Interview with William Ball "Billy" Montgomery, 1988 April 29 [audio]

Hagley ID:
  • Folk songs and music groups; May Day celebrations and activities around Breck's Mill; Honey hunts and pranking Hallock du Pont; Putting firecracker's into a minister's pocket
    Keywords: Baseball; Basketball; Breck's Lane (Del.: Village); Breck's Mill Cronies; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, S. Hallock (Samuel Hallock), 1901-1974; Hagee's tavern; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Henry Clay Del. Village); Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; May Day; music; Parades; singing; Softball; Tancopanican Band; The Brandywiners
    Transcript: Bennett: This is Peggy Bennett and I'm on my way to the home of Billy Montgomery, 181 Breck's Lane. Mr. Montgomery seems extremely shy of the microphone, always worrying about what he sounds like. This is compounded by his soft voice and a hearing problem. I am using a microphone which adds to his discomfort, but I think necessary. Off tape he is relaxed and much easier to communicate with. Questions will be probably will be repeated by me today as I'm not sure what is and what is not on the tape. He and his wifeboth grew up in Henry Clay, and Mr. Montgomery lived most of his life in the house at 181 Breck's Lane. He is a very good source of information, I think, if we could get him to talk.

    (Later) You know I'm gonna check first to make sure. yes, it's going. This is April 29, 1988, and it's nice being back with you again, Mr. Montgomery. The last time I was here we were talking about Breck's Mill and Hagee's and groups of people that were singing and you mentioned a song, "On the Banks of the Brandywine" and you said you had never heard the words sung the way you knew them., Is that what you told me.

    Montgomery: No, I only knew about the first stanza.

    Bennett: Oh, just the first stanza, okay. Do you remember the words to the song?

    Montgomery: Yeah, I sang them to you.

    Bennett: You sang them - okay. Do you want to sing for me?

    Montgomery: I'm not gonna sing the whole the thing.

    Bennett: Here's the music.

    Montgomery: This don't seem like the ones I...

    Bennett: See, that's what you said before, that you felt that the words - it was different than - maybe - this is what I asked you last night, if you remembered the words.

    Montgomery: All I knew was "Amongst the hills, the powder mills, as a boy I did wander" I think.

    Bennett: You know what I think, somebody wrote personal words.

    Montgomery: This doesn't even look like - I told you a girl from Chadd's Ford had a different version of it, got up and sang it down at Hagee's one night. I can't remember how her's went. No, this isn't.

    Bennett: That's the - and then the music, that is the music there, and I copied the words on the paper from the music, so I think somebody in the area probably wrote their own...

    Montgomery: No, it's much different.

    Bennett: It's much different?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: They would sing your version at Breck's Mill?

    Montgomery: Yeah, we would sit down there - older ones I told you.

    Bennett: Yeah.

    Montgomery: They didn't have much to do, to go places like we have now, and it seemed like the older ones, at least one generation, they had a mind that they were all very good harmonizers - the Brandywiners practiced down there.

    Bennett: Were they part of the Brandywiners, or the Breck's Mill Cronies at that point?

    Montgomery: No, these were just...

    Bennett: Do you remember who was among the group of people that sang?

    Montgomery: The two Lloyds.

    Bennett: The two Lloyds?

    Montogmery: Leon and Jackie Lloyd, brothers, Albert Buchanan, now his son's my age, I play golf with him.

    Bennett: So this was the father?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: Okay.

    Montogmery: And Felix Flannigan, called him Nick, I don't know, the boy's name is Felix, I don't know what the father's first name was. They used to live right under the parking lot outside the Hall of Records, under the bridge was a double hung there.

    Bennett: Were there any gals - ladies in this musical group?

    Montogmery: No, it was too late at night.

    Bennett: Beg pardon?

    Montgomery: Too late at night.

    Bennett: Oh, okay, too late at night for them. You said they would sing leaning against the wall or sitting on the wall - they would sing anywhere that they had a chance to, would they?

    Woman: When they had too much to drink I guess.

    Montgomery: Oh, when Hagee's closed, they had to go somewhere.

    Bennett: That was some night I guess.

    Montgomery: Cops never come by and bother you - today they probably would.

    Bennett: Yeah, yeah. It was a neat place, it's a shame. Well, I'll let you have that for the words, maybe sometime you might remember some of the others that you sang. About how many altogether would you say were in this group that sang?

    Montgomery: Oh, maybe only a carload.

    Bennett: And you know another thing you told me about that I've never heard of was on Memorial Day, you said Alfred I. had a - no, May Day, excuse me, had a parade.

    Montgomery: May Day - up Breck's Lane to the community center.

    Bennett: To the - from where?

    Montgomery: From Breck's Lane, which was the winter headquarters, and it had the summer playground up here where the...

    Woman: On the bottom of the hill, bottom of Breck's Lane. Now when you're talking...

    Montogmery: They paraded up.

    Bennett: Okay, they paraded from Breck's Mill, from Breck's Mill up to...

    Montgomery: Three fourths of the way on Breck's Lane on the left. Before the homes was built was a community playground. I told you they had all activities, dancing and built a platform and have a dance maybe once, and band concerts and they had wrestling bouts and boxing bouts. This is all in addition to the regular slides and swings and things they had.

    Bennett: And this was Alfred I. that did this?

    Montgomery: As far as I know, he was the biggest sponsor of that. And in the summertime they'd bring - ones from different playgrounds in the City out by truck. Well, they'd be up here a while and eat their lunch and all, then they'd go in the Brandywine and swim, and they had showers in the lower part of Breck's Mill, and they'd come back up here again. And you had a caretakers lived in the old toll house all year 'round, and they had a woman supervisor in the summertime for the girls.

    Bennett: It wasn't like a camp that they slept overnight, just a day camp, in other words?

    Montgomery: Just day, yeah.

    Bennett: Day camp. I don't think I've ever heard of that. Did you ever take a shower in Breck's Mill?

    Montgomery: No, I told you, we were never allowed down the creek to swim.

    Bennett: But I thought maybe with athletic activities or something.

    Montgomery: Well that really phased out before I started playing sports.

    Bennett: Oh, okay.

    Montgomery: It was the old Mt. Vermon basketball team and they had gymnastic teams, you know, bars and all.

    Bennett: Was that on the first level?

    Montgomery: They used all three, the gymnasium was on the third, it was very small, that's where...

    Bennett: Upstairs you mean, on the third floor?

    Montgomery: That's where Andre Harvey has his sculptures.

    Bennett: Studio, yes.

    Montgomery: Studio.

    Bennett: What was on the second floor?

    Montgomery: Another, gymnastics.

    Bennett: Do you remember his band, the Tancopanican Band, Alfred I.'s?

    Montgomery: No.

    Bennett: That was before your time. Do you know where they played, which floor? Do you have any idea where they practiced?

    Montgomery: No, I wouldn't.

    Bennett: Okay. This was a big affair, then, on May Day, really?

    Montgomery: All summer long there was activities going on over there.

    Bennett: But it started on May Day with a parade. What was in the parade - a band or...

    Montgomery: Well, the girls’ softball team, with their bloomers.

    Bennett: Do you remember the name of the softball team?

    Montgomery: No, I don't remember if they even had one. I can faintly remember some of the women, maybe what-you-call-em played with them - Catherine Hackendorn...

    Bennett: Hackendorn - Catherin Hackendorn Sheldrick.

    Montgomery: Maybe she did. They were from the lower part of the Lane, there weren't any from up here, or on both sides of the creek that - was more populated than was up here. See these homes were built later in years.

    Bennett: Would you tell me again, I know you told me, but I'm just not positive that's it's on the tape - the story of the - the honey wagon story, let's put it that way.

    Montgomery: The honey what?

    Bennett: The honey wagon - is that what it was?

    Montgomery: The honey hunt.

    Bennett: Honey hunt, excuse me, the honey hunt, okay, where did I get wagon? Would you tell that to me again?

    Montgomery: Well, regular neighborhood, some greenhorn come over that they'd feel was an easy catch, they’ d talk, want to know if they wanted to go honey hunting. They went up to the -- which is now the DuPont Company, where the golf courses were there was a lot of trees, and an advance party would go ahead with shotgun and they would give him a bucket to climb a tree, tell him where the honey was. When he got up in the tree, why they'd - the ones that had taken him up, or the advance party would let both barrels go and he'd almost fall down out of the tree, and the other ones on the ground would catch him, bring him down to Hagee's, which was the general store then, and Agnes's uncle, Simon Dormer, he performed - he was judge, or magistrate, and gonna lock him up, so they locked him up for a few hours in the back part of the building, and then they'd let him go. I told you - Chick Laird told me they pulled it on Hallock du Pont, I didn't think he...

    Bennett: I knew that you had told me a du Pont, but I had forgotten which one, he fell for it. Did they put him in jail too?

    Montgomery: I don't know.

    Bennett: You don't know. Were you ever a part of this?

    Montgomery: No, it's a generation before mine.

    Bennett: Do you know if it was the same group of people that did it all the time?

    Montgomery: Mostly.

    Bennett: Can you name any of them?

    Montgomery: I imagine...

    Bennett: Dorman?

    Montgomery: Well, he was the...

    Bennett: The magistrate?

    Montgomery: Magistrate, I imagine the Hackendorn boys were in on it.

    Bennett: I don't think that she told me the story, but I don't know. How often would they do this, would you say?

    Montgomery: Whenever they got a catch.

    Bennett: That's funny.

    Montgomery: And they had a barbershop there, general store, post office and he sold fireworks all year 'round, which wasn't legal, nobody ever bothered him.

    Bennett: That amazes me.

    Montogmery: I told you about the black minister who used to go from door to door, solicit dimes or quarters, what ever they could get for the church, small churches in town, about them giving one of them a box to read out of his Bible or say a few words, and they put a pack of firecrackers in his pocket and lit it, and he flew out scared to death.

    Bennett: Did that happen very often?

    Montogmery: No.
  • Sledding on Breck's Lane and other area roads; Fourth of July celebrations; Playing with marbles; Smoking corn silk and tobacco; Grandfather's relationship with Alfred I. du Pont
    Keywords: Barley Mill Lane; Blacksmithing; Breck's Lande (Del.: Village); Centerville,Del.; Cigarettes; Cigars; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, S. Hallock (Samuel Hallock), 1901-1974; Flexible Flyer sled; Fourth of July; Free Park (Del.: Village); Marbles; Nemours (Greenville, Del.: Dwelling); Parades; Pipes (smoking); Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Sensation tobacco; Sledding; Tobacco; Toboggans
    Transcript: Bennett: Just once in a while for a good joke, huh? The sled that you showed me, I want to make sure that this is on the tape. This is your Mother's sled.

    Montgomery: Built by her Father, was my Grandfather, Alec...

    Bennett: Would you name him again?

    Montgomery: Alec Betty.

    Bennett: Alex Brady.

    Montgomery: Betty, Betty.

    Bennett: Betty, yeah, okay.

    Montgomery: He was a blacksmith.

    Bennett: At the yards?

    Montgomery: Not the yards, no, I told you that.

    Bennett: Well, see I forget.

    Montgomery: On his own somewhere around Centerville. He made the runners and the whole sled.

    Bennett: He made the runners up there, okay. I know that it has those two holes in the center, and I asked you what they were, would you tell me again?

    Montgomery: Well my brother got a hold of two long runners, steel runners almost six to eight foot long, and he built the sides and the top, and we hooked it on back of that, and more or less as a toboggan type, which would get six-seven on it, and we'd make a mound of snow. Then there was no traffic, you could very easy sled here, or Barley Mill Lane or any of them.

    Bennett: Did you go down Breck's Lane?

    Montgomery: Oh yeah.

    Bennett: This was where you sledded the most, right in this area?

    Montgomery: Yeah, too heavy to pull somewhere else.

    Bennett: Oh yeah, those little sleds are really...

    Montgomery: Not that - the toboggan part.

    Bennett: No, no -- yeah it would be heavy. I think the sled that they have in the Gibbons House at Hagley -- have you seen that sled?

    Montgomery: We were in there - I told you about going up there when they tried to revive - St. Joseph's tried to revive an old picnic - you know, where they were held originally.

    Bennett: Right across there, I think on the hill, wasn't it?

    Montogmery: Up near Hallock’ s -- Mr. Hallock's residence, on the left there, and I think that was always on the Fourth of July and they had dancing and music and a full day of celebration. Denomination didn't mean anything, the whole neighborhood was included. They paraded from the church over to there.

    Bennett: They paraded from the church to the picnic on the Fourth of July?

    Montgomery: Uh-huh. I was trying to think of the man's name tried to revive it a few years ago, and he had it up by the Gibbons House, not far from Flea Park, isn't the Gibbons House near there?

    Bennett: Yes.

    Montgomery: Before there weren’ t any stairs, we went through it.

    Bennett: Okay, yeah, uh- huh. And the sled that I was referring to is upstairs. And that's the one that was made out of a shoe box, and that is heavy.

    Montgomery: It's actually cardboard or wood?

    Bennett: No, it's wood - no, no - it was a packing box probably that so many pairs of shoes were packed in, because it mentions on the bottom some shoe company out of New York I think.

    Montgomery: Oh years ago they didn't use cardboard for a lot of things.

    Bennett: Wood.

    Montgomery: Yeah - canned food and stuff like that all...

    Bennett: Uh-huh, yeah. Do you remember any other parades?

    Montgomery: No, but I seen that "Workers' World" they had, evidently, one at the bottom of the hill. I never knew of that, or never had any pictures of that until, that fascinated me when we bought that.

    Bennett: Well this is what the interview is all about, is to learn about different things that happened, that's why we're doing this. Did you use your mother's sled in this area, other than - I mean just when you were little, because when you were older was when you made the toboggan, or did you...

    Montgomery: No, we had a Flexible Flyer, as I told you. We’ d use that as a runner, we'd push it down a hill. Over on Garrett Copeland's hill we sledded a lot, and see who would be the first one to catch it. Nobody would be on it, in fact we used to get corrugated tin, a whole sheet about three by eight or whatever they are, and bend the front up, and sit on it and slide down, where Garrett Copeland at Rokeby.

    Bennett: Today they have those saucers that the children are using, that's similar to what, I think, you were doing in that day. You were making it more of a toboggan I guess.

    Montgomery: No, we just left it in once piece like a flying rug.

    Bennett: Yeah, okay, yes, like Arabian Nights.

    Montgomery: All of our kids had those saucers.

    Bennett: You know what else I'd like to take with me, a couple of those marbles that you showed me, the clay ones, to see if he thinks they’ re clay marbles, or if maybe we thought they might be Chinese Checker marbles, remember?

    Montgomery: Well some of them aren’ t perfectly round, I don't believe they're Chinese Checkers, know what I mean? Were you shooting marbles last Saturday?

    Bennett: Beg pardon?

    Montgomery: Were you shooting marbles last Saturday, let me see your knuckle.

    Bennett: No.

    Montgomery: Guys I had to shoot with their knuckles were all cracked, they were out in the cold. Kids today, they wouldn't go out in the cold.

    Bennett: Where would you play?

    Montgomery: Anyplace outdoors. And you're talking about bean bags, that's a girls' game.

    Bennett: Uh-huh. Did you play with a bean bag, Mrs. Montgomery?

    Woman: Not that I know of, can't remember.

    Montgomery: We had them around here, I don't know what become of them, probably needed the beans to eat.

    Bennett: Or maybe, the squirrels or something else got the beans, that’ s probably what it was. We did discuss the other toys, I think, or games. How about tobacco? Did the boys smoke?

    Montgomery: Corn silk.

    Bennett: Corn silk, okay. Did you get sick from it?

    Montgomery: No, look, it's raining now.

    Bennett: Yeah. Was there a lot of smoking, the boys with the corn silk, was that sort of a common thing to do?

    Montgomery: Oh yes.

    Bennett: Do you remember tobacco down at the stores?

    Montgomery: Oh, I used to have to walk down - my Grandfather always smoked a corncob pipe, Sensation, I don't know if it's even made today.

    Bennett: What is it?

    Montgomery: Sensation, I used to always have to walk down to the general store to get that for him.

    Bennett: No, that's another one I haven't heard of. And he smoked a corncob pipe?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: Did your father smoke a pipe or cigars?

    Montgomery: He'd walk a mile for a Camel.

    Bennett: Okay. Did your grandfather smoke anything but a pipe?

    Montgomery: Well, Mr. du Pont used to give him cigars, good boxes of cigars -- at least at Christmas. Only time he'd smoke one was on his way walking to church, so that's when I started smoking them.

    Woman: He'd steal them.

    Montgomery: I've smoked cigars and pipe all my life, I've never smoked over a handful of cigarettes.

    Bennett: So you were smoking Mr. du Pont's gift to your grandfather, huh?

    Montgomery: Yeah. Of course he'd keep them so long they'd kind of get dry and crack, they weren't wrapped in cellophane then.

    Bennett: Tell me about your relationship, your grandfather's relationship with Mr. du Pont, way back, is that correct?

    Montgomery: Oh yeah, I think this was when he landed in Philly and came down this way, from Ireland, and that was his first job up at the powder mills. And I think he must have took a special liking to him to build this home for him because he didn't build too many for too many others.

    Bennett: And then you said when Mr. du Pont left the yards, your grandfather went with him at Nemours.

    Montgomery: Right.

    Bennett: And did he always give him cigars, or did he give him other things as well, do you remember?

    Montgomery: Oh he'd visit here at least every Christmas.

    Bennett: Did you get to know Mr. du Pont?

    Montgomery: From here, yeah. He'd bring maybe a silver pen set like that, along with the cigars.

    Bennett: And you did mention about Mr. du Pont wanting him to learn to drive?

    Montgomery: Yeah, he said he'd give him a car if he'd learn to drive.

    Bennett: He figured it would be less trouble than getting the chauffeur to come for him every day.

    Montgomery: Oh it wasn't a chauffered, it was a regular truck, pick-up truck.

    Bennett: He would pick him up. Would Mr. du Pont do this for a group of the people that lived in the area, was that his way of getting them to work at more?

    Montgomery: To my knowledge he was the only one that got transportation up. 'Cause I remember being over at the golf course hunting balls, we really weren't allowed to go that far. I'd see the truck coming down, Grandfather looking, I'd flop right down on the ground so they couldn't recognize me, then scoot for home.

    Bennett: Then your grandparents gave you boundaries, you couldn't go - I know you weren't allowed down to the Brandywine...

    Montgomery: No.

    Bennett: And how far could you go west and east - just so many blocks, is that...

    Montgomery: Unless they caught me by then.

    Bennett: What age were you then, Mr. Montgomery?

    Montgomery: I don't know.

    Bennett: Before you went to school?

    Montgomery: Oh, way after that.

    Bennett: After that?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: Do you remember how your grandfather felt about Mr. du Pont and his duty to him, did he feel that he liked him and wanted to do excellent work, or did he just do it for a job?

    Montgomery: No, very much - I told you that I had the book, "The Rebel", and to my knowledge his was the only name in it, my Grandfather's. That picture I showed you that Mrs. Paul - Mrs. Paul du Pont and Alfred I. up in front of Nemours in the picture, and when the photographer told Mr. du Pont to look more stern, and my Grandfather spoke up, and it had his name in "The Rebel" - Thomas Montgomery, employee, spoke up and said he couldn't be mean if he tried to be, so he must have idolized.

    Bennett: A lot of people did, it seems like.

    Montgomery: Now the book they sell up at Nemours now, our son was on from Spokane, he went up and he bought one. It just had a worker stated that, it didn't have my Grandfather's name in it, it was different than the version of "The Rebel”  , "The Rebel" was a smaller book.

    Bennett: The one that I have is,'Alfred I. du Pont, The Family Rebel."

    Montgomery: Yeah, well I think that's the same thing.

    Bennett: Same as yours, or...

    Montgomery: Well I don't have it, I told you we loaned it out.

    Bennett: Yeah, but is that the same, or is the one that your son...

    Montgomery: No, he bought the one they're selling over there now.

    Bennett: That's where I got mine.

    Montgomery: As you tour the park.
  • Living conditions on the Brandywine; Mean's hats and clothing; Famous people known by Alfred I. du Pont; Pen knives and other objects; Carving names into beech trees; Local "characters" from the neighborhood; Neighborhood rivalries
    Keywords: Catholics; Clothing; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Edison, Thomas A., 1847-1931; Green Hill Presbyterian Church (Wilmington, Del.); Hagee's tavern; Hats; Indoor plumbing; Irish people; Protestants; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Scottish people; Sousa, John Philip, 1854-1932; Sullivan, John L., 1858-1918; Swamp Hall (Henry Clay, Del.: Dwelling); Walker's Bank (Del.: Village)
    Transcript: Bennett: I looked, but you know, it's a big book, and I looked in the back and I didn't see the name Montgomery, because lots of times they list, you know, the person that's mentioned, but as I read through again, I'll remember. How did you family, your father and your grandparents, and you, feel about the living conditions in the area. Was everybody satisfied would you say?

    Montgomery: Oh, very much so. They talk about a tavern on this side of Hagee's. The ones from St. Joeseph's, they got out of church earlier than the ones come down from Greenhill, the Irish from St. Joseph's and Scotts from Greenhill - I don't remember any Scotts being here, that they would kind of mix up a little bit. One would be at one end of the bar, and the other would be at the other end of the bar. So I mean both places that we lived, why we just had as many, my Grandmother and them had as many Catholic visitors as they did protestants. I mean there was a lot of harmony around.

    Bennett: People were really together rather than...

    Montgomery: Yeah, anybody got sick, they would be the first one to come, sometimes they had a relative.

    Bennett: You had indoor plumbing here which a lot of people didn't have. Did this make you feel special or lucky?

    Montgomery: Didn't think of it then.

    Bennett: You appreciated it, though, I'll bet.

    Montgomery: Oh yeah.

    Bennett: It was almost a novelty I guess. I would imagine that it would. Do you remember that all the men wore hats?

    Montgomery: Oh definitely, yes.

    Bennett: Do you know why?

    Montgomery: Straw hat or a derby for each season.

    Bennett: Do you know why they did it?

    Montgomery: Nope.

    Bennett: Every picture you see, every man has his head covered. Did you wear hats?

    Montgomery: I showed you my Easter bonnet.

    Bennett: I know, when the time the Easter Bunny came.

    Montgomery: No, I got away with it for a long while. Recently I've been wearing it. I heard that the fastest way to catch a cold is through the head. I bought a new felt hat in Schuster's once, I was over visiting her and I come along the creek and the wind blew it over the wall, I said "Forget it, I'm not gonna climb the wall and go down there and get it." Someone come along and seen it and thought I was in the Brandywine.

    Bennett: Do you remember if the foremen dressed differently than the workers?

    Montgomery: Well, on Sunday they all dressed...

    Bennett: No, I meant like - can you picture, let's say, the boss of one of the -- who would go to work dressed a little -- maybe with a tie and shirt rather than...

    Montgomery: Oh, perhaps a little more better than the working men. Now they mingled too, when he had his hand, there was some of his family played in it and there were some who worked in the mills played in it.

    Bennett: Do you remember who?

    Montgomery: No. I know what I read, he played about six instruments, Alfred I. himself. And he got friendly with John Phillip Sousa, and he'd take the whole band up by stage coach. Tommy Dunlop was talking about the barn where they kept the horses and the stage.

    Bennett: Up here?

    Montgomery: Yeah. And he was friendly with John L. Sullivan, I guess he met the elbow with him. And he got friendly with Tom Edison, and this was, his home down here was the first home in the State of Delaware to have electricity in.

    Bennett: Swamp Hall?

    Montgomery: Swamp Hall.

    Bennett: Do you remember any of these people visit - oh you were too young, or you weren't born yet?

    Montgomery: No.

    Bennett: You just have heard about these - from your Grandfather and Father?

    Montgomery: Well, I've read a lot of books.

    Bennett: But do you know if they had ever met any of these people or seen them?

    Montgomery: Who?

    Bennett: Your grandfather or father - Sousa or Edison or anybody?

    Montgomery: No, I don't believe so. Tom Edison's son lived in Westover Hills at one time.

    Bennett: Oh, he did?

    Montgomery: He's deceased too.

    Bennett: He worked for the DuPont Company, do you know?

    Montgomery: I don't know who he worked for.

    Bennett: Did you have any horses here?

    Montgomery: No - chickens, turkeys, guineas - not Italian.

    Bennett: Did you have a penknife?

    Montgomery: Oh sure -- that's another thing Alfred I. would bring my Grandfather as a gift -- one of those with numerous things, scissors and everything, pearl handled.

    Bennett: Do you have any of those?

    Montgomery: I don't thing so. Our children got a hold of things, and you know how they are, they kinda...

    Bennett: Yeah, they probably used them - would be a natural boy's possession. If you had a penknife, did you have, let's say, a lucky coin or a lucky charm – or what else did you carry in your pockets?

    Montgomery: Oh we didn't have many coins.

    Bennett: No, I guess not.

    Montgomery: I guess we all had penknives because - not this row of beeches but down further, Copper Beech, you can see, real tall, there was two, each side of his driveway. We used the same entrance, but ours comes up to the left, his went to the right over to his house and he had two of them big Copper Beech trees there and they're full of names from ones from the neighborhood carving their names on it. And some of them are really up high. In fact over in Copeland's woods there's a lot of beech trees and they also names are carved all over them.

    Bennett: Do you ever go back and look at the ones over here, have you looked at them lately?

    Montgomery: No, oh yeah -- we got -- our kids started writing dog's names and their on these ones nearby, so I got, got all our grandchildren to put the date alongside.

    Bennett: Oh, okay, you're gonna keep it up, sure, that's a good idea. Do you remember any people that were called like characters, or a little different than the normal in the neighborhood?

    Montgomery: Casters?

    Bennett: Characters, you know, like...

    Montgomery: Oh, characters.

    Bennett: Yes, strange, different, unusual.

    Montgomery: Oh yeah, oh as I say, everybody had nicknames.

    Bennett: Tell me about them.

    Montgomery: Oh I did.

    Bennett: I don't know whether I have it on the tape.

    Montgomery: Where'd you pick it up about Hick Kindbeiter. I told you I got along with him fairly well.

    Bennett: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Montgomery: Tommy Dunlop's two brothers are much taller, real tall, over six foot, and I was walking with them and we passed Hick by himself, and he says, "Two boys and one man," he evidently didn't like the Dunlops and they had their lips drawn, but they didn't say nothin' to him. I got friendly with him, we went eight years to St. Joseph's, he come down to Alexis I.

    Bennett: Your mother died young.

    Woman: I think so, uh-huh.

    Bennett: And there was, I think, five of them, I think.

    Montgomery: Three boys and at least three girls, weren't there. Margaret was the younger girl, she was a pretty girl, she died young, Hick died young.

    Woman: And there was Rose, Catherine - were they twins or not?

    Bennett: I think there were twins, yes.

    Montgomery: Which one married Hazzard - one of them married Hazzard.

    Woman: Catherine.

    Montgomery: There must have been six, three and three.

    Bennett: Was - were some streets in the neighborhood thought to be a better street than another street?

    Montgomery: Up here there was a little friction between the ones along the creek on both sides - we played them in sports, usually over at Alexis I. Mostly pickup, you know, then basketball and football and baseball. And there was a little friction between the kids up here and the ones down there until later years when we started mingling.

    Bennett: Was it because of the neighborhood or was it because one group were better players than the other?

    Montgomery: No, I think the ones down there thought the ones up here had a little better living conditions.

    Bennett: Okay, but you got along well?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: So this was really called the good part, up here, the good area? Were you allowed to go barefoot in the summer?

    Montgomery: Oh yeah.

    Bennett: Did you like going barefoot?

    Montgomery: No, not too much, tender feet.

    Bennett: Me too. Did you go barefoot, Mrs. Montgomery?

    Woman: All the time, summertime...

    Montgomery: She had the warmest house in Wilmington. They got their heat from the DuPont Experimental Station.

    Woman: We had steam heat and our house was always warm, hot, we always had to keep a door...

    Montgomery: They took care of them - there were five girls.

    Bennett: Maybe we better say for the tape that Mrs. Montgomery lived in the gate house over at Walker's Bank, and that was why, did all the houses get heat from the...

    Woman: No, just ours, just ours. Ours was called the tenant house. See my Father was a boss there.

    Montgomery: Gate house, wasn't it?

    Woman: Well, yeah, gate house. I don't know, they could have called it tenant house.

    Montgomery: And they were a little ornery, them girls. I had a Model T and they'd throw tomatoes at me when I'd drive by. Then they'd go up and steal golf balls, the pro up there would come down and tell their father and that put an end to that.

    Bennett: You had your fun.

    Montgomery: Oh yeah.
  • Courtship and dating; His wife helping to raise her younger sisters; Marriage; Military Service; Giving up on marriage to take care of aging family members; Haircuts and personal grooming; Favorite childhood toys; Grandfather's garden and homemade foods; Household rules
    Keywords: Chow-chow; Copeland, Lammot du Pont, 1905-1983; Craven, Wilhelmina Laird, 1916-2008; Dating; Gardens; Grooming; Haircuts; Joseph Bancroft and Sons Co.; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Living rooms; Marriage; Parlors; Potatoes; Relationships; Rules; United States Army
    Transcript: Bennett: Tell me a little bit about courting and dating and so forth.

    Montgomery: Her?

    Bennett: Well, if you want to tell on yourself, that's okay.

    Montgomery: I had an eye on her older sister, she's the middle one and her older sister was in my class. She's five and a half years younger than I am. I had my eye on her, I guess, and she come along - she had cast a different eye. I was riding a bicycle once and she almost pulled me off it. I can't tell you how long we went together, it was quite a while.

    Bennett: I think that was the normal in those days.

    Montgomery: I didn't get married until I went in the Army, Uncle Sam called me up then.

    Bennett: But courtships were long. How often, alright, how old were you when you started dating, not necessarily Mrs. Montgomery?

    Montgomery: Well we met in school too. The grades and the high school used the same auditoriums for study hall, so I was talking one day instead of studying – teacher said, "I'll fix his speed." She puts me over with the grade girls and I ended up right next to her, or a seat apart, teacher didn't know that we were friendly.

    Bennett: Before, maybe not just you because of the war, but did you plan on, let's say, a hope chest, did you have to have so much money, did you have a long courtship for that reason?

    Woman: No, not really. His aunt, you know, she was very good to us. If I had a birthday, she would buy me something, like sugar and creamer and I'd put that away. But see, as he said, I'm five and a half years younger than he. My Mother died when I was young, so as each one got a certain age, the other one quit school and had to take care of the house, see there were five girls of us. But when I quit school, why I let my two younger sisters finish, graduate from high school, and I stayed at home to take care of the rest of them.

    Bennett: In other words, you stayed home to care for the house and So my other two sisters could finish their schooling.

    Bennett: But I mean the older ones, did they marry?

    Woman: Well, yeah.

    Bennett: And that's why you had to quit?

    Woman: Yeah. Well I didn't like school anyway.

    Bennett: Oh, okay, so it was no chore for you to quit?

    Woman: No, no, and I wanted my two sisters, my two younger ones to finish. I was more or less - I mean they were very young when my Mother died and I felt like I should take care of them. Now the two older ones, they took their turn until I became...

    Bennett: Until you got old enough?

    Woman: U-huh.

    Bennett: Did they marry?

    Woman: Yes.

    Bennett: And when they left, did you have to ask, or did most of them ask permission to marry, did you have to ask your dad?

    Woman: No, because I didn't marry until I was twenty-four.

    Bennett: But how about your sisters, when they were younger?

    Montgomery: Well, they probably had to get their permission, but my two younger ones, my younger sister why, let's see, she's four years younger than me and the fourth one is two years younger, and I felt like they should have their education.

    Bennett: Have something, yeah. So you stayed home so they could go to school – now Mr. Montgomery, your aunt, that was your...

    Montgomery: My Father's sister.

    Bennett: Father's sister lived here also, and she never married, she stayed and took care of her mother and father?

    Montgomery: Yes.

    Bennett: Did this happen in a lot of families?

    Montgomery: Yeah, I think it did, because there was the Bonner family down the creek and a couple of those girls never married. And when I went in the -- I didn't want to go in the Army, and they sent someone from the Red Cross out here and she wouldn't here tell that I would be drafted. And in the meantime Flo and one of her other sisters was working at the Station, younger, they moved up here too.

    Woman: We moved up here so his aunt wouldn't be by herself.

    Montgomery: The four years I was in the Service. But then after I went in the Service, some general was going over my records and said, "Montgomery, you've got a dependent, you can get out." I said, "It's a fine time to tell me now, I tried to stay out - I'm in, I might as well stay in because you'll only catch me later on."

    Bennett: You had started, yes. Now was it common that maybe one of the girls of a family would stay home and take care of the aging parents?

    Woman: Well I think that was true a long time ago, you know.

    Bennett: That's what I mean.

    Woman: Yes.

    Bennett: They would give up marriage?

    Woman: Yeah, because his aunt went with Johnny Oliver for a long, long time.

    Montgomery: He had a brother got hurt in the mill, but the whole family is dead now. And he had a sister that never married. Yeah, we told you before, it seems like it runs in cycles in families the Ferraro's, and I told you about the Sterling's which had a general store up here and they made quite a bit of money off the Du Pont Company, 'cause they was the biggest general store in the area, and they all - three of them, I guess they went to business school, they taught me in Sunday School, and one of them was private secretary for Lammot. I told you all that.

    Bennett: Uh-huh, but I don't think we had it on tape. I really, I think that was, I don't think so, Mr. Montgomery.

    Montgomery: This was the second time.

    Bennett: Well, I thought we had chatted after, because that's when we talked about the Ferraro's never marrying.

    Montgomery: Could have been.

    Bennett: I think this is why I'm asking some of these again. Did we discuss your haircuts, I think we did, didn't we?

    Montgomery: Discuss them with my wife.

    Bennett: I don't know why oh, about the old barbershop?

    Montgomery: Used to be an old barbershop next to Hagee's on this side, and her father would take the five girls over there and make them all get boy cuts.

    Woman: Boy cuts, real short haircuts. Well they weren't bad then.

    Bennett: In the summer was this?

    Woman: Yeah.

    Bennett: I read where some of them had their hair shaved, right after school for the summertime.

    Montgomery: Oh yeah. Now Porky Oliver, there's a golf course named after him, lived at the top of the lane in a frame house that's tore down, the masonry home there now - every summer those three boys - shaved all theway off.

    Bennett: Is this, yeah, that was sort of tradition.

    Montgomery: Well, it was conserved it too, I mean, didn't have to...

    Bennett: It saved money.

    Montgomery: Yeah. His father was a bus operator and I don't know what happened, but he ended up down in Bancroft Woolen Mills.

    Bennett: Do you remember any other customs about hair cutting? How long did you have long hair?

    Montogmery: I don't remember - still got it long -- can you cut hair?

    Bennett: It looks good -- you've got it, listen, a lot of men don't have it.

    Woman: And he's proud of his hair, don't you think he’ s not.

    Bennett: I don't blame him, I don't blame him.

    Montgomery: That's the only way I can remember my Father, being bald, so he must have went bald very young.

    Woman: Yeah, there's a picture of him, he doesn't have no hair.

    Bennett: He is bald!

    Woman: Yeah, he's proud of that hair.

    Montgomery: I never remember him having it.

    Bennett: He looks like him except your father has a rounder face, but in here, he looks like him, doesn't he?

    Woman: Yeah, he does, he looks very much like him.

    Bennett: With hair. Do you remember the ladies maybe Curling their hair with the curlers or permanents or dyeing, do you remember any of that at Hagley?

    Woman: No. I think at one time they used to get string – or like cloth and roll their hair up, like rags.

    Bennett: Well see that what, mostly the men don't worry about those kind of things. What would you say was the most important thing your grandparents and your father taught you?

    Montgomery: Discipline.

    Bennett: What was your most cherished possession that you had as a child, what did you like the most?

    Montgomery: I had something like a merry-go-round, you had to wind it up and it went around and around. It was more like a swing and tapered.

    Bennett: Did you ever make any toys, or did anybody every make any toys for you, homemade toys?

    Montgomery: I don't believe so. See my Father remarried.

    Bennett: And your grandfather...

    Montgomery: Continually worked, he used to have a garden all the way over to that other home. Potatoes that would last all winter long.

    Bennett: What else did he do in the garden - what did he plant that you remember?

    Montgomery: Everything in general. Then during the war, my family only kept a fourth of it, and three of the neighbors took the other three fourths. So when I come home they had given it up. And I at one took the whole thing over, and believe me, it's a lot of work.

    Bennett: And a lot of work for the kitchen, canning and so forth.

    Montgomery: Oh yeah. My aunt and Grandmother, and I maybe husked some of the corn - we'd spend all day making chow-chow. We'd go over - we had a pump and a well, platform out there, I'd go there to husk the corn, shell the lima beans and things.

    Bennett: But you know, that was always so good, anybody's chow-chow is good. It was very different, it was never the same.

    Woman: But it was a lot of work, lot of work.

    Bennett: Oh yeah, yeah. And what you buy in the jars isn't as good. I've got a delicious chili sauce recipe and I haven't made it now for a few years, but I know what you mean.

    Woman: Yeah, his aunt used to make Chili sauce too.

    Bennett: What, in your house, growing up, did you think was the most beautiful thing, what was it that the family would, let's say - oh don't touch, be careful?

    Montgomery: I don't recall.

    Bennett: Nothing.

    Woman: Very seldom, did you sit in the parlor when you were young?

    Montgomery: No, very seldom.

    Woman: Very seldom.

    Bennett: Where did you sit, Mr. Montgomery?

    Montgomery: In the kitchen most of the time.

    Woman: His grandfather had a couch out there, he would take his nap, you know, after work or something.

    Montgomery: See before we had oil, we had a coat heater, and we had a wood -- you had to use wood or coal in it, it was a cookstove, and that's how the hot water was made too, pipes ran though where the firebox was.

    Bennett: And I think the kitchen was the warmest.

    Montgomery: Kitchen was always the warmest - now it's the coldest because it has three windows which are larger than these and five doorways. Well, the doorway to the hallway, doorway to the dining room, one to the basement, one to the screen-in porch and one to the utility shed, so when you have five doors and three windows, it's pretty hard to - even right today, with baseboard heat, it's hard to warm up.

    Bennett: How many rooms does this house have?

    Montgomery: Six and a bath.

    Bennett: It was customary for people to spend their time in the kitchen. In some homes, the children never went into the living room. It was ready for company.

    Montogmery: Yes.

    Montgomery: That was in the Du Pont family.

    Bennett: Same thing?

    Woman: Chick Laird's sister, Wilhelmina, Wilhelmena...

    Woman: Wilhelmina.

    Montgomery: They had outdoor tennis courts, swimming pool, bicycle, everything they wanted - soon as summer come, they were shipped away to camp, they didn't want them under their feet. And they were only allowed in certain parts of the house. Cooks gave them anything In between - snacks, anything.

    Woman: And they only had so many minutes to take a bath. Because that Rose Kindbeiter was a baby sitter and she used to tell us that if they didn't have their bath and their hair and all washed in a certain length of time, why they'd get after Rose Kindbeiter.

    Bennett: I have to wonder why.

    Woman: They were just so strict. They probably didn't waste the water, either, like the kids today taking showers.
  • Objects inherited from his mother; Stealing watermelons and pranking fellow thieves; Popular songs and musical instruments; Funerals and wakes; Simon Dorman's death and funeral; More funeral traditions; Boating on the Brandywine; Mischief Night pranks; Family lineage;
    Keywords: "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," (song); "Face on the Bar Room Floor," (song); "I had a Dream, Dear," (Song); "Picture of Life's Other Side," (song); "The Vacant Chair," (song); "Two Little Boys in Blue," (song); Banjos; Family bibles; Family trees; Funerals; Green Hill Presbyterian Church (Wilmington, Del.); Harmonicas; Holly Island (Wilmington, Del.); Irons (Pressing); Jew's harps; Montchanin, Del.; Mourning; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Sewing machines; Street-railroads; Tin Whistles; watermelons
    Transcript: Bennett: Well this is what I’ m wondering, if it was to keep the water, keep them in warm water - in other words if they dawdled, it would get cold, or whether they were trying to keep Rose moving, you don't know. I know I wanted to ask also about the sewing machine that was your mother's and the iron. Do you know about how old she was when she got those?

    Montgomery: Well we were just showing somebody the family Bible, but they’ re awful hard to read, I guess you've seen it. She died when she was thirty.

    Woman: Yes, I show you about his aunt being hit...

    Bennett: The one that hit with the, yes, u-huh, okay.

    Montgomery: I imagine the sled and the Christmas ball and the iron and the sewing machine are between ninety-five and a hundred years old I guess.

    Woman: Oh, I think so, I would imagine so because she died around 1914, would it be, somewhere in there.

    Montgomery: And I told you about the honey - another incident which I was involved in, before the DuPont Experimental area expanded up where the golf courses were, there were farm lands and a man growed watermelons, so of course the boys in the neighborhood always went up to steal them, so one night the girls got an idea to go up, in fact some of their mothers went with them. So we got wind of it, Tommy Dunlop, one of his brothers, so I went up to the attic and got the shotgun, we got up there first and lay in the field. They crawled through the bob wire fence, get in the middle of the field, we started shooting. Man they took off, tearing their clothes getting through that fence. They'd have killed us - I think, there were so many of them, if they ever got a hold of us.

    Bennett: Did they ever find out?

    Montgomery: I think so.

    Bennett: You were doing your own honey hunt, so to speak.

    Woman: Well that would scare me I know.

    Bennett: Do you remember any other popular songs of your time?

    Montgomery: I don't know the words of them.

    Bennett: But do you remember the title, maybe, what was popular?

    Montgomery: Mr. Buchanan, the Lords and Mr. Flannigan and them, they were "Two Little Boys in Blue", "Picture of Life's Other Side", "The Vacant Chair", "Face on the Bar Room Floor" - remember any of them?

    Bennett: That's familiar.

    Montgomery: They're tear jerkers. "Picture of Life's other Side" was about two brothers, and one stole the wedding band off of his mother when she was laid out, I mean they're really.

    Bennett: Oh my gosh.

    Montgomery: Comparing the difference between those two brothers, like Cain and Abel.

    Bennett: How about folk songs, do you remember any other songs?

    Montgomery: No, the younger ones come along, they could harmonize too - "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and ones like that, and "I Had a Dream, Dear" they’ re much more modern of the first ones I named.

    Bennett: I remember that.

    Montgomery: Well you know, some of those old songs were really nice.

    Bennett: Do you remember anybody that might have played a banjo?

    Montgomery: There weren't many, they didn't have any means to take instrument music, I guess.

    Bennett: How about the harmonica?

    Montgomery: Oh yeah, we as kids had them.

    Bennett: Anybody played good, were they good at it?

    Montgomery: Oh, fair maybe.

    Bennett: Nothing, I know that Hayward, Mrs. Hayward's brother, George Jones, the Jones, they played the violin.

    Woman: Oh yeah, yeah he went to Mt. Salem.

    Bennett: Okay, so yeah and I do know about him, but this is one of the few. Then there's a tin whistle - do you know what I mean by a tin whistle?

    Montgomery: A Jew's Harp - is that what they call it? Jew's Harp?

    Bennett: Jew's Harp, an auto harp?

    Montgomery: No, this was just a little thing...

    Bennett: Do you remember the Jew's - okay. Had two or three holes in it. Similar to a pipe, I think, with a piece of paper over top of it. Maybe shorter than a pipe. You just blowed through it, and I think it had something over here. Did you have one of those?

    Montgomery: Probably did.

    Bennett: Let's talk a little bit about funerals and wakes.

    Montgomery: About what?

    Bennett: Funerals.

    Woman: Well, I've got something here you can look at. I think it's when his aunt was, the little girl that was hit in the head, her funeral. You'd be surprised how cheap it was.

    Montgomery: I told

    Bennett: I think we have on the tape -- that's on the tape – not this, but we do have about - notice from the newspaper.

    Woman: About the boy.

    Bennett: Oh yes, u-huh. But this says, "Wilson Undertaking Rooms, Wilmington, Delaware, April 22, 1887" and it doesn't have the first name, it just says "Montgomery" and J. A. Wilson is the funeral director at 616 King Street. "Fine funeral furniture a specialty" is what it says. "One rosewood finished coffin, upholstered in" I'm not sure what that word is, "...and pillow." Can you see what that is, Mrs. Montgomery?

    Woman: Maybe you can see with this, where did I leave my...

    Bennett: Here they are. "Finished in..." Something about "Satin, and pillow." Satin - $13.00 - oh, imagine. Maybe I should havestayed over there. "Pine outside box, $2.00, four pair of gloves, a dollar, one hearse to cemetery, four dollars, ad in paper, a dollar" - paper is spelled "Papper". "Five carriages..." "Carriages to cemetery." "$20.00." "Flowers." "$1.50" can you believe that! "Icing body, $4.00." And it came to $46.50, "Received payment in full." Icing a body cost four dollar so boy, times have sure have changed, haven't they?

    Woman: They sure have.

    Bennett: Do you remember many of the old-time funerals?

    Montgomery: Yes, we were talking about Simon Dorman, Agnes's uncle, when the procession went up to St. Joseph's, we caught on the cars with those sleds to get a free ride up the hill.

    Woman: I remember when he drowned in the Brandywine, you know, I lived on the other side and I heard him hollering for help - help. He had walked in on the ice and went through. And I was a little girl, but I do remember it. It was in the wintertime.

    Bennett: Well, Was anybody close to try to rescue him or...

    Woman: I don't think anybody was around.

    Montgomwery: And you know what might have happened, I guess he got the rams or something. They didn't pull him up - I was home from school and went down on the covered bridge and stood and watched while they grappled down there - in fact they threw something that was similar to his weight from the bridge to the ice to see if it would go through. They didn't know if he had walked down or - but he did walk down under the bridge, or he had jumped. And of course when they found the body, they had to wait for the coroner to bring him up and it was four o'clock in the afternoon then, 'cause I had attended school all day and went down when they - I was down there when they pulled him out.

    Bennett: So what - actually they were using the Brandywine for would be a shortcut?

    Montgomery: No, I think he took the rams or something.

    Woman: He probably, you know, committed suicide.

    Bennett: You think so?

    Woman: Uh-huh.

    Bennett: Then why would he call for help?

    Woman: Well I guess he was...

    Bennett: Changed his mind?

    Woman: Maybe so, or maybe he came to or something, you know, didn't know where he was, I really don't know, but I do remember hearing him hollering for help, and that was in the middle of the night.

    Bennett: Do you remember any burials, were there any particular traditions with burials?

    Woman: I think most of them were laid out at home, in the different homes. You know, where the family lived.

    Montgomery: Yes, several of the funeral homes or churches, most of them crepes on the door, that there was death in the family.

    Bennett: Different color denoted age I think.

    Woman: I think gray was for old, I kind of remember.

    Bennett: I think so, yes.

    Woman: And white was for a little baby or something.

    Bennett: But I don't know what was in between, do you know?

    Woman: No. But when you'd see them on the door, it would give you - you know, the creeps.

    Bennett: Do you remember any epidemics? Like the flu, do you remember the flu in 1918?

    Montgomery: One of my aunts died during the - one of them, I don't know which one it was - I don't know if it was before the one was killed or not, I don't know - they're both buried with my aunt and my Grandmother and Grandfather in Green Hill. And they have the name spelled wrong on the one that was killed. Her right name was Ellen after her grandmother, Ellen McCandles, but the paper had Sarah, and I believe it's wrong...

    Woman: I was wondering if one was named Ella and the other was named Ellen - that's not right?

    Montgomery: No, Ella - no there's a Sarah brought in there somewhere.

    Woman: Yeah, but I think that was your Grandmother's sister or somebody.

    Montogmery: No, there's a - one of those clippings we got.

    Woman: I don't know, I don't know.

    Montgomery: See you said there, just had the last name.

    Bennett: You don't remember the flu of 1918?

    Montgomery: No, but that's when one of my aunts did die from it.

    Bennett: Some people have very vivid memories of that. Again I think...

    Woman: They say that was a bad, bad time.

    Bennett: Well back then I don't think parents would talk - wanted any of the children to hear of any heartaches or anything. You were protected from it, uh-huh. Do you remember - I don't know - could you go to school, or were you too young, I guess?

    Montgomery: To go to the Yellow School, yeah.

    Bennett: You were in the Yellow School?

    Montgomery: No.

    Bennett: No, okay, you were too young for that - the flu- okay. You didn't go hunting or fishing, 'cause you weren't really allowed on the Brandywine.

    Montgomery: That's right.

    Bennett: Do you remember the boats that were down there, those flat bottom boats?

    Montgomery: Well they had, friends of ours had rowboats there.

    Bennett: Did you ever get any rides in them?

    Montgomery: Oh yeah.

    Bennett: When you weren’ t supposed to?

    Montgomery: Yeah. Oh yeah, had to sneak off once in a while.

    Bennett: Do you remember Holly Island?

    Montgomery: Yeah - it's still there.

    Bennett: Yes, still there. Were you ever on Holly Island?

    Montgomery: Yes.

    Bennett: Many times I guess. Let's see what else I'd like you to tell me about here. I know something - when we were discussing Halloween you said that on Mischief Night somebody would take the lights down, they disconnected the lights - like they would turn over the outhouse, where were the lights along the road?

    Montgomery: Really there wasn't any, no the trolleys was running and they'd pull the pole.

    Bennett: Oh, the trolley poles, okay. I'm making up my own story here, I'm getting all mixed up.

    Woman: We’ ll have to bring that tape up to you.

    Bennett: That’ s right. I want to straighten out a little bit, for my benefit as well as theirs, about the relationship - because I don't know how accurate I have it on the tape - your grandfather, Thomas Montgomery, married

    Montgomery: Ellen J. McCandles.

    Bennett: Okay, and they both came from Ireland?

    Montgomery: No, McCandles is Scotch.

    Bennett: Okay, alright. Would you go through all that with me again, please, just in case, then, let me see, they had how many children?

    Montgomery: Six, three boys and three girls.

    Bennett: Alright, can you name them for me?

    Montgomery: Sure.

    Bennett: Okay.

    Montgomery: Thomas, John and Bill, Jane, Ellen and Ella.

    Bennett: Alright, and you are - your father is the son of... you tell me.

    Montgomery: Thomas. My father was John.

    Bennett: Okay, alright.

    Montgomery: Married Alice Betty, had two sons, John and Bill.

    Bennett: Okay. Now the Betty's grandfather made the sled?

    Montgomery: Yeah.

    Bennett: And they lived, no, it was Ball that lived out towards Montchanin?

    Montgomery: Yes. They raised my Mother, evidently my Mother's mother died young too. Now I'm not too familiar with the family tree, just how close we - we always called him Uncle Jim Ball, so the Ball's and the Betty's were intermarriage. And of course Montgomery got in it when my Father married Alice Betty.

    Bennett: Alice Betty, okay, alright. Well, at the moment I think that's really all I have to ask you, if you're relieved. There is a lot more. If Ithink of a few more things, can I come back when it's raining some day?

  • Taking family photos for the Hagley Museum and Library
    Keywords: Nemours (Greenville, Del.: Dwelling); Photographs; Rehoboth, Del.; Swamp Hall (Henry Clay, Del.: Dwelling)
    Transcript: Montgomery: I'm not going to think anymore. I have Alzheimer's Disease.

    Bennett: No you don't, you sure don't. That's becoming a very popular disease, isn’ t it?

    Woman: It's sad.

    Bennett: Yes it is.

    Woman: Very sad.

    Montgomery: Yeah, we mentioned that Seitz boy, he put a cookbook out that we seen up in the stores at Concord Mall. His father worked in the powder mill, and they lived near where Flannigan's lived, in the double house which is tore down under the 141 - McConnell Bridge, and he died a year and a half ago I guess, and we found out from a good friend of his that was from the creek, that he was going for the last ten years with that disease.

    Woman: With Alzheimer's.

    Bennett: They're protected, they don't have a thing to worry about, but oh how sad, for everybody concerned. Yeah, they don't have the worries of the world, that's for sure.

    Montgomery: Maybe I'll have to go buy some of it then.

    Bennett: Beg pardon?

    Montgomery: Don't have a thing to worry, maybe I ought to go buy some of it, won't have to worry about the grass growing.

    Bennett: Not a thing, that's right. See, and you have all those things to worry about.

    Woman: Well, he's a worry wart, don't you think he isn't. He worries about the weather tomorrow.

    Montgomery: You worry, worry, worry. I'm not gonna do nothin' tomorrow.

    Woman: Well, I’ m not worrying about tomorrow, but you do...

    Montgomery: Saturday and Sunday she goes, Saturday she goes to visit her sister - I don’ t do a thing on Saturday.

    Bennett: I won't say I'll come back and talk to you tomorrow because I don't think you'll let me in. Well, it's been a pleasure speaking with you, Mr. Montgomery and Mrs. Montgomery and I thank you and I'll appreciate taking anything that you want me to have today and I'll come back after you've spoken to Joe Toomey or the others, if you want me to.

    Woman: Well, Billy, what do you want to give her? Do you want to give her that picture of your grandfather?

    Woman: Now she said grandparents. We had a - the one that we showed her was the four living - the three sons and Aunt Jenney and Grandmother and Grandfather.

    Montgomery: But then we had some just my Grandmother and Grandfather, but I don't know where they're at off hand.

    Woman: They were neat - portraits like, I think, your grandmother and grandfather.

    Montgomery: They might have been taken the same time they went in to have that done. They went in the studio and had it done, and maybe they had a single one taken by themselves.

    Woman: We have so many books, and they're falling apart, that's the worst part.

    Bennett: I know.

    Montgomery: Since I've retired I've fixed several of mine up, I've fixed one of my brother's up, I fixed Flo's up, and it was a lot of effort.

    Woman: This one really should be fixed up again.

    Bennett: That looks like it needs a new book.

    Woman: Yeah, well that's what I say.

    Bennett: Well, if you want to leave it in the book, maybe that might be the better way and if I would take the book...

    Woman: If this the one that you had seen?

    Bennett: So that, Oh, isn't that neat, I think that's wonderful.

    Woman: Now there's some of his grandmother and the aunt on the porch.

    Montgomery: No, but we had it framed, just him and her, like they're dressed like they are in the front here.

    Woman: Now there's the grandfather in the yard, in the garden.

    Bennett: Oh, look at that. Now this is the aunt that...

    Woman: Aunt Jenney, that's the one that lived here that didn't marry. And she stayed home to take care of them too. Now did you see all these pictures? Now that's his brother that drowned in Rehoboth.

    Bennett: Yes, see these are the ones that I know they would enjoy very much. If - why don't I take the album, only because it might be safer than you taking the things out and putting them back in. How do you feel about that?

    Montgomery: What's all in that book?

    Bennett: This is all of the powder mills and all.

    Montgomery: They're all mixed up. There's some in there. No, she was interested in one that the powder wagon was coming out through the gate.

    Bennett: There's one in there, I think, of that is there not?

    Montgomery: And you were interested in the one when the Rokeby Mill is still burning.

    Bennett: Yes, that was good.

    Woman: See, some of these pictures are so bad.

    Montgomery: See, that's the one, and that one there, you see.

    Woman: Well could they take a picture from that do you think, the way it is?

    Bennett: I think so, yes. This takes time, but...

    Woman: Now see a lot of these are about Snowball Oliver. Oh, I think we ought to take them out. You don't want me in a bathing suit.

    Bennett: They're not so...

    Woman: We'll take it apart and we'll get a new book sometime and put it together.

    Montgomery: They're held in by the corners. Some probably pasted in.

    Woman: Yeah, but I was thinking of the one...

    Bennett: Is this the other one here?

    Montgomery: That's the one with the big pictures in, right in the end.

    Montgomery: Is this the first one you had, this one?

    Woman: No, that's your brothers, over here. Billy, I think it's

    Montgomery: No, this isn't my brothers, my brothers is in that cellophane thing. What are you talking about,you're talking about Alfred I., the big pictures there in the back of this.

    Bennett: Any pictures of the Brandywine in the area.

    Woman: Now, see these could be taken out, because they're only in these little corners.

    Montgomery: Alright, then put a mark in under and a mark on them so I can put them back in.

    Bennett: Now wait just a minute.

    Woman: Well you have our house on Barley Mill Road, you have it all written here.

    Montgomery: These were the ones I was talking about.

    Bennett: Okay, see now that's the one I think is clearer, I remember seeing those kind.

    Montgomery: And this is one up at Nemours House. Nope - where'd it go?

    Bennett: Now is that attached? Yes, see that’ s attached there.

    Montgomery: Nope, there's another one up in front of their home, there it is.

    Bennett: They have that one I'm sure.

    Woman: Here's the two homes on Barley Mill, and I'm sure he'll remember where they go. If you want to look through this and see how they are...

    Bennett: Actually, you could have left those in there, you know.

    Woman: Well, I can put them back in.

    Bennett: I mean I think they'd be safer in there, Mrs. Montgomery, myself.

    Woman: Okay, we'll put them back in then. Now you know when something happens to us, where these pictures are gonna go...

    Bennett: Where?

    Woman: In the garbage. I don't think our kids would...

    Bennett: You know what you aught to do with them, don't you? After you're gone, take them to Hagley. No – no don't destroy them, please.

    Woman: See, our kids aren't around here.

    Bennett: Uh-huh, that's right. If it was pictures of family, they'd probably want them, but no, Hagley would be very interested in having them, they'd appreciate it.

    Montgomery: These are most of the kids because, look, it says, "Merry Christmas from Jack and Jim, the two oldest, to Mom and Dad, sorry it isn't done." About all they had was several pictures in it, so I added to it. It's a lot different now the way it's grown up.

    Bennett: Look at that, yes.

    Woman: Well, look, I better put a new piece of tape on that one.

    Montgomery: Most of these are family, aren't they, Flo?

    Bennett: There's Walker's.

    Montgomery: My oldest son took them, he was photographer...

    Bennett: They were taken in 1963.

    Montgomery: He was the photographer for the yearbook at Alexis I. and he borrowed it any trip he went to. Even down at Washington, he got some good ones down there. And when he went in the Senate Chamber or someplace, hewent in there for a while and they had to leave all the cameras outside the doorway, just in a pile. I thought that was dumb, somebody could, the school camera was expensive. Somebody could come along and grab it and leave a -- what did they use to call the old...

    Bennett: Old Kodak, old box camera.

    Montgomery: No, it had another name.

    Bennett: Brownie?

    Woman: Brownie probably.

    Montgomery: Brownie, yeah.

    Bennett: Do you know what I think - the tape, the masking kind would...

    Woman: Would be better?

    Bennett: I think so if you have that. Do you have it?

    Woman: Yeah, I have some.

    Bennett: Sometimes it gets stuck, you can’ t

    Montgomery: Do you want to see two sad sacks? There was a Junior Choir up there - they didn't want to go, we made them go.

    Bennett: I can see it.

    Montgomery: And we turned in and one of them says, a church supper or what?"

    Woman: What is this, It’ s already there.

    Montgomery: Oh, he was all scout. He was a director down at Camp Rodney, one of the youngest directors that made it. And that's ex Tom - Mayor Tom Maloney. And when he went to Delaware they give you that test - oh he's suited to take a course - agriculture or forestry or something like, here he ends up a lawyer, so see those tests aren't accurate.

    Bennett: That's true.

    Montgomery: Most of these are...

    Bennett: I'm going to hold that for you like that if I can. Why don't you put it like on each side and one down the middle. Now see how that tape goes? It's going to get into the...

    Woman: I'll make a short piece there. It breaks off on me, I don't know whether it's old or what it is.

    Bennett: Yeah, it shouldn't, it usually is pretty good.

    Woman: Seems like it's old tape or something.

    Bennett: I know one time I got a hold of a gookey piece. I think this will hold though, Mrs. Montgomery. It doesn't feel very sticky.

    Montgomery: You wanted the one of Swamp Hall.

    Bennett: Oh, there's Swamp Hall, yes, I'd like those. Oh there's the cows in the field. That's out at...

    Montgomery: Westover Hills, formerly Westover Hills.

    Bennett: Westover Hills, okay.

    Montgomery: That's my Mother up at the Ball farm, where Ruly Carpenter lived.

    Bennett: When she died in 1914?

    Montgomery: Huh?

    Bennett: She died about 1914, didn't she?

    Woman: 1914, 15, something in that area.

    Montgomery: Fourteen, I was born in twelve, and I was less than two years old.

    Woman: Yeah, you were less than two.

    Bennett: Isn't that nice!

    Woman: Isn't he a cute little guy?

    Bennett: Is that you?

    Montgomery: Yeah, didn't you know I had...

    Bennett: Let me try with my fingernails, I've got long ones.

    Woman: Yeah, but you don't want to ruin them pretty fingernails. Did that tape go off?

    Bennett: If I can get it started, see it's going to do it again. It’ s peeling, I think.

    Montgomery: Why I don't I take these pages out because so many of these are of the family.Bennett: Would you let me have the one of your mother, up by Ruly Carpenter's? Are you afraid to let me have that one?

    Montgomery: No, that was of all us kids.

    Bennett: That gives good view, you said it's up at – you know this...

    Montgomery: I'm sure they have this.

    Bennett: You could put them in that envelope. Let me have it, please.

    Montgomery: I just got done saying I'm sure they have that.

    Bennett: I bet they do, yeah. It's been punctured. Now see what's happened - look.

    Woman: Well I did that with the scissors, I just did that. Oh, okay.

    Woman: Trying to start it. Well, that ought to hold it. Maybe I'll get some Scotch tape there. Let's see if it opens up good.

    Montgomery: Well, how long would they have the pictures?

    Bennett: How about if I do this. If I tell you a certain amount of days and I don't show up with them I'm gonna feel bad and you're gonna worry. So why don't I take them and ask them about how long, and then if I give you a time, it's going to be more accurate, because I don't know how many they will want to copy. Does that sound fair?

    Woman: Look, don't worry about that, I'll put another piece of Scotch tape on top of that.

    Bennett: Well, it's become a challenge.

    Montgomery: Now do you want me to take some of these out?

    Bennett: Yeah, if you will.

    Montgomery: Give the whole page instead of...

    Bennett: Do you know - it's got to be right in here.

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