyn Gamble: About 48, 49.

    Gamble: What was Jimmy head of, accounts receivable or accounts payable?

    Evelyn Gamble: Oh, I don't know, something like that.

    Gamble: Some one of those - DuPont Company, in the building.

    Lotter: And you had a younger brother?

    Gamble: Yeah, he's four years younger than I am.

    Lotter: I see, does he still live in this area, or...

    Gamble: He was four, and I was seven. Oh, yeah, he's with us all the time, he and his wife - they live out in McDaniel Heights.

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: He worked for Atlas all his - for pretty near fifty years, even that's counting his service. He was a way over age when they drafted him.

    Lotter: And, you mentioned your Grandfather Frizell, what did he do for a living?

    Gamble: He built the Powder Mills, he was a stone mason.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And my aunt's husband, he was a stone mason, and there was about four or five of the, four of the Connelys were stone masons - I think there was about four of them. And then, except for the one who had the coal business, then the hauling and all that stuff. He had quite a few...

    Lotter: And how about your other grandfather, your Grandfather Gamble?

    Gamble: He worked for the DuPont Company, he came, Grandmom and Grandpop Gamble, my father, they came here to this country for - to get married, come over in New York. And they say, my father and them say that they stopped at his - her sister's husband was a builder in New York and that's where they came and they got married.

    Lotter: Do you know why they came over?

    Gamble: Well, the sister was over here and her husband. He was quite a builder and he was - they say he was worth a millionaire, he was a millionaire, and he had - that's the only reason I know, he come. Grandpop come over here when he was twelve years old - Frizell. He came out of France, in the Revolution over there.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: His father brought him out of France, had to get out. See, he was a what they call a French Huguenot, and that was when the rebellion was over there. He came out of France and he landed in England, and his wife and them didn't get out, couldn't get out. So he got married over there and Grandpop said he - "I couldn't get along with my step-mother, so I come to America." So we don't know yet how he came here, unless somebody else in the family from France sent for him and he come over here. Twelve years old when he - that's when he come out over there, I don't know how old when he got here. But my Grandmother, as far as we know, she was born here.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: All the girls were, that's as far as we know. And my Grandmother's father and mother, they're both buried up in the sand hole - do you know where the Sand Hole is?

    Lotter: Yes, I do.

    Gamble: Well, that's where they are. And one of my aunts, oh one or two of my aunts was buried up there in the Sand Hole. I never knew - that's where I always wanted to go to see it, see where they are. Then I could find out who my grandmother is - Connely.

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: Someday I'll probably...

    Lotter: I hope you will.

    Gamble: My son was great for that kind of stuff, but he's down in West Virginia now.

    Lotter: Do you know how your grandfather came to settle along the Brandywine, what brought him there?

    Gamble: What do you mean, Frizell?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: I guess he married [laughs] my Grandmom, because he'd come over there...

    Lotter: And she had always grown up in that area?

    Gamble: Yeah, oh, yeah. They were pretty well fixed, and just one of those things. I can, oh my life down there, I loved it, man, I thought...

    Lotter: Where did you live before you moved to Rising Sun?

    Gamble: That's the only place we know - I know of. After I was older, I moved to - or my father - we moved to 17th Street. Do you know where 17th Street...

    Lotter: Yes, I do, yes.

    Gamble: Well, that's where - I was raised between 17th Street and up there - and you don't remember when there was a quarry on 17th Street?

    Lotter: No.

    Gamble: My Uncle Jim owned the quarry.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Scott, he married one of my - my mother's cousin, she was - that's how - she married Jim Scott, Scott's father had these quarries. And we - he had four houses there, when my father and mother - that's where my Mother died from, on 17th Street, right off of Bancroft Parkway, you know, as you come down. That's where we were raised, between the two of them. See my father raised my brother and myself, but my sister spent most of her time up on Rising Sun Lane, until she got married. In fact, she kept house for Grandpop, he was 96 years old, 94 or 96, then he died. They were all buried up at Green Hill. Do you know where that is?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Well, he was one of the pillars up at Green Hill.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: All of the rest of them were Episcopalians, my sister, she turned turned Episcopalian when she married Jimmy Elliott, who was born up on the other side of the tower, going down Rising Sun, going down there. Well, you want to go up or not - where do you want to go?
  • Cutting the grass and tending the garden and grape arbor for his grandfather; payment system at local stores; his father's work for B.& amp; O. Railroad and Bancroft Co.
    Keywords: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company; Canning and preserving; Chores; Company stores; Grandfathers; grape arbors; Grocery trade; Harry Gregg's store; Joseph Bancroft & amp; near accidents; signal inspectors; Sons Company of Pennsylvania; Street-railroads; Vegetable gardening
    Transcript: Gamble: Or you ask the questions.

    Lotter: Why don't we start talking about - you mentioned some of the chores that you used to do, do you remember any other chores?

    Gamble: Around the house?

    Lotter: As a boy, yes, around the house.

    Gamble: Ho, yeah [laughs] that big piece of ground there, I cut that ground. If you ever go down Rising Sun Lane, next where Craigs live now, the two daughters - Craigs, they got Grandpop's house, and the next to - the other sister has that one. Well, next to that, that would be a great, big piece of ground, and it run clear back to where Mt. Vernon Street is.

    Lotter: Yes, yes, I know.

    Gamble: Well, that's what our job was, to cut that grass, once a week, either me or my brother. Besides that, we had to go to work, and we had a grape arbor, one of those French grape - and we used to have, he had it all in brick, and grass would grow in the bricks and we used to pull that grass out - boy that was a job on our fingers. And he had quite a garden there too. He'd get it raked and fixed up, Grandfather, and then he'd get out and sit in that chair of his and we'd put the garden in. And my Uncle Tom or Uncle Jack, they worked on it too. So after he got that - the cellar - got that in, and then we had to pick the grapes - we ate all the grapes. Then the cellar, with the double cellar - they had a cellar that you kept the - a place down there, that kept the milk and all the stuff down in there, and then the other one, they kept the potatoes, they had a potato bin in there, see. And the potatoes, once a year you had to go down that cellar with a lamp, sit it down there, and pull all the stuff off the potatoes, throw it out, put the potatoes back again. And then we did a lot of other work in the house.

    Lotter: Both for your father and your grandfather?

    Gamble: Yeah, we used to - oh yeah. Yeah we went down there...

    Lotter: What did your grandfather raise in his garden?

    Gamble: Well, he mostly raised the corn, cabbage, peas, string beans, and scallions - I didn't eat onions and scallions - he'd say, "Eat them, they're good for you." I'll tell you a funny thing about Grandpop, he could sit in a chair and look out the big window in the door, and up on the hill where Rockford comes down, he says "That Indian's still up there, do you see him?" I looked all around, I said, "Grandpop, I'm curious, I don't see him." "Well, he'll be there, he'll get off his horse and tie that horse up there." I'd say, "Okay, Grandpop." [Laughs] Oh, he was a great man.

    Lotter: Now, do you know what he did with all the vegetables, were the root vegetables stored, then, in the cellar?

    Gamble: Oh, yeah, yeah - tomatoes...

    Lotter: In the winter - and what about the other vegetables, were they canned?

    Gamble: Canned tomatoes - yeah most all of it was canned in those days, 'cause I used to go down to Harry Gregg's store and get the stuff, all the groceries we needed, 'cause neither one of them could get around very well.

    Lotter: So you were able to do all of your shopping right in Henry Clay?

    Gamble: That's right, they had the book trade, all the stores had book trade. You know, you don't buy it, you just charge it. And that's the way with nearly Bancroft's and all those stores. They had the store and the store, at that time, belonged to the Company, and the Company carried book trade. Well, if you pay your rent, pay your house, everything in the house that you get in the store, when you got paid. If there was anything left at the end of the month - fifty cents, or a dollar, two dollars, or something, that goes for the rent. And then put it right on to the next month.

    Lotter: I see, so you...

    Gamble: That's the way they did things in those days.

    Lotter: So you didn't see the money at all.

    Gamble: I don't think so, I'm not sure. But that's the way Uncle Sam's store was, because I read in the book when I was a kid.

    Lotter: Oh, you did - his books?

    Gamble: Yeah - that's all, all book...

    Lotter: And that's the way he handled it, too?

    Gamble: That's the way most of them - they didn't have the money to do it with. I think Uncle Sam had like pants and shirts, stuff like that too, I'm not sure, but I kinda think that's the way it was up there. That's the way it was.

    Lotter: So you don't really remember going into Wilmington, then, much, when you were young?

    Gamble: Oh, not a whole lot. We used to have to walk, used to be - my father, he worked on the B.& amp; O. Railroad, well he learned his trade first out - and then he went to work for B.& amp; O. Railroad, and he built all these stations, small stations along the line. He built one up in Popocson, that was a beautiful one up there, and one above that. And he was bridge and signal inspector on the railroad. All the bridges between Jersey City, the B.& amp; O. only run to Jersey City, and Washington. He had to do all those bridges and signals along the line. So he was up the bridge on the Susquehanna, and he went up to the signal on there, and he was inspecting and all that. When he came down, there's a thing on the - it come something like this, if you notice on the signals on here.

    Lotter: On the signals?

    Gamble: Yeah, there's a little X on the signal, you know, and they come down, they hold this, and come to the next one - well, he slid, I don't know how he slid, and he missed with his grip with that one, and he has - still got his great big ring, Masonic ring, and it caught him, you know, caught him here, just long enough so he could throw his arm around and grab the one on here, that saved his life.

    Lotter: Oh, my.

    Gamble: So he - I don't know whether this is so or not, but mom was livin' then and she found it out, and he had to turn in his report and he had to turn it in to the railroad, and they sent him a letter back. And mother opened it - he was out of a job two weeks later, she made him quit it. So that's how [laughs]...

    Lotter: What did he do after he left the railroad?

    Gamble: He was still a carpenter and he worked down to Bancroft's. And he worked there until he died, or was pensioned off. He was - let's see, how old was Pop? How old was Pop, Evelyn?

    Evelyn Gamble: Ninety-eight, ninety-nine.

    Gamble: Something like that, I forget which. They are all, all of my grandfathers and grandmothers were old when they died. I'm 81.

    Lotter: Is that right? I wouldn't... [Tape is switched.]

    Gamble: What they say the end of the line is?

    Lotter: No.

    Gamble: Well, you know where R.M. Carpenter's home is?

    Lotter: Yes, yes I do.

    Gamble: That's the one up there, well that's what the end of the trolley car line used to run up there.

    Lotter: All the way to...

    Gamble: Barney Hunter had a store up in there - that's where it was.

    Lotter: I see, then it would turn around and come back?

    Gamble: Yeah, at that time...

    Lotter: The same route?

    Gamble: Yeah, what they did, they pulled the thing down and they walked around, put it on this side and then come down, and take this down.

    Lotter: Getting back to the grapes, did your grandfather make wine?

    Gamble: He wasn't much of a wine drinker - I think he liked it straight [laughs].

    Lotter: He just used the grapes for eating, then?

    Gamble: That's right, we ate a lot of them. It was about, let's see - ten, twenty - close to thirty feet long. Everybody had them. There was an old fellow where we are now, where we end, over here, and his name was Pete Perseux, he was a Frenchman. And he had them all the way down, all the way around on his place. I used to go down and sit and talk to him when he retired.
  • Daily routines and school, going swimming and fishing in the Brandywine; Mrs. Snyder getting married
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School; Beachie; Brandywine Creek; Fishing; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Social life and customs; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Neighbors; No. 13 School; Swimming; Walker's Banks; Walker's Mill
    Transcript: Lotter: Can you give me some idea of what your daily routine was like, we talked something about your chores. Who was the first one up in the morning in your house?

    Gamble: My house - well my father was up at six o'clock in the morning. And he had to go to work, them days you worked ten hours a day. He worked in the mill and his job was building new places or repairing old. And what he did, he would go to work Friday night and he'd come home and he'd go back and you wouldn't see him sometimes until Sunday. He had to stay on that job until it was finished, just like in the railroad, that's the way it is. He was pretty well - between my brother and myself he was pretty busy and keeping a housekeeper, and we didn't own the house at that time because he couldn't get straightened out. And when you do all that and your father raises you until you're in your thirties, both him and I, we stuck with him and he married when I was 21 years old. But we both stayed with him.

    Lotter: Is that right?

    Gamble: Yeah, both got married at the same time, same year.

    Lotter: Well, getting back to when you were young, though, what - when your mother was still living, your father got up first and then your mother got up at the same time?

    Gamble: Yeah, until she took sick. And then we ate and the school was a square down from us, No. 13 School on Union Street, it's at 17th and Union...

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: Well that's where I started school there, see I was in the City, my sister, up the creek, that's out in the County see.

    Lotter: And where did she go to school?

    Gamble: She started down at where we did, and my mother died and she lived up on Rising Sun Lane, but the funny part, that's the city where we lived. On the other side of the street, you're in - the county starts there. So my Grandmother's, or my Grandfather's brother, one of the brothers, he was on the school board at Alfred I., I mean Alexis I. School out there, so that's how she didn't have to go in town to school.

    Lotter: I see, she was able to go to old Alexis I.?

    Gamble: She could have rode the trolley car in and out, but still you'd have to walk, like I went from 13 to junior high, well 28 school was the old high school, then the other high school was on Delaware Avenue, going in town, across from the cemetery.

    Lotter: What do you remember doing in your free time when you lived on Rising Sun?

    Gamble: Well, outside of helping Grandmom and Grandpop, I don't know where we went. We walked all up through Rockland, all up that way, we stayed - in the summertime we swam, oh about four different places along the creek.

    Lotter: Where were they?

    Gamble: Well, one was across from the Experimental Station, and the other one was where the Walker's Mill - you know where Walker's Mill?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: There - then we'd go up in the Yard, and sometimes we'd go down towards Bancrofts, goes down through the park, the head gate's there, because you could dive in off the head gates and then the head gates were up, you'd get down and up the other side and there was a good place there for diving. And we'd hook these rides going out towards Kennett Square a good bit - farmer would come along and you'd ask him "Going out?" and get a ride with him going out, we'd have to walk home.

    Lotter: Now what did you do out in Kennett Square?

    Gamble: Just walked around up that way, didn't have much money in them days.

    Lotter: Well, when you went swimming, were you allowed to walk through the Yard to...

    Gamble: No, you weren't allowed in the Experimental Station yard. I spent enough time in there - thirty - close to thirty-nine years.

    Lotter: Do you remember the names of any beaches along the Brandywine?

    Gamble: Oh, yeah - along the beaches - there was one there called Beachie.

    Lotter: Beachie? What was that?

    Gamble: Now you got me, we didn't go much for names up there, they all had a name, but they were all good swimming places, all along there. Now one was right across from the Experimental Station, was a good swimming place there. Ropie. And there's one down by Bancrofts. A lady lives down here, I didn't know it, but she said she lived all up around those places, the other side of the creek, where the houses were, across from the...

    Lotter: On Walker's Bank?

    Gamble: No - Walker? On the other side?

    Lotter: Walker's Bank is on the other side.

    Gamble: Over on the - now wait a minute - you're right, you're right, I know where you mean now, yes, I know where you mean there, all them houses - no, she was up further, up on the - no - it was down, Bancroft's.

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: Walker's Banks, yeah I know, that's the mill there.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Yeah, I know that real well.

    Lotter: I think there was a beach there, down behind the mill, is that the one you called Beachie?

    Gamble: That's the one, yeah. I used to swim there quite a bit.

    Lotter: Did you ever swim all the way across the creek?

    Gamble: Sure, that wasn't nuthin' to do.

    Lotter: Really? [laughs]

    Gamble: Oh no, and down in the Yard we swam it, there's one rock. Up that road, back of Grandpop's place, Mt. Vernon Avenue?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: There's a fellow used to live in there, and their name was Reed, and he was Elswood Reed and Jim Reed, and when I was small, Jim went fishing every day, so that's where we went. I went a lot of times with him down to Beachie, down there. And the rocks come out like that, and he'd sit there and I used to dive off of the thing. So one day, this was before - I guess I was just about learning to swim, and I went down, he thought I was going down the second time, maybe I was, and old Elswood Reed says, "Come on out." He pulled me out - but there were, them four houses back in there by the school, they were torn down, I guess now, they were nice homes. Casey's lived in one, Elwood Reed lived in the second, and there was Dougherty, and then there was another Irish name.

    Lotter: Were these double houses or single.

    Gamble: Yeah, the real old were double, right back in there, because that - one of them ladies used to come and take care of our house for some time. The lady that was with us, she'd have to leave at times, go back.

    Lotter: You're talking about Mary Jane Ayers?

    Gamble: No.

    Lotter: This was someone else?

    Gamble: Yeah, oh, we had some honeys. We had one, on 17th Street - oh, I won't tell you about that one now, but she was a funny - she came here, she was a cook. She cooked ham for my father when he was going to work, and we had a ham every Sunday. And Pop, he used to say when he come home, sometimes working Sunday, "If I could only get a piece of [steak?] one night, I was sitting in the living room, well not the living room, next to the parlor, the living room, and this knock come to the door, and this man come to the door - great, big man. I looked at him, we had to go through the parlor, I said, "Grandpop, there's a great, big man out there." So he said "I'll go see." And he come. He asked if this was Gamble's house, yeah, he said, "How about I see Mrs. Snyder." - yeah. So he come in, and he - I called up, I said, "Mrs. Snyder there's a man here wants to see you - gentleman here." I hadn't had much sense. So he said to my father, big western hat on, said, "I come here to see Mrs. Snyder," he said, "I'm gonna get married, I'm gonna marry her." Now this was seven or eight o'clock, so she comes down, suitcase and all, she went out, so they get married. She got one through one of these things you have to send for - husband.

    Lotter: Oh, is that right?

    Gamble: About a week later, the telephone rang one night, my aunt used to come, pinch hit if she couldn't get somebody, she'd come take care of us kids. Pop said, "What're you up to?" She says, "Can I have my job back?" Pop said, "I don't know what to do, what'll we do?" I said, "Let's try somebody else." [laughs]
  • His grandmother's house in Squirrel Run and his helping carry water there; St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church's Fourth of July picnic
    Keywords: Fourth of July celebrations; Holidays; Ice cream; Laundry; Outhouses; Picnics; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Church; spring houses; Squirrel Run; Street-railroads; wash boilers; Washing machines; water pumps
    Transcript: Lotter: What else do you remember doing in your free time? Besides swimming?

    Gamble: Swimmin' all around the place. Oh, I did a lot of things, I'd walk - that'd keep me busy going up to Squirrel Run or up at the end of the line. Play baseball, and fooled an awful lot going around, if you had enough time. But I was pretty busy between the three places going around. I used to go up that place in Squirrel Run.

    Lotter: Do you remember the house in Squirrel Run?

    Gamble: Yes I do - big steps.

    Lotter: Can you describe it?

    Gamble: Yeah. It was a row house, about four like you see across the creek there.

    Lotter: At Walker's Banks?

    Gamble: Yeah, in a row, and you'd go up about five, six steps from there, go up. And the house that we had, my grandfather had, was big because he had a big family, and you come in, and you - Dad used the whole house - but a lot of these, they were double, a house this way and that way, they weren't any bigger than the big house. And the water was a pump, come up like that and you had to turn it off and on, well that was supplied by the Company, the water comes up through that, on up to the rest of the houses all the way up. And that was one of my chores to do, go get the water, bring it in, go through the house, you couldn't go around, you had all these houses, go through the house and out the dining room, which is a big dining room - dining room and kitchen was what it was - and then the living room, you'd go through that and you take it out back. And you'd pour it in a big barrel. And the water also came off the roof and it came down and into the barrel. They had one of them benches, big long - I used to like them because when Uncle Johnny come home from work, he was down in the machine shop, had to get washed. So he'd come in and I'd look at him and do the same thing, that's the way they washed, used the towel, hang it up.

    Lotter: So he washed out in back before he went into the house?

    Gamble: Yeah - do the same thing. And they're all that way, then you come down the bricks here and there's a wall come up like that, so the water, the water all run down this way. That's the way it was then, no spigots or anything. That's the way you got your water. Then, on wash day, down the front, and the front down, to where the trolley cars run out here, that's where the shed was back in here, and that's where everything was. And Grandmom, at that time she was rich I guess, she got one of these washing machines that had a cog on here, handle come up this way, and you put wash, and you pull it like this - ever see one of them?

    Lotter: No, I have not.

    Gamble: That was a job pulling that.

    Lotter: I'm sure it was.

    Gamble: Yeah, carry all the water, besides Grandmom had one of these wash buckets, you know, about that wide and about that long, they used to come like that.

    Lotter: Was this metal or what?

    Gamble: Yeah, made of metal.

    Lotter: Metal.

    Gamble: Yeah, you'd have to carry that, haul it up.

    Lotter: This was a boiler?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's what it was, a wash boiler. Carry it down the road, put it over there for - do the things there.

    Lotter: This was full of hot water?

    Gamble: Yeah, but it wouldn't be that hot - she wouldn't let us carry it if it was that way. And the funniest part of it was, all these houses coming this way, and the place was here - the shed, next to the shed was the go house, when the trolley cars went up, they were all sitting there reading a book - in the go house - you know what I mean?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And they come down the hill a ways and see everybody laughed - look out - look out [laughs]. I used to ride the trolley car back and I used to laugh, but they didn't do any better in town them days [laughs]. She had a cellar with a nice cellar, and she had a great big one - butter and milk and all the other - eggs, all that stuff was in there - no, I don't think the eggs were in there.

    Lotter: Was this more like a spring house?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's what it was. Most all of them had their spring house - it was cool down...

    Lotter: This was in the basement or next to the house?

    Gamble: Well, in the basement, ours was.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And it was great.

    Lotter: Now, getting back to washing the clothes, how did your grandmother rinse the clothes?

    Gamble: They - she had a wooden - what do you call it - wash tub, and I'd carry the water over and she'd mix the water, little warm and little cold for washing. That's the only way you could do it. That's the way all of them did it, even Grandmom at home, she had one too.

    Lotter: And how did she wring the clothes?

    Gamble: Hand.

    Lotter: Was that your job?

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: Was that your job?

    Gamble: Yes it was, Grandmom, she was pretty old, she was 94 when she died.

    Lotter: And then the clothes were hung out on the line?

    Gamble: Yeah, she hang them on the line. The front was the best place because the back, it'd get blown and they'd get down. Their garden was in the front, too.

    Lotter: Oh, it was?

    Gamble: Yeah - that's where she had her garden. But it was nice up there, I used to like it up there at Squirrel Run. I liked all of them.

    Lotter: What else do you remember about the inside of the house?

    Gamble: Well, you had a great, big living room. And you had the big kitchen. I don't know, I guess - chairs - that's Evelyn's father's and mother's chairs - their people. Well, they were like that and we used to have twelve of them, that's how many.

    Lotter: Twelve straight-back chairs?

    Gamble: They're like that, divided them up, my daughter's got a couple, my son's got them down with him. And a great, big round table. Because on the Fourth of July in Squirrel Run, was a big time. And my three uncles would come down from New York, my father and Bob Gamble and Mary Gamble's husband, or father. St. Joseph on the Brandywine, you've heard of that?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Well, I don't see how it's on the Brandywine, well anyway, that's what they called it. They had a big picnic up on that hill, where you come up from Grandmom's place, and you go up on a hill.

    Lotter: Was there a name?

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: Did that hill have a name?

    Gamble: No - it might've had, but it didn't, because I used to go over, up over the hill and go down where you go into the Experimental Station, that old road there. Well there used to be two houses where Hallock du Pont's house, well I don't know whether my Father was born there or which, but there were two - some of the boys were born there - that's where - see they had - Hordy's had the one next door and my Grandmother and Grandfather had that one. That's up on top in Squirrel Run, up where the - and the picnic was held there on the fourth of July, and all the people would all come home for a picnic on the fourth of July. No matter where you went to church, you come out to that picnic, I guess. As far as I know, I did. And they had - put a platform down and had a dance. And when we were kids, we'd go up there and they were giving stuff away because they made money off everything that they did for the cakes and all that stuff up in Squirrel Run. And then time to eat they had a big dinner down at Grandmom's. And, oh I guess all the rest of them had it, too - they got done dancing that time - about five or six o'clock. And you had dinner and after that was over, all the kids in the family, and they had a big thing of ice cream - you'd have ice cream and cake. That's what we had there.

    Lotter: What else do you remember about the picnic besides the dancing?

    Gamble: Well, they had - playing different games of baseball and all that stuff they had at that time, just like we have when my children were young.

    Lotter: And were there fireworks later in the evening?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, had fireworks, but they weren't like they are today - no fireworks in the air as I seen, but they had a lot of fireworks. And then they stopped that for a while and they had it up at the end of the line one year, up what Poppa used to call - I forget what he called it, he had a name for it, because he used to play ball on that diamond when he was - and that was a walk, a couple mile walk to play ball. And that was up at the end of the line - the trolley car line clear to - what do they call that - DuPont's - Hunter's Store out at the end of the line, where you go into R.R.M. Carpenter's, in there.

    Lotter: Yes.
  • Delivering a prescription to DuPont clubhouse during World War I while working at Capeau's drugstore; playing marbles and "Candy Can"
    Keywords: Children--Social life and customs; Crowninshield, Louise du Pont, 1877-1958; Delivery of goods; Drugstores; Eleutherian Mills; Games; Marbles (Game objects); Marbles (Game); World War (1914-1918)
    Transcript: Gamble: I'll tell you an experience I just happened to think of - when I was about twelve years old, thirteen, I worked in a drugstore at Delaware Avenue and DuPont, that used to be Capeau's Drugstore, then my uncle had the drugstore up here when they closed the one down the creek, you know?

    Lotter: Oh, yes.

    Gamble: He lived down there on Lincoln Street, he had that, got out of there and then - they were there a short while and he got foolin' in politics and he had to get out so they moved to Atlantic City. And I worked in there like washing the things, running orders, drugs orders, I used to get a quarter, fifty cents or something like that for doing it. Well, anyway, it was about ten o'clock at night, it was during the war, and the guards up in the Yard, up in the Powder Yard, one of them was sick this night and they called up Cappeau and wanted a prescription brought up, the doctor did. I don't whether he went home or what and called it from his house, so anyway, Unc, he said to me, "How about running this prescription up for me tonight?" I said, "Where's it go?" He said, "Up the Powder Yard." So I said, "Okay, I'll take it up." We had a bicycle with a light, so I got on the bicycle and I rode from Delaware Avenue and DuPont all the way up the Pike, come down there to where Copeland - I mean Carpenter's place is - and went on an angle out to Mrs. Crowninshield's, you know where Mrs. Crowninshield's is?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Well, I don't know whether they used that for the hospital or the guards, or whether it was a clubhouse at that time, I got there, so I gave them the prescription, then they asked me and searched me and everything else - "I ain't got nothin' but this prescription." The guards, I don't know whether they had me scared or not, but I was, but I didn't tell them that I knew where I was or anything. So I went and bicycled back, he gave me fifty cents, the sick man [laughs] and the guard. That was great down in there. I've been up to Mrs. Crowninshield's quite a few times - I liked it.

    Lotter: Were you?

    Gamble: Yeah - inside in her ground - the garden - she bought all the stone off Front Street in Wilmington - like these stone I got around out here - she bought all she could get, and she had it all built up in there. And then after it was built up, they put dynamite in and blown it up. And where them stones lay, that's where they stayed. And she'd take the spade - and I mean like an ivy or something else like that, and that's the way - you go there now, you'll see it, see if I ain't right. I think it is, all down around through there, flowers and all that stuff. That's the way it stayed.

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: See, I like to do stuff like that. We used to walk, get around places and around farms.

    Lotter: Do you ever remember playing any games besides baseball?

    Gamble: Yeah, we had a baseball team and had a - I know one time we was playing it, that's the reason I got a hook in me nose, I know that one. We played football a lot.

    Lotter: How about marbles, do you ever remember...

    Gamble: Yeah, I saved them when I got married and had Jimmy, he was still using my commies - we used to call them commies.

    Lotter: What did the commies look like?

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: What were the commies?

    Gamble: The commies were the little small ones.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And they weren't - they weren't shiny like the marbles, or the man that we used to use. Have you seen the big ones?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And then the small ones were just the little - I'd call them clay, where the other ones - I don't know what we called them - marbles, yeah, they were marbles - different colors.

    Lotter: Did you have a name for the big ones?

    Gamble: Yeah, I can't think of it. Well, that's the only thing...

    Lotter: Did you call them aggies?

    Gamble: Aggies - well that was - they were the pretty ones, and you used to try to trade them.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Fellow come along, he had five or six aggies in his hand - hold them in front - I want to - how much - what'd you take for this one? Tell you how many commies, five or six commies - and he take two of your aggies, but they won't be as nice as the ones that you buy, trade off. Marbles, you'd get ten for a nickel, and the others, you could get twenty-twenty-five cents for them - the big ones. Some of them were about that big, you could get.

    Lotter: And where did you buy the marbles?

    Gamble: In the, like candy stores, places around town. Mrs. Ayres, she had them - that's Mary Jane's place. Most all of the stores carried them.

    Lotter: And what did you carry your marbles in?

    Gamble: A little bag - did you ever see a tobacco bag that the kids used to...

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Tobacco, you'd pull a string on it - you could go around and see a guy - how about giving me that? You could buy them.

    Lotter: So these were small leather bags with a draw string?

    Gamble: Yeah, you could get the leather ones, too, with a draw string. Some of them were pretty.

    Lotter: But some were not leather?

    Gamble: No, they were just cloth, cloth bag.

    Lotter: I see, and how did you play the game?

    Gamble: Well - a ring, and they'd put about oh four or five playing - each one put five in, put them all around. And then they'd put the big ones - sometimes put a big one in the center. And you'd stand back so far, and you'd take it and shoot it, this way, like that. Or you'd get down - how many you'd get out of that, if you miss and can't get them, then it'd be your turn, next person's turn to shoot.

    Lotter: Did you have an outer ring too, or just an inner ring?

    Gamble: Yeah you did have a...

    Lotter: You had two rings?

    Gamble: Yeah, because you couldn't get in that.

    Lotter: You had to stay outside of that outer ring?

    Gamble: Yeah, you'd go around. Some would stand up and spot them, that's what they did, called it spotting them. If they got enough power in that thumb, that when they shoot them, they hit it, and they hit one there, they might two or three out.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And then sometimes - I think they played it, too, if your man got in that ring, then you try to get a chance to get him out, the big one, and they'd hit that and that would be yours [laughs]. See, they spot, they'd shoot them hard enough, they hit the small ones and knock it out and their own would come out, their own, sometimes you'd knock two out. Yeah, we used to play that. And candy can. You ever play candy can?

    Lotter: No - how do you play that?

    Gamble: Had one big can, that's all, and you put it on the ground and you - all four or five of them here - and four or five of them, we'd go and hide. And this fellow would have to hunt you. And if he brings you back, he puts you in jail, and there's a can there on the floor, and if they get all of them in - then it's the next fellow's turn to have to hunt them, but if one of those fellows can get in and kick that can out of there before they can get him, why he's free, but the last one that they catch, he has to stay in the ring by them too.

    Lotter: I see, I haven't played that one.

    Gamble: And [Refarmio?] - or what they call it. They were fellows that had - about four or five or six in a gang and this - six we'd go and hide and the other six would catch them and they'd bring them back and put them in the jail. And if this one fellow can get back, and nobody catch him, he can come and relieve all of those people and hollar "Candy Can", or "Relieveo", he'd relieve them.

    Lotter: So they'd all be free, then?

    Gamble: They would all be free and they'd have to go hide again.

    Lotter: Yes, I think we have similar games to that today - just called by a different name.

    Gamble: Oh there were a lot of things - I can't think of them all.
  • Making toy cars; playing basketball in Stapler Park; sledding from Rockford Water Tower to the Brandywine and from Rising Sun toward New Bridge Station
    Keywords: basketball; box sleds; Children--Social life and customs; Rockford Park; Rockford Tower; Sledding; Stapler Park; toy automobiles
    Transcript: Lotter: What kind of toys did you have?

    Gamble: Well, most of our toys were just something that we made or something like - well, I made a wagon, four wheels. When the automobiles first come out, and just like these kids race with today, but they look like real cars. And put a can on the top, box come up over, and put a can on the top and a string would come down through where you are sitting, and goes down, and tightened to this wheel, tightened to this wheel, come back up and you'd have a stick run down with a nail on the end of it or something there that you could turn that wheel. And turn that wheel and had a piece go across here and it would tighten on this side and tighten on this side, well you turn this side, that would pull it, that side or the other, turn the other side. But the kids, they get them all made - their father's make them for them.

    Lotter: That's right, that's right.

    Gamble: Well, I had one made, friends of mine. I lived on 17th Street, we had a park in back of us. And one of the fellows said, "Oh, I got some of Pop's paint, I was paying." So he forgot, he put coal oil in the paint, and painted them red. Well, the coal oil didn't take long to dry. So I had to go home and get all dressed up - white suit - we had company coming. So before that I took it out, got it up on this bank to come down, and I did, and I was going and had a good time. I got home, the lady looked at me, said "Where you been?" I said, "Riding" I know what they are, but I can't think. And she says, "Well you ought to see how you look." I said, "Ain't nothin wrong with me." I was red all the way down.

    Yeah I know, yeah I used to do a lot of things - when the grocery man - man would come around selling fruit, stuff like that, he used to come down and come out - we'd run and hop on the back of that. He'd stop the wagon.

    Oh, we played a lot of games, though. Had baseball, football and everything right in the park - jumped the back fence. You know where 17th and Union is - or 16th and 17th, there was a park back there, Stapler Park, well that's where, we'd come over the - well that's where I lived. We used to play basketball when we were going to school. On Saturday the basketball game would start nine o'clock in the morning, and there'd be about twelve of us playing, six on each side, maybe ten on each side - by noontime we all quit and went home and then come back that afternoon again.

    Lotter: Now when you lived in Henry Clay, do you remember doing any sledding?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, I had a sled, but it wasn't like the one I've got in the garage for my grandson. It was a box sled, my father made it. Did you ever see them?

    Lotter: No, I haven't.

    Gamble: They're just like this here, and then when its down here it comes down and it comes on an angle here, and the front goes up this way and it comes on an angle. Then they had a piece come out, this was rounded, and a piece comes out here and here, and a straight piece go across it. And you put your - start down, and you put your feet up here and that's how you steer it. Push on this side, or push on that side. Now they have them fixed - well I got them like that when I was a kid, but that's the first ones we had.

    Lotter: Now the runners were made of wood?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: On this sled?

    Gamble: Yep. They put - was wax or something on them, I forget what it was. They used to put sandpaper on it to get it smooth, and then put this on it. But they had a piece of iron later that they put on them, just like the real ones.

    Lotter: And where did you sled?

    Gamble: Well, we had Rockford Water Tower, I mean with the good sleds when we got them. And we went all the way down to the creek.

    Lotter: Oh, you did?

    Gamble: Yeah, you start up at the - facing into Wilmington, up the hill where the road comes around like this, you know?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And you used to go - they even put lights around for us on down there. They skied there too.

    Lotter: Oh, they did?

    Gamble: Yeah, and you'd come down, straight down where the houses are here, the road goes down, drive goes on down, like go to Wilmington, this one comes back off 19th Street, up Rising Sun. They start here and they go down and they get halfway down, you meet that road that comes around here now, well before you'd get to that road, I'd say about half a square, used to be a road run right down, just a walk, down there, down to the creek. And you'd come around and you'd come around and you'd keep going down and you'd end up nearly down at the creek there.

    Lotter: That must have been quite a ride.

    Gamble: Oh it was, it was a walk back.

    Lotter: Yes. Did you ever sled down Rising Sun?

    Gamble: Yeah, I slid down there, rode my tricycle down there a lot of times. Yeah, when you get down towards New Bridge Station, that's where you had to watch, going down there.

    Lotter: I'm sure you did.

    Gamble: Yeah, that was a bad curve.
  • More on his grandparent's house in Squirrel Run; the Italians playing bocce; unidentified gift from powder yard superintendent to his father; his grandfather's membership in the Masonic Lodge
    Keywords: bocce; Children--Social life and customs; Freemasons; Rural schools; Squirrel Run
    Transcript: Lotter: We were talking about your Grandmother and Grandfather Gamble's house a little while ago - you mentioned a kitchen, a dining room and a living room on the first floor. What was on the second floor?

    Gamble: We had - there was one, two three - three bedrooms I think on the second - two or three. And there was two on the third floor, I know that. But I can't remember Grandmom having a - we had a living room, big living room there, and a kitchen, and then like a place that they kept the dishes and all that stuff, well she kept them in a closet, the cupboard, you know. Big, old cupboard there. Used to have rugs on the floor, like all that old stuff there. That's about all there was to the house.

    Lotter: Do you remember - was there any shed attached to the house, or summer kitchen - what they called a summer kitchen?

    Gamble: No, those houses didn't have - that's all they had, the two rooms and the place here. And you were only about this far from the house down to that wall, one of them, where the bank goes on up to the - and I used to go down that - up over that same walk, down to - there's only one house on that street now, back there where Hallock's is, it's that white house. Well that was a lady I used to walk over to to get Grandmom's eggs, over there. Go through where they used to play bocce - ever see them play bocce?

    Lotter: No, no.

    Gamble: Italian - they have a ball, balls - and they roll so many balls out and the bocce ball was a small ball and the ball that they wanted, one or two bigs ones out there - or I think that's the way - and they had to stand back and they'd throw this ball, and it hit that - and there's a score to it, I forget it, it's been too long, and the one that - they play for money - it's Italians, that's what they play.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Then - I guess everybody plays it now. Well, that's how they played it. They were only about that big around. It's something like that ball that they have...

    Lotter: A little larger than a baseball - or a soft ball?

    Gamble: Yeah, oh yeah. Some of them run - a couple of them run as big as a golf ball - no, bigger than a golf ball, I forget. They called it - name for it - but we kids, we'd watch them play it - one or their sons or something - they'd say, "Come on, play." So that's the way we played it - up there on the hill. But they gambled with it, I think, I'm not sure. My father, he had a friend of his, when Pop was young, going to school, they tore down the school where he went to school. You know where St. Joseph's Church is, the cemetery next door?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: There used to be a place right in there. That was a small one-story school.

    Lotter: Called the Yellow School House also, wasn't it?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's where my father went.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: They went to school, and then they had to move in town, I mean coming in town, when they went in town to school. I found something upstairs...

    Lotter: Oh, wait a minute, let me help you out.

    Gamble: father when he was a young man. And the man that gave it to him, he was either the Superintendent of the Powder Mill, or he was - I don't think he was the head clerk because I think one of the Seitz was down in the office, Mrs. Seitz - I knew two of them. But this is the age - I had to put it all together, it's been laying up there, see and that's the man was the head of the mills.

    Lotter: And this was given to your father?

    Gamble: Yeah - he was - my father went up and stayed with him, he and his family. He was burnt very bad in the powder.

    Lotter: Your father was?

    Gamble: No, this man. Well, this was when he was - my father went up there before he was burnt. He was...

    Lotter: This is Edward Collison?

    Gamble: Collison, yeah, he was the head of the mills up there at the powder.

    Lotter: And he gave this to your father for helping him out?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: That was very nice.

    Gamble: He lived up there when he was burnt, I mean, he'd go to school and come home from school, and go up there and stay with Collison. And when he died, she went over - she moved back to New York, her and her daughter.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: I got this...

    Lotter: Were you - do you ever remember going up in that area where the Collisons lived?

    Gamble: Yeah, I run all through there. I worked all through - and you know where the office building is, the old office?

    Lotter: Yes, the one that used to be the schoolhouse?

    Gamble: Yeah, I mean up at - not up - up in the Yard, Powder Yard, that what you mean?

    Lotter: Yes, up on the hill.

    Gamble: Yeah, up in the Powder Yard, up there, yeah.

    Lotter: And that's where the Seitz girls worked?

    Gamble: Yeah, one of them, yeah. My father and the man who worked in the office, had started in the office, they were the same age. He had - no he was in the office, but the Seitz lived in that when they turned it into a house, yeah, she worked down in the Station when I did.

    Lotter: Oh, did she?

    Gamble: Yeah, one of the sisters. And the other Seitz lived back on the street in back of us and when we first moved down to Wilmington, Mr. and Mrs. Seitz lived there. I found this in there, too. That's the date of my Grandfather when he went in this here - see that's the year that's what they enter, and this here is...

    Lotter: Now this is when he entered...

    Gamble: Entered apprentice, yeah. And this is the Fellowcraft, that's the middle degree, and that's when he made it, they made him a Mason.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And this is what this is, the life of...

    Lotter: From the Masonic?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And where did the Masons meet?

    Gamble: Where did they meet?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: In Wilmington now. They met up there under the carpenter shop - do you know where the carpenter shop is?

    Lotter: No, I'm not sure.

    Gamble: Oh, I'm not sure either. I always thought it was the building where they used to - but they said, no, that was the machine shop, the one-story building up in there.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: I don't know where the carpenter's shop was.

    Lotter: But they met up in the Yard somewhere?

    Gamble: That's where my Grandfather - he was the first member - so that's when he....

    Lotter: I see. Did they ever meet in the Yellow School House at one time?

    Gamble: Yes they did, that's when I remember them. I was on the porch and they were going to a funeral, the men were. [Interview continues in Part 2]

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