Interview with James Gamble, 1984 June 21 [audio](part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • His father and grandfather's membership in DuPont Lodge and related book and apron
    Keywords: Freemasonry; Freemasons; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Masonic Temple; Men--Societies and clubs
    Transcript: Lotter: This is Marge Lotter, the date is June 21, 1984, I'm at the home of James Gamble in Claymont, Delaware this afternoon for an interview.

    Gamble: I can't read that, I think it's 1892, must have been '92, my father went in in '90 and it took them anywhere to a year or so to go through the chairs, I mean getting their degree to come through.

    Lotter: Is this a book that everyone gets when they join the Masons?

    Gamble: No, no they don't. I don't know how he got that because the only people that...

    Lotter: This belonged to Edward Collison?

    Gamble: Yeah. He died, he got burnt pretty bad with the powder years later.

    Lotter: But he had given this to your father?

    Gamble: Yeah, and my father was the one that backed him in going in there, wanting to go in. But Mr. Collison backed my father to go in.

    Lotter: I see, I see.

    Gamble: See my Grandfather was the Master of the lodge, in other words...

    Lotter: This is Samuel Frizell?

    Gamble: Yeah, he worked in the powder.

    Lotter: What did your grandfather do?

    Gamble: He built the powder mills.

    Lotter: Oh he did, oh, he was a stone mason.

    Gamble: Yeah, he built them. His name was Frizell, he was a Frenchman. He came out of France during the Revolution over there. And he was only a boy and his father had to get out because they run them out. It was just like - I guess something like the one over in Ireland now, that kind of thing it was over there.

    Lotter: About religious war.

    Gamble: Yeah, I think that's what it was, I'm not sure of it.

    Lotter: I think that's right, I'm sure that's right.

    Gamble: That's all the way through with all of them.

    Lotter: With each step? I don't know that much about the Masons.

    Gamble: Well, they're given to the lodge and each lodge has one, and they look that up. And my father, it was given to him by Mr. Collison, and in that way he passed it around to men who were going through the chairs.

    Lotter: I see. This is like a book of instructions?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's right, that's what it is, tells it all of it.

    Lotter: That's very interesting. Oh yes, I see in the front here. It says, "Mr. James Gamble from Edward Collison, DuPont's Mills, Delaware, August 29, 189...

    Gamble: That's '92, I think.

    Lotter: '92 is it?

    Gamble: Yeah, because...

    Lotter: A little hard to read that last number.

    Gamble: We had other stuff, but we finally put, a lot of it, down our cellar when we lived home, and water came in. I don't know if...

    Lotter: Oh my.

    Gamble: ...and all the stuff was wet and that's the way that is.

    Lotter: This goes in the front of this book, I want to put that back. Now tell me about the apron.

    Gamble: Well, see it's taken off the Masonic Order which is mostly Masons, I mean in those days years ago. And they wore these aprons.

    Lotter: This is a leather apron.

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And each person in the lodge had one?

    Gamble: Yeah, and after — I don't know what year it was, because this one here, the way I understand it, was given to my father quite a few years ago. See he was 94 when he died.

    Lotter: So he didn't receive this when he first went in?

    Gamble: Yeah, and finished these three degrees. You had to be made a Master Mason to get that.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And it takes three degrees to get that, then you go on from there to the Shrine, Royal Arch, different degrees, and it's all in that book.

    Lotter: I see, that's very interesting. So this was worn by all of the ones that had the three degrees?

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah. I have one upstairs, but I can't find it. Can't find Grandpop's either, because how I know that's the way they gave it. When Grandfather got his, he was quite a few years old, older than what he was when he went through, and they weren't giving them to everybody, just the officers wore them and then after they were through with them, they went on to the other ones. So that's the way that is.

    Lotter: Oh, I see. That's nice that you still have those.

    Gamble: Yeah, I had other stuff. How it was, there was three men, see this was passed down from another lodge to DuPont Lodge and they all had to be Master Masons to be on their degree team to pass them to DuPont Lodge, up in the Powder Yards. That was not in the carpenter shop. It was under the carpenter shop, where it was at times.

    Lotter: I see, this was like on the first floor of the carpenter shop?

    Gamble: Must have been underneath.

    Lotter: Whatever the building was.

    Gamble: Yeah, how — where it was, I didn't know. But that's how they got that. Then they moved down — the mill - no - where is Hagee's is, you know where Hagee's is?

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: Well next to that there used to be a three— story building. I remember that, and on the first floor my uncle had the drugstore.

    Lotter: Right, I think you told me about that.

    Gamble: Yeah, and on the second floor was the — just a regular lodge room and they always had dinners and stuff there, and on the third floor was the meeting room for the Odd Fellows up there. And that's when DuPont's moved to there. And from there they went to up on Rising Sun Lane. And you know there's a [pebbled ash?] house sits back where the steps goes up to the Rockford Tower, you know that, in the back, square back off of Rising Sun Lane. And that was the school.

    Lotter: Yes, I know.

    Gamble: Two— story school. That's where my mother graduated from there. Then they moved from there to Woodlawn Avenue in Wilmington. And they had it at the Odd Fellows Building there. Then when they built the Masonic Temple, they moved down there. Or maybe it might it have been after they built the Temple. So that's where it was up till now.

    Lotter: Yes, yes. Now how about your Grandfather Gamble, was he a Mason?

    Gamble: No, I don't think he was because he died before I was born.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Now he might have been, I don't know. I had uncles, cousins.

    Lotter: I see.
  • Other families living on Rising Sun Lane
    Keywords: Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Neighborhoods; Neighbors
    Transcript: Lotter: I just wondered, before we get started, if you had thought of anything else since I talked to you the last time. Anything come to mind?

    Gamble: Well, the only thing I thought of was names of people.

    Lotter: Oh did you?

    Gamble: Yeah, what brought me to it, some of them, wasn't very many, was when I saw the picture in the paper of the Devenney, because I run around with Bob Devenney, and I knew George and near all of them. See they were born on the Creek too.

    Lotter: Right, right, I know they were.

    Gamble: I knew them all, very few of them left, I think about three, three or four. There's quite a few Devenney families. That's the only thing I know of — oh yeah, besides that, I know Jim McVey, I don't know whether you've heard his name mentioned?

    Lotter: Yes I have.

    Gamble: Have you? I knew him, I worked with him. He lived down on Rising Sun Lane — and then there's another — Hollisey lived there, old Jimmy Hollisey and his family, he had four boys, one was around my age. Oh Jimmy drank, now I don't know a whole lot or not, they say that he got in a fight, so he hit the fellow and broke his jaw and he got arrested for it. This is what they tell me, and that's been years ago. After he got out of jail, I know he told the judge "I just slapped him, I didn't break his jaw." So when he got out somebody said to him - he was Irish, "Jimmy did you hit him?" "Hit him, I broke his jaw." [laughs] That was down near Blakeley's saloon.

    Lotter: Oh, was it?

    Gamble: Yeah, was a couple other families lived in there and one that went along — by the stone wall there was a road that run over to the railroad. The family by the name of Dougherty, lived back in there. Then you go across the road. I don't know if I ever told you or not, this family by the name of — oh I can't think of his name. I don't know, he was a cousin of his. His wife and my Grandmother were sisters, there was one of them, like see, on Rising Sun Lane, and they lived there. And they tore them all down. And on the other side, on the left— hand side going down Rising Sun Lane...

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And on the right-hand side there was...I know his name, I know his family, but I just can't think of it - Brown. I don't know whether I told you, Brown was...

    Lotter: I don't think so.

    Gamble: He worked for one of the du Pont's, and might have been with the Company as far as I know. Dick Brown was his name. Whether he was boss up there...

    Lotter: Now you said that your family lived at No. 19. Is that still standing?

    Gamble: At Rising Sun Lane?

    Lotter: M— huh.

    Gamble: Where I lived — no, there were only two houses on — 19th and Rising Sun Lane. There was two houses on that side of the street, the right side of the street, and it sit up high. And they lived in the second house, yeah second house because there was quite a bit of ground between there and the next house. And that was where my Grandfather lived. It's a double house now, Craig's live, the two girls...

    Lotter: So the house your grandfather lived is still standing?

    Gamble: Yeah. Yeah coming down Rising Sun Lane.

    Lotter: Would that be the last house?

    Gamble: No.

    Lotter: ...down at this point?

    Gamble: No, that would only be the second house coming down from the trolley car. You know where the trolley car makes its turn on Rising Sun Lane? Come over and down and back in town?

    Lotter: No, I'm not sure. You mean way up at the top of Rising Sun Lane?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's where I was born.

    Lotter: Oh, yes, yes, I see. And you were up at that end of Rising Sun.

    Gamble: Yeah, that's where I lived, the second house, I was born there. My sister was born there. We didn't live there very long because my father was — we moved into Wilmington on the Highlands, what was known as the Highlands.

    Lotter: Yes, yes, I think you mentioned that before. Then the house that your grandfather lived in was next door to yours, or how far down?

    Gamble: No, it was next door - I say it was about — if houses were built in there, there would be about three houses or four houses before that. It's right where them new houses, it's still there, there's new houses as you come down Rising Sun Lane on the right. Copeland, young Copeland over there, had them built. I wouldn't have any one of them if you give them to me.

    Lotter: But your grandfather's house is still standing?

    Gamble: Yeah, and it's a double house.

    Lotter: I'll have to look for that.

    Gamble: The two Craig girls live...

    Lotter: I see, they still live in it?

    Gamble: Yeah, Craig bought one. Grandfather didn't buy it. He just stayed there.

    Lotter: I thought your grandfather lived down further closer to the school.

    Gamble: No.

    Lotter: But he lived at the upper end.

    Gamble: Upper end, yeah. They were the first one there after the lot - people lived in the first house was named Buchanan, lived there. She was quite a dresser. I can remember when I was a kid, she was one of those women that wore them high— necked dresses, you know, stuff came around here, and a great big hat.

    Lotter: Oh did she, lot of ruffles.

    Gamble: Big hat, and he used to wear a frocked coat, one of them three— quarter coats. See he drove the team for one of the du Pont's, horseman. He'd sit up there straight. And he used to come over home quite a bit. Somebody would say to him, "How are you?" "Oh, I'm fine, fine, very fine, very fine and fancy." So I got underneath the table, and I started it out to him one night when he came, I got put to bed. Fine, fine, very fine, fancy, something like that, he was quite a man.
  • Family history focusing on his grandparent's family, the Frizzells
    Keywords: Families; Genealogy
    Transcript: Lotter: Getting back to your family tree, I wanted to get some idea, do you have any idea when your Grandfather Frizzell was born?

    Gamble: Grandfather Frizzell?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: No, he was — the only thing I know how old he was. I know when he died, he was 94 or 96, I forget which, when he died.

    Lotter: Do you know what year that was, approximately?

    Gamble: No, they still had horse and buggies at the funeral I know that much, I know I rode in one.

    Lotter: Do you know what his full name is?

    Gamble: He was what?

    Lotter: His full name, it was Samuel...

    Gamble: Samuel, I don't think I, I don't know whether he had a middle name or not, but I could look it up. Yes I can, too, no I don't think he did.

    Lotter: Let me unhook this if you’ re going to...okay.

    Gamble: I don't know whether I have it here or...[long pause while Gamble searches for record]

    Lotter: Do you have a family Bible that belonged to him?

    Gamble: Yes.

    Lotter: Oh, I see. From both sides of the family? Oh do you really. Let me put this back on, there you go. If you could look those up some time, I'd love to take a look at them. I'm sure the Museum would be very interested in maybe looking at those too.

    Gamble: On my father's side I think there was only two or three brothers worked for DuPont's, worked up around the shop, machine shop up there.

    Lotter: Well how many children did your Grandmother and Grandfather Frizzell have?

    Gamble: Well, I'll have to start counting.

    Lotter: I know there were a lot.

    Gamble: There was Uncle George, Uncle Sam, Uncle Tom, Uncle... black sheep of the family, he was never home much. Can't think, and then there was Tom, named Tom, Aunt Nan and my mother.

    Lotter: I see, your mother was the youngest?

    Gamble: Oh no, she was pretty near the oldest.

    Lotter: Oh she was?

    Gamble: Yeah, Uncle Tom was the youngest.

    Lotter: So four boys and two girls?

    Gamble: No, there was another one that died quite young. He traveled a bit.

    Lotter: I see, so altogether they had...

    Gamble: Uncle Jack was his name.

    Lotter: Uncle Jack.

    Gamble: Yeah, he lived out around Pittsburgh and different places, but he learned his machinist trade here in with the DuPont Company.

    Lotter: I see, altogether there were seven children in the family?

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah.

    Lotter: Well that, I'm sure kept them busy.

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: Now your Grandmother Frizzell, do you remember what her maiden name was?

    Gamble: Yeah, it was [confers with his wife]. I think the Bible — if I look at it this way we'll be better off.

    Lotter: Did most families have a family Bible where they recorded...

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: Did most families have a family Bible that they recorded all the births and deaths in?

    Gamble: Yeah, oh yeah. I don't know whether up in the front or [turns the pages of the Bible].

    Lotter: That book is in beautiful condition.

    Gamble: Yeah well, the youngest one, Uncle Tom, he died. I was quite friendly with him. I know it's in there.

    Lotter: Oh yes, it says, "Martha, born in December 11, 1866, George born August 20, 1868, Samuel born December 11, 1870, and John born April 26, 1873, Fannie born January 31, 1877, and Thomas born August 29, 1886. Now was the Conley a family name?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: Was that your grandmother's maiden name?

    Gamble: That was my grandmother's. Conley lived up there on the Creek and they had business with DuPonts. His name was C— O— N— L-Y, that's how you spell Conly. They had a coal company and then they had the coal, all the coal which come in for DuPont Company at that time.

    Lotter: Now this was your mother's father?

    Gamble: Father, yeah, he had a coal business all up there, besides hauling stone and all that in there. The way I get the story, when he died, the only thing that we — my brother and myself can trace back, is the children. That must be my Grandmother, and we can trace three sisters, that's all. But they say there was more than that. They were all born up the Creek on Rising Sun Lane.

    Lotter: Is that where he lived also?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: Rising Sun?

    Gamble: Yeah. I don't know when he came to this country or where he came from, sounds like an Irish name. [Laughs].

    Lotter: Yes it does.

    Gamble: And then when he died, he had two brothers, maybe he had about three, but there are two that I know of. And in them days they didn't make a will, they shook hands. So she shook hands with Col. du Pont and two brothers, and what their names were, those two. But when my Grandfather died, the only thing the widow got for the children, was a pension, real small pension, seven or eight dollars a month. That's all she got, but the brothers got the business and everything. So that's the way it went. My Grandfather never got over it, he didn't like it.

    Lotter: Is that right?

    Gamble: Yeah, he couldn't do anything about it. Kelley was the name of the other man, was my uncle through — he married one of my aunts, one of my Grandmother's sisters, he did, Kelley. George Kelley was his name. He was quite a musician here in town.

    Lotter: Oh was he?

    Gamble: First— class man. In those days when we were young, used to go to dances, he played all over the country and Europe and all over.

    Lotter: What instrument did he play?

    Gamble: He had the orchestra, played the piano.

    Lotter: Oh he did. Now did he play for dances and things like that?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, that's what it was, dances.
  • His great-grandfather Conly hauling coal for DuPont Co.; local stone quarries; his father's family, the Gambles
    Keywords: Carriages and carts; Coal--Transportation; Company stores; Genealogy; Granite industry and trade; Quarries and quarrying; Quarries and quarrying--Accidents
    Transcript: Lotter: Do you remember your grandfather hauling coal and so forth to DuPont?

    Gamble: No, my great— grandfather?

    Lotter: Right.

    Gamble: Oh yeah, I remember him.

    Lotter: You remember the truck and everything?

    Gamble: Yeah, they used to have two— wheeled, yeah, two— wheel dump carts. And up there where you go down Rising Sun Lane before — under the bridge?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: There's - the cars would come in there and then they'd back these trucks, cars, wagons with a horse in the front, and that's the way they'd load it and then take it up to the Powder Yard and take it out to the Experimental Station.

    Lotter: These were just two— wheel carts that they used?

    Gamble: Yeah, up to the Experimental Station, they were hauling all day long till them emptied the car, railroad cars.

    Lotter: And these were wooden carts?

    Gamble: Yeah, just two— wheel wooden carts.

    Lotter: Just large enough for one horse?

    Gamble: That's all. And after that they - I don't think DuPont's, when DuPont's hauled for DuPonts, they never had anything other than just the two— horse, I mean one— horse.

    Lotter: Oh, is that right?

    Gamble: Yeah, I don't remember any of them.

    Lotter: Anything larger than them.

    Gamble: And I was on the Creek all my life.

    Lotter: He also hauled stone you say?

    Gamble: They used to haul stone.

    Lotter: What did he use to haul that?

    Gamble: They had a great big two— wheel - now I don't know whether DuPont's did, but I know my uncle, on his, he had two wheels and then it had a piece come up like that and across the back and they had - go down with a chain come over, come up and chain it to the top. And they had another one up here to keep it from sliding off too.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: Sometimes they used to run three around the front up to the back. And they'd haul that all around.

    Lotter: Now were these wooden carts also, or were these metal?

    Gamble: I think they were metal, I'm not sure about what he had, but I know there were wood, what one of my uncles had a stone quarry.

    Lotter: I see, but then they used chains to hold all the rocks and stones in place?

    Gamble: All that stone up there was what they call Brandywine granite, that's all hard. I remember when my mother died, we were young, but my Grandfather and all of them, father, they all bought a big tombstone, big one, come up high, and then they put all around their plot, they had stone in there. And that come from Uncle Jim's place, but it was Brandywine granite. And where I moved to on 17th Street, coming up was a trolley car, and we used to go over there and sit there and watch them fellows all day drilling. And they used to sing a song [laughs].

    Lotter: And that's where all the stone came from, then, right at 17th Street?

    Gamble: Yeah, well there was about four different companies around town, but I knew that one because we lived across from it. It was all a big field and the 17th Street then only had a few houses on it. They're still there. I lived there until I was, oh about five years before I got married — I was thirty.

    Lotter: So the stone actually came, then, from that area?

    Gamble: Yeah, all of it, hard stone, came from there. They'd all drill on a line, see, and then they put so much powder here and there, and when that split, that split just the way they wanted it to split. But there was quite a few quarries, stone quarries, like crushed stone and stuff like that, was a softer stone.

    Lotter: Do you remember any other places where they got Brandywine granite, in the area?

    Gamble: Well, I imagine there were, there was one on Delaware Avenue, he had a - Delaware Avenue on either side — he used that quarry, both them quarries. Then there was one on 17th Street where we lived, we used to skate in that one when they got down. Then there's one over - you know where Bancroft Mills is?

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Down there — there used to be one down there, it was a big quarry.

    Lotter: Oh, really?

    Gamble: Oh boy, it was way down there. And a boy that lived a couple doors above us, fell down in that quarry and lived. Yeah, I think he's still living now, his father was an Italian stone mason. It was right down near where the store is now, Wanamaker's Store, you know that?

    Lotter: Yes, I see.

    Gamble: Where you come through, round through into that way, that's where the quarry was, it was way down. I don't know what it's like now, I haven't been over there for years.

    Lotter: No, I can picture the area you are talking about. You're talking about the upper part of their parking lot I think, aren't you?

    Gamble: Yeah, it's up by...

    Lotter: It looks like it's pretty steep.

    Gamble: What do they call that now - Alapocas.

    Lotter: Yes, right.

    Gamble: I know we used to go over there when we were kids, but never went near the quarry, we had enough sense to stay away from it.

    Lotter: I never realized there was a quarry there.

    Gamble: Yeah, and there's one on — as you go up the Pike, Philadelphia Pike, up by Sears and Roebucks, going up there and right to the left, there's a big quarry there too.

    Lotter: I see. Do you remember anything about your Grandfather Gamble as far as when he was born, or do you know how old he was when he died?

    Gamble: No, I don't, I can't even tell. I know how old Grandmom was when she died, she was 94.

    Lotter: She was - I see. Do you remember when she died?

    Gamble: Oh I can't tell you. I'll have to go up to Green Hill Cemetery, I can get them all, they're all up there.

    Lotter: Both sides of the family are there?

    Gamble: Both sides of the family.

    Lotter: How many children did your Grandmother and Grandfather Gamble have?

    Gamble: Well, there was — have to start — most of them, a few of them like my father, when they finished down here, they went up to New York and worked, her uncle. There was Uncle Hugh, no Uncle Alec, Alexander I guess, and Uncle Hugh, and I think my father, James, came in there next, and Uncle Johnny, and Uncle Sam.

    Lotter: All boys?

    Gamble: Yes, all boys. Well, she had one girl, Aunt Martha Barlow. That's as far as I know, that's on the tombstone.

    Lotter: So there were at least six that you know of?

    Gamble: Yeah, I think that's all of them.

    Lotter: U-huh, well they both had big families then didn't they?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And they came from Ireland?

    Gamble: My Grandmother and Grandfather came over here from Ireland on their - over here — they were both single and they got married in this country.

    Lotter: Oh, they did?

    Gamble: His sister, or her sister, married a man in New York, he was a contractor, so she enticed her to come over here, and she knew my Grandfather, I guess too, at that time, and they come over here and that's where they were married, in New York.

    Lotter: I see, do you know where they came from in Ireland?

    Gamble: I don't know — my cousin, one of my uncles, they — Ron, my brother, might know where they came from, but I can't tell. I know it was north of Ireland where they came from. They used to write to my — their cousins over there, but I don't know.

    Lotter: And what brought them to Wilmington, to the Brandywine?

    Gamble: Well they might want to get married and they come here to this country [laughs].

    Lotter: Well, were they married here in Wilmington or in New York?

    Gamble: No, must have been married in New York, that's what my father and uncles used to kid them about.

    Lotter: I see, and then you don't know why they came to Wilmington?

    Gamble: No, no. Oh, when they came to Wilmington after that? I don't know.

    Lotter: What was your Grandfather Gamble's trade?

    Gamble: He was boss painter for du Pont's at all the farms and houses and things they had in them times.

    Lotter: Not in the mills, then, just the homes?

    Gamble: Yeah, painted the homes and the mills and everything.

    Lotter: Oh, he did paint the mills too?

    Gamble: Oh yeah. Well, I think we had relatives here, the name was Sterling, I don't know what really married for. And he used to be — he done all the hiring and all the everything for DuPont's out in the powder yard. You see Sterling if you are looking at those pictures, see Sterling's Mill, or Sterling's — what do you call it — carpenter shop, or not carpenter shop, but they had the general store. I don't know what they called it, except a general store.

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: That's the only thing I know of how they got here — the Sterling's. Because when they came here, they used to say, my cousins used to say that she would go up to Sterling's and they say the daughters, there were three daughters and two boys, the Sterling's, they used to say they used to look through the window and look at her, she said she was such a pretty girl, my Grandmother. But I don't really remember, only what you hear [laughs].

    They say one story about them that the Gambles — one of the brothers was a soap maker. I used to ask Pop of the store, "Any relations?" He said, "No." We were always clean, we didn't like his soap. [laughs] So that's the only thing I know.
  • His mother's death; his father's work as a bridge and signal inspector for B. & O. Railroad; his first jobs
    Keywords: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company; Carpenters; Death; DuPont Paint; Joseph Bancroft & near-accidents; Sons Company of Pennsylvania
    Transcript: Lotter: Well, what about your father, do you know when he was born?

    Gamble: Yeah, I have, I think, my boy, he's down in West Virginia, he's got that book.

    Lotter: Do you have just any approximate idea of when he was born?

    Gamble: No. No, but if I ever get up to Green Hill, I'll get all of them.

    Lotter: And your mother, you have no idea, then, when she was born either?

    Gamble: My mother? I don't know whether it says when she was born or not — it didn't say that in here, did it?

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: That's all in that book.

    Gamble: Is it?

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: I thought it was.

    Lotter: We may have already read that part.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: There's just one page on births. And not really much here, and I thought that was there.

    Gamble: Yeah, it might be there, it's up in the middle.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: I thought there was more in this book - what's that.

    Gamble: Here it is, right there.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Wait a minute, what's that, what's this here?

    Gamble: Here it is here.

    Lotter: Now which one is your mother?

    Gamble: Mattie.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Martha.

    Gamble: Martha.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Martha.

    Lotter: So she would be the oldest?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Born, December 11, 1866, and she was older than your father, wasn't she?

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah I know that.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: He was - January, but I don't know what year.

    Lotter: But she was maybe a couple years older than he was?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: Do you remember what year she died? I know you said you were small when she died.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Look at this, none of this stuff is in there. Now I'll tell you who would know all those dates, probably be able to - it would be his brother, he's good on dates.

    Lotter: Is he, u— huh.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: I don't know any of them, cause I don't know half of those people [laughs].

    Lotter: Well, you said your mother died when you were young, what did she die of?

    Gamble: Well, I don't know whether she had a stroke or what it was, to be honest with you.

    Lotter: She wasn't sick at all?

    Gamble: No, no she just — what it was — I was about ten or eleven, forget which, and I know that she wasn't in bed, it was right at Christmas time when she died. I remember we went down and seen her, sitting with her and she finally went to bed, I don't know what happened. It's just something that, you know, you seen them and don't remember what...

    Lotter: Yes, she was at home though, she didn't go to the hospital or anything like that?

    Gamble: No, no, no. Most all of those doctors, then, around here — Dr. Joe Chandler - I can't think of the other doctors. There was only a couple doctors around here. The one that buried them up Rising Sun and Squirrel Run, that was Dr. Joe Chandler, he was from up around Pennsylvania, the State line.

    Lotter: Oh, is he?

    Gamble: He was, the families are from up there. Now he was an undertaker. Oh, they wrote in those days.

    Lotter: Yes, it's a beautiful handwriting, it really is. Do you have any idea who wrote that?

    Gamble: No, I don't, they're all the same. There was Grandmom and Grandpop. We had a Bible too, but we got it wet.

    Lotter: That's a shame. You're very fortunate that this one is as...

    Gamble: In those days we had a place in the cellar was always dry, but this one time the water got in there — backed up the sewer — pictures — had a picture of me when I was about 14 or 12, 12 or 14 — painted. Had an artist paint it.

    Lotter: Oh really.

    Gamble: But he didn't paint that one, he painted the original and they sent it up to Philadelphia - I mean this artist sent it to Philadelphia, and at that time there was an American magazine - paper they put out, and they put it on one of the papers that had all the pictures and stuff in that, and they had that one in the paper, so mother, she rolled that up, or I don't know whether it was her or my sister, and we had it all rolled and when Uncle Alec came down her from New York, he had a lot of stuff that he put down there, it was real old — it ruined everything.

    Lotter: That's too bad, that's a shame. It's lucky you still have some of the things.

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: Maybe we could talk a little about about your family's weekly routine. What would an average day be like, could you describe who got up in the morning and what happened?

    Gamble: Well — with me or with my father?

    Lotter: Well, with you and your father.

    Gamble: Well, my father, he mostly worked. He used to work on the — he learned to be a carpenter here and most of them were either a carpenter or a boat builder or a wagon builder, you know the old - but he learned to be a carpenter and he worked at building the, up by Lenape Park, there was a station there. It's still there, it's a home now, along the Reading Station, and that's where he worked there, and different places. Then he went to work for the railroad and he was bridge and signal inspector on all railroads of the B.& amp; O. between Jersey City and down in Baltimore, Maryland. And he tells a tale that when he'd go over these bridges, he was going on the bridge of the Susquehanna, and they had the signal up on top of the bridge and he had to go up and also inspect that signal. He was coming down and he slipped, and his finger - I have the ring I think, don't know whether it's upstairs or up in the bank — he slipped and the ring was loose and it caught in that thing, you know, you ever see the railroad, they have that little thing on the [hands?], he caught in that, just caught him long enough that he could...

    Lotter: Just like a little small hook?

    Gamble: Yeah, throw his arm around it, lift it up and come down. A little time after that that he had to make a report out to the railroad. My mother was living in them days and she found out about it by the letter coming home and telling about him reporting it an what it was all about. She made him quit the railroad, so he did. See that was the time that she had been sick and she was yelling. So he quit the railroad and he went to work from there over to Bancroft, that's a textile mill.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: And then he put all the rest of his life in over there.

    Lotter: Doing carpentry work?

    Gamble: Yeah, he built a lot of those places over there, he was a good builder. He built for the company, so he was there until he retired.

    Lotter: Well, now in an average day, who would be the first one up in your family?

    Gamble: My father.

    Lotter: Your father would be up first?

    Gamble: I was the oldest one in the family, outside of my sister and my mother and I. And then my brother was younger than I was. So he had quite an expense, so I went to work when I was about 14, and I worked...

    Lotter: Is that right?

    Gamble: And I worked for — between fourteen...[tape is switched]...everything they wanted me to — washing dishes and helping, getting the ice and all that stuff, I worked there until I was about 21 years old.

    Lotter: This was full time?

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah we went to work at eight o'clock in the morning and quit at four-thirty in the afternoon. But there wasn't a whole lot in there like they are today. I had a good job and then I went from there to - I went there to different operations that they had throughout the yard. They were just starting building up, they only had bench men, chemists, very few doctors. To be a chemist in them days only took three years after high school. Then we — they also had a YMCA school and I went to that at night time.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: For a couple of years.

    Lotter: So you were able to continue your education then?

    Gamble: Yeah. I was working in, well, lithophone, that was paint, when DuPont started in the paint business and they bought Krebs plant in Philadelphia and I was shipped up there and I worked in there — we worked at it here, Wilmington. DuPont was just getting into the paint business. Well we used to test the paint, then we went up there and we were up there for about two and a half years.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: And then they bought the Krebs - no, didn't buy Krebs Plant, they bought Beck & amp; White from up in New Jersey, then after that they bought — went here — Krebs in Newport. The fellow I worked with, the chemist, Dr. Kroeller, he quit, and he went to work for a company in Baltimore. I don't know whether it was Auburn or what. He was only down there a year and DuPont's bought it out.

    Lotter: Couldn't get away from them [laughs].

    Gamble: No, but I worked on everything out there you could work on.
  • His father's work schedule and working briefly at the singe house; morning routines; housekeepers; his Uncle Sam's grocery store and bread delivery business
    Keywords: delivery of bread; Delivery of goods; Grocery trade; Sam Frizzell; singe house; Textile workers; Vegetable gardening
    Transcript: Lotter: Well, we'd like to find out a little bit about your family's daily routine. Now you said your father was the first one up, and then who got up next — was your mother...

    Gamble: No, well my mother did until she died. When she died, we had a housekeeper, and she kept house for us. Until my sister was old enough, she went up to live with my Grandmother on Rising Sun Lane, that's where she lived until she got married.

    Lotter: Well before your mother died, was it common for all of you to sit down and eat breakfast at the same time in the morning?

    Gamble: No, I don't think it was because - my father, at that time, had to go to work at seven o'clock in the morning. Sometimes he had to be in at six o'clock because on a textile mill, they shut down Saturday and my father had to go in Saturday morning, start sometimes Friday night, he didn't get home until about one or two o'clock in the morning, and go in Saturday and Sunday and work right straight through until Monday morning when they started up.

    Lotter: So he would be doing repair work and this type thing, maintenance work?

    Gamble: Yeah, building or — that's what he did.

    Lotter: And then what would — if he worked a long weekend like that, what would his hours be — would he still work his normal hours during the week?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, yeah, never got off.

    Lotter: Oh boy.

    Gamble: Well DuPont's the same way.

    Lotter: That was a lot of hours.

    Gamble: DuPont Company was the same way. I had uncles, a couple uncles work in there. But that's the way they did. I left DuPont, and he got me a job over there — the singe house, they called it. All this cloth that had the fuzz on it, you know, well they had to burn that off, and they used to run that through singers, light, burn that all the way off — he got me a job there, so I worked there the first week, and I knew the boss, cause he and my father were great friends. I said to him the second day, I said, "How about getting me a raise?" He says, "I'll see what I can do." He come back the next week and he said "I got you a raise." I said, "How much?" He said, "Ten cents." I said, "Ooh." He said, "What're you gonna do, quit?" I said I would give it another week, I worked three weeks and quit. [Laughs] I didn't want no more of that, but times were hard, hard to get a job, that's the way it was all over, all over America.

    Lotter: And he probably thought ten cents was a pretty good raise.

    Gamble: It was, too. He told me, he said, "See that fellow over there?" I said, "Yeah." He was my boss, the fellow over there, he'd pull the stuff in and set it, and they had these girls that would take that cloth and put it together and sew it. And I said, "Yeah, I see him." He said, "He only gets ten cents more than you, and he's been at it for twenty years." I thought, oh boy, I'm not staying.

    Lotter: Do you remember when you were young what a typical breakfast would be in the morning?

    Gamble: Oh we'd have toast, I mostly burnt the toast, egg, coffee, sometimes, well, coffee and milk — I guess that was it, bread, toasted bread. Sometimes once in a while, probably we had jelly, stuff like that. Oatmeal, I had oatmeal every morning, that's all you ate is oatmeal.

    Lotter: How about meat?

    Gamble: Meat — then?

    Lotter: Yes, did you eat any meat with your breakfast?

    Gamble: Very little. Only bacon once in a while, that's about all the meat we ate. I used to run around with a fellow, he used to cook his own breakfast. He said, "What do you eat?" "Oh," he said, "I have some pork chops." "Pork chops for breakfast? You're eating high on the hog, boy."

    Lotter: How about for lunch, when you went to school, did you take your lunch?

    Gamble: No, I only lived a square away from the school.

    Lotter: So you came home for your lunch?

    Gamble: Union Street, 17th and Union, came home and got a sandwich, milk, that's about what it was, sandwiches, milk, piece of cake.

    Lotter: So you had moved from Rising Sun then before you started school?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, yeah. No, I didn't, my brother did. We lived down on 17th and Union, right a square up from Union Street, where the four houses were that my uncle had.

    Lotter: Now what did your father do for lunch, did he take a lunch with him to work?

    Gamble: He took his — yeah.

    Lotter: And what would he have for a typical lunch?

    Gamble: I couldn't tell you. Well ours was a funny family because we had nobody was boss like mother was, and my aunt would come there once in a while when we changed our cooks. We had some funny ones, I ain't kidding you a bit — boy.

    Lotter: Well what about your dinner, what would you have?

    Gamble: Well, oh, we had a lady there all the time, she lived in.

    Lotter: Oh, and she did all the cooking?

    Gamble: But we had different ones. If they decided to quit, they'd quit and go somewheres else.

    Lotter: And were they the ones that decided what to cook, or did your father...

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah, he wanted to get rid of one — every Sunday we'd have ham. And I remember my father say one time, "Hope she leaves, I'm about sick of ham." He's get a big ham and we'd have ham, cut it down, cut it down — that's about all she could cook. We had some fun. My aunt used to get stuff — cause Saturday she'd come over, she'd get a roast for us, put that on. That's the way they ate in those days.

    Lotter: . Well now do you remember having any — did you have any chickens or anything like that?

    Gamble: Well, we once in a while, we'd have chicken, eggs.

    Lotter: But you didn't raise any chickens yourself?

    Gamble: No, we didn't. We had a small garden.

    Lotter: Did you - what did you have in your garden?

    Gamble: Well we had scallions, radishes, some potatoes, not a whole lot, tomatoes, we had plenty of tomatoes. And different vegetables — cabbage once in a while. See nobody was there, only my brother and myself most of the time.

    Lotter: Right. Did you store any of the vegetables over the winter?

    Gamble: No.

    Lotter: No, just ate from your garden.

    Gamble: Well my uncle had the grocery store up the creek. Right across from the DuPont — what do they call it?

    Lotter: Breck's Mill?

    Gamble: Yeah, Breck's Mill. He had the — it burnt down on him, Uncle Sam.

    Lotter: Yes, I remember hearing about that. What did he do after the store burnt down?

    Gamble: Well he went in the bread business, what I mean, he bought bread in town at a baker, and he would go in the morning to get it and then come all through where his people, his customers were, all through there. He had pies and cakes and cinnamon buns. That was like on Monday. On Tuesday he'd go up through Rockland and all through there, and then Wednesday he'd come back down again.

    Lotter: I see. Did he take orders?

    Gamble: Well, he nearly knew what they wanted because you got six loaves of bread for a quarter, I remember that well.

    Lotter: Is that right?

    Gamble: Yeah, all through, up through there. He was a hunchback, he was that way from measles, I think Grandmom said.
  • Coal delivery and fetching coal from the coal bin; having accounts with local merchants and rent deductions from pay for company housing in the area
    Keywords: Bookkeeping; Chores; Coal; Grocery trade--Accounting; Industrial housing; Rental housing; Stoves, Coal
    Transcript: Lotter: When you went to school and you came home in the afternoon, did you have any chores to do when you got home?

    Gamble: Oh yeah. I used to go up to Grandmom's. I had a coal bin, there was a shed outside, and the next, coal bin here and the wood was here and then I'd have to fill up the coal box out in the kitchen and chop the wood and bring the wood in. And anything else Grandmom wanted done, we had to do. But I mostly did it because my brother was home, he was too small.

    Lotter: Now where was the coal bin located, was it connected to the house at all?

    Gamble: No, no. But see, the house and then there was - oh, I would say it was eight foot or ten foot from the back of the house to where the wood shed was and then next to that was the coal bin. See that was the closest to coming up the back road and bringing the coal in. I used to have to do that. Sometimes I'd go up to my other Grandmother in Squirrel Run.

    Lotter: Now when coal was delivered to a home, how was it delivered?

    Gamble: It was — you mean what kind of coal?

    Lotter: No, how was it brought?

    Gamble: In a one-horse - just like the dump truck.

    Lotter: Similar to the carts that your grandfather used?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: And it was loose coal, or was it in bags?

    Gamble: No - it was bags that they'd get it. He would get a ton of coal.

    Lotter: And it would be in bags?

    Gamble: In bags, and they'd bring the truck — the thing around and open it, big back gate, and carry it from there into the coal bin.

    Lotter: I see, and just left the coal in bags so that when you brought it in the house you could — how did you bring it from the coal bin into the house?

    Gamble: Coal bucket.

    Lotter: So the bags, then, would be broken open?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, they were two bags, oh about like that, and they had a handle on either side, and they'd fill that up and they pulled it over their shoulder and bring it over in this way with one handle down there.

    Lotter: Oh I see. So this was just a bag used for carrying the coal and not - was this a cloth bag of some kind?

    Gamble: Yeah, it's like a canvas bag.

    Lotter: I see — what, about three feet, two feet?

    Gamble: No, about two feet square, sometimes smaller than that.

    Lotter: So it must have taken quite a while to unload a cart of coal doing it that way?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, it took time. Sometimes we’ d get two ton.

    Lotter: Oh really?

    Gamble: Yeah, well we would. They would come with maybe two ton, but one ton would go to this house and maybe a square down here another ton would be put in the cellar that way.

    Lotter: You also mentioned a wood shed. Where did the wood come from?

    Gamble: Well, mostly what I'd do was chop the tree down or Companies like had a lot of stuff, like DuPonts, and Bancroft and those places, they had a lot of lumber all cut up and that's what you'd get, because you mostly burned coal. See Grandmom had a regular coal stove and then back of that coal stove was a coal oven that two doors that you open out like that and you could build your fire down in, like when you were doing a big meal or something like that. I guess they're still there as far as I know, 'cause you couldn't use it for anything else.

    Lotter: This was like a built— in oven, so it had its own separate fire?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's what it was.

    Lotter: Now did her stove have an oven also?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: So she actually had two ovens then?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's what she had, yep.

    Lotter: Do you ever remember going down to the Brandywine and collecting wood from the creek after a storm?

    Gamble: Not there, I went right up to the park. See, the back of her place sit right to the Rockford Park up in the back, and you could go back up in there and get the wood.

    Lotter: Just collect, you'd collect whatever had fallen, or did you actually cut trees down?

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: Do you still want Mr. Gamble's birth?

    Lotter: Oh yes, I'd love...

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: February 9, 1869.

    Lotter: 1869.

    Mary Evelyn Gamble: So he was three years younger. I don't know why, I just happened to look through a book and I got my mother and dad's and your mother's and your father's, and that's all I have, though. The rest of the family, I don't know Frances or any of those. As I say, Robbie has all that.

    Lotter: Well, I appreciate that very much. Just helps to be able to put all these facts into perspective. So, getting back to the wood, what wood did you get from Rockford Park?

    Gamble: Well you see, up through Rockford Park, it's nothing but park land up there, you got a tree limb or something, take your hatchet with you and cut it up, put it in the wagon, little express wagon, bring that down. Or sometimes they used to deliver wood. All depends on how the money...[laughs] them days.

    Lotter: That's right, I'm sure, yes.

    Gamble: Same way with groceries. I know I used to go around with my Uncle when he had the grocery store when I was a kid. And he used to have all book trade, you know, that's what they called it. You could take the order one day and you could deliver it the next day. They'd write it in the book and pay day you got paid, you didn't get it until they got it.

    Lotter: So in other words, people had accounts with him?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, a lot of them.

    Lotter: Did most merchants handle things that way?

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: Did most of the merchants handle things that way?

    Gamble: Oh, most of them, all around had book trade. I think, I know we did, we had it when we lived down on 17th Street because Dad would pay the bills. And the man that kept the store, a Jewish man, and he was a great friend of my father's, and I know he would give you a slip of paper, oh, when we knew what we wanted to get, but our housekeeper would tell you what we wanted to get. See, and then my father, when he got his pay, that's the way he used to pay his bills.

    Lotter: So as soon as he got paid, in other words, he had the means to pay the man at the grocery store and so forth?

    Gamble: U— huh. Well, years ago, if you worked in the mill or any of those places, you'd go there in this grocery store and you'd buy the meat and everything you'd want and when pay day comes, like Bancrofts, DuPont's too, believe it was the same thing, it was book trade. And you got paid, and if you got enough to pay for the bill, anything you had left over, that was yours. But if sometimes you had to even pay your rent, when you came home, you didn't have no money. That's the way it was for a lot of places around here years ago.

    Lotter: Was this actually deducted from his pay?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, yeah I used to hear them say about this fellow and that fellow, "Well, he didn't get any money to come home, but he paid for his rent." Like Bancroft Textile Mill, they owned all the houses and they rented them all out.

    Lotter: Well now when you lived on Rising Sun Lane, do you have any idea of what kind of rent you were paying on that house?

    Gamble: Well, where we lived, I don't remember that, but I know when Pop, Grandpop got rid of the place he had, and he rented it, I think his rent was eight dollars a month. I think that's what it was.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: 'Cause my sister - funny thing, see my sister lived there quite a few years with my Grandfather. All the rest of the boys were married and away and everything, and he used to get a check, get his check, pay, and the grocery store used to cash his check for him, see DuPont's didn't pay him in cash, they paid - well he used to sit in a chair and look right straight up to Rockford Park, and this big old chestnut tree up there — every time I'd go in he'd say, "Do you see that Indian up there fighting?" And I'd say, "No." "Right up there under that chestnut tree." So he'd take and light his pipe, sit there and light his pipe, put the match out, but put it inside the match box. And my sister never thought anything about that, and she used to burn the papers and things out at the back. So one day, see she thought one of my aunts was taking care of that. She opened - she didn't have a match with her, so she seen the box and she opened the box and she looked and there was money in it, and that was his check money. And she lighted the fire and she found out that he would get his money and put it in with the matches. And she never thought anything about it, so when Aunt Nan come around that weekend, she asked him. She says, "Oh, no, you're taking care of that." She says, "No I haven't, but if it is, it's all burnt up."

    Lotter: Oh my.

    Gamble: [Laughs] But he only got a little check.
  • Delivering a prescription to Eleutherian Mills during World War I; water supply and having to carry water for his grandmother's washing machine in Squirrel Run
    Keywords: Canning and preserving; Chores; Delivery of goods; Drugstores; Rainwater; Squirrel Run (Del. : Village); Washing machines; Water-supply
    Transcript: Lotter: Do you remember any other chores that you did after school?

    Gamble: Oh yeah.

    Lotter: Besides the coal and the wood?

    Gamble: Well I did them chores at home. I worked in the drugstore for a while. Drugstore down on Delaware Avenue and DuPont Street, I went there. I come home from there and deliver on a bicycle, and I also waited on the fountain there. During the war, we closed the drugstores at nine o'clock — that's the first World War. Then we'd get through and come home. So then one day - night — Mr. Cappeau, who ran the drugstore, said to me, "Pete, how about delivering this order for me?" "Where is it?" Said, "Up at Hagley." I said, "Whereabouts?" He said, "Up by the powder shed." So I said okay, so I took the order and went right up Philadelphia — up the Kennett Pike, turned and went clear up to R.R.M. Carpenter's place is, turned there and went back up to what used to be the Clubhouse. I think that was Mrs. Crowninshield's place.

    Lotter: Yes, yes.

    Gamble: I took it up there, but I had to knock on the old wooden door. After a while a guy came with a gun — "What do you want?" I said, "I got a prescription." "Oh," he said, "That's all right, come on in." I went in there and it was a big old house then, nobody living in it. They used it for the guard house, that's what they lived in.

    Lotter: Oh really?

    Gamble: Yeah, so I took it and they give me twenty— five cents. [Laughs]. But that was a lot of money.

    Lotter: How about when you were younger, when your mother was still living. Do you remember any chores that you did as a real young boy?

    Gamble: Yeah, well, not a whole lot. Got old enough to do that — they lived in the city and we had gas - gas heat - or gas lights and water and all that. Before that, my Grandmother, both of them, I had to pump the water, carry the water over the road and put it in the washing machine. It was one of them old washing machines that works like that.

    Lotter: Now how exactly did it work? How did it work again?

    Gamble: It was - just like the washing machines today, but it went down and there was a cog right here, and this cog went around, see, and then there was a place here that clamped that cog and it come up, right in them cogs. And you'd put it in there and you'd pull it and it would go over this way and you push it back that way, and that's the way you'd wash your clothes. My Grandmother...

    Lotter: To agitate the clothes? So was this like a wooden stick that you used to move the wash around in the tub?

    Gamble: Yeah — had to carry the water across the road over to the wash house.

    Lotter: Oh, it was quite a job. Was this a separate house that she washed in?

    Gamble: Yeah, yeah — see she lived in one of those houses. There was three stories and you had to come up nearly a story before you hit where the first story was, that living room. They had a big living room, that's them houses up Squirrel Run, big living room and a big kitchen, great big kitchen. Then you used to have to wash the pump water — I mean rain water, rain water come down in a great big tub, and you reach in there and take the water out and use it there or when you wanted to heat it, you had to take — sit down there, bring it up, bring it in, that's how you heated the water, there was no other way to use it.

    Lotter: So she used rain water mainly for washing the clothes?

    Gamble: That's right. The spring there, in there right near there, but they were - all the houses had a spigot and the line run all the way up and that was a pressure and you could get your water there, too, that's what I used to take across the road.

    Lotter: What did she use the water from the spigot for?

    Gamble: To wash her clothes and things.

    Lotter: Oh, she did?

    Gamble: Because it was down on the lower road, but you couldn't get your water up on the upper road, in the back, which is the living room, or the kitchen I mean. All those houses had a great big bench, about that long, and then they had the wash tub, you know, it's about that big, and it had a hook on it, hooks on the back of the house, like that. Everybody had their own, take it off, dip it down and use Fels Naphtha Soap, that's the only thing you had. That's the way they washed their - you seen like in that book that they showed, they had no water or things, you know.

    Lotter: No, yes, that's right - right. So they used the rain water mainly for washing and that type thing, and the other spigot water for...

    Gamble: Yeah, and you had to carry your water, if you heated it, now some in some of these places had a small stove in the shed, that you could heat the water, some of them.

    Lotter: Now, was the shed attached to the house?

    Gamble: No, it was across the road. See you got eight foot across the road.

    Lotter: I see.

    Gamble: In the back of your house, you had to use pump water, or you had to use the water that came down off the roof. The rain water.

    Gamble: The rain water.

    Lotter: So the clothes washing was done across the road, then, in the shed?

    Gamble: Yeah. When I wasn't around, there was a neighbor had about six kids, one of them around my age, across the road and that's where the spring and the trolley car used to run up through there. They'd come over and do it for my Grandmother, and got paid. They got ten cents, that was big money in those days [laughs].

    Lotter: I imagine it was, I'm sure it was. So you don't remember helping too often, then, with the clothes washing?

    Gamble: Huh?

    Lotter: You don't remember helping too often with the clothes washing?

    Gamble: No, no. Sometimes my Uncle would get in it, one of the uncles might get up, or the night before, early, and do the water, I mean run the washing machine.

    Lotter: And then how — do you remember how she rinsed the clothes?

    Gamble: How she rinsed — oh yeah, you had a hand wringer. Two...

    Lotter: Rollers?

    Gamble: You raise it up and start it through and pull this down and you used to have to twist it.

    Lotter: Turn it?

    Gamble: Then you could turn it this way or that way, no matter how high you wanted to go.

    Lotter: I see. So she did have a hand wringer?

    Gamble: Oh yeah. We had a hand wringer when I got married.

    Lotter: Yes, I'm sure you did.

    Gamble: The wash board.

    Lotter: And how many buckets did she use to rinse these clothes?

    Gamble: Well, I don't know, but I remember they used to have to wash - it was oval and it was brass or copper — copper, and she would put that on the back of the stove.

    Lotter: This is a copper boiler?

    Gamble: Yeah, it's a boiler — she used to put that on the back of the stove and then it got hot, then you'd carry it, it had two handles on it and that's you'd get it down and put it on the wash stand that they had — outside wash stand. And that's where she would have a long stick and she put it down in there, bring it up, that's how she rinsed them.

    Lotter: I see. So she rinsed them in boiling hot water?

    Gamble: Yeah, it wasn't always boiling. Some of it might have been a little cold.

    Lotter: Is that right? Anything else you remember about washing clothes?

    Gamble: No, no I had enough of that myself, here.

    Lotter: Where did she hang the clothes?

    Gamble: Out in the yard, see you come — the house, the house was right near the street, and then you go this way. There was a fence here, then there was a garden here, next to that, all inside, then down here was a go station. And up here was the way you did the washing — and all that stuff there. And then you had to hang it in where the garden was, take it, and that's where you'd hang it up - with the tomatoes and all that stuff Grandmom had - all of them — the rows.

    Lotter: Did your grandmother do a lot of canning?

    Gamble: I couldn't tell you that — maybe she might — I don't know. Not my Grandmother Gamble — Frizzell - but Grandmother Gamble might have 'cause she had a — there was a man kept a store near her, in Squirrel Run, Tom Catalina, he was a big Italian fellow, he kept that store. There was quite a few people lived up there in those days.
  • Houses in Squirrel Run; weekday evenings and weekends; rooms in his house on Rising Sun Lane
    Keywords: Families--Social life and customs; Grandmothers; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Mattresses; Men--Societies and clubs; Odd Fellows; Redmen; Shoes--Repairing; Squirrel Run; Workmen of the World
    Transcript: Lotter: Do you have any idea how many houses were up there?

    Gamble: Well, there were about, I'd say, six or eight in a row, the houses, all solid. And as they went up, if you lived on the upper street, which the upper street was higher than the lower street, and this one you go in here and you can keep the same, but a lot of them, they come in, and lower street the people had three stories and on the back street you had two stories. So they only had two bedrooms on this floor, where on this one they had an extra bedroom on the third floor because all the roofs came down like that. There's Still some of them across from the Experimental Station.

    Lotter: Yes.

    Gamble: Four or six of them.

    Lotter: Yes, yes that's right. And the houses in Squirrel Run were similar in construction to those houses?

    Gamble: Yeah, all DuPont houses were made that way. So you didn't have to have a — so it's easier for them, I guess, but oh you had a lot of steps to go up.

    Lotter: It sounds like it. So when you came home from school, did you have to change your clothes when you came home from school before you did chores and so forth?

    Gamble: Oh yeah, yeah if the knee was out of the pants, you wore them.

    Lotter: U— huh, your old ones?

    Gamble: Yeah, very few people, in those days had...

    Lotter: I imagine you changed your shoes too?

    Gamble: Oh yeah. I remember a couple of times I went to work — school with paper in my shoes. I forgot to tell Pop about them. "Why didn't you tell me about them?" I said, "I forgot, Pep." Had a hole in my shoes.

    Lotter: Well where did you get your shoes repaired?

    Gamble: Leather shop, there was quite a few shoemakers lived around there. But we wore tennis shoes in the summertime and heavy shoes in the wintertime.

    Lotter: I see, so they were like a canvas shoe in the summer?

    Gamble: Yeah. Yeah we had light tennis shoes.

    Lotter: What about a typical weekday evening, after dinner, how did you spend your time?

    Gamble: Well, when I was getting older, I bought a secondhand bicycle — rode that around, had a tricycle first, that's when I lived on Rising Sun Lane. I came down Rising Sun Lane on a tricycle, I was only about seven or eight years old — seven — Jeff Blakely was over there, leaned over - that's a tavern as you go down and make the turn. "Hey." he hollered, "go in back, take that up to your Grandmother." What I told him [laughs] they're not very good words. He was a big fat fellow, he'd do nothin' but laugh.

    Lotter: Well what else do you remember about the family routine in the evening when you were - say when you were living on Rising Sun Lane? What would your mother and father do after... ,

    Gamble: They'd go to my other Grandmother — that's it. We used to go - the three of us, three children, my father, up until my mother died, we'd go down to my Grandmother's. She lived right close. Well, on the other times we'd go to my other Grandmother's, who lived in Squirrel Run. So it was pretty tough walking all the way from Squirrel Run to Rising Sun and then up home, for that was not very far. But when we moved down to 17th Street, that was a walk. My father had to carry my brother, because he was real young.

    Lotter: Did you have any short cuts or did you go by the roads?

    Gamble: No, no short cuts, but we'd get the trolley car, and that would cost us a nickel a piece. Them times it was tough. We'd go up to Grandmom's in Squirrel Run, we'd eat dinner up there, or whatever they had, lunch or dinner.

    Lotter: Now this would be on a weekday evening or would this be, say, on a Saturday or Sunday?

    Gamble: Sunday, Saturday and Sunday. Then go to the other Grandmother's there, and they'd have a big gathering with all the family there. They had quite a lot in the back where kids would get out and play baseball, play different other games - commies, marbles.

    Lotter: So most of your family got together on the weekends?

    Gamble: Yeah, that's the only thing.

    Lotter: Every weekend?

    Gamble: Yeah, we did anyway. See because it was kind of odd for my father, sometimes he wouldn't work a Saturday or Sunday, and we'd go up to the one Grandmother and the other one. And sometimes when he had to work, we'd go break it up, go up to one Grandmother and then on up to the other so we would get home before dark. It was kind of hard for us, but that's the way we did it.

    Lotter: Well how about a weekday evening, what was the weekday evening like? One you'd finished your dinner?

    Gamble: Oh, we didn't do much. Where I lived on 17th Street, there was - my cousins who had a quarry across from us there, they had six boys and [laughs] if we weren't playing baseball, were playing hockey in the wintertime — baseball. We tried to play football, but we'd get too rough, so we had to stop that game. Things like that.

    Lotter: And what time did you usually go to bed when you were young?

    Gamble: Well, me — sometimes Pop had to come out get me, but mostly we went to bed about nine o'clock, nine or ten. Never forget one time, I used to stay out later because I'd was getting a little older, and the boys I went to school with, they lived a little further away. They used to have workmen, I think it was some kind of workmen organization, and there was the Indians, they were the — what do you call them — Odd Fellows — no, they weren't the Odd Fellows. What were they — the Indians called? Redmen, they were the Redmen. Redmen and then the Workmen of the World, I think - they had the uniforms. They used to have a sham battle on a Saturday night or a Friday night — no, Saturday night is when they had that. And Friday night, this boy I went to school with, his father was a - I don't know whether he was a captain or lieutenant or colonel, whatever he was, I don't know. He says, "Come on over." So I went over and I thought I was big, I could go in the tents and walk all around. So it was about twelve o'clock at night, they were staying there for the encampment, so he and I, he went home and I dropped him off at his house, I got over to my house, I got up to the corner, I looked, there's a man standing up there. Here it was my father coming home. The guy had his girl up on the porch, so I went up and seen him. "Hey, there's a man down there and I want to get up there." He says, "I'll take you home." So he took me about halfway up, then I saw that's my father [laughs].

    Lotter: When you lived on Rising Sun, how many rooms did that house have?

    Gamble: It was a three— story house too, it had a big room on the third floor. It had two rooms and a small room on the second floor. And then they had living room and dining room — well we had living room and dining room and a shed kitchen, it was, on the back.

    Lotter: I see, and the shed kitchen is where all the cooking was done?

    Gamble: Mostly, yeah.

    Lotter: Was there a stove in the dining room area at all?

    Gamble: Yeah.

    Lotter: There was?

    Gamble: What, a stove?

    Lotter: M— huh.

    Gamble: Yeah, all the houses had a stove.

    Lotter: Well now, did you have a separate room to eat in, or was it like a kitchen, dining room combined?

    Gamble: Well, no, we had a kitchen and a living room and a shed, shed kitchen, on them houses. And them two were frame, two frames together, house. But down home we had living room, dining room, kitchen - we had four rooms, good sized rooms.

    Lotter: This was in which house, now?

    Gamble: The one on 17th Street, it's still there.

    Lotter: It was quite a large house?

    Gamble: Yeah, it's still there.

    Lotter: Well now, in your house on Rising Sun, where did you sleep, and where did your brother sleep?

    Gamble: Well, we mostly slept in — not one of the big rooms. To be honest with you I don't know...

    Lotter: On the second floor or the third floor?

    Gamble: Oh, second floor mostly.

    Lotter: Second floor?

    Gamble: Yeah, because he and my brother and my sister, she slept in the other room. Up Grandmom's, we'd go up there, we had living room, dining room — no, we had three rooms - three bedrooms and it's just like ours, the middle room was always a small room, then you'd go up the steps. The steps were cut like that, go around and up and it was narrow here and out there it was about that big.

    Lotter: I see, so they didn't take up much space that way.

    Gamble: And on the top floor there was the one big bedroom, but Grandmom, we used to have a great big old double bed in there.

    Lotter: And who used that room?

    Gamble: Us kids — we slept there, my brother, myself and my cousin.

    Lotter: I see, so you'd go up and spend the night — this was in Squirrel Run?

    Gamble: Yeah. On the mattresses, big down mattresses, sink way down in them.

    Lotter: Now do you remember having those in your house too? The down mattresses?

    Gamble: I think we had one, I'm not sure, I think that's what — well maybe had more than one. Yeah, I don't know how long a box mattress come along that they have now.

    Lotter: That's right, they don't keep you as warm as those down ones. Do you remember any clubs or any groups other than the Masons that your father was in?

    Gamble: No, he didn't have much time for going to — he belonged to Baltimore, Buckeye Club in Baltimore.

    Lotter: And what kind of a club was that?

    Gamble: That was a Masonic Club of all of the railroads.

    Lotter: Oh, I see.

    Gamble: That's the only one he ever had time for I guess, when he was working on the railroad.

    Lotter: Anything else that he liked to do in his leisure time, how would he spend his leisure time?

    Gamble: Taking care of us [laughs].

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