Interview with Ann Hudson (Mrs. Joseph Hudson), 1968 August 1 [audio](part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • Her father immigrating from France and her mother's birth in Upper Banks; living in Upper Banks rent free until DuPont Company raised rents to $5.00; typical reactions to explosions at the powder mills
    Keywords: Bell House; buckets with a red handkerchief; charcoal house; company houses; Eleutherian Mills; explosions; First Office; Free Park; house interior; Lime House; Lorraine (France); powdermen; stone houses; Upper Banks
    Transcript: [Intro voice]: This interview was granted by Mrs. Joseph Hudson of 1409 Hamilton Street, Wilmington, Delaware on August 1, 1968. Present at the interview was Mr. John Scafidi.

    Hudson: My name is Mrs. Ann Hudson. I am 74 years old. I was born at the DuPont Upper Banks, and we lived there until 1913, and then we moved to our present location here at 1409 Hamilton Street.

    [Introductory remarks]

    Scafidi: Let me start off by asking you a question and then you can go any way you want to. We like to know anything you know about your family, your father's family and your mother's family.

    Hudson: Well, father was born in Lorraine, France which was taken over by the Germans. They came to this country when father was quite young. As far as I know, to the best of my ability, but Aunt Katie would know better than me, whether they came directly to Free Park or whether they settled some place else before they came here. That I don't know.

    Scafidi: You don't know if since the du Ponts had a French name, they may have gravitated toward a community where there were French people?

    Hudson: No, I can't tell you that, but I really think that Aunt Katie would be able to give you that background.

    Scafidi: Well, we'll ask her that, when we are able to get hold of her.

    Hudson: And mother was born in the house that we lived in the Upper Banks.

    Scafidi: Do you know her maiden name?

    Hudson: Yes, Anna McClafferty.

    Scafidi: McClafferty. And were there other McClaffertys around? Was this a powder mill family?

    Hudson: She had a brother, Uncle Jimmie that worked in the powder, and he lived on up the creek. And mother had a sister, Aunt Kate, that lived at Long Row at the time, but I don't think Aunt Kate's husband was affiliated with the DuPont Company because I think he was a cabinetmaker.

    Scafidi: Almost anybody could live in these homes?

    Hudson: No! You had to be working for the DuPont Company. Now, I'm going to tell you something funny about that. We lived in this house rent free.

    Scafidi: Free Park or Upper Banks?

    Hudson: Upper Banks. We lived in that house rent free; so, they raised the rent to $5.00. Is this all being recorded?

    Scafidi: Oh, yes.

    Hudson: And then they were all going to move out. $5.00, why my goodness! And then when they got notice to move out, oh my gosh, it was just terrific. So...I remember that quite plainly.

    Scafidi: When did they raise this rent, do you have any idea? How many years before you moved out?

    Hudson: Oh, it must have been five or six before we moved out.

    Scafidi: Do you have any idea of what the other people down the creek would be paying for rent?

    Hudson: I don't know what they paid, but I think they lived rent free for a long time, too. You see they were DuPont-owned houses, and you worked in the powder so that belonged to you.

    Scafidi: On this, in getting a free house if you worked in the powder, did everybody look upon working there and living there as dangerous.

    Hudson: Dangerous? Let me say this, I don't hardly think they knew of the great danger because I remember lots of times that we would have an explosion and there would be men killed. And the men and the women went to the powder yards instead of going away from them. And I still have a very good memory of the men, after there would be an explosion, the men going around with these buckets with a red handkerchief over it and picking up the pieces of the men you know.

    Scafidi: Did they use any tools for picking up the pieces?

    Hudson: No, they did not.

    Scafidi: We had somebody who said, he was there during the explosion in '18, and they used something like what park guards use to pick up paper; a long stick with a little nail on the end.

    Hudson: My father didn't.

    Scafidi: So, what was the first thing they did after a "blow," after an explosion?

    Hudson: As I said, they went right down to the mills. Well, lots of times, you know, your windows were broken out and things were in bad condition. But then they started right in to build up and they didn't seem to have any fear of the explosion.

    Scafidi: It was just luck? They looked upon it as the luck of...

    Hudson: Well, now, father was in a surrounding, let me say. He was either coming from the mill or going to the mill when she blew. Oh, you'd see those things...those mills would blow and you'd see the smoke twirling around but people went right to the mill.

    Scafidi: When you lived at Upper Banks did a chunk of stone or metal ever come flying all the way up there?

    Hudson: Not that I can remember. I can't remember. See, where Crowninshield's is there is a road down to the Upper Banks, and to the right going down was the First Office the DuPont's had, and there was a little house, and we called it the Lime House, and then there was a road that went where we lived on this way and then the charcoal house, and then we went on and there was our house and in front of our house there was a big building and it had a bell on it that called the men to dinner from the mill.

    Scafidi: Was there any name the people used for that? We've heard of a Bell House.

    Hudson: That was it. And we lived right next to it.

    Scafidi: On the same side of the road?

    Hudson: Right. The Bell House was here and we were here.

    Scafidi: So you were just the next structure along?

    Hudson: Yes.

    Scafidi: What was your house made out of? Outside?

    Hudson: Brick. No...gray stone, would it be gray stone?

    Scafidi: I guess it could be.

    Hudson: Yeah. They all were, up there. In the same category.

    Scafidi: Could you give us any idea of how many rooms...was it a two-story house, three-story? How many rooms per floor?

    Hudson: We had three on the first floor and two on the second. But some of the houses up there were bigger because Dan Dougherty, they had a bigger house because they had a bigger family.
  • Her father's siblings and them visiting family members on Sundays; her father working at the first Experimental Station on Breck's Lane before it burned; cars transporting powder between the Upper Yard and Lower Yard [Hagley Yard]
    Keywords: aunts and uncles; Breck's Lane; Christ Church; Experimental Station; First Communion; Free Park; gatehouse; lilies-of-the-valley; Lower Yard; Number One building; Upper Yard; watchman
    Transcript: Scafidi: How many children were in your family, including yourself?

    Hudson: My sisters, two sisters and my brother. There was four of us in the family.

    Scafidi: I understand your father was one of five brothers. Was four or five considered a good number in the family or was it just...

    Hudson: Wasn't there ten in father's family?

    Scafidi: Well, I just know of the brothers. There may have been sisters.

    Hudson: Yes, there was Aunt Katie, Aunt Libbie, and Aunt that would be eight.

    Scafidi: Eight. His was a big family. Did most of them live around close?

    Hudson: They lived in Free Park. They lived you know where Christ Church is?

    Scafidi: Yes I do.

    Hudson: Like Christ Church was here and Grandmother's house was here. And what separated them was a bed of lilies-of-the-valley.

    Scafidi: They all stayed around there after they all got married? Or did they all get married or...

    Hudson: Well, of course father moved up to the Upper Banks and Uncle - I guess they most all did, because Uncle Joe did. He lived in Breck's Lane and Uncle Gene lived in Breck's Lane and Uncle Sam lived on the creek like. I guess Aunt Lizzie and Aunt Katie were the only ones that didn't live around there, after they were married. Because Aunt May did. Aunt May lived in Free Park.

    Scafidi: Did most of your uncles and aunts come around visiting pretty often?

    Hudson: Ritual, a ritual. If they didn't come this Sunday, they came the next Sunday.

    Scafidi: Did you all have one uncle or aunt that you descended on every Sunday, say, alternating?

    Hudson: No, they visited everybody. There wasn't any - and...and believe it or not, they did even after we moved here. I mean, they visited one another.

    Scafidi: Was this a big occasion or was it...

    Hudson: No, they maybe dropped in for a half an hour or so and went. I was talking to Mary Hackendorn [Mule?] and she was telling me how she hated to go to our house. And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Because your father was a terrible kidder." She said he'd say, "You see those ponies and those goats? Well, I'll give you one of those before you go home." And there wasn't such a thing. And I never knew anything about that until she told me yesterday. He really was, because when he was down to the Experimental [Station] there was, father...well, I'm ahead of my story...worked in the powder and then he was sent down to a little laboratory at the foot of Breck's Lane. You've heard of that?

    Scafidi: Yes, I have.

    Hudson: It burned down on a Saturday afternoon.

    Scafidi: Do you have any idea what year or...

    Hudson: No, I don't.

    Scafidi: It's easier if you can remember whether it happened a couple of years before you moved know, this sort of thing.

    Hudson: It happened while we were up there. I was going to make my First Communion and I had gone down to Mattie Ferraro, I guess you've heard of her? Up there on the creek? She used to do all the dressmaking, and when I just got down there you could see all the smoke. And then he went to the Experimental.

    Scafidi: The first Experimental? The old one?

    Hudson: Number One building. There was father, Harry Lee, Charlie [Broomdike?], Mr. Ernest du Pont, and Mr. Francis du Pont down in the Experimental.

    Scafidi: About how old was your father at that time, do you know?

    Hudson: How old was father?

    Scafidi: Yes, at about the time he went to work in the Experimental Station?

    Hudson: I wouldn't know. He must have been quite young though, because he put in a good many years down there.

    Scafidi: Was the Experimental Station ever known as the Lower Yard?

    Hudson: No.

    Scafidi: Or the New Yard?

    Hudson: You know where Crowninshield's is? That was the Upper Yard. You know as you go through a big gate from one yard to the other, there was a Lower Yard. The Upper Yard was here and you went through over across to these other big gates and that was your Lower Yard.

    Scafidi: Do you have any idea why there was that space between the two yards?

    Hudson: Well, the only thing I can think of is, because you see, they used to run the cars in through there from one yard to the other to pick up the powder.

    Scafidi: So they just had a space between for convenience sake?

    Hudson: Well, see, if they were down in the Lower Yard and they wanted to come up in the Upper Yard for powder, they had cars, and all they had to do was come right straight through. I don't know whether afterwards, I mean, after they got finished working up there whether they called it the Experimental...but I have never known it as anything but the Experimental.

    Scafidi: Well, we've had a couple of people who talked about their fathers working in the New Yard and the Lower Yard and they point down to the old Experimental Station. I've always heard that Hagley was the Lower Yard and the original Eleutherian Mills, right below the house...

    Hudson: Yeah, was the Upper Yard. That's right. And of course, in between these two yards there was a watchman. There was a watchman's house and there was a little Italian man that would open the gates as the cars would come through on either side. Do you know what I mean?

    Scafidi: Yes. Was say he was an old man?

    Hudson: Well, to us kids he was.

    Scafidi: Oh, yes. Did you notice any of the other gate-keepers, whether they were men who were pensioned off or crippled in an explosion or anything like that? We've heard this, but we don't know.

    Hudson: Of course, that could be true, but I don't know. The only one that I knew real well was a man by the name of Sam and he was an Italian man. That's another thing. They used to go, when these explosions would come, they would go right down to this gate house and pick up the buckets.

    Scafidi: Do you know whether they kept anything else there? Some men have told us that from a certain point from the gate house, too, there was some kind of ointment kept in little containers that if they had a blow and somebody was burned he could spread it on himself.

    Hudson: I wouldn't know that.
  • Her neighbors in Upper Banks; local women helping whenever someone was ill; using the telephone in the DuPont barn to call the doctor; the water pump as a gathering place for neighborhood women; laundry and vegetable garden
    Keywords: Centerville; chicken sheds; Dr. Chandler; Dr. Samuels; Irish; Italians; laundry; scrubbing board; storing potatoes and flour; telephone; Tuberculosis; vegetable garden; wallpaper; water pump
    Transcript: Scafidi: What other groups were there beside the Italians? Were there any other recognizable groups?

    Hudson: 0h indeed, the Irish.

    Scafidi: Was there any great number of French people or people who spoke French?

    Hudson: No, I couldn't say. See, as I said, we lived on this street as we come in and then there was the charcoal place and then there was the Bell House and then us and then there was Godfreys and then there was Dan Dougherty's, and then there was Wards; that was on the Upper. Then right, right, if there hadn't been chicken sheds and things like that you could have walked from one place to the other. There was a line of sheds along that formed another road. And then on that road there was the Moores and the Wards and the Callahans.

    Scafidi: Was there any special name for that street? Did people call it anything?

    Hudson: No.

    Scafidi: How about the one you lived on?

    Hudson: Just the street that was all. And then that sort of stopped at...and then there was a little stream that run down and then there was houses down this way and in that was McGarveys and Wards and Moores. So then we come up there and to our right there was another two houses and that was Mrs. Dougherty, Dan Dougherty and Caseys.

    Scafidi: A little settlement there?

    Hudson: Yep, that's what I am trying to put over...and here's another thing about those people. If you were sick, you wouldn't dare have anybody come in and help you. You just wouldn't dare. The women took over.

    Scafidi: Was there any one woman, let's say, who specialized in midwifery?

    Hudson: Nope, they all did, the whole flock of them took right over. Meals and everything. We had a Mrs. Casey who lived up there and she was tubercular and she would fade off and my mother would stay tonight and Mrs. Ward would stay tomorrow night and Mrs. Dougherty stayed the next night. They all had their nights, but they all stayed. You wouldn't dare, you wouldn't...and if the doctor left and you weren't in there first, God help you when you went in.

    Scafidi: Who was the local doctor?

    Hudson: Dr. Chandler; and then there was Dr. Samuels. But they lived in Centerville.

    Scafidi: How did you get hold of them? Do you remember? Say some- body got hurt in the middle of the night or took sick?

    Hudson: Up at the barn.

    Scafidi: The big barn, the stone one?

    Hudson: Up at the barn there was a telephone.

    Scafidi: On a box outside?

    Hudson: No, in the house where the guard stayed over night. We had to go up there. We lived a little distance from there, but that's where you'd have to go.

    Scafidi: Was that Bill Beatty's office during the day? Did it have a little pot-bellied stove or something like that?

    Hudson: Uh huh. That's right.

    Scafidi: Let's see. We've gone through what houses were made of. Where did you get your water?

    Hudson: We had a pump, and we all got our water from this pump.

    Scafidi: Most of the people on the same street?

    Hudson: Everybody.

    Scafidi: Just one pump for...

    Hudson: Yes, because I am trying to think. See, after Mrs. Casey died, my sister, my aunt, my sister, I should say, Susie Casey - she was Susie McGinley and she was my mother's niece and my grandmother raised her. And after Grandmother McClafferty died she stayed with mother, and she married Johnnie Casey. They used to live in this - the old folks lived in the house. Our Susie moved right in there.

    Scafidi: And if anybody needed water, they'd just send one of the children down?

    Hudson: Children! The women went.

    Scafidi: The women?

    Hudson: Yeah. You know what my father said, don't you? My father said he'd papered a room one day when mother went to the pump for a bucket of water. By the time she came back it was done.

    Scafidi: It was a gathering spot for women?

    Hudson: Yeah, that's right.

    Scafidi: Where did they do their wash?

    Hudson: Right in the...well, we had a good size yard, a good size porch and we used to do the wash right out in the open, but then in the wintertime they did it in the kitchen.

    Scafidi: When you washed, did you just use a scrubbing board or did you use a wringer?

    Hudson: Yes indeed.

    Scafidi: Did you have a hand wringer?

    Hudson: Not when we lived up there, we didn't have.

    Scafidi: And you hung clothes out in the yard?

    Hudson: Yes, sir.

    Scafidi: Did you have a garden in the yard?

    Hudson: Did we have a garden? Oh, yes indeed. We had potatoes and string beans and beets and cabbage and lettuce and tomatoes, and then in the winter they put in enough flour to do them for the winter and they put in enough potatoes to do them for the winter.

    Scafidi: Where did they keep the potatoes?

    Hudson: Down in the cellar. The cellar was dirt.
  • Getting milk from Toomey's and groceries from either Barney Hunter's or Sam Frizzell's stores; storing flour, coal, and potatoes during the winter; her father making wine; summer chores including peeling willows
    Keywords: Barney Hunter's store; butter; Canning and preserving; chocolate cake; dandelion wine; elderberry wine; grape wine; homemade bread; hunched-back; milk; peeling willows; People's Railway; pies; Sam Frizzell's store; Street-railroads; trolley line; wild cherry wine
    Transcript: Scafidi: Did you have a spring house at all, or was the cellar cool?

    Hudson: No, it was a spring and they used to put the milk down in there and the butter.

    Scafidi: Where did you get your milk and butter?

    Hudson: We got our milk from Toomey's, but they lived right up on the hill. He was the boss of the Upper Yard. We got our milk there and we got some of our butter there, but then we got a lot of our butter from Sam Frizzell, you've heard of him? Had a store and Barney Hunter had a store right at the end of [Buck Road and Route 100]. You know we had a car line that came right up to the end, you knew that?

    Scafidi: Which line was that? There was a People's Railway.

    Hudson: Yes.

    Scafidi: Yours was the People's Line?

    Hudson: Uh huh.

    Scafidi: And Rising Sun was way down at the end of Buck Road, wasn't it?

    Hudson: Well, that was one and the same they called it. [Hunter's Corner]

    Scafidi: Oh, they did.

    Hudson: And then we used to come...and then Barney Hunter had this store right at the end of Buck Road and there was the store, and Gilsons and Barney Hunter that lived right in might say; right on that little platform. That's about all it was.

    Scafidi: Which store did your parents trade with?

    Hudson: Both.

    Scafidi: Either store specialize in anything at all?

    Hudson: No. No, they came around and they took your order. Sam Frizzell was a little hunched-back man. I suppose you've been told that.

    Scafidi: I understand he had a missing finger and one that was all broken up, too.

    Hudson: I didn't know that, but I did know he had a hunch back. We used to deal there. Sam would come around, I think twice a week, and then when we were coming home from school we always had a list to stop at Barney Hunter's to get on our way home. And it was a treat. We used to go there about the end of the week and buy bread.

    Scafidi: You bought your bread?

    Hudson: At the end of the week we got one loaf.

    Scafidi: 0h, special.

    Hudson: Yes. But on Saturdays it was baking. I don't ever remember homewithout a couple of pies and a chocolate cake on Saturday, and a big batch of homemade bread.

    Scafidi: Was this white bread or wheat bread?

    Hudson: White bread.

    Scafidi: Where did you get your flour from? From the store?

    Hudson: Yeah, we got the flour...mother used to lay the flour in, and our coal went in at the first of the fall, our flour went in and our potatoes went in. Of course, when it come early spring then we would have to replenish and buy so much at a time.

    Scafidi: Since we are talking about food, do you think you ate any worse in those days than you do now?

    Hudson: No, I think we ate better.

    Scafidi: Mostly fresh foods? Or did your mother put stuff up? Did she do any canning?

    Hudson: Absolutely. All the time. You do indeed. And I'll tell you another thing that my father did; I don't know if anybody else told you this before along the same line, but my father made his own wine.

    Scafidi: We've heard of the Italians making their own wine.

    Hudson: No, my father did. We had grape, we had wild cherry, we had dandelion, we had elderberry. Yep, we had them in great big casks. And us being French, we always had wine on the table. Always had wine on the table. And it wasn't sweet. And you all had to get a little bit of it and you had to drink it and you better not say no. Not in our family.

    Scafidi: I was going to ask you if there was anything about the children not drinking any wine. I think you've answered that.

    Hudson: We didn't. Father said there wouldn't be any drunkards in the family, if you know how to handle it.

    Scafidi: What did you do, say, summer days and no school? Nothing special that you had to do and start out in the morning and run through a day.

    Hudson: Didn't you ever live in the country?

    Scafidi: Oh, yes, but not on the Brandywine.

    Hudson: But didn't you always have something laid out for you every day before you went to bed at night - you knew what you had to do the next morning. Everybody in our house had a chore.

    Scafidi: What was yours?

    Hudson: Usually mine was cleaning. Then you had the dishes to do and beds to make. That's what amazes me today, just amazes me, to think of the children not having anything to do. "Oh, I don't have anything to do." My mother found things for you to do. And then when the canning season was on, you always had to help with that. God, I used to hate that. And then, father would never allow mother to have willows, never. But the Callahans had them, and the Doughertys had them and the Wards had them and the Moores had them and the Godfreys had them, so father got us knives and after we finished our housework we went and helped different ones to peel the willows.

    Scafidi: Did you get paid anything?

    Hudson: No,sir.

    Scafidi: Well, how do you prepare a piece of willow for making charcoal?

    Hudson: Well, you know, they come with the bark on and you had to take all that bark off, and they...

    Scafidi: They were sliced? Straight down?

    Hudson: Yep. It was, let's say this was a piece of willow. Well, you'd start at the top and came down, and every so often you got your knife sharpened. Now we didn't have any, but father saw that we were occupied. So, when we got finished with our housework, then you'd go and help somebody out. You took turns. You didn't stay with the one person all the time. You gave each person a lift.

    Scafidi: What did the boys do?

    Hudson: Most of them peeled willows, too.

    Scafidi: They didn't take off and go swimming and go play ball?

    Hudson: Not too much. Maybe they played ball, and they did, but it would be in the evening after supper at night, see. And it would be almost dark when they were allowed to go. There was discipline in our house, I'll put it that way.
  • Her mother disciplining the children; her father's work schedule and Mr. Toomey ringing the lunch bell; going to Wilmington with their father on Saturdays; Mattie Ferraro making their special clothes
    Keywords: cat o'nine tails; Confirmation dress; dinner bell; discipline; First Communion dress; graduation dress; grinding mill; Keil's ice cream; Mattie Ferraro; refinery; switch
    Transcript: Scafidi: Was your father stricter than most or about the same?

    Hudson: Nope, my mother. My mother was the boss.

    Scafidi: Did she ever take you over her knee or...

    Hudson: Oh, indeed. More than once.

    Scafidi: With a switch or with the hand?

    Hudson: Yes, indeed. We had a cat o'nine tails. We had a long stick and it was made out of leather and if you didn't come up to your mark you got that. Now, we used to hide it.

    Scafidi: I can imagine you did.

    Hudson: Yes, we did, but that didn't make any difference because when she found it you got it.

    Scafidi: For hiding it, at least.

    Hudson: No, I wasn't a bit afraid of my father. My father was tops. I mean to say, you could get away with anything with him.

    Scafidi: Did he know you were getting away with it, do you think?

    Hudson: Yes, he used to say, "Now, don't tell your mother." But you couldn't with my mother. If she spoke to you once, she didn't speak to you twice.

    Scafidi: Maybe that was because she had you on her hands most of the day.

    Hudson: Well, when you got your work done you were put out to pare willows. There was always something to do.

    Scafidi: What time did your father come home from work?

    Hudson: Well, you know, when you work in the powder you work til...if he was working in the grinding mill he had to stay there until that was done.

    Scafidi: Until a charge was run through?

    Hudson: Yeah. He might get home around 5:00, but if he had work to do, because see we had our big meal at noon.

    Scafidi: What did you call the evening meal?

    Hudson: Well, it was almost the same but it wasn't any heavy cooking and pies and things like that. You know what I mean.

    Scafidi: Did your father come home for lunch?

    Hudson: Oh yes. I tell you...this bell that was right in front of us and Mr. Toomey rang it every day and the men would all come home and have their lunch, have their dinner at noon.

    Scafidi: Do you remember how long your father had off for lunch, or for dinner?

    Hudson: I would say that they would judge it themselves because if they had something to do they went right back, and if they didn't have anything to do they may stay home for a half hour or so, but, I don't know. It seemed to me that the men always went back and down in the refinery where Dan Dougherty's father worked...they used to all congregate in there, too, until it was time to go back to work.

    Scafidi: That was a meeting place for the men?

    Hudson: Yes.

    Scafidi: When your father came home at night did he play with the kids or did he sit down and read a paper, or was he too tired to do anything?

    Hudson: No, my father was pretty much with all of us all of the time. He was a great guy. He really was, he was a great guy. I'll tell you another trick of father's. We used to go downtown on Saturday to Wilmington to get our shoes and things like that and father used to say to my brother and I, "I'm going to go over to [?] and get a beer. Now I'm going to take you to Keil's and I'm going to buy you a 5 cent plate of ice cream. Now if you'll lick that plate, when I come back I'll buy you another one." And we did.

    Scafidi: How big was the plate of ice cream?

    Hudson: A pretty good size.

    Scafidi: Was it good ice cream or bad?

    Hudson: 0h, Keil's ice cream was the best. I've never seen, met anything like it.

    Scafidi: You say you went into Wilmington about once a week?

    Hudson: Every Saturday.

    Scafidi: Every Saturday; this was a big treat?

    Hudson: Oh, absolutely. It was one of the things.

    Scafidi: Did you buy clothes or did your mother make them? Or did you make clothes?

    Hudson: We had a woman come in twice a year, Elly Griffith, and she did, she made our underwear and everyday dresses, but Mattie Ferraro was the one that we always went to make our good clothes.

    Scafidi: Something special.

    Hudson: Yes, she made everything. I mean to say, she made my first communion and my graduation and my confirmation and she made mother's also, because she was "the one." She had a sister Dauphine and she sewed, and that's where everybody went.

    Scafidi: Everybody went to her?

    Hudson: That's where everybody went.

    Scafidi: Did she have a husband who was working in the mills at the time?

    Hudson: Mattie? No. Neither did Dauphine. They were both maiden ladies.

    Scafidi: They had been born around here and just stayed?

    Hudson: Born and lived in the house that they were born in. And Mattie still is in the house.

    Scafidi: Oh, she is.

    Hudson: She's right this side of the Experimental.

    Scafidi: I think we'll have to get hold of her.

    Hudson: Haven't you seen Mattie?

    Scafidi: I don't think so. There are some that we've done that I haven't seen, but I don't think that we have.
  • Listening to a neighbor's gramophone on Sundays; her education; taking sewing classes at Christ Church from Miss Bradford; Fourth of July celebrations at Squirrel Run and losing the waltz competition
    Keywords: A.I. du Pont High School; Beacom College; Bush, Joanna du Pont Bradford, 1881-1942; business school; Catholic-Protestant relations; Catholics; Christ Church; dance competition; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Iré né e), 1864-1935; Fourth of July; gramophone; ice cream; Immaculate Heart of Mary convent; Mass; prize waltz; Repauno Chemical Company; Saint. Joseph's-on-the-Brandywine School; sewing classes; Squirrel Run; stenographic; strawberry festival; Ursuline Academy (Wilmington, Del.)
    Transcript: Hudson: I'll tell you another one that you should contact. That's Bessie Dougherty. Have you talked to her? She lives you know where Pat Dougherty's saloon was on the creek?

    Scafidi: Where is that in you know where Hagey's Tavern is?

    Hudson: Oh no. This side of Hagey's.

    Scafidi: I'm not sure I know exactly.

    Hudson: Well, that has been converted into three apartments and Bessie Dougherty lives in one of them. And she lived in the Upper Banks and she is older than I, so she would be able to give you some information, too. And for our fun on Sunday, after we came home from Mass you got your good dress off and old clothes on and then you were allowed to go sit...uh, from where we lived on this street and where [Banny?] lived on this street there was a big hill, so we were allowed to go sit on that hill and listen to their gramophone on Sunday. That was a big treat.

    Scafidi: Did they have the only one in the neighborhood?

    Hudson: Yeah, they had it in their 1iving...their parlor, as they called it then. Mrs. Shields had one but we didn't go there.

    Scafidi: Was that Dan Shields mother? We talked to him, but we didn't get much about the Upper Banks from him; it was mostly about his later life.

    Hudson: You didn't? He lived there for a long time.

    Scafidi: I think he's 74 now.

    Hudson: I think he's incapacitated, isn't he?

    Scafidi: Well, he's been ill for a little while. I don't know exactly what sort of shape he's in, but I know people have talked to him within the year, and we hope to talk to him again.

    Hudson: Well, he...I'm trying to think if Danny graduated from A.I. [du Pont High School]. I'm just trying to think. I don't remember him graduating from A.I. You see, we all went to St. Joseph's-on-the-Brandywine until we were finished the 8th grade and then you went right to A.I.

    Scafidi: Could you have gone downtown to a parochial high school or secretarial or...

    Hudson: Oh yes, because my mother wanted me to go to Ursuline instead of going to A.I. But I just carried on so high because everybody that I knew was going to A.I. and I was going to go to A.I., too, so father said, "If that's where she wants to go, let her go." So I went.

    Scafidi: Did most of the children from the area go to A.I.?

    Hudson: Yeah. Mary Ward went to St. Patrick's because she took stenographic, and Cassie Callahan went to business school.

    Scafidi: Was that Beacom College?

    Hudson: Yep. But she's in a convent.

    Scafidi: Still?

    Hudson: Oh, yeah. She's been in a long time. See, she worked for DuPont and then she left DuPont and went to the convent. She's in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I believe.

    Scafidi: Did many people work for DuPont? Say, your father worked for DuPont; your mother's family, some of them worked for DuPont. Did any of the children of your generation work for DuPont, too?

    Hudson: My brother did and I did. I worked for Mr. Alexis, and our Jimmy was a shooter for the Company.

    Scafidi: You mean a blaster, or...

    Hudson: No, they used to...

    Scafidi: A trap shooter?

    Hudson: For the...the find out how...the powder. They used to make the different powders.

    Scafidi: 0h, a tester.

    Hudson: Yeah, a tester.

    Scafidi: Oh, the velocity and all that.

    Hudson: Yeah.

    Scafidi: Well, let's see. Your family worked for DuPonts, everybody around you worked for DuPonts, the DuPonts were all around you. Did you see any of them every day, say walking back and forth and talk to them, the du Ponts, that is?

    Hudson: No, but I have heard my father say a number of times that the old du Ponts knew every man who was working for them. They could call them by name.

    Scafidi: Did you ever see or hear anything about Alfred I. du Pont?

    Hudson: Oh yeah. Everybody did. Yes, that was a known issue.

    Scafidi: You mean the one where...there were several of them.

    Hudson: That was the first divorce in the family. And he married his cousin. And then, I'll tell you what we did on Saturday, too. Saturday afternoons, Miss Bradford, now she's Mrs. Bush, had a sewing class and Catholics and Protestants both went down to Christ Church for sewing classes.

    Scafidi: Were you in that?

    Hudson: Sure.

    Scafidi: Did you know Elizabeth Beacom?

    Hudson: Yes, ma'am. I think she was in Mrs. Crowninshield's class.

    Scafidi: Yes.

    Hudson: Well, I was in Mrs. Bush's class, she was in Mrs. Crowninshield's class. [dog barks loudly for next minute of dialog]

    Scafidi: Who was Mrs. Bush? What was she in the community?

    Hudson: She was...her father was Judge Bradford and her mother was a du Pont, and she taught us children sewing for free.

    Scafidi: Because she thought it was a good thing to do or...?

    Hudson: Well, you see, the du Pont women...a lot of them did things to help the different ones out. They taught Sunday School. It...when we lived in the Upper Banks if Christ Church had a festival, a strawberry festival or a bake or a [?] sale, we all went. And our mothers all contributed. There was no religious distinction.

    Scafidi: Just on Sunday morning when you all went to your own church?

    Hudson: Well, we went to church, but then we mingled right afterwards.

    Scafidi: Did you have a 4th of July celebration?

    Hudson: Yep, if you wanna know that. We had it up at Squirrel Run, and one year, I always was skinny as a thicket, and one year, we were just talking about this last night. They had a dance and the Repauno people for DuPont came over here and they were gonna have a prize waltz, and my father took me on the waltz, and at that time you danced on the ball of your foot. There was only two of us left on the floor and I dropped my heel, and I'm telling you I bet you he knocked me clear right off that dance floor, because it was up to either a DuPonter on this end or Repauno to get the prize, and I dropped my heel.

    Scafidi: Repauno won?

    Hudson: 0h, crazy...yes indeed. I was sent home.

    Scafidi: Do you remember what the band was? Who played for the...?

    Hudson: Well, I know Mike Neeley played, but I don't know who else.

    Scafidi: Was it called the Tancopanican Band or Al's Band?

    Hudson: That's where father played. Well, I don't remember them, but I remember when Mike Neeley and a couple more used to play for the dance, too.

    Scafidi: Was the dance floor put up for that purpose and then taken down?

    Hudson: Yes, indeed and the stands were put up for the purpose. There was ice cream stands, flags...Anything you wanted, sandwiches or anything you wanted. And the men manned them, you know what I mean. The men all had their jobs to do. Maybe you would do the ice cream for about an hour and then somebody else would take it over.

    Scafidi: Did you have games...the sort of thing you have at a carnival these days?

    Hudson: No, we didn't. No, I never remember that. Could be, but I wouldn't remember it.

    Scafidi: Who kept the order at these places. Were there any local police or constables?

    Hudson: Didn't need any. All you needed was your parents.
  • Her father speaking a French dialect; swimming near the dam in Upper Yard; Sunday night visits to neighbors; going into Wilmington with her father and Mrs. Toomey or taking the train
    Keywords: Chicken Alley; coal engines; dam; explosions; Montchanin; oil lamps; Poor Man's Beach; Rockland; swimming; swimming clothes; swinging bridge; trains; Up-the-creekers; Upper Yard; Wilmington and Northern
    Transcript: Scafidi: When was the first time you saw a policeman? In Wilmington or...?

    Hudson: Yes. You didn't need them. There wasn't any of those parents spoke to their children twice. We have a neighbor down the street; I wish she was home. Mrs. Montgomery, her father, she was a Krauss, she's Emile Krauss' daughter, and she will be home tomorrow. She's in Cape May. And her father and my father...her father, they're from Switzerland and father talked - sort of a dialect, French - and Mr. Krauss spoke French. And they would go along for awhile and then father would say, "I don't understand you, I don't understand you." And Mr. Krauss would say, "Nobody knows what you are talking about but yourself." Because see, Grandmother and Grandfather Hackendorn had their own dialect.

    Scafidi: This was one thing that I wondered. You say he spoke a French dialect. Did you know anybody else from Alsace-Lorraine who was in that area? We've talked with a couple of Rowe brothers who say their mother came from...

    Hudson: Yeah, and Mrs. Dougherty; she was a Rohr. She's dead. And there was the Rowes, Mrs. Rowe and Mrs. Dougherty and Mrs. O'Neill - she was a Rohr. But they are all dead.

    Scafidi: So, it was a little colony of people who came just about that time?

    Hudson: It was a nice place. I mean, we didn't have much money, but you made your own fun and there wasn't anybody really that had a lot, you know what I mean?

    Scafidi: Oh, yes.

    Hudson: And, you didn't go downtown and buy a dress or a hat. If my mother thought that I needed a dress or a hat she went downtown and bought it and brought it home to me. You had no choice in the matter.

    Scafidi: It was just what you wanted.

    Hudson: Absolutely. You had no choice, none at all. And we didn't know any different and we accepted it.

    Scafidi: Did you ever hear of a place called "Minnie" or a place called "Girlie"?

    Hudson: Where?

    Scafidi: In the creek.

    Hudson: Girlie? No, I can't...

    Scafidi: Mr. Rowe told us that they had two swimming spots. "Minnie" was pretty deep and "Girlie" was shallow and it was only for...

    Hudson: That must have been down there...across from the Experimental.

    Scafidi: Down the creek.

    Hudson: Now they used to call that the "Poor Man's Beach."

    Scafidi: Did the down-the-creekers call it that or did the up-the-creekers call it that?

    Hudson: Down-the-creekers went there and we went up the creek in the Upper Yard. See, there was a dam...I wonder if that is still there?

    Scafidi: Oh, yes, it is.

    Hudson: And we all went swimming there. That's where we were the Saturday afternoon that the mill blew up.

    Scafidi: And which mill was this?

    Hudson: I think it was a dust mill...I'm not too sure and Mr. McCleary was running was a hot Saturday afternoon and you wouldn't be allowed to go in swimming if there wasn't an older person with you. And father took a whole bunch of us kids and he was talking to Mr. McCleary, and he went back into the mill and just like that it went up. And father kept telling us to come up to him because the pieces were falling where we were. The timber and...

    Scafidi: What did you wear when you went in swimming? A wrapper?

    Hudson: [laughs] Do I have to tell you that? You wore your panties and your mother's old shirt or blouse or your old dress or blouse or something like that. No such a thing as a bathing suit.

    Scafidi: Bathing suits hadn't come in yet?

    Hudson: Oh, my goodness. No one would buy you one anyhow.

    Scafidi: Was it a pretty nice place to swim?

    Hudson: Yes. And then of course, right across the creek, right across from the dam was Chicken Alley and we had a swinging bridge that we could walk over and get from the Upper Yards and you could go across on this bridge and that would take you over to Chicken Alley.

    Scafidi: Were you friendly with the people in Chicken Alley or were they a little community of their own?

    Hudson: No. I can't say that. There was a family by the name of [?]; they were French. And our Susie Casey lived there for awhile. Everybody mingled. Even the people in Rockland. We all mingled.

    Scafidi: Did the fellows, say 16 and 18 years old, take kindly to having boys from Wilmington come out and try to date the girls?

    Hudson: Nobody ever came. [laughs] Not to my knowledge. On Sunday nights, I guess the Rowe boy told you this, on Sunday night we used to go from house to house and have lemonade and cake and play the piano. Maybe tonight would be my turn and next Sunday night would be your turn and we used to go to Rowe's quite a little bit because, and that was down the creek. But they always seemed to have more people, you know what I mean. They had a bigger family, let me put it that way, and therefore they could draw more people. So, therefore we went...but we used to take our turns. Maybe this Sunday night we would go up to [Wright?] in Rockland; then maybe the next Sunday night it would be at our place; then the next Sunday night it would be down to McMann's in Rockford.

    Scafidi: How did you get there?

    Hudson: Walked.

    Scafidi: Anybody you know have a horse?

    Hudson: Toomey's were the only ones. He boss of the Upper Yard. He was the only one. And that's how we got to town on Saturday. Father used to take Mrs. Toomey downtown on Saturday and he could take one of us. He used to have to drive her.

    Scafidi: Did you have much of a contest between all of you...?

    Hudson: And then we had...then we used to go by train. The train came into Montchanin and we got it at 7th and...

    Scafidi: Would this be the Wilmington and Northern? The "Weak and Nervous," I think they called it? What is the Reading now?

    Hudson: I think it is.

    Scafidi: Were these just regular passenger trains? Do you happen to know where they were going?

    Hudson: Well, they would go to Greenville. Some would go to Montchanin. They would go to Guyencourt. They had their stops, you know. And they were timed. They were all timed. You knew when they were coming. Mr. Woods was the station master up at Montchanin.

    Scafidi: Were these steam engines or...?

    Hudson: Coal engines.

    Scafidi: Did you have gas light or oil lamps? Did you have electric down there?

    Hudson: Oil lamps. No. And we had to clean those lamps every morning. Those chimneys had to be washed every morning and those lamps had to be filled every morning.
  • Stoves the family used for cooking and heating; her father voting and children not being allowed to talk politics; local barn fires
    Keywords: barn fires; Barney Hunter's store; cook stove; Democrat; Dwellings--Heating and ventilation; keg mill; oil stove; outside kitchen; polls; round stove; voting; Working class--Political activity
    Transcript: Scafidi: What did you use for cooking?

    Hudson: Well, in the wintertime we had a cook stove in the kitchen. And in the summertime we had what was known as an outside kitchen. It was just a shed like, you know, and we had a table out there and we also had a cook stove out there and we also had an oil stove; we had a four burner oil stove.

    Scafidi: Was this unusual?

    Hudson: No. All the people up there had an oil stove.

    Scafidi: Who polished the stove?

    Hudson: You mean the cook stove? We all did.

    Scafidi: Nobody's special job? It was just that if something needed to be done...?

    Hudson: You'd use your discretion. You'd do it...We all did. There was really no choice. You had your chores to do.

    Scafidi: How did your house get heated?

    Hudson: In the wintertime we had the coal stove in the kitchen. And also in the wintertime we had a round, a good-sized round stove in the dining room and living room, but we lived practically in the kitchen. And then they would open the bedroom door downstairs and that would heat up, but you went into the living room to get dressed to go to bed before you went upstairs because it was so cold and it was as hot as the dickens in the summer.

    Scafidi: Were most people fresh-air fiends? You know, most fathers throw the windows open upstairs during the summer, fall, winter, spring?

    Hudson: In the summer they kept them open all the time, but in the wintertime they didn't.

    Scafidi: Just wondering whether Teddy Roosevelt was much of an influence on some of the ways they raised children. President Roosevelt was a big fan about lots and lots of air.

    Hudson: No, I can't say so. We went along pretty much the same way they all did.

    Scafidi: Do you happen to know whether your father voted often, or how he voted?

    Hudson: Yes. My father was a democrat. And my father worked at the polls. And the polls were up at Barney Hunter's [Store].

    Scafidi: Who was the local democratic organizer? Or boss? Whatever you want to call him.

    Hudson: I think Tom Bayard was. And, that's who I can remember. But I don't know who...of course, this might seem funny to you because the children today talk politics, but we weren't allowed to talk politics.

    Scafidi: Just grown-ups.

    Hudson: That was father's...that was the grown-up...that was father's.

    Scafidi: Did he get a democratic newspaper? Or just any paper?

    Hudson: No, he didn't. We just had the one paper. And it came in the evening.

    Scafidi: Were there ever any kind of voting scandals? Anybody claim that an election had been robbed from them?

    Hudson: No, I can't say so. It could be that I wouldn't know, because as I said we never were allowed to enter into it.

    Scafidi: I thought if this happened it would be notorious.

    Hudson: No. Well, then you knew we had barn fires.

    Scafidi: Oh yes, I wanted to ask you about that. What do you know about that?

    Hudson: I don't know too much about it because we were quite small, and I know that the barn by Hunters went up and the keg mill down the creek. I don't know if you've heard of that. That was burned down, and I think Blakeley's barn was burned down. We were kept home, but father was the one that went.