Interview with James Cammock, Herb Devenney, Edward Devenney, and Jim Kindbeiter, 1984 May 9 [audio](part 2)
- Whiskey and drinking; Explosions and funerals; Photographs of the machine shopKeywords: Explosions; Funerals; Photgraphs; WhiskeyTranscript: McKelvey: Did anybody have a still up here?
Voice: A still - no, not that I know of. They all had plenty of whiskey, though. They'd buy quarts on Saturday night for fifty cents and they'd stay drunk until time to go to work on Monday.
(More comments by a number of people talking at the same time.)
Harris: What's with the airplane, I still haven't heard the airplane story?
McKelvey: We're not quite sure. One of the problems with oral history is that...
(More men talking over each other - nothing is too clear.)
McKelvey: Ed, can you make this out at all? Do you know where that is?
Harris: Did you say ________ Kellaher was blown up in the explosion in 1915?
Voice: ...got killed, yeah, and half of them were kids that worked over there. They had a community funeral down at Hagley House for them. That was Mary Anne Buck's kid got blown up there.
McKelvey: That's inside the new machine shop where you apprenticed. The new shop where you worked.
(Still being served refreshments at the Gibbons House - miscellaneous conversations going on over top of one another.)
McKelvey: Over in this corner is a radial drill press, big radial.
Do you know this man (looking at a photograph).
James: I don't know, I can't say I know. What's his name, do you know?
McKelvey: I don't know, he worked in the new machine shop down at the head of the property. Any of you guys know this man?
Harris: So you started doing machine work when you were fourteen?
Voice: They called it serving - serving an apprenticeship. They gave you a certificate when you had finished, served your time. You went in another job over and over.
(Everyone talking at one time, unable to understand much of anything.)
McKelvey: We were wondering if that's George Cheney's wife and family.
(More voices talking at once - different conversations - cannot understand what is being said.)
Voice: Is that a picture of my father on there?
McKelvey: Which one?
Voice: Let me see that.
McKelvey: This is 7001.93A.
(Everyone talking at once again trying to identify people in the picture.)
Voice: Eugene Dougherty - I don't know any of the rest of them though.
McKelvey: We think that's William Lynch's crew - pipe fitters.
Voice: Yeah, he was a pipe fitter - my father was a pipe fitter.
McKelvey: Was Lynch his foreman?
Voice: Could have been, I don't know.
Voice: That's my father, that's before he lost his legs on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
McKelvey: Anybody else there you recognize?
Voice: No, I don't.
McKelvey: Do you recognize these two guys?
Voice: No, they're young, see I wouldn't know: the olders I would know.
McKelvey: This was taken around 1919 - we're trying to figure out who these two guys are.
(More voices talking at once.)
Voice: Is that Roger Wilson?
McKelvey: This is machine shop, 1909: which one is Wilson?
Voice: I think that's Roger Wilson.
James: Taylor Hemple was the one had charge of the ________working outside - Taylor Hemple. Emil Krause worked up there too. Taylor Hemple, I think, was the one had charge of outside work.
McKelvey: Now this is going to be hard for you guys to make out.
Voice: . .gates here an all. We used to come across the creek from Walker's Banks and they dumped the -they run a crane out in the yard, run on a track, and they dumped the copper and brass out. Sometimes we'd never get to school, we'd be busy bringing up the brass.
McKelvey: Now this is going to be a little more difficult. This is in the new machine shop down there where your brother worked, probably around 1910 to '15.
Voice: Yeah, well that's the overhead crane.
McKelvey: You recognize any of these guys up on that level?
Voice: There's that same man that was in the other picture, and they want you to recognize him.
Voice: Well, I'll tell you - George Seitz and Mike Maloney.
- Stores and taverns;Keywords: Blakeley's tavern; Dorman's store; Dougherty's tavern; Sam Frizzell's storeTranscript: James: Listen, Mike Maloney lived up Squirrel Run, I know where he lived. And I spent a lot of time down that - in that store, Simon Dougherty's store down there, he used to come down there all the time, Simon Dougherty's Store. He used to come down to Simon Dorman's store a lot (thought Dougherty was what he was saying before).
McKelvey: How about this guy in the derby hat?
MacKenzie: Frank, was Pierre Gentieu - what did he do in the mills?
McKelvey: He was a bookkeeper.
Voice: Worked in the office, didn't he?
James: Joe Haley worked in the office when I knew him.
Voice: Rokey - Rokey Frizzell.
Voice: Isn't that an awful nickname?
Voice: Well he was pretty friendly with what’ s his-name's wife?
McKelvey: What was Rokey's first name?
McKelvey: Whose wife?
Voice: That run the saloon up Rising Sun Hill: Blakely.
McKelvey: So that sort of thing did place in those days huh?
Voice: Yeah, well he would come around selling these sugar cakes about that big around and then...
Voice: He had a horse and wagon.
Voice: Yep, yep - Rokey Frizzell. That's an awful nickname.
McKelvey: He was a hunchback wasn't he?
Voice: Short - curved spine at the top.
James: Sam Frizzell - do you remember where he had his store, like a cake store - on Rising Sun Lane later on. You know this little bridge that you walk into Hagley House - right across over there he had his store and it burned down.
Voice: Oh, at the foot of Breck's Lane then?
James: Just on the side of Breck's Lane - it burned down and he used to go up the yard, through the powder yard there with cakes and stuff and sell to the men up there - cakes and pies and all - Sam did. Yeah I seen him going up there, because see I used to take my father's lunch up there and sit right alongside of the mills - big copper - had to be copper or brass wheels going - whir, whir. And see when my father got blew up, he lived for a week, but Tom McCray's father was killed instantly. I went into the hospital to see my father and all you could see was his eyes, he was just bandaged from head to foot. He died from pneumonia because the race was right close there and when the thing blew up, it blew him into the race and that cold water...
McKelvey: That was up by the Birkenhead?
James: Yeah, I used to carry lunch and sit right there and the old mill, grind a great big copper: and then the men, I could see them always using wooden shovels in there, because of the sparks. That's a ways back.
Voice: About 1903, 1904.
McKelvey: Hey Jim, describe those cakes you were talking about that Frizzell sold. Describe the cakes that Frizzell sold with the sugar on top.
Jim: Oh, they were: they also sold ginger cakes too. They were about that big around.
McKelvey: About six inch diameter?
McKelvey: How thick were they?
Jim: And then - he was always in a hurry to get home.
McKelvey: How thick were they?
Jim: Oh, they were quarter of an inch.
McKelvey: Powdered sugar on top?
Jim: Grain sugar. And he was in a hurry to get home because old Jeff Blakely would come to work at noontime and then he'd have to...
(Voices talking at once.)
James: And then there's another saloon at the top of the lane, I don't know who had it, and the one down on the Rising Sun - two different people had it that I know of.
Voice: Top on the right? Top of the hill on the right side going up?
James: Yeah, way at the top.
McKelvey: Okay, when did Hagee's open up as a tavern?
Jim: Hagee's opened up way - in recent years – after Simon Dorman closed grocery store up. He went down to Indian Run on the Brandywine - he drowned down there.
(More talking at once.)
- Looking at photographs; Powder wagons; changes in the twentieth century; Food and Irish stew; James Cammock's photos; Italian families; Bathing in the Brandywine CreekKeywords: Baldo family; Bathing; Brandywine Creek; Change; Clydesdale horses; Horse-drawn wagons; Ialian Americans; Irish stew; Percheron horses; Twentieth centuryTranscript: McKelvey: Who's the guy in this picture with the derby hat? Alfred I. do you think?
Jim: No, it wasn't Alfred I.
McKelvey: How about the guy sitting down on the sawhorse? Looks like a carpenter.
Jim: No, I don't know him either. That is part of the pressmatics, across the creek, across the iron bridge.
McKelvey: We've got one of those presses. We got ours from Atlas Powder out in Ohio.
Voice: Lammott du Pont used to go up there and cut wood. Saturday and Sunday. He used to like that. That's Lammott lived at Rising Sun Lane and Kennett Pike.
Voice: Jimmy, what was the name of those big horses the Company had to haul those big wagons?
Jim: I couldn't tell you, Ed, I don't recall. I remember the horses and all and the wagons, but I can't think...
McKelvey: Did they have Percherons?
Voice: Big draft horses to haul the powder wagons.
McKelvey: They had Conestoga wagons here.
Voice: It was a Belgian horse, but it had another name to it.
Voice: Almost as big as a Clydesdale.
McKelvey: That's in the new machine shop about 1905.
Voice: Is that Al Hackendorn - Big Al Hackendorn, I’ m pretty sure of it. Must be him...New Jersey.
McKelvey: Hey, how about this guy, standing next to the powder press?
Voice: Dark - I can't even see the features on that, can you?
(More coffee being served - miscellaneous comments.)
McKelvey: Now this picture was taken around 1885, this is up at the old machine shop where we were there this morning. Do you know any of those guys?
Voice: I studied that and studied that - I'm too young to remember that.
Mary Jo: It was a pleasure talking to you guys and I'm going to write a story about it, maybe next week, maybe you'll see your picture in the paper.
James: Ed, how is it that Tom McCray didn't come? Why didn't Tom McCray come?
Devenney (Ed): He called me and he said he couldn’ t come.
McKelvey: Gentlemen, let me ask you all one question. Since you were kids here, what's the greatest change that you have seen in this century?
Voice: Well, you want me to talk? They got rid of the goats. They're the goats that kept the rubbish (?) down. (Other voice: Kept the place all clean.) And they buried the dead, and that's the extent of my...
McKelvey: Herb, how about you, how's has this century changed?
Devenney (Herb): The time of the big explosion is the thing that we miss most - and the goats kept the Upper Yard clean.
Voice: Well the greatest changes I've noticed is that the old homes are all gone, all but a few. It's a shame they couldn't have been all restored and would have been a lot more fond memories.
McKelvey: Jim, how about you?
Jim: Well, see I never got up this far, but I never got too far up in there (Several men talk at once and can't understand what he is saying.)
Another thing, how nice and neat the place is up there now, really nice, everything. But I never got up this far, didn't get too far in there.
McKelvey: It is kind of neat now, isn't it?
Voice: I noticed they got the steel rails on the line down there, and they got iron wheels on the powder wagons. They never had them before.
Voice: I know that, and in between the rails was wood so the hubs wouldn't strike it.
Voice: Right, anything that could cause a spark.
James: See down there they had little push cars, you know, like I see them, full of bags of powder, only wet, and see them, you know, push them along, two or three of them pushing along the thing and taking up and putting them in the Dry House, you know, and then after that they took 'em out and took up to glaze them, you know, turn them black, you know, put graphite on them. And the man named Stowe was the head of the Keg Shop, I know that because I carried mail to him. And the carpenter was that little place a way up from there. That was Hagley House they called it, and Carpenter was the one the head of that because I carried mail to him.
Voice: Was that George Seitz?
James: Oh I knew George Seitz and Pauline Seitz, too, I knew them, all of them.
Voice: And Florence.
James: Yeah, and Florence too.
Voice: That was quite a process, manufacturing black powder.
McKelvey: Yes, it was.
(Again voices are speaking at once, different conversations: nothing clear.)
Harris: What about snakes, I've heard that they had copperheads here.
James: Yeah, they had them being through here, copperhead snakes, you're right.
Harris: Not any more, they've gone completely now.
James: Oh yeah, there's no snakes around hardly anywhere.
Harris: Did anybody get bit?
James: Not to my knowledge.
Harris: Did you ever see one?
James: Yeah, I saw them. Killed them you know.
Harris: What did they do with them, did they dry the skin?
James: No, I don't think so, just get rid of them.
(More conversations going on at the same time.)
McKelvey: Did you ever have Irish stew at home?
Voice: Oh my God, well we had stews, I guess it was Irish stew.
McKelvey: What was in Irish stew?
Voice: I don't know what was in Irish stew - everything. What kind of meat was used in Irish stew? Mom used to have it all the time.
Voice: Everything the big pot on the stove would hold. I guess mostly beef. Beef stew.
McKelvey: Did you ever eat much lamb?
Voice: Yeah, make lamb stew. I would have to go through Mom's cookbook. I cannot remember some of them dishes.
McKelvey: Is it a handwritten book?
Voice: No, no it's not, there's only a few items in the front that had the...
Female: There were some, 'cause we took some for our Hagley Cookbook. Your Mother's cake and some things.
Voice: Yeah, that's right. I gave a whole box of cards away that my Mother had.
Voice: Yeah, recipes. Oh, there must have been a couple hundred of them in there.
(Everyone talking at the same time, different topics, but can't really separate the different ones.)
Some pictures are being circulated: James Cammock said he took hundreds of pictures, dated on the back. Two of them went together taking pictures when they were young. Pictures of Lenape, swimming in the Brandywine, Hagley Community House, Ed Devenney and brothers, all along the creek, pretty girls, someone with a snake.
Voice: Did you build an airplane up by the Hagey Saloon, at the end of Copeland's tunnel?
James: Yeah, I went up in an airplane in 1933.
Louise: Did you try to build an airplane? He says you did.
Voice: Never flew - the Wright brothers wouldn't buy it.
(Louise is looking at pictures and James is telling her what they are - voices in the background talking about other things.)
Louise: Look, this is John Hackendorn, it must be Catherine Hackendorn's brother because Mr. Cammock said he lived in Colonial Heights, in the middle, John Hackendorn.
(As everyone is looking at various pictures, comments overlap and it is hard to understand much of anything.)
Voice: Edmond, do you and Jimmy remember a song and who composed it called, "The Old Brandywine", the powder mills on the Old Brandywine. "Rocks and the rills and the old powder mills" - you recall that.
Devenney (Ed): I remember it, yes, but I can’ t remember the words.
Voice: Last time I heard that song was down at the old Colombus Inn, (someone) was half tuned and was singing it. And I never found out who wrote it or where it is.
(More people talking at once.)
James: Listen, how did you come to get that paper from Dunlop, how did you ever get that?
Louise: Dunlop's, scrapbook, Tommy Dunlop's scrapbook.
James: I know, but how did he get it from Charlie Baldo.
Louise: No, it was in the News Journal, a long time ago, he cut it out, it was in the paper. It was a letter to the Editor, and he cut it out.
James: That must have been long ago because...
Louise: Twenty years...
James: What he put in there, I'd say 99% right. All the swimming we went there. And one thing he didn't tell you about, how his father went in swimming, Charlie Baldo. You know how he went in? The tree growing right alongside of the water, you know, and he'd get a big rope and tie it around the tree and tie it around himself and go in that way.
Louise: They said one Italian man would go in and take a bath.
James: Yeah, in the water. But he'd make sure he wasn't gonna drown, you know, 'cause if he'd fall under, he got that rope to pull himself out.
Voice: Do you ever drink anything?
James: Very, very seldom every take a drink. I'll tell you what I’ ve never done, I've never smoked a cigarette in my life, that's why I'm around today.
(Voices again talking all at the same time.)
- Making beer; The local ambulance; Driving to Walker's Bank; Blue Laws; Class in the Irish community; Halloween pranks and other pranksKeywords: Ambulances; Beer; Blue Laws; Brewing; Doctors; Halloween; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Irish Americans; Kindbeiter's Hill; Medicine; Penny in the hole; Pranks; Social class; Walker's BankTranscript: (Some talk about making beer and how it was done, but with everyone talking at the same time, I can't really understand what is being said.)
James: Another thing, way back in those days we had the wonderful ambulance and everything from Wilmington, take you to the hospital and everything, wonderful, you know that? Do you know what it was?
James: Get in the store wagon, the man who - grocer – to take you to the hospital.
Louise: In the store wagon?
James: They didn't have nothing - no ambulance, no nothing, so had to get the store wagon to take you.
Louise: Was he the one who always did it if somebody got sick and they needed to go into the hospital – they’ d run to the store?
James: They'd have to, no ambulance, no nothing.
(Some talk about interviewing George "Fiddler" Jones recently.)(Still looking at pictures - this one of a bridge.)
Voice: That's Rockland, you're talking about the bridge at the...
Voice: Oh yeah, I thought that was the covered at Wilmington.
James: I seen that bridge many a time, that old bridge, it was in 1934 they put the new one up - that's up Rockland.
(Some talk about Antoine - run a taproom up Centerville, lived near the bridge, but many voices talking at the same time.)
Louise: Where was the taproom in Centerville?
Voice: Where Buckley's is now.
(Everyone talking of different things - policeman, Buckley's, etc.)
McKelvey: How about, if you'd like to, let’ s take a ride, swing down and take a look at Walker's Bank.
Voice: Walker's Bank, I'd love to.
Louise: Tell her where Kindbeiter's Hill is.
Voice - Well, Kindbeiter's Hill is - DuPont's took it over, they built the hill up the side of the house, side of the bank.
McKelvey: Okay, let's...
Voice: Everyone that lived at the top of the hill or the bottom of a hill, the hill was named after them.
Remember Farrin's Hill, Du Pot's, and Lloyd's Hill. Not listed in the State archives or anything.
James: Do you remember when they had the Blue Laws here, way when we were young - we used to go up to the Alexis I. du Pont School to play ball on Sunday. Do you know what they did - send in the police and stopped us. Well we said they're playing golf down there, why not arrest them - they wouldn't do that you know. Then they’ d play the next inning, police out again, wouldn't let us play, and you couldn't wash clothes on Sunday, most doors was open. And you couldn't do no carpenter work, you couldn't do nothing, everything was shut down tight.
(Again everyone is talking at the same time.)
(The group leaves the Gibbons House to take a ride down to Walker's Bank.)
McKelvey: Was there a difference between up-the-creek Irish and down-the-creek?
Voice: Yes, there was.
McKelvey: What’ s the difference? Herb, what's the difference between an up-the-creek Irish and others?
Devenney (Herb): God, I don't know any difference.
Voice: Some of them, Mr. McKelvey, were called Lace Curtain Irish too.
James: You know what they did on Halloween, don't you? Ed knows - you know that?
Voice: Upset privies - outhouses.
James: They'd turn them all over - one time he went up along the road to put one over, and sometimes there times before you'd get up, and a man was in there and he hollered and then he come out - you couldn't catch us, boy we were gone!
Voice: Were you the one shoved the one over into the - remember the one with Battis Gordon in it? He didn't remember that the door opened out instead of in, and they put a rope around it, shoved the damn thing in the creek with him in it.
Voice: Old Simon Dorman was in the backhouse when they dumped it over. Nailed the door shut on him, couldn't get out.
Voice: We used to loaf down at Simon Dorman's store.
McKelvey: Jimmy, how do you play Penny in the Hole?
James: Well, we'd dig a hole, and somebody would mess in the hole and we'd cover it all up with all mud again, and we'd tell them we'd put a quarter in there and if you get it, it's yours. So we put nothing there, and he'll dig and the more he'd dig the more he'd get his hands all plastered up. Oh we played tricks, a lot of tricks, but there's nothing to hurt anybody.
- Cammock brothers' airplane; Hagley area becoming private property; Fourth of July celebrationsKeywords: Airplanes; Brandywine Creek; Du Pont, S. Hallock (Samuel Hallock), 1901-1974; Estates; Fireworks; Fishing; Fourth of July; Long Row; Pigeon Row; Sam Frizzell's store; Walker's Bank; WallsTranscript: Voice: Damn it, you upset me. You forgot all about this airplane that the Cammock brothers built.
Voice: The Wright brothers - the wrong brothers.
James: That was starting the Wright brothers off, you know, we was.
Voice: We used to come up along right across from them mills and fish, didn't we, Ed?
Devenney (Ed): Yeah, you were allowed to fish anywhere.
James: Look, see these big gates on here - I saw them putting them on there in 1903. I know the man who worked on them, a man named Ed Bader. Yes, he was a machinist.
Voice: A damn good one. He was boss too.
James: See this here - see along here, there was no stone wall there when I was a kid and the ground was just about one foot up from the water, and these houses, all torn down along here, that water used to come in when a big storm, in the houses all along here. And then since then they put up the stone wall.
Voice: What happened to Pigeon Row?
McKelvey: They tore it down.
Voice: Pigeon Row and another row's gone, Ed, been gone for years.
Voice: Another thing that they done away - that they done up here, the DuPont's put this road in, put the stone wall up there. I took Arthur and Robby up here one Saturday, one Sunday, fishing, and hell, they'd catch a sunfish, inch or two long, you know. Two policemen come down on the road and says, "Mr. du Pont don't want you fishing in here.” I says, "The hell with Mr. du Pont," so God Damn it, after a while a guard come down from Hallock's place. He raised so much hell here that the two kids had more sense than I did, they said, "Let's get out." So we got out. They had a step built in the wall, along here somewhere.
James: Ed, this is where Wilmer Jones lived right about across from here, do you know that? Tom McCray lived over here, but it was up on the hill more. But these houses always flood, the ground was only about one foot up over the water.
McKelvey: Used to be Pigeon Row right here, and Long Row.
James: What did they call this road on the other side when you went all the way up there?
Voice: Walker's Banks.
James: Was that Walker's Banks - well it was Long Row here.
Voice: Well Long Row - it was Walker's Banks on the other side of the creek. Went up to the Kag Mill.
James: Kag Mill, that's what they called it, up there, the Kag Mill, that's what I know as the Kag Mill.
Voice: And the Roomers lived across the way there. She was a teacher at A. I. School.
Voice: Mike Farrin, and then McDades lived up on the hill.
James: And there's Hodgson's Mill over there. When they first had it - Barlow's had that first. Here’ s where they went in swimming here and had the ropes up on the tree there and dropped out over the water here.
McKelvey: They still do, Jimmy, they still do it. Swing out on a rope, cops come along and kick them off.
Voice: How about that Sign - No Trespassing - who the hell put that sign up there?
Voice: Laird owns all this place, so it must be him.
Voice: Mr. McKelvey, this is owned by the Foundation now, isn't it? That's what I thought.
James: Here's where Sam Frizzell had his store, look, right over in there. It burned down. I'll show you where that big building was down here, belonged to the DuPont Company, burned down.
McKelvey: Just up from Breck's Mill.
Voice: You remember Miss Bubb and all? Dutchey Baird, Harry Wright.
Voice: That's where we held the wedding ceremony, down there when we were married in 1925. And DuPonts donated the coal to us.
James: See right over here, that was a great big building right over there to the right, end of Breck's Lane, and it burned down - up the water towers - and it come down on a Saturday afternoon and the next thing you see the smoke coming from it, you couldn't get near, it had powder samples in, and it exploded and people run away in back, and then after that they took it down and put it in the Experimental Station down there. Right here, a great big building. And here's where that shoemaker used to be, right here.
Voice: Yeah, Daddy Elwood. And that was the Cavanaugh's there, right?
James: Bob Cavanaugh, he played on our team, he's dead too.
Voice: Yeah, he was an athlete, Bob Cavanaugh.
James: His sister's dead too, her name was ____________________.
Voice: Right up here - Tom Sterling lived up there.
Voice: Oh my God, yeah. And Olivers.
Voice: Oliver lived next door to Tom Sterling and cousins of mine lived next door to Bonners.
Voice: Yeah, and then Hackendorn.
James: Dabneys over there - the beer garden was right over here, between Cavanaugh's store and this other was a very big hall where the Redman had an upstairs.
Voice: Alright, now where was Pat's saloon?
James: Right here, right here. ...Benny Haley got his face burned that time when the cannon went off right in front of this place, right here when we get it.
Voice: Hey now, wait a minute, I'm gonna correct you. Over there at the end of the bridge, the covered bridge, there was a _______ over there and we'd throw the canons down in there to let them go off.
Voice: Mr. McKelvey, see right beyond the store here – see all those rocks up there, do you know that there was homes up above that?
McKelvey: I do.
Voice: Hey, this is right in your neighborhood, this is where they built the airplane up here.
James: Ed, here's where - do you know what happened on the Fourth of July? Boy they celebrated on the Fourth of July when we were kids, it would start two or three weeks ahead of time - bang, bang, and Fourth of July come, we'd come down here and you'd get two or three boxes of these caps for a penny and we loaded the car track from Rising Sun Lane to Breck's Lane and man you'd swear it was a war going on - bum, bum, bum. And then when the Fourth of July was over, Simon Dorman had candles, Roman candles. Do you remember that, Ed?
Devenney (Ed): Yes, I remember all of it.
Voice: Roman Candles, man they'd knock their head off, went back to trees, and cars and fireman.
Voice: It's a wonder nobody got their eyes blown out. Cause they'd stand there and shoot at one another.
Voice: Hey now, look, now you're an old timer. Do you remember the shoemaker that was up on the rocks up there?
Voice: I don't remember up on the rocks, I remember the locksmith.
Voice: Felix Clarkon.
James: Clarkon's, I know Felix Clarkon.
Voice: Felix come over from Ireland, and he worked at Bancroft's.
James: Now look, just to the right is where Gregg's store was over there and I lived right here, right here on this side there, right there. And there's where the covered bridge was at.
Voice: Yeah, homes were all over this place. It's amazing, now there's nothing but...
Voice: Felix Clarkon come to work one morning and the geese were out there and they bit his legs. He come down the next morning with a club, and he says, "God damn it, your father got me yesterday, and I'll get you today.” He got up there and slaughtered the hell out of the duck.
Voice: There's where the gate was at, right here.
Voice: That's the Lower Gate, yeah.
James: Here's old Walker's Banks and Ferraro lived in the first house. See there were houses on the front and the back both, you know. Baldo's lived in the back part.
Voice: Yeah, Ferraro's had front and back. And then the Oatman's lived in the middle and Mack Williams - remember Mack Williams? He worked in ballistics for Du Pont.
McKelvey: Now, Herb, this is the block you lived in?
Devenney (Herb): Yes, Sir, in front, Mr. McKelvey, down in front. And we moved right over here, was another bank of houses, Mr. McKelvey.
Voice: Here's where Ed Devenney lived in this next house.
- Learning how to swim; Hodgson's Mill and other neighbors; Garbage collection; Buying and using coal;Keywords: Accidents; African Americans; Brandywine Creek; Coal; Hodgson Bros. woolen mill; Slop constables; SwimmingTranscript: McKelvey: Right up here, yeah. Remember the little stream that used to come down here, they piped water in?
Voice: Yeah, I'll be darned.
Voice: What'd you say, a stream?
Voice: Used to come right down through there. Remember Joe Valentine, had the barn there.
Voice: There's where we learned to swim right down there, where you learned down there, and that's where Baldo - there's a tree right down there, and he would tie the rope on the tree and there's where we learned to swim.
Voice: That's called Girlie.
Voice: Yeah, Girlie, and then Minnie was on the other side.
Voice: Yeah, remember the big stone in the center.
James: There's a stone there, I remember I went over it many a time.
Voice: My God, here's the old mill.
Voice: Do you remember here when Joe got his arm cut off here?
Voice: Joseph Schofield, yeah, got it cut off in a picker, wasn't it?
Voice: Yeah, caught in there.
Voice: You say this is the old mill?
Voice: Yep, that's old Hodgson's Woolen Mill.
Voice: The hell it is!
McKelvey: Yes, it is.
James: And they had a big house up here - do you know there were two brothers?
McKelvey: It’ s changes a lot, Ed, but this is Hodgson's.
James: If you'd go to ask them for a job, you went to go to the wrong one, he'd say, "You go to my brother, Tom, I do the firing, he does the hiring."
Voice: Old Tom moved up in Massachusetts.
Voice: And Mannie Roomer lived right up here too.
Voice: McClafferty first, then Hodkins, McDades and then Farrins, Roomers, Carter - Harry Carter.
Voice: Was an Italian family lived down there, what was their name?
Voice: Josie and Rosie Cane.
Voice: What was the guy that had the big dog they called Dynamite? Who was that - Joe - what was his name, Joe Cain wasn't it?
Voice: Mr. McKelvey, can you still go all the way up there?
McKelvey: No, the road's pretty washed out.
Voice: I mean walking, still walk up there?
McKelvey: Yeah, you can still walk up there.
Voice: This is restricted territory though, I guess, isn't it?
McKelvey: You'd be welcome to come down anytime, sure.
James: You could go on up there, Thompson's lived away up there too, you know.
Voice: Yeah, and at the Keg Mill lived the Compstons and the - remember the slop constable, what was his name - Bob Williamson.
McKelvey: The what?
Voice: Slop constable.
McKelvey: What's a slop constable?
Voice: Well that was a nickname given to him because he and a colored man came around and collected the garbage, Mrs. Copeland, all the homes.
McKelvey: Did they also clean up privies?
Voice: No, not them, that was some firm in town used to come out.
James: Do you know where Indian Rock was at?
Voice: I'll be darned, they changed everything around here.
Voice: You lived next door to us.
Voice: Dad Dougherty lived in this here, didn't he?
Voice: Right here, he lived there and then they broke it into three houses. And this house here, Devenney's lived.
Voice: This is where you grew up, Ed.
Voice: And Ferraro's were the next house.
Devenney (Ed): I can picture my living room in this block, done by a local artist.
McKelvey: And there used to be shed down here?
Voice: Yep, that's right.
McKelvey: And your privies?
Voice: And privies.
McKelvey: And somebody used to make sauerkraut around here.
Voice: Pete Kindbeiter.
Jim: That's my father. He had a cutter come across from Europe. Make a barrel of it every year.
McKelvey: And Herb, when you snagged wood from the stream, did you put it in the basements here, to store it? Firewood.
Devenney (Herb): The only way I remember them collecting firewood is when we moved over here, because I was born here and then we moved into this next block. But then we had basements, or cellars as we called them. And they were really double house, Mr. McKelvey, over there.
Voice: How about when we lived in that other block over by, shed right here.
McKelvey: What was in it?
Voice: Coal or wood or whatever you could get in it.
McKelvey: How much coal did you buy at a time?
Voice: As little as possible.
McKelvey: Did it come in hundred pound bags?
Voice: Yeah, in bags, yeah.
McKelvey: When you got coal out of your shed, did you have to - was there a door in the bottom to shovel it out?
Voice: Yeah. Every family had what they call a coal shuttle to carry the coal up. Made out of galvanized steel, right?
Voice: You remember when we lived next door to you, don't you?
Voice: Yeah - no, no I don't. I was born here, but I don't recall living there. I recall living over here.
Voice: You were only a baby then.
Voice: Yep, right. Me and George were born here I believe. Nana Farrin brought us into this world. Sure Nana did, didn't she Edmond?
Voice: Hey Edmond, look how nice that wood's piled up there.
Voice: This is where Kindbeiter’ s lived, right here.
McKelvey: Kindbeiter's lived on the end here?
Voice: Right here, yes.
Voice: We had three houses here, this house, and the next house...
Voice: What happened to the well?
McKelvey: Wait a minute, there was a well over here?
Voice: Sure, there was wells all along here.
Voice: It was right here, it was right here, yeah. There was one on this side and Ferraro's had one. Does Ferraro still have one?
McKelvey: Don't think so.
Voice: Right on the side by the tree.
Voice: It's still there. There's only one well.
Voice: Cold water, you always get a cold drink of water there.
Voice: Well, this one's gone, Edmond. Yeah, there's no well there now.
Devenney (Ed): I wonder what happened to it.
Voice: I don't know.
Voice: We ought to go down to the Columbus Inn now. Do you want to go down to the Columbus Inn with us? Well Dan Lynch run that and he'd give you two kinds of beer - All American and Horning's in the same glass. And then you wake up with a Hellava headache the next morning.
James: Do you know who was chief of police in Wilmington in them days? Anybody know his name?
Voice: Chief Black.
James: You're correct. After that his son got on the police force. And he lived one square up from the Columbus Inn on the right hand side going up.
Voice: He was a louse, that son of a bitch, he was no good.
Voice: My sister lives next door to Chief Black's house on Delaware Avenue.
Voice: Yes, I know where it was.
Voice: His son got the old man in a lot of trouble.
James: I was going to tell you that.
Voice: He run rackets, collecting money.
James: I know he did, I wasn't going to say that, but I know he got him in trouble, I know that. I used to go in that place many a time.
There's where Simon Dorman got drowned, right there.
Voice: That's right, went through the ice.
James: That's where he got drowned, on the ice.
Voice: They still got that old bridge over the road there. It's a wonder it hasn't fallen down, Mr. McKelvey.
McKelvey: I know it, well it's still there.
Voice: Yep the rocks, there's the damned old rocks.
James: The houses was up there. I know the people by name, there we had many a good time, didn't we? Ed, that's where we had all the court cases, do you know that?
- Honey hunts; Other pranks; Cammock's airplane; The interview winds downKeywords: Chrysler; Cumming Engine Company; DuPont Experimental Station; Hagee's tavern; Honey hunts; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Pranks; Tom Laffey; WorkTranscript: Voice: Did they ever tell you about the honey hunts?
McKelvey: Yeah. Were you guys on that honey hunt?
Voice: Yeah. We were the ones that put it on.
Voice: We knew the squire up there too.
Voice: How about the way they restored this old building. It's amazing. There's Bonner's old home. What's this, all privately owned?
Voice: Chick Laird - does Chick Laird still own it?
McKelvey: He owns a lot of it down there.
Voice: Is he still living, W. W. Laird?
Voice: He lives over around the Yellow House up there across where them 31 boys were killed. I don't know whether he still lives over there or not.
McKelvey: Yes he does.
Voice: One of them played on our basketball team got killed. Jim Baird.
McKelvey: Hey Jimmy Cammock, Jim were you on one of those honey hunts? Were you with those honey hunts?
James: We're the ones that put them on.
McKelvey: Yeah - what was your job?
Voice: My job was loading the shells, I'd put powder in them, but put no shot in them. And I'd give the guys a couple of hands full of shot, and they would stand about a hundred feet away from the tree, you know. We took him up, and we had another guy was taking him up, he had a bucket with him and a bag, so the bees wouldn't see him. He had the bucket to get the honey in. Well, he would get up the tree, and this guy had the molasses in the thing, and he'd dump it on his head and he said, "Oh the honey's coming all over me." And then he would light alight to see, and as soon as he did that - there's a guy hiding one or two hundred feet away, and he would fire the gun, you know. And then there's a guy there, closer, with a handful of shot and he throw it, and that guy would drop down out of that tree, you'd think he'd get killed. He'd drop the bucket and the bag and run up out about three or four hundred feet and somebody would go all around and catch him and take him down to the store and try him, and Simon Dorman would try him.
One time he had the big store book upside down trying him. He said, "You guys from the city come out here and steal these farmer's honey.” And then he finally reads the law to him and then he puts ‘ em in the cell, he said, "I'm gonna give you a week confinement." And he leaves the door open a little bit in the cellar, you know, and of course he sees that and when he goes in there he goes out, you know. So they let him get out and they let him get a good start and they holler at him, they run after him. He runs like it or not, trying to catch him again, you know.
McKelvey: Yep. How old were you when you did that?
Voice: I must have been 18-19.
Voice: You were old enough to have better sense.
McKelvey: How many times did you do it?
James: Oh about once a month.
Voice: Oh they run them honey hunts quite a way off.
James: And they would always bring a guy out from the post - a dumb guy in the post office, you know.
Voice: He comes from down South.
James: He would come down and he didn't know anything about it. And neighbors would all be out. That was lined up from Rising Sun Lane to Breck's Lane, cars both sides, you know, when they knew that was coming off, everybody wanted to see that.
Voice: That was quite a spectacle. We had a lot of cops.
James: And there was one guy one time, they took him in there and they tried him, he was from the post office, you know. He was from the post office, this guy was, you know. And they tried him, and oh he was in a terrible stew when he went in there. He called up the preacher over in Elsmere and told him about it, working for the government, he said, "I'll lose my job, I'll lose my job now.” And he was so upset he put the ________ upside down on there. Oh it was something.
McKelvey: That's quite a gag.
James: Oh, we had a time with it.
McKelvey: Is that something you thought up?
Voice: No, that was in existence long before.
James: Another trick we used to do. You know what we used to do? We used to get a woman's stocking (?) and fill it full of sand, you know, tie a rope on it, put it over on this side of the road, bushes and trees all on this side. And two or three women would be coming along, we'd pull the cloth in front of them, they'd thing it was a big snake, you know, and they would hollar and run. We did that two or three times, and one night we did it and they hollered and they went on down. And we looked and there they come back with a man with a shotgun. Did we go! We were the ones that did the running then. We did all them kind of things.
Voice: Used to play tricks on Jacomino Baldo coming home from town, too, didn't you, on the bridge?
James: That was a good one, the church on fire.
(The men get out of the vehicle.)
Voice: Oh yeah, Jimmy, my Golly it's been sixty years since I've seen you.
James: Oh yes, it has.
Voice: And you look good! Keep living the way you are.
Voice: Yeah, but God Damn it, he forgot about the airplane up there.
James: I think I got some of them old parts laying around yet. Got the wheels of it. But never got off the ground though.
Voice: Now you're getting down to facts and figures. It never got off the ground?
McKelvey: Tell me about the airplane.
Voice: Oh this man can tell you about the airplane. Up where Hagee's taproom is now, they built the airplane up in back of there - is that right?
(Some miscellaneous comments.)
Voice: ______________ Cammock built the airplane up there.
(More comments as they prepare to leave.)
James: Everybody helped each other those days. Anybody see you laying on the side of the road, they'd pick you up and get you up - now today they kick you in there.
Voice: Nobody locked their houses.
McKelvey: We'll get together again in a couple of months.
James: Yeah - I'll come back any time, anything I can help with, anything.
(Much of the rest of the tape is miscellaneous talk as they bid good-by to each other and thank Frank McKelvey for arranging the tour and get together.)
McKelvey: Now where did you work?
Jim: I worked Cumming Engine Company. After I learned the trade at DuPont Experimental Station.
McKelvey: In the machine shop?
Jim: Yeah, and then I went to work for Chrysler after that. And after I worked for Chrysler, I went out to Cummings Engine Company. I was doing road service work for Cummings. That's where I retired from.
McKelvey: So you drove around - you had a little machine shop, did you, in the trunk?
Jim: Yeah, I was up there with it. But I was ready to remark about that big lathe you had up there. They got all kinds of lathes like that up in New England.
McKelvey: That's where that one came from.
Jim: The hell it did.
McKelvey: Yeah, we had to go up to New England to get that one, there aren't any around here.
Jim: Oh man, that's a big load. To bring that down here. Well, they preserved it - you people done a lot of work on it to get looking like it does. Them woolen mills, they never cared up there, they just threw them in a pile and left it go.
Jim: Well I'll tell you, I want to thank you for looking out for us up here, and you've done a nice job.
McKelvey: It's our pleasure.
Jim: And if I can every help you...
McKelvey: Well we're gonna be back and talk to you some more.
Jim: I'll be glad to help you. Now this woman, this Bennett woman, she interviewed me two or three times down there. You know that woman is pretty good. She's thorough.
McKelvey: Well, we've got some more questions we want to ask. Say in four, I'd like to get one of our men to talk to you next time so we can learn about some of these dirty trick and stories that you might not have told Mrs. Bennett.
Jim: Oh well, a lot of tricks I wouldn't tell her.
McKelvey: That's right - I hope you will tell us, though.
Jim: Yeah - well what the hell you want to do with them, you can do with them.
McKelvey: May try them out.
Jim: Well, Mrs. Bennett was a nice woman. She was up there two or three times. She got a book of mine, it come from Jacksonville, Florida. My grandson was down there at Tampa and he bought this book, sent it up to me, says, "Now you read that book over and then tell me about - the truth about Alfred I.", and oh what the hell was the guy’ s name - son-in-law. God damn, she saw that book and she went crazy over it.
McKelvey: What's the name of it?
Jim: Well, it's - Ball, Ed Ball. It's so damn old that some of the pages are falling out of it. She was a nice woman. And Ed Ball was Alfred I.'s brother-in-law.
Now I come in here one time here, my aunt worked for Frank McCue, come in on a vacation and nothing would do but I'd go to work for Laffey, Judge Laffey. That was her mother-in-law. So I went over there and worked, oh for a month before I went back to Cummings Engine. And God damn it that whole month was a picnic. Laffey come back and he actually cried about me quitting, he wanted me to stay there. I said, "Hell, I can't stay, I can't afford to stay here.” And then he owned 8600 acres in Deadwood, South Dakota. And they were all working with diesel pumps. They raised four crops of alfalfa a year on the ranches out there. And then they'd stack it up in ricks or piles, or whatever the hell they called it. Then they put a three-rail fence up around it to keep the cattle out of it.
And then the wintertime come along and that's when all the calves is born, they'd have to carry them into a ranch house to stop them from freezing to death.
Well, he recognized me from out there. I was up at Cummings Engine Company yet, sent me up there. That's the home stake mines up there and I met several people up there that I met in Wilmington. Clyde Spargo was a lawyer up there and he killed his best friend the day that he left Deadwood, South Dakota.
He operated a hoist and he kept them in a glass cage up on the top of the ground. And there were three elevators up and down all the time. And Laffey, he was a friend of Laffey - Laffey sent him up to Drexel Institution - not Drexel – oh up Broad Street in Philadelphia, Frank. Not Franklin. God Damn it, I forget it now. Temple, Temple, and he become a lawyer for the DuPont Company.
And then his brother, Tom Laffety, when DuPonts and Hercules split up, and DuPonts made Atlas and Hercules out of DuPont, well Tom Laffey quit DuPont Company and he...
Digitized material in this online archive may document imagery or language that reflects racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive and harmful beliefs and actions in history. Hagley Library is engaged in ongoing efforts to address and responsibly present evidence of oppression and injustice in our collections. If you are concerned about the archival material presented here, or want to learn more about our ongoing work, please contact us at email@example.com.