Interview with James Cammock, 1984 July 24 [audio]
- Location of the family garden; Buying seeds; Planting tomatoes and peppers; Keeping animals out of the gardenKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Animals; Breck's Lane; Evening Journal; Every Evening; Gardens; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Newspapers; Peppers; Seeds; TomatoesTranscript: Perkins: Today is July 24, and my name is Karen Perkins, I'm a Longwood Fellow, and I will be interviewing James Cammock at the Oak Grove Senior Center in Elsmere, Delaware. We will be talking mainly about vegetable gardening and ornamental gardening near the Hagley Yards around the turn of the 20th century.
Perkins: I heard that your father died and then you did the vegetable garden by yourself -- is that true?
Cammock: Oh yeah, I was only ten years old then. That was in 1906.
Perkins: Where did you have the vegetable garden?
Cammock: That was on Breck's Lane, back of the Alfred I. High School on Breck's Lane.
Perkins: Was it in front of your house or in back of your house?
Cammock: No, it was in back of the house on the -- we had terrible long yard there, and it was in back of the house.
Perkins: A yard going from -- out from the back of the house?
Cammock: Yes, go running on back, towards Alexis I. du Pont High School. Here's Breck's Lane going down here, the house was here, and it was back of it, towards A. I. School.
Perkins: Do you know about how big your garden was? About how many feet by how many feet, or can you give me an idea?
Cammock: Yes, it must have been -- oh about forty by fifty or sixty because, boy, it ran about: oh it was a long, long -- oh it was a terrible long place. Had plenty of grass to cut when I was a kid then. They didn't have these electric mowers then.
Perkins: Did you have a fence around your garden?
Cammock: Fence around the whole property.
Perkins: What kind of fence was that?
Cammock: It had a wooden fence up.
Perkins: Was it like a picket fence?
Perkins: About how tall was that, do you remember?
Cammock: Yeah, it must have been about five and a half feet tall.
Perkins: So it was about as big as - as tall as a person?
Cammock: Not quite. Let's see -- almost as tall as a person, yeah it would be about -- you could just see over top of it.
Perkins: Okay. One thing I was interested in was finding out where you got your seeds from.
Cammock: Well, we used to go in on King Street there and get them there, see there was no stores or anything out Henry Clay, everything was nothing. We'd go in there to the market -- it was on King Street then, and the farmers brought so many seeds in. Get the tomato seeds from them and radish.
Perkins: Was it like an outdoor market and the farmers would bring their things there, or would...
Cammock: Oh they'd bring it in to the stands, yeah.
Perkins: Okay, so it wasn't like you'd go to a store there, you'd just go to the stands that the farmers...
Cammock: There was no stores around there in Henry Clay, one we had to walk a half a mile. That was right down almost to the Experimental Station, down there, and see I lived at Breck's Lane, one little store there. And he acted as a post office too.
Perkins: Did you get your paper there, did you get a newspaper?
Cammock: Papers -- well I served papers myself when I was a kid. I used to get them up by where the - what school is that up there -- right at the top of Rising Sun Lane? I used to get my papers, oh I had a long walk, and the papers then was one cent and you got half a cent and the company got half a cent. And I went clear way up -- way up the Pike there, way up to where that new restaurant up there: Buck Road -- do you know where that is?
Cammock: Way up there, carrying them there at night, dark too.
Perkins: Do you remember what the name of the paper was that you carried?
Cammock: That I served?
Cammock: Oh I served all the du Pont people, see I know everyone I served: Eugene du Pont, Eugene E. du Pont, Felix du Pont, Irenee du Pont, Lammot du Pont, W. K. du Pont, Winder Laird and Charlie Copeland. See all them people, they're the big people lived right there, up: right over back of the school. But my brother helped me, he did part of it and I did part.
Perkins: Do you remember what the name of the paper was?
Cammock: Yeah, there was two papers then, one "Evening Journal" and the other was called "Every Evening,” see there was two now the "Every Evening” went over: the other paper took over, "Evening Journal" took over the "Every Evening" so there was one paper.
Perkins: What about - did you ever buy plants that were already started from seed, like tomato plants that the farmers had started, or did you grow everything from seed?
Cammock: No, no, some I did, but mostly get the little plants from the farmers.
Perkins: What kind of little plants would you get -- would you get cabbage plants?
Cammock: No, I never had cabbage. I'd get tomato plants and I had radish and onions, scallions, generally liked to plant them. And another thing, I had a lot of potatoes. See you'd get them, you cut them up where the eye is on them and you'd plant. And we'd generally put two eyes in, you know, make sure they'd come up, you know.
Perkins: Which direction did you put it in when you planted it?
Cammock: Oh you put it up.
Perkins: With the eyes facing up? Did you dry -- after you cut the potato, did you dry it off for a couple days, or just plant as soon as you cut it?
Cammock: No, no, just put it right in as it was.
Perkins: Okay. What did you use for fertilizer?
Cammock: Well there's a farmer up there, his name was Jim Vaughn, so one day I was working my garden and he come down and talked to me and he had some old dried horse manure that he had from last year, and he said that's what I should put in there, you know, and we did and we'd dig the hole about that deep -- got to have at least four or five inches so -- and you have to dig way around the plant cause: see just where you'd dig here, it Would be soft, and then when you hit hard ground after that, and it wouldn't spread out. So we'd dig a good bit then, you know, and then it could spread more and the plants would be bigger.
Perkins: So you'd put a lot of fertilizer about a foot around the plant?
Cammock: No, you'd put it in the hole, we did then, and leave it sit about two or three days and then it kind of went more into the ground, you see, and it would get that way and then we'd plant tomatoes. And we put them down so that, good enough that they wouldn't fall over.
Perkins: So you planted part of the stem too, put part of the stem in the ground?
Cammock: Oh yeah, a little, but not much of it, just enough that you'd get...
Perkins: About two inches of it?
Cammock: Yeah, go down and be good and solid, you know. Then we used stakes, you know, when they got high you could tie them up, you know, get cloth and tear a strip off the cloth and tie up. You wouldn't use string because that would cut it, you see, yeah we would use that.
Perkins: Where'd you get your stakes from?
Cammock: Well, old limbs out of the old trees, cut them off of there, see there was a lot of old trees, you know, cut them off and use that. Some of those limbs you'd put in, they'd start to sprout, you know. Yeah, had to cut them off.
Perkins: How tall were your stakes, can you remember that?
Cammock: Oh yeah, you cut them yourself, cut them about six feet, five, six feet, you know, the plant wouldn't go much higher than that.
Perkins: That was for tomatoes?
Cammock: Yeah, for the tomatoes, because see when the tomato, when they go up and get two or three tomatoes on them, then the vine falls over you know, and as it falls over, then it chokes them down there and they don't do any good. And then we tie them up and then they keep right steady, you know.
Perkins: You sound like quite a gardener.
Cammock: Oh yeah, you had to do then, didn't have no stores or anything around there, just see the butcher, he come down once a week, the bread man come down once a week, and the milk man come around once a week, that's all. And sometimes they had a -- didn't come around one week because the snow was so bad, it was wicked snow those days.
Perkins: Did you stake anything else except tomatoes -- did you put stakes for your beans or anything?
Cammock: I didn't have no beans, I didn't bother -- just lettuce, tomatoes and radishes and potatoes, mostly on that order you see.
Perkins: What kind of lettuce did you grow?
Cammock: I didn't get this hard kind, it's a leaf lettuce.
Perkins: Leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce?
Cammock: I didn't have: didn't put in much solid ones.
Perkins: Why not?
Cammock: Well I don't know, they always liked the leaf lettuce, they could pull it off and be fresh all the time, you have to wait so long for the other one to grow, you know, before you could get it.
Perkins: Yeah -- did you grow any spinach?
Cammock: No, no spinach at all.
Perkins: What about squash?
Cammock: Oh that's one thing, that's the main thing, yeah, peppers.
Perkins: What kind of peppers did you have?
Cammock: Bell peppers I believe they called them.
Perkins: Were they green, did you pick them when they were green?
Cammock: Oh the green, yeah. I love to get them, I leave them stay long enough so I get some red: when they turn red they're all sweet you know, make good sandwiches out of them. I even buy them today, anybody has red peppers, I'd buy them. I don't like the green ones.
Perkins: What do you do, fry them up to make the sandwich?
Cammock: No, just plain, and they do fry them sometimes, you know, but I mostly just the way they are, put a little salt on them and bread and butter on the sandwich.
Perkins: Did you have any -- did you grow cucumbers?
Cammock: No, no cucumbers.
Perkins: What about corn?
Cammock: We'd plant a little corn. And another thing, when the corn only -- we'd always put two, two grains in You know, cause sometimes one mightn't ferment you know, and grow, and sometimes a bird would get into them and they'd pull it out, so we'd put two of them and one would grow you see.
Perkins: Speaking of birds, how did you keep the animals and birds out of your garden?
Cammock: Oh, they'd stretch a thing from here to the wall there, little pole here, up that end, put little strings of cloth on it and a little can with full of stone in it and wind would blow and shake it and make noise and that would scare them away.
Perkins: So what did you have, two stakes and then a string in between and then hang...
Cammock: No, like one here and one here and then you'd put the string over here, and we had to put some ribbons down here, you know, cloth about that long, you know...
Perkins: About a foot long?
Cammock: ...and they'd keep blowing in the wind you know, and they'd have a little can in here and little one here and little pebbles in there you know, and that makes noise when the wind would blow it'd rattle and keep the birds away.
Perkins: So the cans would be tied to the stakes on a string?
Cammock: Oh no, they'd be tied to the string.
Cammock: One on each end, but they wouldn't be far from there so they would be solid, you know...
Perkins: About a foot, there'd be about a foot from the stake?
Cammock: Yeah, about that far and then of course if you put them in the middle, it would sag on you, you know, so that's the way we did it.
Perkins: Huh -- and that was pretty good -- that worked pretty good?
- Grocery shopping in the early 20th century; Keeping animals out of the garden 2; Working on a farm; Growing and storing potatoes; Getting water for the houseKeywords: Canning; Fences; Food; Groceries; Lime; Outhouses; Pests; Potatoes; Wages; WaterTranscript: Cammock: Yeah, we had to. Yeah it kept them away pretty good. And big crows would come down too, cause see there wasn't much gunning or anything doing then, you know, and they'd even come down because the yard was so far back, you know, long way back. Oh there wasn't anything those days at all. When I was kid there was no trolley cars, no nothing. And you go to the store, you could get bread -- you wouldn't go to the store, cause you couldn't get any -- but the bread man came and you'd get six loaves for a quarter. And he'd come out.
Perkins: I just paid three dollars for two loaves down the street, that's a lot.
Cammock: And then on the other thing, when you did go to the store, no matter what you bought, wrap it up in newspaper, they didn't have anything to wrap it in, just newspaper, that's the way it went, and there was nothing in jars, there was no cans, there was no nothing, in that way, nothing at all.
Perkins: Where did you get your cans to hang on your little scarecrow thing?
Cammock: Well there was some little cans that people got that threw away, you know, from the dump and pick them up. You used to get -- oh you used to get some of them in little soft drink cans sometimes, little tiny things you know, and you only needed a couple of them on each side of the thing.
Perkins: About how long was the string in between me two poles?
Cammock: Well a big garden, probably -- might be twenty-five, thirty feet, all the length of the garden on each side, about twenty-five, thirty feet and went through the whole garden.
Perkins: Oh, okay. What about other pests in your garden, did you ever have rabbits or groundhogs or deer or anything come in there?
Cammock: Oh yeah, used to have potato bugs, what they call, eat the vines, you know. I don't know what they put -- they put something on that to stop, I don't know what it was called now, but they put some kind of a powder on it, you know, and that would kill them.
Perkins: How did they put the powder on it?
Cammock: Just spray it on.
Perkins: Spray it on with what?
Cammock: Just their hand, take it out and shake it out, you know, a little bit on it and then...
Perkins: Take just a handful of powder and shake it over the plant?
Cammock: Yeah, and then of course, you'd have to put one more than once because the rain would wash -- when it would rain, it would wash it off again, you know. It did the trick on that.
Perkins: Could that have been lime that they used?
Cammock: Probably what it was, probably, they took just a little bit, you wouldn't put too much on it – burn the plant.
Perkins: Was it white?
Cammock: Yeah, white, yeah.
Perkins: What about any kind of bugs, do you remember anything else that you had problems with?
Cammock: No, once in a while a few grasshoppers would get in, but they didn't do much damage, but those other things was the worst.
Perkins: What about rabbits, did you have rabbit problems?
Cammock: No, the fence pretty good well around there and they didn't bother you too much, no. Very seldom see a rabbit, but they would go after your lettuce and everything and eat it all up, you know, if they were allowed -- or carrots, they'd go after them too, that's what the rabbits want.
Perkins: Did you grow carrots?
Cammock: No, I didn't, but that's one thing the rabbits...
Perkins: What about turnips?
Cammock: No, just mostly as I told you: I did put – think it was small bean: stuck a few of them in, in the pod, you know.
Perkins: You mean lima beans?
Cammock: No, I guess they called them stingbeans.
Cammock: Yeah, didn't put no limas.
Perkins: Were they short plants, were they bushy plants or did they grow...
Cammock: No, it would grow little bushy plant, they never grew way high.
Perkins: What about asparagus?
Cammock: No, I never bothered.
Perkins: Never grew that: strawberries?
Cammock: No strawberries.
Perkins: What about celery?
Perkins: I'm just going to go through this list and make sure -- horseradish?
Cammock: Horseradish you say?
Cammock: No, we didn't have much of them things those days, you know, they were strangers to us, most of them was.
Perkins: What about peas?
Perkins: No. Sweet potatoes or pumpkins?
Cammock: No, no it was mostly the things that we needed -- the potatoes and all, you'd grow a lot of them so you'd have them for the winter, you know. I used to walk -- there's a farm up there, name was Lee, just above where Pellport's at, you know where that is – where Eugene du Pont is?
Perkins: M-huh, yeah.
Cammock: Well there's a big farm back there, a man by the name of Lee had it, and he had potatoes and we used to go there and pick them. I think we only got seven or eight cents for a big basket and you'd pick them all day and you'd only get about a dollar. You know when I went to work how much money I got?
Perkins: How much?
Cammock: Six cents an hour.
Perkins: Oh brother.
Cammock: And worked ten hours a day and five on Saturday, that's 54 hours a week.
Perkins: And people complain today.
Cammock: They get as much in half an hour, or an hour as we get a whole year. Figure it out -- somebody figured it out: said you'd get $174 a year. But when they finally did put the trolley cars up, Tower Hill School where I was telling you where they used to pull the trolley cars out to the Tower Hill School, that's where I used to get the papers, the cars did, finally, when they run and came to there, and brought my papers there. That was up one side and down from Tower Hill School, and I got them and went all around with them -- yeah, Tower Hill School.
Perkins: Did you grow enough potatoes to last you the whole year?
Cammock: Well mostly all winter, just the wintertime.
Perkins: So you never had to buy any extras, did you ever run out?
Cammock: Oh you'd have to -- yes, sometimes you'd eat more then you do: mostly had the cabbage and potatoes, you know, you'd get that, you could buy the head of cabbage when you'd go to town. You had to go to town to get it on Market Street: King Street rather, what they had on King Street.
Perkins: Where would you keep your potatoes?
Cammock: Well they had a cupboard and they put them in a bag and they put them in the cupboard, the bottom of there.
Perkins: In the kitchen?
Cammock: It would have to be in the kitchen, because they didn't have anything else. In the kitchen they had -- the whole house, the only heat that you'd have in your house was your stove there in the kitchen, you know. That's the only heat that you'd have. When they'd go to bed at night, we used to get a stone and put it in the oven and heat it up and get a piece of cloth and wrap it up and take that and put it at your feet, cause a big house, you know, it was cold in the wintertime, no heat in your house, no electric them, we'd have to use a candle or oil lamps them days.
Perkins: So you would leave that stone in your bed all night, keep it warm?
Cammock: Oh yes, cause it got cold you know, put it down at your feet, you'd put it down at your feet, you know.
Perkins: Did you wear socks to bed too to keep your feet warm?
Cammock: Oh yes, you'd do that. Then the first thing in the morning you'd run down and open that big door, the only heat you had was that kitchen stove, you know, where you cooked on, you know, and open the door and the heat would come out, put your clothes on, it got cold, you know, terrible in wintertime and the house was out in the suburbs, in the wintertime down around zero. Oh they were the days, nothing those days.
Perkins: What did your mom do to keep the vegetable for the wintertime, did she can, did she can them?
Cammock: She canned a little bit, not too much, but she had a cupboard, you know, and set them in the cupboard. Mostly tomatoes, she'd put up and make plenty of them, you know, mostly tomato.
Perkins: Did she ever store her potatoes in the cellar?
Cammock: We didn't have no cellar.
Perkins: You didn't have a cellar?
Cammock: Had no water in the house, you had to go out front to get your water. And then we had to go to the toilet, you had to go from here out to where you met that woman out at the far end of the backyard, they didn't have no bathrooms in the house.
Perkins: Where was the outhouse located, was it in front of the garden toward the house?
Cammock: No, it was -- the garden was on this side and it was a way over on the other side. It was a big place, it had a very big yard.
Perkins: So the garden was on side of the yard and the toilet was on the other?
Cammock: Yeah and that was way on the other side, yeah.
Perkins: So it was pretty close to the house, your toilet?
Cammock: No, it was about thirty, thirty-five feet away from the house, you had to run a way down there in cold, snow and everything.
Perkins: Why didn't you put it closer?
Cammock: Oh the people put it: we didn't have nothing to do with it. It was the house you got when you moved there, it had to be there, that's what was put there. Told you, kerosene lamps, you had to use, and candles, there was nothing those days. No radiators, no televisions, no nothing. And to get a bath, you know we had to do?
Cammock: Get one of these big wash tubs, you know like the women used to take and go out for the water, and you only get a bath about twice a week then. You have to carry water and put it in there and heat it up and get a bath that way. They didn't have no conveniences in them days. Now that's 85 years ago so you know it’ s a long time ago.
- Getting water to the garden; Growing flowers; Garden tools; Planting seeds and garden layout; Cleaning with limeKeywords: Chickens; Gardens; Lime; Pests; Planting; Rain; Rats; Tools; Water; WheelbarrowsTranscript: Perkins: How did you get water to your garden?
Cammock: Well get the pump out there and carry it in and put it on them. See the pump outside our place, out in the yard, and it would do the house next door too, you see.
Perkins: It was out in the front yard?
Cammock: No, it was out on the front road on Breck's Lane, it would be out there, you see, house was here, and Breck's Lane was here, you had to go out of your own place to get it.
Perkins: Was it across the road from your house?
Cammock: No, it was on the side, right outside.
Perkins: On the same side. How did you carry the water, in buckets?
Perkins: What kind of buckets did you use?
Cammock: Well they had tin buckets, they did have them.
Perkins: And then how did you water your plants, just pour the water out of the bucket onto the plants?
Cammock: No, they'd have a can and take it and dip in there and put it on, just so much, you know, that way.
Perkins: Just a food can or something?
Cammock: No, like they'd have a little handle, I don't know what they’ d get it, and you'd have a handle and have a little spout on, you'd dip it in there in the bucket, you know, pour it on each of them that way.
Perkins: When did you water your plants, just when you...
Cammock: Mostly in the evening or in the morning, early in the morning before the sun hit. And another thing, when you plant tomatoes, we'd never put them in the sun -I mean the shade, cause it takes them so long to ripen, so put them in a place where the sun will hit it all day, you know, and they'll ripen up that much quicker, you know. When the shade's on them, you know, they're cool and they don't ripen as fast.
Perkins: So what would you put -- what things would you plant in the shadier part of your garden?
Cammock: Nothing, there's was nothing in the shady part, most everything right in the sunny part, yeah.
Perkins: When did you -- did you water your plants every day?
Cammock: Oh yeah, unless it rained, if it would rain, I wouldn't have to water them for two or three days, it rained a lot then, you see.
Perkins: I'll bet you were walking back and forth to that pump a lot then.
Cammock: Oh yeah, had to get that for to get the bath and everything. It's one of them handles, yeah you pump it with a handle, have to pump it up and down.
Perkins: What did you do with the old stalks and vines in the fall?
Cammock: Burn 'em up.
Perkins: Burn them, put them in a pile in the garden?
Cammock: Put them in a pile -- and the leaves too, rake up the leaves and all and put them there in one pile.
Perkins: Did you just make a pile in your garden and do that?
Cammock: Way down at the end of the yard, where there's nothing there.
Perkins: Away from the house?
Cammock: Yeah, away from everything, so we wouldn't set things on fire.
Perkins: Did you ever store any vegetables in the garden? Some people I've talked to dug pits.
Cammock: Do what?
Perkins: They would store vegetables in the garden in the wintertime. They would dig a pit and put their turnips or anything in the garden.
Cammock: Oh no, no, nothing like that at all.
Perkins: What about flowers -- did you grow any flowers around your place?
Cammock: We had a few flowers around the house -- dahlias – and I'll tell you another thing we liked -- them sunflowers, you know, they grow about six, seven feet tall, big thing like we had then.
Perkins: Did you put those in the garden or were they near, close to the house?
Cammock: Oh no, no, up around the house, you know. See part of the yard was up here, and this fence set it off, and up here was the upper part here and you had to cut all the time, you know, and we put the flowers up around there.
Perkins: So that was in the front yard?
Cammock: That was, yeah, but the garden and all was back – that was a terrible long yard, I told you, that thing must have been a hundred feet long and that was a terrible long yard, you know -- a lot of work to do.
Perkins: What was beyond the garden in the back of the yard?
Cammock: Well, we had that small building there, well I had chickens in, had chickens and eggs, you see, that was one thing you had. You had to have everything you could because you had no place to go to get anything at all.
Perkins: Did your chickens ever get into your garden? The little chicks?
Cammock: Oh I made sure they didn't: oh yeah, once in a while one would fly over the fence, but I cut its wings, then it couldn't fly.
Perkins: Clip its wings?
Cammock: Oh yeah, we had everything fixed right.
Perkins: What kind of tools did you use?
Cammock: Almost, they were a little old fashioned to what these were, but out in the same line as them. You had a fork, you know, you'd dig with, and that's what we had, you know, four pronged thing and that's what we'd dig your salad up with.
Perkins: Dig your potatoes with?
Cammock: Yeah, and then that's what you'd use to dig them potatoes out too, you know.
Perkins: Did you have a hoe?
Cammock: Oh yeah, you'd have to have that, yeah a hoe, in the garden, a hoe to hoe the dirt up on the different things, at the bottom of them.
Perkins: What was the shape of that hoe, was it like the hoes they have today, shaped like this? Do you remember what the blade of your hoe was?
Cammock: Oh yeah, yeah -- it was like that and a long handle on it, you know, yeah the long handle, exactly like that with a long handle on it.
Perkins: What else did you use, do you remember anything else? Did you use string and stakes to mark out your rows to make them straight?
Cammock: No, it wasn't too bad, whether it was crooked or not, we didn't figure on that, you know, it made no difference, but it might be a little crooked, but it wouldn't be too bad.
Perkins: So did you plant everything in a row?
Cammock: Oh yes, everything planted right in a row.
Perkins: Which way did the rows run -- down the yard or across the yard?
Cammock: No across the yard this way. And you'd leave enough room that you could go in to clean them, you know.
Perkins: About how far were they apart, can you remember that?
Cammock: Oh a tomato plant, we'd take them about that far.
Perkins: About two and a half feet apart?
Cammock: Something about like that. If it was too close together, then you can't see when they ripen. In that way and you step in, and then we'd tie them up, we didn't allow them to fall on the ground because when they get down they'll rot and they get bad when they're on the ground, have a different taste too, if you let them on the ground. We didn't do that then. It's all different. That's 80-85 years ago.
Perkins: When your lettuce would be done, say, when it would be getting old and going to seed, did you put something else -- did you plant something else in its place?
Perkins: You just left the space bare?
Cammock: Yep, when we went out and throw it in a pile and then when we got enough, we'd take it down and burn it. Cutting grass, just the regular lawnmower, you didn't have no electric or anything then, there was nothing electric.
Perkins: When did you get your first crop of potatoes – do you remember about when you'd dig them -- would you did them as new potatoes, the smaller potatoes?
Cammock: No, you'd dig them when the vines started to wither, then you knew they were ripe then. Well, when the vines started to wither, you know, then you knew it was time to dig 'em.
Perkins: So that's when they were mature, right, they were big potatoes then.
Cammock: Yeah, yeah.
Perkins: Did you ever dig them as new potatoes, as small potatoes?
Cammock: No, most of those they got big and they used a lot of them, see, with that ham and cabbage, you know, all like that, they used a lot of potatoes in them days.
Perkins: Did you put lime in your garden?
Cammock: No, just sprinkle a little bit on the plants to keep the bugs off. And if it stayed warm too long for too many days then we put water on to take it off so it wouldn't them, you know, just enough to kill all the bugs, you know, you wouldn't have to do that too often.
Perkins: Did you ever use lime in your chicken coop, to clean that out?
Cammock: Oh yes, yeah always cleaned out, kept it nice, had the other one for the chicken get over -- like they jump up, you know, like a ladder almost, go up higher to get up high. You had to watch out for rats too, they'd come around there.
Perkins: Would they get the eggs? Is that what the rats were looking for, the eggs?
Cammock: No, the chickens. They'd kill the chickens, the little ones, you see.
Cammock: One time I went out in the evening, I had little banties, you know, had five or six little ones in there, in a little coop, a coop that big you know, and had a wire front, you know, see little things on wire, so I went out that night and I come home about, I guess ten-thirty, and went over to see how they were. I looked in there and there was a great big rat in there, ate a hole right up through the board floor, you know, he was right up in there, and I went in and told my brother. So he had a revolver and he come out and he got away from the chicken, whenever he wanted, and bang, he shot it and killed the thing. If we'd hadn't have gotten it that night, it would have killed the banty and all the six little ones it had, but he just got it in the right time. Good thing I went and looked at it that night. They were bad, rats, you know, they were running wild around there.
Perkins: You needed some snakes to keep the rats in line. That's how we keep rats in line around our house, we have a lot of black snakes. What about -- did you have a wheelbarrow, how did you move things around in your garden?
Cammock: Oh we had an express wagon, yeah we had a wheelbarrow. It was old, wasn't too good, but you'd do it with a wheel on it, and you'd pick the handles up and go with it. That's what you’ d go over the rake, carry the trash on the way down to the end, you know, the yard.
Perkins: What was that made out of?
Cammock: Oh it was some kind of metal, I don't know what kind it was, and the handles all was wood, you see, they were all wood, and the feet it sit on was wood.
Perkins: What about the wheel?
Cammock: It was made like a iron, had little spokes in it too, the wheel was.
Perkins: So it didn't have any rubber on it, it just was an iron wheel, a metal wheel?
Cammock: It seemed to me it was.
Perkins: How did you dig your garden in the early spring to prepare it to plant?
Cammock: Take that thing I showed you with the four...
Perkins: The fork, yep?
Cammock: The fork and dug, you know, then take it and bang it on any lumps and break it all up like that, and go on. Then after that I had to rake, I'd rake it off and level it off.
Perkins: A metal rake, a stiff metal rake?
Cammock: Yes, and they had wooden rakes then too, mostly.
Perkins: Did you ever use a wooden rake?
Perkins: So that would take a long time to do.
Cammock: Yeah it would.
Perkins: Hard work.
Cammock: Yeah, they had no telephones, they had nothing those days. No heat in your house, nothing.
- Saving seeds for replanting; Growing potatoes; Playing with marbles and other games; Picking fruits; Growing flowersKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Blue Laws; Flowers; Fruit; Games; Marbles; Peppers; Potatoes; SeedsTranscript: Perkins: Did you ever save any seeds from your plants to use instead of buying them from the farmers?
Cammock: Do what?
Perkins: Save the seeds from your plants and use them again?
Cammock: Oh, peppers, yeah.
Cammock: Oh yeah, there were things: you'd have to dry them out, you know, put them away, keep them so they'd dry out.
Perkins: How would you dry them out?
Cammock: Well you put them, and then just spread them out on a paper and when they dried out, then you'd get a little can or box and put them in and cover them up until you wanted them in the springtime.
Perkins: Where would you store them, over the winter?
Cammock: In a cupboard. You had a cupboard, store 'em in that and it would keep them warm, that would be in the kitchen, cause you had no heat in your house. No heat in the house at all.
Perkins: Did you ever use your wood ashes from your stove on the garden?
Cammock: Oh yeah, I used to cut wood like everything. You had the great big axe, yeah.
Perkins: Did you put the ashes on the garden, though? What did you do with your wood ashes from the fireplace, from the stove?
Cammock: Oh -- take them and spread them around, any holes or anything in the yard sometimes, you took and scrub holes and fill it all up, you know, keep it right. You could always use it for something.
Perkins: Keep the yard level?
Perkins: How many potatoes would you say you grew? Like how big of a potato patch did you have? Did it take up most of your garden?
Cammock: No, it took the biggest part of anything else, cause you had a lot of them, cause they would keep all winter, you know, you put them away to dry and that was something you needed quite a bit of.
Perkins: Would you say it took up maybe a quarter of your garden or a half of your garden?
Cammock: Oh yes, it would take up -- take up better than a quarter.
Perkins: About a third?
Cammock: Yeah, third, the other two you had for the rest of your vegetables.
Perkins: Did you ever have to go through and pick the bugs off the plants -- pick them off by hand, the bugs, the insects, on your plants? Did you ever do that? Like go out and pick potato bugs off and squash them or something like that?
Cammock: One time used to get a can and get a can, and as you say, get them and put them in the can and put them in kerosene or something, you know, kill them, that would kill them. See they used kerosene for lamps, oil lamps then, you know, there was nothing else. And that's what I started my fire to burn up the rubbish with too, the kerosene, I had that.
Perkins: What time of day would you do that, pick the bugs off?
Cammock: First thing in the morning, cause they’ re not lively then, you see, you know what I mean, it's a little cool in the morning, and they're not as lively. Cause they see you coming: you know sometimes they're pretty wise, they'd fly away when you just got near them, you know, so catch them then when they don't move as fast.
Perkins: Where did you keep your tools for the garden?
Cammock: She had another shed up in the front part of the house there, kept that, besides the one I told you, the coop down there for the chickens, down in the backyard.
Perkins: This shed was close to the house though?
Cammock: Oh yeah, it was close to the house, right over from the house, kept all the things there.
Perkins: Was it near your outhouse, was it near there?
Cammock: Oh no, it was here and it was way down over there, no, that was in the front yard, it was. Yeah there was a fence separate this part of the yard off from the rest of it, you know. Oh it was a big yard to have, terrible big.
Perkins: Is your house still there, the house where you used to live in?
Cammock: It's all remodeled and everything, it ain't the same place at all. It's all -- whoever moved there and got it, it's all new. Right on Breck's Lane, all them are changed.
Perkins: What number is it, do you remember?
Cammock: I don't know what it was now.
Perkins: You don't remember.
Cammock: And then when they finally did get the trolley cars running up there, for your fare you'd get six tickets for a quarter. You heard tell of Brandywine Springs and Shellpot, haven't you?
Cammock: Well, we used to go out there when we were kids, on a Sunday and all.
Perkins: Were you proud of your garden, were you proud of all the work that you did in your garden? Did you bring your guests out to look at the garden, show them your garden when they would come to visit?
Cammock: Did I do what?
Perkins: Were you proud of your garden? Did you like to work in the garden?
Cammock: Oh yes, that's one thing, no trouble to me. Had to do something, there wasn't much anything to do there. And up top of Breck's Lane there -- you know where the top of Breck's Lane would be, don't you?
Cammock: Right up from -- there used to be a toll gate there and that's where the horses and wagons, see there wasn't any automobiles then, you know, they were just coming out, and they'd stop there. We used to go up there in the evening. I knew a fellow, he lived there, he was about my age, and we used to go up there and play marbles in the evening. Cause see there would be all the lights lit, you know, for the stop for the horse and wagons as they come through.
Perkins: What were the rules for your marble game, do you remember?
Cammock: No -- you knock the marbles out of the ring, they were yours.
Perkins: How many marbles did you play with?
Cammock – What happened there?
Perkins: I think just the curtains fell down. Does that light bother you?
Cammock: No, it don't bother me.
Perkins: How many marbles did you use?
Cammock: Oh sometimes, night you win, then the next night you lose them all. Win one night, and lose them all. There had to be five or six of us, maybe eight sometimes would go play up there at night.
Perkins: Do you remember any other games you used to play?
Cammock: Yeah, in the evening we used to roll hoops, you know, then sometimes they'd get to riding, ride them -- they used to have a handle on some of them, run around and look down there, down the hill, Breck's Lane there, run down there with them.
Perkins: With a rag on them?
Cammock: Yeah -- and the girls, they used to play Jacks. You'd bounce -- that's how they used to play.
Perkins: Did the girls ever play marbles?
Cammock: No, not that I can say, no.
Perkins: So the girls played Jacks and the boys played marbles?
Cammock: And they jumped rope then, too, the girls did.
Perkins: I'm looking here at my questions and see if I can think of any other ones.
Cammock: Them days you couldn't play ball on Sunday, you couldn't have a store open, you couldn't wash clothes on Sunday, you couldn't do carpenter work out on Sunday or nothing. A couple of times we went on Breck's Lane, you know you end up on A. I. School you know, it's right up back there, to play ball on Sunday. And see there's no policeman out where we lived, out Henry Clay. Then somebody call up, and they'd come out from town and stop us, couldn't play ball on Sunday. And we'd say to them, "They're playing golf down there. They said, "That's something different." They were the big fellows who had the money, you know. Yeah that was the way, they wouldn't let you play.
Perkins: The police would run you away?
Cammock: They'd come from out of Wilmington, yeah, they'd stop you, you wasn't allowed to, that Blue Laws they had. They were terribly strict.
Perkins: So what were you allowed to do on Sunday, what did you do on Sunday.
Cammock: Just have a picnic, sit around or go out to one of these here -- Shellpot, you couldn't do much of anything. Everything -- couldn't do no carpenter work, the women couldn't wash their clothes, couldn't put them out anyway, if they washed, they didn't let them know it. It was terrible, the Blue Laws they had them days.
Perkins: Did you ever go out and pick any wild berries or raspberries?
Cammock: Oh yeah, blackberries and huckleberries. They had a lot of -- see there wasn't many buildings out there, you know, you know there was so many bushes and everything then. All them houses over from A. I. School, well that was nothing but a big farm there, all just plain fields, you know. There wasn't a house on there. There was a farmer had it by the name of Stahl over there, wasn't a house on there. And that's Westover Hills now, not a house on there too. There was nothing there.
Perkins: Did you have any other sorts of fruit trees in the neighborhood, cherries or apples, pears?
Cammock: Oh we used to go up around Greenville there and get apples up there, and we'd get chased. We'd go up there at night, four or five, to get some apples, you know. Boy we'd go in there and somebody after us there and we would go. They would chase us quick.
Perkins: Cause you were stealing them, right?
Perkins: Did you have a lot of vegetables that you would give to your friends?
Cammock: No, you didn't have enough for yourself.
Cammock: A lot of them did their own vegetables too, you know, the men, they had to cause they didn't have anything else.
Perkins: Did you grow any herbs?
Perkins: Nothing like that?
Perkins: What about -- can you think of any more flowers that you used to grow around your house?
Cammock: I think there was pansies.
Perkins: What color were the pansies?
Cammock: Oh, all colors. Some of them with two different colors, like, on the pansies. They were all colors, blue, red, pink, all different colors -- you know how pansies are. Some of them has leaves on white, colored part blue and white on them. They were pretty then too.
Perkins: Did you have any shrubs that would flower like forsythia?
Cammock: We had a lilac bush.
Perkins: What color was that?
Cammock: Purple. They grow pretty high you know.
Perkins: Did you have any mock orange?
Cammock: Any what?
Perkins: Mock orange?
Perkins: No. What about bulbs, like daffodils or tulips?
Cammock: Oh they would have some of them, very few of those. Tulips, they had a number of them, I remember.
Perkins: You don't remember daffodils?
Cammock: No. And geraniums, they seems to have a plant they called geraniums then.
Perkins: Did you have those in your yard, geraniums?
Cammock: Oh yeah, they had them in pots, mostly sitting -several of them in the house, sitting on the window you know.
Perkins: What would they do with them in the wintertime?
Cammock: Well they'd leave them stay there and set them aside out of the way and they'd come back in the spring, they wouldn't die, you know. You'd have to live I those days to know what it was. And sledding, they used to get sleds, that's one thing we'd do in the wintertime. Breck's Lane, you know how steep it is way down at that end. Oh my they'd have a big sled, they'd build it, would hold seven or eight on it and they would get -- oh my, wonder they wouldn't get killed cause of that big wall down at the end, you know. Have somebody down there watching. We had to shoot each way, you know. See there wasn't many cars to bother you then, but they had somebody down there if anything come along, you know. See cars was just coming out then.
- Learning how to garden; When to start planting; Going to school; Looking at old photographsKeywords: Accidents; Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Clothes; Explosions; Gardens; Hagley Yard; Learning; Photographs; Planting; TimeTranscript: Perkins: Who taught you how to work in the garden?
Cammock: What did you say?
Perkins: How did you learn how to work in the vegetable garden?
Cammock: Well there's nothing to learn at that, you just go out and dig your ground up. You'd seen that other people have it when you were still younger, you know, and you could learn a little bit, what they knew, you know, and you'd get to know what to do.
Perkins: Did you have a compost pile -- where you'd put all of your scraps and old vines, or did you just burn everything?
Cammock: We burned it, put them in a pile, was all good and dry, and then took them down and put kerosene on it. That was what they'd do then, and put -- like your lamps, you know, kerosene -- put it on and burn it all up.
Perkins: Have you ever heard if you work your bean plants that you spread disease?
Perkins: That you're not supposed to go on bean plants when they're wet?
Cammock: No, I never heard that.
Perkins: When did you start work in your garden, do you remember what month it was when you'd start planting?
Cammock: Oh you couldn't plant tomatoes -- see now you can plant tomatoes lots earlier because it's warmer here, but then it stayed: winter stayed longer here then you know. I always planted my tomato plants on May the 10th, if you plant them any sooner than that you're liable to get frost, you see, then. May the 10th is the time -- always planted May the 10th.
Perkins: What about your potatoes, do you remember when they put them in?
Cammock: Oh you put them in, I guess, any time after that, and you can dig them out while they're growing, and get them, you know, if you would need a few of them, you could dig just one place, cause there is a lot on them sometimes. But leave them stay there longer, then in fall you dig them all out, get 'em, and store them in your kitchen, over a cupboard, you know, down on the floor, down there. They didn’ t have many convenience at all in those days.
Perkins: When did you work in the garden, in the early morning?
Cammock: Morning and in the evening.
Perkins: In the evening.
Cammock: Of course the sun's too hot in the daytime. But I had a big straw hat if I went out in it.
Perkins: What kind of clothes did you wear when you worked out there?
Cammock: Oh they were old clothes then, something I like – - as a kid they had knickers, the pants that you'd come down here and you'd put at the knee there, and the men, when they were wearing derby hats. You've seen them, haven't you?
Cammock: Derby hats.
Perkins: They wouldn't wear those in the garden, though, would they?
Cammock: No, not in the garden. I mean that was the style, no. Old clothes, you know, if you go out somewhere you have to put different clothes on, when you come home you have to put on, you work in them you know.
Perkins: So you had a set of work clothes that you'd wear out when you'd come home from school?
Cammock: Yeah, yeah, like overalls mostly, like that then, you know, now you've got Sears & Roebuck stores right on site. When we wanted anything when we were kids – see we used to play ball and to get anything to play with, we had to send out to Chicago to Sears & Roebuck to get them, cause there was nothing around at all.
Perkins: How did you take care of your tools that you used in the garden? Did you just use them and put them back or did you knock -- make sure you knocked the dirt off?
Cammock: Oh you'd clean them, yeah, you'd have a rag there and clean them off. Sometimes they'd be wet from the rain and you'd have to clean them, there would be mud. If you didn't they would rust on you, some of them.
Perkins: Did you ever put oil on them after you used them?
Cammock: That's the main thing, oil.
Perkins: So you'd put oil on the rag and wipe it, wipe it with it?
Cammock: No, put it on the thing and then wipe, but you could put it on the rag just the same, you know, either one of the two.
Perkins: Did you do that every time that you used them, every time you cleaned them?
Cammock: Yeah, and I used to have clippers. Every time I would cut anything, branches off a tree, clip any big weeds up, then I'd put oil on there and keep: cause if you didn't it would all rust, you know, and it would be tight, you couldn't pull the thing apart, you had to tend to all that kind of thing. I didn't mind it, I liked it, and still had enough time to go out and playball among ourselves, you know, we had to play ball, you know. When I went to school, they didn't have nothing at school. Now they'll learn you a trade in there and everything. When I went you just went out, run the yard around, they'd give you recess for tenor fifteen minutes, there was nothing. They had no ball teams, they had no basketball teams, they had nothing those days -- there was nothing. Now they have big gymnasium and everything. Then we had a singing teacher -- do, re, fa -- all that kind of stuff. Her name was McIlvain. Yeah I know every teacher by name, from the school, every one from the way up.
Perkins: I can't even remember the names of my teachers anymore.
Cammock: Yeah I remember them all. I remember the principal, I remember him because when I went there he didn't stay long. Then one came in, the second one come in and his name was Warren Yerger, ever tell of him, Warren Yerger. He was the one stayed there a good while. See I had to leave school, I'd have loved to stayed and graduate, that's what I wanted to do, but I had to leave the school between thirteen, fourteen years old. My Father got killed, well then I was that old, there was just my Mother and a brother, you know, and I had to get out to do something to get money, so that's why I had so long with the Company. I had forty-five years with the Company. I could have had fifty if I wanted to, but just as soon as I could get a pension, I left.
Perkins: How did your Father die?
Cammock: Well he was fortunate, the other man, he was killed immediately. My Father got -- see when they blew them up, blew them out into the water, what they call a -- thing runs down near the water...
Perkins: The race?
Cammock: Yeah, the race -- he lived for a week in the hospital. I went in to see him, he was just bandaged from head to foot when I seen him. I was only about ten years old then. And I'll tell you another thing. I used to go up and carry lunch up to him, and I'd sit only thirty feet away from them mills there grinding -- great big copper wheels, see they'd have to use either copper…
Perkins: Did you realize that you could have gotten blown up?
Cammock: No, you never thought anything like that, no such a thing, you never thought anything like that, nothing in your mind, anything. Up there and sit there. Terrible grinding, yeah there was a big powder to put in the grind it up fine, you see. Big wheels grinding, oh they were great big: you'd see these trucks with them great big tires on them, the wheels would be that big, you know, grind it up, going around in a big pan, you know, grinding the thing up. No if that ever thing: they'd be hunting me in pieces, like they did them other people, you know, when they get blew up. No, there was no thought of it at all. Carry lunch up there, my brother did too, see he was two years younger than me.
Perkins: What did you bring -- what would you bring for lunch, what sorts of things would you bring?
Cammock: Oh I don't know what we brought up for him. My Mother put it up, and I'd take the basket up there and then I'd sit there while he was eating, and I didn't pay no attention what she gave him.
Perkins: How come he didn't bring the lunch himself in the morning?
Cammock: Probably he wants a hot lunch. Have to work all day, hot things -- bottle, I know, with hot coffee in it, you know. And a dish of something, I don't know, to have a hot lunch.
Perkins: He didn't want a sandwich, he wanted a hot lunch?
Cammock: Yeah, probably, I don't know whether he had a sandwich in there or not, it's so long ago. But I know I'd sit right there, thirty-five feet or so, right there -- terrible grinding noise. And anything went off, it wouldn't have been a piece of me. That was a way back in 1904, 1905. Cause the accident, then, when he got blew up, and that was 1906. Yeah, fortunately, he lived for a week. I saw him when they took me to the hospital to see him. He was all bandaged -- he got burnt, you know, with the powder, flame of it.
And then they've taken us on a trip of Hagley since, you know, and it's wonderful the way -- I never got up that far when I was little. It's beautiful up there, all the pretty trees and everything. Now we're going to have a picnic on September the 10th, up there, about forty-five, forty I think they took to question them, you know, and all. I got a letter from them telling they're going to have it that day, going to give us a picnic.
Perkins: Do you think you'll recognize anybody?
Cammock: Well there won't be many of them to recognize, because this picture, I'm going to take this picture with me, it's taken -- that's seventy years the picture was taken and there’ s thirty-some on it and there's of us living. My brother is one of them and that one went up with me when we went to interview – Ed Devenney, he's still living. And I haven't seen the other two for a long, long time, the other two. I imagine they will be there. I'm going to take that picture up and show him. See how you know it's correct that it's seventy years, cause the two little girls is holding a pennant. See we had a basketball team and we was having, you know what I mean, a banquet after and they are holding it up, and it's right on there, 1914, right on it, so you know that's seventy years, this is '84. That's seventy years that picture was taken.
And the basketball team I played on, there was eight of us on there and I'm the one living out of the eight. All of them was younger than me too. I will not take that to show them, that they won't be interested in that.
Perkins: How do you know? Do you have any other pictures?
Cammock: Oh yeah, I have pictures -- hundreds of pictures taken of another boy and I, 1916 and '17, went out on Sundays -- pictures of everybody that lived up in that place -- men and women -- everybody, you'd be surprised. Most of them are gone. I can show you a picture with seven or eight girls on there, probably there might be one living in them. I've got one -– I have many, many -- now they’ re all gone, four and five on there.
Perkins: You should bring all of those picture up there.
Cammock: I took them up there to show this Ed Devenney, but he's in bad shape, you know, he couldn’ t see, you know, he has to use a cane, he's bad off. He's one year younger than me.
Perkins: What's your secret of keeping in such good shape?
Cammock: Oh I -- here just up to recently I used to play pool and bowl, you know, kept that way, kept moving. Yeah I get along good. Gotta keep active.
Perkins: What do you do when you come here to the Senior Center?
Cammock: I've started to play pool when I first came up, but I stopped it, I didn't play anymore. Did play for a while when I came here, it's been open about five years. We were the first ones here too, I was here when they organized this place. I think there were twenty-five of us here when they first opened the place. And the first year I was here, they didn't have no meals here for the first year when they opened this place here, you know. Then in the morning they would have coffee and bring doughnuts in -- there you had different things then. When it first opened up five years ago I imagine. There was twenty-five of us here when they had the first two or three meetings, you know, and elected the first officers, yeah, about twenty-five of us. Yeah I want to take that picture up and see if we can get those five together. They said there are going to be about forty there in the letter I got from them. I think it's about forty they interviewed.
Perkins: Are the people that interviewed you gonna be at picnic?
Cammock: Well I imagine they will be, I imagine they will be. I couldn't answer that, they don't tell me that, the letter don't tell, but I imagine they would be. Yeah they interviewed me right from here, he was a very nice man, very nice.
Perkins – What sorts of questions was he asking you?
Cammock: Oh about what games you played when you were there, all that kind of stuff: what you did and all what happened, all that kind of stuff: games and different stuff.
- Growing flowers 2; Visiting Hagley; Job at DuPont Experimental StationKeywords: Carney's Point, Nj.; DuPont Experimental Station; Flowers; Free Park (Del.: Village); Hagley Museum and LibraryTranscript: Perkins: I have a whole list here of flowers that people used to grow, you know, back around the early 1900's and I was just wondering if I could maybe throw out a few and see if you used to grow them in your yard. Did you have any roses?
Cammock: Oh that's one flower they had: that was a popular flower, yeah, roses.
Perkins: What kind was that, did it grow up a trellis or grow up the side of a house?
Cammock: No, just grow on the bush, used to be pretty red, and I think they had pink too.
Perkins: Were they small flowers or were they real large flowers?
Cammock: There wasn't -- they're larger today than what they was then now, they wasn't too big, you know, they were smaller than what they are today. Flowers are different -- everything.
Perkins: What about petunias, did you ever grow petunias?
Cammock: No, not that I know of.
Perkins: What about peonies?
Cammock: Yeah, they were fond of peonies, yeah, peonies, yeah. Pansies I mean.
Perkins: M-huh, pansies. What about chrysanthemums, did you ever grow those?
Cammock: We used to, some kind of a little red flower we grew, I don't know what they called them, some kind of a little red flower I remember would come up. They were a pretty red, but I can't think of the name of them. I don't know what they called them.
Perkins: Did you grow asters?
Perkins: What about Wisteria, that's a vine?
Cammock: Oh yeah, that's one thing -- azalea, yeah.
Perkins: Do you remember what color they were?
Cammock: They were all colors. They're pretty, beautiful now when you see them. I was out looking at them where I'm living at now, and oh they come out early and oh they were beautiful. I'm surprised they're blooming now, where the others quit blooming over a month ago, and that one is blooming now -- I don't understand that.
Perkins: The azaela?
Perkins: Let's see -- nasturtiums: do you know what nasturtiums are?
Perkins: How about zinnias?
Cammock: No I don't recall them. They didn't have too many.
Perkins: How about marigolds?
Cammock: No, I don't recall them either.
Perkins: Did you ever -- did you grow anything around your out-house to hide your outhouse?
Cammock: No, no. No, all of them was that same thing, there was none of them with anything around them at all.
Perkins: You never had any strawberries? Ever grow strawberries?
Perkins: What about wild strawberries, did you ever pick them?
Cammock: No, but like I told you, went out and picked huckleberries and blackberries. There aren't many of them around now, but there was so many of them – places all built up now. Everything was like a wilderness when we were there, you know what I mean, all trees and fields. Yeah on the other side of A. I. du Pont that's all big grown up -- nothing but great big farms -- just a farm house away about half a mile out on there, and everything was that. That's where I learned to ride a bicycle right across A.I. School. I'd get on, ride a little bit on it and ride down until finally I could stay on it, ride it in there, cause there was nothing there at all. Farmer by the name of Stahl had it.
Perkins: Have you been back to Hagley recently?
Cammock: Hagley Soda House?
Perkins: Well around Hagley, around the yards. Have you been up there recently?
Cammock: No, I don't drive a car no more, so I don't get anywhere now, see. I haven't driven for about three or four years. Before you could get out a little bit, now I don't. Only times when I was up there recently when they took me up there on a tour. When they took me up there to interview, then they took me up – they took me up further than I was ever up there -- way up in there. I've seen all the mills: they had powder mills all along there.
Perkins: It looks a lot different now, doesn't it?
Cammock: Oh, yeah, that was beautiful. Up there at Free Park, you know where Free Park is, up there. When I was up there the houses only -- I was surprised when they took us up there and they stopped there and they said this was Free Park. There was nothing -- you couldn't get in there, it was just all grown up, weeds and bushes, wasn't nothing. Then went over -- a church was built, that's the only thing was up there.
Perkins: The Sunday School you mean, is that what you're talking about?
Perkins: Do you remember the gardens around there? Do you remember what that area looked like when you were a child?
Perkins: Free Park.
Cammock: Oh yeah, there was houses on both sides of the thing, everything. Some people asked me to tell them the name of the place -- Squirrel Run -- Chicken Alley – - and all those things -- Long Row.
Perkins: Do you remember people having gardens around there?
Cammock: No, I don't know too much about that. Another thing, along the Brandywine, you know from Hagley Mill up to where the plant -- the big gate you go in there – the water would -- if that's her there, see, when we were kids it would all come up and go across there. Now they put -- since I was still a kid, they put that big wall up there and it used to come all the way across and into the peoples' houses -- across on the other side there, right across the gates there. Well I see they put that great big wall all along up there now. You see the two big iron gates that you look where you go in the place, I watched them put them up. You know the year they put them up -- 1903, that's the year they put them up, I watched them do it. And I know a man who worked on that, I finally had a chance to work with him. He worked the mill and I got a chance to work with him later, nobody didn't stay on and he got retired, you know.
And then Hall of Records, you know where that was?
Cammock: Well, I don't know whether -- when I was there, there was a woman by the name of Annie Ireland, she was the one run it, then there wasn't a man run it, you wasn't mention of their name did you?
Cammock: She was the one run that, I don't know -- how I would know that, cause I carried mail there too, you see. I had a chance, I got all around there -- had mail all up there -- Keg Mill too, you see up there -- had a man named Stowe, see I carried the mail so long I remember the names. And a man in the little office, they had that little one, his name was Huston. I knew everybody.
Perkins: Is that what you did, is that what you did for du Pont?
Cammock: I first started, I carried the mail, come out from the Du Pont Building there and carried the mail from there out to -- down to the Experimental station, up there and up to the other office up there, and up the hill. And after that I seen a better job at the Experimental Station, I asked for it, they let me go then to the Experimental Station.
Perkins: And what did you do there?
Cammock: Well I got in what they call a ballistic range testing guns and ammunition. That's why I can't hear now, the guns blasting all day long, you know -- they go off -- testing powder, you see, in 1931 they transferred us over to Carney's Point, 30 some went, 40 some was over there then. Cause see they had to bring powder over from Carney's Point for us to test, you know, and they finally stopped them from bringing it through the city, you see. And then brought it over on the ferry, you see, then they put a plant for us over there. I went over there and it was terrible going over there in the wintertime. Sometimes you couldn't get over there it was that bad -- the boat would get stuck in the wharf and you couldn't go over and you'd have to go up Bridgeport and cut over that way and come over way up there at Bridgeport, to get there to come to the plant. Sometimes the water was so rough when you'd come in to turn in to the Marine Terminal down there, they had to go way down and turn around and get in there, afraid the darned boat would be capsized. It was bad, the weather was bad then to what it is now. I got around a lot.
Perkins: Well, I think I’ ve asked you all the questions that I want to know about, what I need to know about.
Cammock: You know of anything, or any other time you want anything, if I can be of any help, only too glad to do anything.
Perkins: Okay, well I appreciate...
Cammock: I hope that will help you out some, you know what I mean.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.