Interview with Catherine Cheney, 1964 April 3 [audio](part 1)

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  • First generation of Cheneys at the powder mills; Father's accident and arm amputation; Grandfather's job as a night watchman; Father's childhood and adult life; Marriage and wedding gifts
    Partial Transcript: "Well, I can't give you a date, but I know my grandfather came here and lived first in Squirrel Run and moved later to Rising Sun..." "... His arm was caught in between the cupolas of the two trains..."
    Synopsis: Cheney talks about here family coming to America and taking up work at the powder mills. She talks about her grandfather's work as a night watchman for at the powder mills. She describes her father's childhood, including a childhood accident which cost him an arm. She describes his school and church attendance and his job doing janitorial work for various churches. She describes how the workers at the powder mills would use du Pont's facilities for their own needs and describes how her parents dining chairs were given to them as a wedding present and made in du Pont's machine shop.
    Keywords: Breck's Lane (Del.:Village); Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.; Free Park (Del.: Village); Gas lamps; Gifts; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Mt. Salem United Methodist Church (Wilmington, Del.); Rising Sun (Del.: Village); Rockford Tower (Wilmington, Del.); Squirrel Run (Del.: Village); Weddings; Yellow School (Wilmington, Del.)
  • Explosions at Hagley; Renting a house from DuPont; Description of homes and gardens; Cooking and preserving food; Neighbors and families along the Brandywine
    Partial Transcript: "Now, I remember one explosion very clearly, I was only four... it happened in March and we had to move ... the wall so badly damaged..." "The cellar was interesting there..."
    Synopsis: Cheney describes a 1909 explosion at the powder yard that she vividly recalls. She says that her family had to move right after due to the partial destruction of her family's home. She says that the company helped them move out and move back in after repairs to their damaged home. She describes the homes she lived in while growing up. Cheney describes the floorplans and rooms in several houses that her family and neighbors lived in. She lists her childhood neighbors and lists the names of several families that lived near them.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Chicken Alley (Del.: Village) Free Park (Del.: Village); Cooking; Electricity; Explosions; Floorplans; Gardens; Hagley Yard; Homes; Iceboxes; Rockland, Del.; Stoves
  • Closure of the powder yards; Identifying people and places in photographs; Social life; Fourth of July celebrations; Christmas celebrations; Furniture
    Partial Transcript: "The big layoff had come right after that explosion where forty one... the yard was never to active after that, in my recollection" "We had very little social life, except for what we had at church."
    Synopsis: Cheney talks about the closure of the powder yards. According to her memory, most of the workers were laid of by 1918 even though the final shipment of powder occurred later, in 1922. Cheney identifies people and things in photographs. She says that they had very little social life outside of church. She returns to describing the local neighborhood and describes how her family acquired household essentials and groceries. Cheney describes how her family heated their home.
    Keywords: Baking; Belin House (Greenville, Del.); Chicken Alley (Del.: Village); Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Christmas; Clothes; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.; Fireplaces; Fourth of July; Frizzell's store; Furniture; Groceries; Hagley Yard; Heating; Kee's Hill; Peoples Railway Company (Wilmington, Del.); Street-railroads; Wagoner's Row (Del.: Village)