Interview with Philip Dougherty, 1955 January 12 [audio]

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  • Early life and family background; Working in Eagle packing house; Wages; du Pont family members in the powder yards
    Partial Transcript: "I am Irish to my backbone, as the old saying goes."
    Synopsis: Dougherty says he was born in Charles banks in 1874 and followed his father to work in the powder yards in 1887. He describes his first job in Eagle packing house and describes packing gunpowder. He talks about women working in the powder yard, and says a woman put labels on the packed powder kegs. He says that he earned fifteen dollars a month. His father paid rent on the family home but can't recall the amount. He says that as far as he can recall there was no pro union agitation in the powder yards. He talks about du Pont family members who worked in the powder yards.
    Keywords: Charles Banks; du Pont family; Du Pont, Francis Gurney, 1850-1904; Eagle packing house; Money; Rent; Unions; Wages
  • Amount of work in the powder yards; Powder yard safety; Identifying places and objects in photographs
    Partial Transcript: "Most generally work was pretty steady, anytime I got off was probably my own fault..." "...We practically knew as boys coming up we wouldn't be allowed to smoke or carry any matches in through that yard, that was strict."
    Synopsis: Dougherty says that work in the powder yards was steady and layoffs happened rarely. He says that he does not think extreme cold or low water level in the Brandywine Creek stopped production, but that high water levels did. Dougherty talks about safety precautions in the powder yards saying that men weren't allowed to smoke or carry matches and that they were sometimes searched before entering the powder yards. He talks about the special shoes (without nails) that powder men had to wear. Dougherty is asked about an explosion that happened on July 5 1886. He says he wasn't present for that explosion but identifies the location of the blast in a photograph. He says that he could tell what sort of building exploded based on the sound of the blast. He talks about an 1890 explosion. He then identifies places and objects in photographs.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Explosions; Lanterns; Lower Yard; Matches; Photographs; Safety; Shoes; Smoking; Work
  • Working in the powder yards during the Spanish-American War
    Partial Transcript: "I was the one that was there when Hagley blew up, me and a fellow by the name of Tommy Knox." "They brought a gang of soldiers in for protection during the Spanish-American war. Stationed in Montchanin field - up near Carpenter's place. It wasn't too far from the powder yards. The first gang was regular army men, It was a Pennsylvania regiment. There were 1,000 men stationed in Montchanin field at the finish."
    Synopsis: Dougherty talks about his job at the time of the Spanish-American War in 1898. He described his daily work, an explosion, and firefighting in the event of an explosion or fire. Dougherty describes the regiment of soldiers stationed near Hagley for the duration of the Spanish-American War. He talks more about his daily work in the powder yards. He describes the powder drying process and cutting willows to make charcoal for gunpowder.
    Keywords: Cutting willows; Explosions; Firefighting; Fires; Hagley Yard; Montchanin, Del.; Rebel shanty; Spanish-American War (1898)
  • Living in DuPont's workers housing; Social activities and local taverns; Celebrating holidays
    Partial Transcript: "We all seemed to live pretty good there... we didn't have too much convenience, but we had better than a lot at the time. "
    Synopsis: Dougherty talks about living conditions in the workers villages near Hagley. Dougherty talks about local inns and taverns and Fourth of July fireworks on Keye's Hill. He says that some people went ice skating in the winter.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Charles Bank; Chicken alley; Fireplaces; Fireworks; Fourth of July; Hagee's tavern; Homes; Ice skating; Keye's Hill; Rent; Social activities; Stoves; The Blazing Rag
  • Going to school; Religious activities; Social tensions; Politics; Hagley Bell; DuPont's centennial celebration; Thoughts on the du Pont family; Modernization of the powder yards
    Partial Transcript: "I went to the public school for a short duration, then I went to the parochial school, and not very long there..."
    Synopsis: Dougherty talks about going to school and says he doesn't have much education. He talks about religious life in the community and some of the priests he can recall from Saint Joseph on the Brandywine. He says that there were relatively few tensions between Irish and Italian families around the Brandywine. He discusses politics. Dougherty talks about the bell at Hagley and says it was rung every hour on the hour. He describes DuPont's centennial celebration and performances by music groups. He gives his thoughts on the du Pont family and the turn of the century modernization in the powder yards.
    Keywords: Bells; Clokcs; du Pont family; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954; DuPont's centennial; Eleutherian Band; Irish American; Italian Americans; Night watchman; Politics; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); School; Tancopanican Band; Yellow School (Wilmington, Del.)